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The galaxy’s armpit hole

Lilla Syrin

A great leap forward often requires first taking t
Writer
“I will take Dubrava! Anything will be better than being forced to see your stupid looks one more time.”
―Jal Te Gniev

Dubrava

Astrographical information
Region
Outer Rim Territories
Sector
Albanin sector
System
Dubrava system
Grid coordinates
T-13
Trade routes
Triellus Trade Route

Physical information
Class
Terrestrial
Atmosphere
Type I (Breathable)
Primary terrain
Semi-tropical swamps
Points of interest
Canal District
Canal bar

Societal information
Native species
Dubravans
Immigrated species
Abyssins
Humans
Snivvians
Nimbanel
Population
10–100 million
Affiliation
Unaffiliated

Beyond what the online atlas told Lilla, she had little information about the planet she was about to visit. Although that wasn’t precisely true. According to rhetoric, if Tatooine was to be looked down on due to its remoteness, Dubrava was far less of an attractive resort destination.

She was heading for a bar. It was funny how cantinas invariably begin so many adventures. Her brief was simple, to meet up with an acheologist and from there, head into the swamp to help the local government ascertain the potential danger that might be posed by a possible Sith artefact.

Lord Vader’s connection with the planet was the reason the Jedi Order were taking it seriously, so the Republic Remnant had dispatched her to assist the tomb raider and ensure any dark sided relic would not become a hazard to the local community.

Beyond that, she knew very little – and was relying on the archaeologist to appraise her as to what they might find.

The bar was located in the Canal District of the planet. It sat on an island in the swamp, connected to nearby islands by a system of waterways and a pier-like bridge system. So Lilla parked up her ship close by and walked the final half a kilometre in the oppressive heat of the swamp to her rendezvous.
 

Cassius Droma

Jedi Archaeologist
Character
A muddy gray fog rolled over the green and dark blue waterways of the swamps. How anyone could want to settle here, Cassius had no idea. Then again, he was from a place where the temperature dropped so low at night that any Human would freeze to death in minutes. Pick your poison, he guessed. Maybe part of it was the anonymity – Dubrava was pretty far out there, and not part of anyone’s territory.

At the moment, Cassius was sitting in the far back corner of a bar, nursing a cup of meiloorun nectar while waiting for his contact to get here. A report of an old ship bubbling up from the swamp’s depths had piqued his interest. It had stated that the initial team that found the ship had all either become deathly ill or had been driven to some sort of madness. From the holos he could scrounge together, it looked like it was an old transport, dating back thousands of years. The swamp must have kept it preserved all this time.

Since Dubrava was close to Republic Remnant space, Cassius had figured it was a good opportunity to ask for their help to foster good relations between the Remnant and the Silver Jedi. A lot of the times, Cassius did these assignments alone, or with a partner. His droid, T-4D4, was also typically with him, but currently he was orbiting the planet in the YT-1000 light freighter Stardust Melody. Cassius had come down in his A-wing, knowing full well that the planet either didn’t have adequate land to secure the Stardust, or would swallow it whole – and he wouldn’t let that happen to his pride and joy. He’d just gotten it cleaned, after all.

Cassius turned his head as he heard the front door to the bar swish open. The woman certainly looked like the Lilla Syrin he was told to meet. He gave a small wave to her to get her attention. He wasn’t exactly wearing his Jedi robes, but more his casual attire of dark boots and pants, a white layered shirt, and leather jacket. His lightsaber was clipped to his belt, yes, but his A180 blaster was also strapped to his thigh.

It was good that another Jedi, a Knight, was coming to help him. The last time he’d come close to anything dark-side related, he’d nearly slipped.

[member="Lilla Syrin"]
 

Lilla Syrin

A great leap forward often requires first taking t
Writer
Lilla entered the bar. Fortunately, her contact was expecting her, was known to her and knew what she looked like. It made these meetings structured – and appear less like a young woman seeking a partner for the evening.

She spotted the Jedi sitting in the far back corner of the bar, nursing a drink.

Lilla walked up to the bar and ordered a beer, before heading across. He had all the details of the mission, she was here to assist in whatever capacity was necessary. This was a Silver Jedi mission and she was here as a guest – perhaps due to expertise, maybe because the Silvers were thin on the ground her, and possibly because it was an exercise in collaboration and diplomacy. Lilla suspected an element of all three was the most likely reason.

Lilla smiled as she left the bar and wandered over. It felt too informal to bow an introduction, she she nodded an abbreviated bow and then, her smile not faltering, she announced herself. “Hi, I’m Lilla. So, what are we facing here?”

[member="Cassius Droma"]
 

Cassius Droma

Jedi Archaeologist
Character
As Lila got herself a drink, Cassius looked over the map of the area on his datapad one last time. Wouldn’t take them too long to get there. The main worry was whether or not they needed any sort of protective wear. Cassius had brought some, as it was better to be safe than sorry…

She approached his table and gave a nod as well as her name. The male Jedi nodded back, motioning for her to sit across from him in the booth. “I’m Cassius – nice to meet you.” He still wasn’t entirely used to the whole bowing thing, despite having already been in two separate Jedi Orders at this point. Handshakes were what he was used to – a habit from his old piloting days.

“We’ve got a weird one on our hands,” Cassius said, tapping a button on his datapad. The small holoprojector on the device sprang to life, showing the two of them a flat holoimage of the site. “About two weeks ago, an old ship had been found in the swamp. Recent seismic activity had been kicking up a bunch of debris to the surface lately. A salvage crew was sent out – they were never heard from again. A research team followed a week later. Didn’t find the bodies, but everyone who was on that team has now either gone insane or contracted a disease.”

Cassius tapped another button, and the image zoomed in to the hull of the ship, showing an ancient Sith symbol. It would be now clear why the Jedi would be so interested in it. “It’s hard to tell how old it is from these images, but I’d say from the basic design of the ship, it’s a few thousand years. The swamp has been preserving it this whole time.” One more button press, and a map was revealed, showing their present location relative to the ship.

“It’s not far. I’ve rented out a little speeder we can use to get there.”

He was open to any sort of questions she might have, but he was ready to go. Whatever was in that ship was dangerous, which meant it warranted study. It also meant that they needed to hurry if they were going to get it before someone else.

[member="Lilla Syrin"]
 

Lilla Syrin

A great leap forward often requires first taking t
Writer
Lilla listened intently. She knew there was the potential for bad things to happen, and making matters worse by not paying attention would be a poor start.

She observed the image his holoprojector produced. Insanity or diseased? Neither option sounded positive.

“So,” she asked, once it was clear he’d shared the mission brief, “What’s your initial prognosis? A dormant naturally occurring disease or a Sith-made booby-trap? I appreciate you’ll want to reserve judgement until we get up close and personal, but I’d be keen to hear your first take on the problem.”

[member="Cassius Droma"]
 

Cassius Droma

Jedi Archaeologist
Character
He was asked his opinion on what it was that was causing the people who went there so much strife. Standing up, he shrugged. “Could be anything,” he said, fishing into his pocket and tossing a few credit chips on the table. “My initial guess though, would be something has infected the space there. Not in a biological or viral sense, but in the Force. So, we could either be more susceptible to it, or more immune to it.” Cassius just hoped the Jedi Knight wasn’t so easily corruptible.

Heading for the door, he motioned for her to follow, not wanting to waste any more time. A quarantine zone hadn’t been put up or anything due to the danger of just being near it, so that meant more people could just walk up to it, unattended. “Either way, I’ve got some protective gear out in a speeder I’ve rented just in case it is viral or biological.”

The sliding door to the bar swooshed open as he stepped out, the rickety wood of the pier creaking under his boots. Their chariot awaited them – a small, enclosed, two-person speeder with gull wing doors. Clambering inside, he fired up the engines, waiting for his new companion. He put in the coordinates for the crash site into the onboard map. “Luckily, it’s kind of out of the way,” Cassius said, “and the initial report said that there was an absence of fauna around the site, so we shouldn’t have to worry about any sort of creature attacking us.”

At least, he hoped.

[member="Lilla Syrin"]
 

Lilla Syrin

A great leap forward often requires first taking t
Writer
Lilla appreciated honesty. Some, even Jedi, would never admit to a lack of surety. Cassius, on the other hand, knew plenty of possibilities – but was keeping his options open. But by sharing the potential challenge they faced, Lilla could at least be on guard.

Lilla had heard of wounds in the Force – but they tended to impact Force sensitives. This, on the other hand, was impacting everyone, although it remained to be seen if she and Cassius would be affected, especially if it was, as he suspected, Force related. They could be the best people to send in – or they could be the very worst.

But either way, Lilla surmised that any negative impacting the Force would be dark-side related. Not that this theory helped her, but it did at least make her wary of her thoughts and emotions. She was a natural empath and had learned through her life to block out other’s minds. So it was easier for her to shut her own emotions down – given the part of the brain that feels emotions and the part that carries out the impulses were different. Her innermost brain might be affected, but her conscious, rational brain would be unaware.

Which assumed this was a mental condition and not a physiological one.

Lilla left her half-drunk better and stood up, quickly following her host. And she was relieved to hear he had foreseen the potential problem and brought something to protect their physical bodies.

Lilla stepped into the speeder beside him and drew the Force to her, allowing it to calm her. “I’m ready, let’s go.”

[member="Cassius Droma"]
 

Cassius Droma

Jedi Archaeologist
Character
He gave her a curt nod as he flicked a switch. The doors hissed closed around them, and then with a loud clunk, locked them into place. Thankfully, it would help keep out the stench of the swamp around them as they made their way to their destination. That didn’t mean that Cassius wasn’t going to take two showers after getting back to the Stardust, however.

They zoomed along at a brisk pace, water rippling around them from the repulsors. Depending on how used Lilla was to flying, Cassius might have been going a little fast. He was an A-wing pilot, though – anything slower than break-neck speed was too slow.

After passing numerous structures and heading out into the wilds of the swamp for a stretch of time, their subject of study could be seen in the distance, emerging from the murky water like a hulking beast. Although it might have looked like a normal shuttle that had crashed, anyone even remotely Force sensitive would feel something eerie emanating from it. Even though it was caked in mud and covered in vines, the parts that were exposed still had a shine to them.

Finding a good patch of land to settle on, Cassius parked the little speeder there and hopped out, his boots immediately squelching into the mud. At least he wasn’t sinking. Rounding to the back of the speeder, he opened a storage compartment and pulled out two helmets, both with clear faces for visibility. He handed one to Lilla, and then placed his own over his head. It clicked to his neck and tightened a little, forming a seal. “These should protect us from any airborne pathogens,” Cassius informed her, his voice muffled through the headgear.

Looking to the ship, he pulled out his datapad and unhooked a small sensor reading device. He began scanning the area around them, mostly to check for toxins or bio-agents. “Go ahead and look around, but keep an eye out for any sort of creatures that might come our way,” he said. “And if at any point you feel uneasy, just let me know.”

[member="Lilla Syrin"]
 

Lilla Syrin

A great leap forward often requires first taking t
Writer
Lilla was not squeamish – but regardless, she was pleased that the outside world was closed off – the smell from the swamp was not noxious, but it certainly disgusting and would no doubt permeate their clothes, hair and potentially even their skin.

Lilla was a competent pilot, but noted, as they travelled, she was not necessarily a practiced passenger. Invariably she was the pilot – and rarely fulfilled the role of passenger – unless it was a large enough ship to require a crew. Not that Cassius was a poor pilot, it was just that Lilla would have driven slightly differently – and certainly a little slower. But she relied on his Jedi instincts to keep them alive and did her best to relax – without reciting the Code out loud!

After a while, the swamp was surrounding them and it was hard to see progression, given there were few landmarks of note to show they were making headway. But finally they saw something on the horizon that stood out and gave them a point of reference that showed they were closing in on their goal. And the close they were to the shuttle, the clearer it became, despite having been claimed by the swamp for so long. But it was the feeling that emanated from it that better highlighted their proximity – such was the overwhelmingly uncomfortable aura the shuttle was emanating.

Soon they had reached as close as they needed to be, and Cassius stopped their speeder. Lilla jumped out after him, and felt her boots sink slightly into the soft ground. She left her cloak in the speeder and then followed him around the back of the speeder and took the helmet he offered. She placed it over her head and checked it was working. Confident in his assurance it would protect them from anything airborne, she began to walk a large perimeter of the shuttle.

Firstly, she wanted to be sure that the sensation was originating from the ship itself. Secondly, she hoped to be sure that there was nothing obviously visible that they should be aware of.

Arriving back at the speeder, she was able to confirm there was nothing obvious to be seen from this distance, and they would need to enter the vessel itself if they were to gain any more clues – unless of course Cassius’s sensors had told him something.

[member="Cassius Droma"]
 

Cassius Droma

Jedi Archaeologist
Character
Cassius started to walk the perimeter of the shuttle’s area with his sensor device, hoping to get a better view of the surrounding area. The soft ground mushed under his boots and made sickly moist sounds as he moved about. The chattering of animal life far off echoed throughout the swamp. Interesting, how the ship had remerged after all this time. The ground around the shuttle was able to take their weight – as if the ancient relic had come up in an unnatural way.

For the time being, nothing really came up on his datapad. There were very low levels of toxic gas, but that was just from the swamp itself. Cassius would have thought that a finding like that would assuage his fears, but instead they only intensified. It only made the possibility that whatever had turned the previous scouting teams ill wasn’t some sort of toxin or biohazard, but something from the dark side.

Lilla didn’t seem to see anything out of the ordinary, or anything that would concern them for the time being. Clicking his sensor device back into his datapad, he clipped the pad onto his utility belt. The sensor was still active, and was set to beep loudly if there was any sort of dangerous substance detected. “I guess the only thing to do is to go inside…” Cassius said, the apprehension seeping through his tone.

Slowly, he stepped up to the back ramp of the shuttle. There didn’t seem to be any sort of power left in the ship in order to open the door automatically, so Cassius closed his eyes, reaching out with the Force. It took him a moment, but he found it – the mechanical emergency locks. Raising his hand to help him visualize the action, he concentrated on the lock, brow furrowing and hand shaking ever so slightly. Finally, the lock released, and Cassius put his hand down. That should have been child’s play.

There was a loud hissing sound, and steam rolled out from the opening hulk of a door as the pressure from the inside normalized with the outside. “No hull breaches – that’s interesting,” Cassius commented, as usually a crash like that would have torn some sort of hole into the hull, enough for the vessel to take on water as it fell into the swamp.

The door finally swung open, and they were immediately met with the cargo area, and stacks of crates that had been turned askew before them. Cassius could see, even from the diffused light that was pouring into the ship now, something glinting. He stepped closer, his boots making a hard thunk as they made contact with the opened ramp.

Sitting in the dead center of the ship, amongst all of the crates, was a dagger. Even from this distance, Cassius could tell that it was intricate in design, with a curved blade and handle. It looked almost ceremonial. As beautiful as it was, something in Cassius knew that this was sinister. He glanced over to his new companion.

“I think that might be it,” Cassius said, nodding to the object. “If you wouldn’t mind… I think your connection to the Force is stronger than mine.” From his belt, he gave her a pair of rubber gloves. “Plus, I’ve got psychometric abilities that have a tendency to go haywire sometimes.” That last part was a partial lie. If anything, his psychometry was the ability he had the most control over. He just really didn’t want to touch a dagger steeped in the dark side, if he could help it.

[member="Lilla Syrin"]
 

Lilla Syrin

A great leap forward often requires first taking t
Writer
Lilla was aware that Cassius’ approach was far more scientific – given he was employing scanners and the like.

By the time she’d circled the ship, he seemed to have completed his own analysis and the lack of exclamations suggested he hadn’t sensed anything out of the ordinary.

Which was when he proposed they enter the ship.

Lilla kept close to him as he stood on the ramp and watched as he used the Force to open the doors. A few moments later and the ship was accessible and that told its own story. The fact the ship had to normalise meant it was airtight. Which brought into question what made it land, and how did it do so without being damaged?

Lilla suspected something would give them a clue, but for now, she was focused on the cargo area.

She was now becoming accustomed to working in the vicinity of a dark-sided nexus and she therefore felt a strangely familiar sensation as they walked into the hangar area. If that was not enough, the position of the dagger was such that it begged to be the centre of attention. Whatever was drawing on – or exuding – the dark-side of the Force, was now evident. But what role it played in the ship’s demise was anyone’s guess right now.

Lilla looked at the gloves Cassius offered. In her experience, they had no effect on the dark-side, but they could protect her from anything more mundane – like a virus.

She pulled both gloves on and edged closer, sensing all the while she moved forward.

Then it hit her. It was if the dagger had a proximity alarm, and once she got tool close, it responded. She felt strands of the dark-side – tendrils – invisibly reaching out for her through the Force. They sought her mind.

Fortunately she was a natural Empath. Or rather, fortunately she was someone that had spent her entire life building a wall to keep stray thoughts and emotions out. The dagger – or whatever malevolent force was behind it – tried in vain to breach her defences. It thrashed and at one point, a pin-prick of the darkness penetrated her consciousness. She flung her arms wide and gestured for Cassius to retreat, before stepping backwards herself.

Once they reached half-way down the ramp, the sensation stopped. Lilla was aware she was drawing in ragged breaths. “It’s the dagger alright. It contains the spirit of something malevolent. I can’t tell if it’s a prison or if it’s a way of spreading the evil presence, but the result is the same. We need to find a way of containing it.”

[member="Cassius Droma"]
 

Cassius Droma

Jedi Archaeologist
Character
She moved ahead of him, and Cassius was able to keep a close eye on both her and the dagger that was now the center of their attention. His boots still made soft thumping sounds as he slowly inched forward behind the more experienced Jedi. The comparisons to what he had experienced on Chalacta were not lost on him. A flashback as clear as day came to him – the image of the Sith holocron sitting there, beckoning to be touched.

And he very nearly had. If it hadn’t been for Stephanie Swail taking hold of his arm and Zora accidentally tripping and grabbing the holocron herself, he would have snatched it from its stone pedestal. It was because of that experience that he had wanted the Knight to go before him. His connection to the Force was so strained, it was hard to tell just what would happen to him if he stepped so close to the dark side.

His apprehension grew even further as Lilla suddenly reacted, stretching her arms out. He very quickly took a few steps backward, heeding her warning. His stance was that of readiness, of battle, ready to run away and back to the speeder at a moment’s notice.

The dagger – at least they had identified the source of the stain on the Force here. Lilla suggested they find a way to contain it. “We can’t just pick it up…” Cassius said, looking around at what was available to them, “but maybe we can knock it into a crate.” There were a few of them scattered around, open and devoid of contents. He doubted that would stop its influence from reaching them, however.

“Something that powerful… I wonder if we should just destroy it,” Cassius pondered. As much as it would pain him to see such a wonderful opportunity for study go to waste, he didn’t see the use in trying to save it if he couldn’t even be in the same room as it.

A number of options were open to them – it would be difficult to choose how to proceed.

[member="Lilla Syrin"]
 

Lilla Syrin

A great leap forward often requires first taking t
Writer
Lilla considered their options – or at least the ones she could think of. Cassius might have his own, of course.

Was this a dangerous artefact – or was this the source of the stain? Until it was neutralised, it would be impossible to tell. Lilla wondered if it had remained dormant for so long that its power had been dissipated – and that interacting with it might replenish its influence.

They could, of course, walk away – phone this one in, and allow a team to come and neutralise it. But that would take days and there was a chance – however small – that something might happen before reinforcements arrived.

There was a possibility either, or both of them, had been affected by the dagger – something dormant – or just waiting its moment to strike.

No, the made a decision to act now, and not risk what might happen if they did not.

“One obvious thought comes to mind. I can’t see putting it in a crate will help – it’s inside a ship, which is just a very big box, already. We need to neutralise it. Force Light – it’s the only option I can think of. I am OK at the application – so if you’re proficient, two would be a lot better than one."

[member="Cassius Droma"]
 

Cassius Droma

Jedi Archaeologist
Character
Force Light? Cassius’s brow furrowed. It was one of the many abilities that he hadn’t been trained in. To be truthful, his training hadn’t been all that consistent, especially as of late. He was aware of the power, certainly, but had never used it.

Couldn’t be that difficult, right? From what he’d read, it was almost like a physical manifestation of the light side of the Force, one that could burn away the dark side if needed. Due to his current doubts, however, the young Jedi wasn’t exactly confident he could learn such a new skill so quickly. Still, it was the best chance they had of cleansing or at the very least diminishing the power the dagger had.

He looked to Lilla, saying, “I think I might be best utilized in giving you a boost. Whatever effect you cast upon the dagger, I can try to intensify it.” Perhaps, by adding his current of the Force into hers and playing the role of support, he could feel how she performed, and he could learn the new technique.

Closing his eyes, Cassius focused. His breathing slowed, and he reached out of the energy field that flowed through all living things. In order to help visualize his use of the Force, he lifted his hand up and pointed it towards the Sith dagger. As he tried to build up the Force around him, he also reached out to Lilla, in the hopes of adding his strength to hers.

“Try now,” he uttered, voice calm and smooth.

[member="Lilla Syrin"]
 

Lilla Syrin

A great leap forward often requires first taking t
Writer
Lilla allowed Cassius to take the lead initially, pooling the Force in readiness for her efforts.

In a strange way, Lilla believed the dagger sensed their intentions. There was nothing concrete she could explain – just a feeling.

Sure Cassius was ready, Lilla closed her eyes and entered a meditative state, becoming at one with the Force. Then her eyes slowly opened and she extended her hands.

The area around her fingers glowed as the concentrated effect of the Force coalesced there – a pale golden manifestation of the power she was looking to direct.

Then tendrils of the ether spread from her extended fingertips – slowly but inexorably – as she focused on the dagger. They were within a metre of the dagger when a fountain of oily black Force energy erupted from weapon and crashed into the advancing Light.

Lilla sensed Cassius was now adding his own efforts to her battle with the artefact.

Then the dagger loosed a Force blast, trying to drive the Light away. Lilla held tight. So did Cassius.

Despite their efforts, the dagger continued to resist, but Lilla sensed it was growing weak faster than the two Jedi.

The battle seemed to continue for days – but Lilla knew only seconds had elapsed; then shiny black Force energy began to pour from the dagger, onto the cargo bay floor spreading outward in an oily slick so hot it began to steam and hiss.

“Keep going,” Lilla urged.

The resistance ebbed, and the oily slick abated – as Lilla and Cassius persevered. Lilla knew she would have failed already if she were by herself, but together they would prevail.

And then, in an instant, the Force Light sprang forward and surrounded the dagger. The sensation of darkness dwindled, blinked and then was no more.

Lilla sank to her knees, drained physically and emotionally. “Thanks,” she managed through ragged breaths, “We did it.”

[member="Cassius Droma"]
 

Cassius Droma

Jedi Archaeologist
Character
As their assault on the dagger began, Cassius kept his eyes closed, trying his hardest to focus. He could feel the darkness push back against them, like water pushing against the shoreline. It was much of a physical sensation as it was an emotional one – he could feel the fear creeping up his spine, much like it did on Chalacta.

There was a burst, and Cassius inhaled sharply. His hand twitched, but he tried to stay steady. If anything, he was staying strong for Lilla – he wasn’t going to let someone down. He said he would help, and he was a man of his word. Thoughts of the people he cared about seeped into his mind, strengthening his bond with the light.

In a flash of light, they had succeeded. The darkness around the dagger had subsided. Cassius opened his eyes to see Lilla on the ground, out of breath. The less experienced Jedi didn’t feel as exhausted as his counterpart, but still felt strangely… empty, as if the happiness had been taken out of him. Kneeling, he put a hand on her shoulder to make sure she was okay. “You did great,” he encouraged her, “I’m just glad I was able to help.”

He moved deeper into the ship, carefully picking up the dagger from its perch on the cargo container. In the light that poured in, he inspected symbols on the hilt that glinted as he slowly turned the weapon. Squinting, Cassius’s mind flashed back to a very recent expedition he had gone on with Gianna Aegis.

“I’ve seen these markings before,” Cassius said, turning back to Lilla. “Or, at least, markings similar to them. There was a hidden Sith temple on Ansion… very dangerous stuff.” His gloved finger slowly traced along the blade as his eyes meticulously poured over the dagger. “If I had to take a guess… I’d say this was a sacrificial dagger. It would explain the amount of darkness surrounding it – as well as the almost extravagant decorations.”

His archaeological mind was taking over. Meticulous, is how his father used to describe him when he got this way. Squinting a lot, head cocked to the side, holding things close to his face. He was just glad that he could get close to it without it drilling holes into his psyche.

Looking up, he glanced around the cargo area they were in. “I’d say… last thing to do would be to sink this sucker.” He looked to his partner. “What do you think?”

[member="Lilla Syrin"]
 

Lilla Syrin

A great leap forward often requires first taking t
Writer
Lilla wanted to suggest to Cassius that he be careful. Part of her was almost too exhausted to share that information. A bit of her knew it was superfluous advice and the remainder knew the threat had been nullified. But it did not stop her being wary, as she calmed herself and managed to finally get her ragged breaths back under control.

She sat cross-legged and listened to her fellow Jedi now. His knowledge was invaluable – and perhaps their work here would help other Jedi in the future deal with similar problems.

“Sink it? Sure,” Lilla said – still weary from her exertions and too tired to call on the Force to heal her. Time would do that, and once she was recovered a little, meditation would do the rest.

“Do you have the means? Are we talking explosives, or using the Foce in some way?”

[member="Cassius Droma"]
 

Cassius Droma

Jedi Archaeologist
Character
When Lilla asked the question as to what they would use to sink the ship, Cassius’s brow furrowed as he looked around the cargo area once again, absent-mindedly tapping the dagger on his gloved palm. His default answer would have been to use the Force, but with what Lilla had just been through, as well as his own weakened state, that didn’t seem like too good of an option at that moment.

Another part of him wished he could somehow haul it back with him to Kashyyyk for further study. Not even the Stardust could drag this along, though. There might have been some useful information in the databanks and navicomputers, but there just simply wasn’t time. There were too many unscrupulous characters on Dubrava to just leave this sitting here.

He racked his brain. What did he have that could return this ship to its watery depths? There were no explosives – he hadn’t planned on blowing anything up, and he doubted that his blaster had enough juice to pick away at the soft ground around it. Then it hit him, something that was supposed to do the opposite of what they wanted to do, but it would still work.

“Come on, I’ve got an idea,” Cassius said, tapping Lilla on the shoulder as he stepped back out of the shuttle. The soft mud squelched around his boots as he stepped around, going nearly ankle-deep as he tracked back to the speeder. When he had walked around the perimeter of the ship, he had seen where it originally had rested – a deep, dark body of water that the shuttle sat next to. All it would need would be a little tug.

Popping the cargo hold of the speeder, he pulled out what looked to be, at first glance, a giant launcher of some kind. There was a wench with cable wrapped around a spindle on it, however. Aiming the barrel of the launcher at the shuttle, he pulled the trigger, and with a loud thwump, a magnet attached to a cable shot out. The magnet latched onto the shuttle.

“This is typically used to pull speeders out of the mud,” Cassius said as he attached the wench and spindle to the back of their speeder, “but we’re going to use it for the opposite purpose.”

Climbing back into the pilot’s seat, he hovered the speeder over top of the deep water and made sure the cable was taught before pushing the throttle forward. There was a tug in the back, and Cassius pushed the throttle even further, to its limit. The engines started to whine loudly, and the young Jedi was just about ready to stop when he could feel the shuttle start to drag along. Just a few meters later, and the shuttle was tipping into the water. Cassius quickly released the cable before they could be dragged under.

There was a small moment as Cassius watched the shuttle sink slowly back into the depths. “Whew…” Cassius uttered, “I think I’d call that a good day.” Taking the dagger out of his pocket, he reached back into the cargo hold to grab a container. “I’ll send any data or findings I gather to you guys in the Remnant, if that’s agreeable.” One could easily bet money on Cassius not waiting until getting to Kashyyyk to start studying the dagger.

[member="Lilla Syrin"]
 

Lilla Syrin

A great leap forward often requires first taking t
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Lilla was glad that Cassius was taking the lead. She was exhausted and would take a day at least of meditation to feel right again – her experience told her so. She was a knight after all, and a new one at that. A seasoned master might have taken this in her stride, but for Lilla it was an gruelling experience.

But the outcome was a positive one, and they both appeared to have escaped unharmed. She made a note to check in with Cassius in a few days’ time, to make sure there were no lingering after effects.

She watched, as he improvised a means of burying the ship – or perhaps sinking it was a better description.

“An excellent idea,” she echoed, once the vessel had slipped back into its watery grave. “Away from prying eyes and now, no longer a threat to flora or fauna. And, all in all, an excellent day. I’m sure the Republic scholars would appreciate any data you can glean – either for future reference, or for any clues as to where it came from. Because if there’s one, there’s bound to be more. And each one could represent the same risk.”

“It’s been a pleasure working with you, and if you ever need an extra pair of hands again – just let me know.”

[member="Cassius Droma"]
 
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