Ao and T8-T3 started the descent down the stairs into the Darkside cave. T8-T3 moved in front of Ao, cautiously and slowly.
“Hey, Tate, you don’t need to move that slow. I know your sensors are faster than that.” Ao hopped over the small droid. “Look, there’s a pair of crystals calling me. I’m not going to rush, but what you’re doing is overkill.”
– – –
Lousro slowly carried the cooking equipment back into the ship. He tried to raise T8-T3 on the comm a few times, but the signal didn’t seem to reach. Instead of rushing out to find Ao he calmed himself. “I can’t do anything with my wing hurt like this. I need to focus on something else.” He walked to the cleaning supplies and pulled a strong cleaner from a bottom shelf. “Maybe I’ll see about that fungus growing on the seats.”
– – –
Ao walked into the center of the cave. The dark side was present, he could feel it like a tumult of water currents during a tempest. He struggled against the tide, attempting to extend a little of his calm into his surroundings. In doing so he created a small pocket of calm that he could observe from.
“Tate, is anything registering on your sensors?”
A negative tone emitted from T8-T3.
“I know it’s unlikely you’ll actually get anything, but the Force is mysterious.” Ao walked to the side of the cave. There appeared to be a small crack in the rock. “You and Master Lousro could fit through here easily. I’m going to have a little trouble.”
A series of short tones were uttered by T8-T3.
“Do you see any other way deeper?”
Sweeping the room with his sensors T8-T3 came up with nothing. He beeped a few times.
“Well, then this is where we go.”
– – –
Lousro was scrubbing the base of one of the chairs when he heard a strange noise in the wall of the ship. It was a soft thudding noise.
“That’s not a sound I want to hear.” He set down the wire brush and moved to the wall. Reaching out with the Force he felt no living presence. “Odd.”
Suddenly a shorting sound went through the whole ship and every door popped open. Lousro quickly walked to the terminal in the cockpit. The display read “system purge initiated. All doors will remain open while the purge commences.” The message displayed on a loop.
“What the druk?” Lousro moved through the few programs he knew about trying to find the source of the purge. He found only one possible source. The ship he had docked with when he picked up Ao. When he was there the troopers had resupplied the ship. Someone must’ve planted the program then. “But why?”
Lousro went through a few more windows and found a message in binary. The document file was in standard so he knew it was addressed to T8-T3, but he couldn’t find anything else.
“Who would go to such lengths just to contact Tate? And how am I supposed to keep this fungus under control now?” Lousro fluttered his wings in annoyance and lifted off the ground with no pain. “Oh, well I guess I can go look for Ao then. That’s a much better use of my time now.” He started for the exit ramp. “I bet he couldn’t sense me and ended up at that kriffing cave again.”
– – –
T8-T3 and Ao found themselves in a cavern filled with water except where they were standing. The call from the crystal was coming from below the water.
“Well, Tate, this is where we part ways. I’ll be back as fast as I can.” Without waiting for a reply Ao dove into the water.