Ao and Dor Thay entered the cave opening on the porous rogue moon. The lights on their space suits lit the cave, casting strange shadows. The lights from the Tempest barely reached the entrance of the cave, casting tall shadows onto their path. Before long the nautolan and human found themselves at a near-vertical incline of the cave.
“Hey, Ao, what does ExplorCorps say about putting yourself in harms way?” Dor Thay looked down the new section of cave. “That looks dangerous to traverse.”
Ao pulled a glow rod from the side of his space suit and activated it. “Well, let’s see how far this thing goes before we decide.” He tossed the rod into the shaft and watched as it landed four meters away on a smooth, gray surface. “Looks like the porous rock ends down there. It’s not too far down, either. Let’s take a look.” He pulled mono-filament rope from another pouch and anchored it into the rock at his feet. He tossed the other end down the shaft.
“Fine, just make sure your suit’s line feeder is working. Wouldn’t want to get down there and not be able to come back up.” Dor Thay was already checking his Republic-issue suit’s system.
Ao checked the line feeder at his waist. “Goes in forward and reverse just fine, but I’ll be right back. Gotta tell Jor-Val what we’re doing.”
Nodding Dor Thay hooked up to the line Ao had set up. “I’ll check the anchor is secure then head down. See you at the bottom.”
“Be back in two shakes of a nerf’s tail.” Ao jogged to the cave’s entrance.
– – –
“Hey, Jor-Val, do you read?” Ao’s voice crackled over the ship’s comm, interwoven with static.
Jor-Val was practicing some lightsaber katas when, with a start, he dropped his lightsaber. He deactivated it with the Force the moment before it hit the floor and ran to the nearest comm panel and slapped the talk button. “I’m here, what’s up?”
“We found a vertical shaft, we’re going to take a quick look.” Ao paused for a moment. “Tell Tate to head out. We’ll want a third for this. He can fly over here on his boosters.”
T8-T3’s wheels could be heard skidding into the airlock, loud enough to be heard over the comm.
“Alright. Give us about an hour after Tate gets here, then. If we don’t contact you by then assume we’re in trouble and follow us. That’s not usual protocol, but I’ve lost too many people.”
“Agreed.” Jor-Val set a time on his chrono. “May the Force be with you.”
“And you. Ao off.”
– – –
Dor Thay slowly lowered himself down the shaft. The porous rock was easy to grip with the suit’s boots, but he was careful not to keep any edges from snagging on the wall. With a thump he landed on the gray rock below the shaft. The lights on his suit flickered when he landed and he saw something giving off light behind him. The tunnel he was in went to his left in a mostly straight line and behind him in a slope downward. “Hey, Ao, are you back in comm range yet?”
T8-T3 slowly lowered himself down the shaft, whistling over the comm.
“Yup, Tate’s here too.”
“Well, we have some source of light down here.” He turned his lights off and turned toward the light. “It’s a soft, bluish color.”
There was a pause as Ao processed the information. “I’ll be right down.”