Help Us Jor-Val Ondelios, You’re Our Only Hope! – Pt. 6

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.”

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Help Us Jor-Val Ondelios, You’re Our Only Hope! – Pt. 5

Jor-val Ondelios sat at the piloting console of the Tempest. His eyes were closed as he meditated in the Force. Visions of the temple of Balance on Vergaiun passed before his mind’s eye. Then he found himself in hyperspace. He looked at the astrogation computer next to him and saw coordinates for wild space. The coordinates burned into his mind.

With a gasp Jor-val sat bolt upright at the console. “Hey, Tate!”

T8-T3 rolled up from behind the cockpit. He whistled in a questioning manner.

“I have some coordinates I want you to run through your databanks.” He typed the coordinates into the navcomp and waited for T8-T3’s response.

– – –

On the moon Ao and Dor Thay found nothing but a barren, porous landscape of volcanic rock.

“Hey, Ao, what are the chances a moon this size has a molten core?” Dor Thay asked, motioning at the barren landscape.

Ao grabbed a small rock and put it into a pouch on his vac suit. “Unlikely. My guess is it was broken off an existing planet. Possibly a meteor impact with a lava planet.

With a nod Dor Thay did a last look around. He was considering a suggestion to return to the ship when he saw a cave. “Should we do some spelunking, or just head back to the ship?” He motioned at the cave entrance.

“Let’s at least take a quick look. It’ll look better in the report.” Ao activated the comm to the ship. “Hey, Jor-val. We’re going underground for a second. We may lose comms.”

“Ok. I’m checking into some coordinates…by the way, Dor Thay, where were we headed?” Jor-val’s voice was already lined with static.

Dor Thay smiled slightly. “Vergaiun. I have rumors that the Balance know something about the vergence.”

“I have coordinates, but let’s continue to Vergaiun to get some corroboration.” Jor-val sighed slightly. “The Force can be vague sometimes. I have coordinates but not a safe route through wild space.”

Ao stopped in his tracks. “A vergence in wild space? Well, this trip just got a lot more interesting. Anyway, going into this cave. We’ll let you know what we find, if anything.”

“Don’t be too long, I’ll send Tate after you if you’re gone for more than two hours.”

“Sounds good. Thay out.”

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Help Us Jor-Val Ondelios, You’re Our Only Hope! – Pt. 4

Ao Kreel sat cross-legged in his ship quarters. He was roused from his meditation by a familiar pulling sensation. He pulled his sabres to him with the Force and ran to the cockpit.

“Jor-Val! What’s the readout!” He skidded to a halt as he noticed Dor Thay was sitting in the pilot’s seat. “Oh, sorry Thay, what’s the readout?”

“No problem, I’m sure you’re used to Jor-Val piloting.” Dor Thay flicked a couple of switches and read the report. “No ships on scans, just an uncharted moon. I pulled us out before the fail-safes kicked in.”

T8-T3 appeared in the doorway and tweedled something in binary.

“Rogue moon, Tate.” Ao patted the maintenance droid’s disc head.

There was a series of concerned beeps and bloops from the droid.

“Well, he stopped us in plenty of time.” Ao nodded at Dor Thay. “Thay here was a soldier, remember?”

A series of dry-sounding beeps came from T8-T3’s speaker.

“I think I know what you said, and I’ll have you remember, Tate, that I helped the Republic against the Sith and the Yuuzhan Vong.” Dor Thay pressed a button and the comm activated. “Hey, Jor-Val. We need you up here.”

“I’m coming, I’m coming.” Jor-Val Ondelios came running from the back of the ship. “I was in a pretty deep meditation. Hyperspace is pretty calming…wait.” He looked out the viewport. “Oh, I guess I was really deep in meditation. Didn’t feel us pull out of hyperspace.”

Ao sighed deeply in an annoyed fashion. “Sorry, I’ll have to report this to Explorer Corps.”

Shrugging Jor-Val motioned to the comms console. “I think it would be for the best. If nothing else we need to map the course of this moon so other ships can calculate around it.”

Dor Thay shook his head. “I know we’ll have to explore some of the moon, that’s just how Explorer Corps works.” He motioned for Jor-Val to take the pilot’s seat. “I’ll go gear up.”

– – –

Dor Thay stood in his full gear from when he worked with the Republic marines. The suit was able to seal air-tight and had a slot for the air tanks that the vac suits on the ship used. The port was obviously modified to fit the civilian tanks, but the job looked solid.

“Thanks for the upgrade, Tate.” Dor Thay popped a canister into the slot. “Just wish I had some touch paint. Looks weird to have bare silver sticking out of the orange and grey suit. Oh well, the job’s solid so thanks again.”

T8-T3’s singular eye rolled and he turned to the suit he had pulled the regulatory piping from and started to strip it for parts.

Ao grabbed a suit and his custom helmet. He did all the straps and zippers then he and Dor Thay looked over each other’s suits.

“All clear?” Dor Thay asked.

Ao nodded an affirmative. “Let’s go on a nice EVA jaunt, shall we?”

The airlock opened and T8-T3 joined them in the small closet-like space.

“Tate,” Ao began, “I’d love for you to come like old times, but…”

A dejected whistle emanated from T8-T3 followed by a couple of chirps as he backed out of the airlock.

“And may the Force be with you.” Ao looked at the decals on T8-T3’s arms. “When we get back I’ll fix up your kill marks. How’s that sound?”

The series of beeps T8-T3 responded with sounded halfhearted as the airlock cycled. Ao and Dor Thay were now in the cold vacuum of space on the surface of a previously unknown and currently uncharted rogue moon.

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Lousro on Dagobah Part 16, Finale

Lousro’s hand rested on Ao’s shoulder. “I think constructing your lightsaber here, in a Darkside Nexus, probably isn’t wise.”

Ao nodded and scooped up the parts he had pulled from pouches under his robe. He started to put them back when T8-T3 opened a compartment and beeped at him.

“Oh, thanks.” Ao put the parts in the compartment then followed his master to the cave exit. He turned to T8-T3 and smiled. “Don’t freak out.” He used the Force to float T8-T3 up the steps. He wouldn’t need to use his jets for this journey.

T8-T3 freaked out for a moment then seemed to calm down. When Ao set him down he turned and give him a small jolt with a welding arm.

“Fine, fine. I won’t do it again.”

“Ship’s this way.” Lousro pointed. “Now that the trials are over it seems we’re allowed to just leave.”

Ao nodded then registered what his master had said. “Trials? What did you face in there?”

“Myself. I doubt I’m the first, and probably not the last, to face themselves in that cave. The dark they keep hidden deep. I sense you faced your darkness in a different way, but you, too, prevailed.” Lousro nodded his head, his snout bobbing from the motion.

Ao decided that his master wasn’t going to tell him any more than that and decided to practice moving meditation on the way back to the ship. He had just gotten himself centered when they were at the ship. “Wow, that’s way closer than I thought it was.”

“And you lost your concentration because of it.” Lousro smiled slightly. “Surprise is something to be prepared for, but you are never prepared for.”

“Great, philosophy. I need to think of mechanics now, not philosophy.”

Lousro shook his head. “If you aren’t in the right state of mind when you make you lightsaber you will fail. Now is the time to think on the nature of the Force on this world and calm yourself.”

Ao nodded, then noticed every hatch on the ship was open. Dismay began to dig its claws into him, but he centered himself again in the Force. “Well, I guess I’m going to build the lightsabers in my room.” He turned to T8-T3. “C’mon, I need those parts back.”

T8-T3 complied, opening the compartment with the parts in it. As Ao pulled them out he noticed a few extra parts. They would work great for the type of lightsabers he had discussed with T8-T3 before. Ao smiled broadly. “Thanks, bud.”

– – –

Ao sat in lotus position, his eyes open and staring at his lightsaber parts. He had locked himself in his quarters by detaching the wires to his door and manually closing and locking them. All the other doors on the ship were currently locked in the open position. He had offered to help T8-T3 with the mechanics side of fixing the doors, but he had insisted Ao go work on his lightsabers.

He had started by modifying the parts at a workbench in the cargo bay, and had originally intended to finish building his lightsaber in there, but then it had started raining. There was a top-hatch in the cargo bay and the rain was so thick the entire cargo bay was soaked in moments. Ao didn’t mind the wetness, but he did mind the relentless pounding of the rain against his body.

“Clear your mind. Focus on the parts, not what led you here.” Ao mumbled to himself. He started to focus on the metal and crystals in front of him. He closed his eyes. He would be distracted by them. He had already done all the mechanical modifications. He wanted to use the Force to piece them together, fit them better than any modification he made would.

Breathing deep Ao reached out to the Force and felt the parts in front of him. The crystals showed him how they wanted to sit. How the parts should fit around them. To his surprise the larger of the two crystals wanted to fit into the shorter saber and vice versa.

Reaching deeper Ao refitted some of the parts using the Force. Something he didn’t realize he could do. He didn’t bend them like he had seen other padawans do when pushing metal with the Force, instead he encouraged the metal to form into a different shape and it listened.

Ao felt the lightsabers were as complete as they would be with the Force helping him fit the pieces together. He opened his eyes and pulled a tool from his belt. It was a small one that T8-T3 had given him to tighten the small bolts on the cargo door hydraulics. It was the perfect size for adjusting the tightness of the screws on his new lightsabers.

Finally, after what seemed to Ao to be no more than three hours, he lifted up his two lightsabers. Holding the longer one in his right hand and the shorter one in his left hand he activated them at the same time. They were both blue blades with a soft crackling of yellow on the edges.

Ao decided the yellow was the stun energy and tested the smaller saber against his arm. His skin dried out quickly and he felt the solid blade shock him. The blade wasn’t trying to cut through his skin, but he pulled it away.

“Well, I guess I’ll still need my cutting laser. This won’t cut through anything.” Ao shrugged and powered down the pair of sabers, then glanced at his chrono. “Huh, it’s been six hours, not three.” Stretching a little he used the Force to unbar and open his door. There was a meal sitting on the floor, covered with multiple layers of plastic wrap, with a note on it.

It’s been two days since you started meditating with you lightsabers. T8-T3 tells me you should be done soon. Judging by how long my fellow padawans took before I agree with him. You should eat. Finally made that stew I kept talking about.

Lousro

Ao looked at his chrono again in shock and noticed the date stamped on it. “What the druk?”

Expecting a scolding Ao prepared an apology, but nobody said anything. Walking to the cockpit Ao saw that most of the strange mold had been scrubbed away, but he saw no sign of his master or the maintenance droid. Shrugging he sat on the cleaner of the chairs and began eating the stew. It tasted delicious, though that could have been because he hadn’t eaten for over 48 hours.

As he ate Ao realized that the doors had been fixed. All the exterior hatches had been closed. He smiled and set the empty bowl on the ground. Then he felt a tugging sensation in the Force. It wasn’t focused on Ao, but he felt the echo of its affect on his master. He stood and jogged to the back of the ship. The cargo door opened as he approached.

“You felt it to?” Lousro asked as he fluttered onto the ship.

“Yes, master. What was it?”

“A call from my old master. We’re going to Manaan.”

Ao nodded. “You did mention she was a selkath. Master Tyranna, right?” Ao waited for T8-T3 to enter the ship then shut the cargo door. Water was still pooling in the cargo bay and Ao thought he heard a creature nesting somewhere.

“Yes, she is.” Lousro shook his head. “I’m worried because it felt urgent. Like something is finally coming to a head.”

“The Sith war?”

“No, something else…” Lousro started up the ship’s engines and started the assent out of the atmosphere. “I fear a larger war has begun.”

[So ends Lousro on Dagobah. The story of Lousro was played out just over a year ago in Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars Force and Destiny. The character died by performing a Holdo maneuver on the flagship of a Yuuzhan Vong worldship. No he didn’t ram the worldship, he rammed the Yuuzhan Vong fleet with the world ship. The game may have gotten a little out of hand…]

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Help us, Jor-val Ondelios, you’re our only hope! – pt. 3

T8-T3 rolled to the door of an apartment near the Jedi temple. He bumped into the door a few times. A dull thud echoed into the apartment.

Ao opened his black, nautolan eyes at the sound. He got up and put on his robe. He didn’t like staying in the temple. Everyone kept talking about Lousro this and Lousro that around him. Sure, they had given him the rank of Master after his death, but they hardly knew him.

The thud echoed again, this time accompanied by a series of whistles and clicks. Ao got dressed faster.

“Be right there, Tate. Hold your horses.” A smile crept onto Ao’s face and he shook his head. His head tentacles shook around like dreadlocks. “I’ll be just a moment.” He swiftly walked to the door and keyed it open. “What’s up, buddy?”

T8-T3 chirped quickly then extended an arm and poked one of Ao’s two lightsabers sitting on his nightstand.

“Get packed and don’t forget those?” Ao pretended to kick T8-T3. “That happened once! Just once!” He chuckled. “Ok, I’ll pack. Not that I have much. Where do we meet?”

T8-T3 sent a message to Ao’s commpad. “Oh, It’s called the Tempest now? I like it.”

– – –

Ao and T8-T3 walked up the ramp to the Tempest. Ao knocked on the bulkhead as they made their way to the cockpit. “This ship brings back memories. Happy ones and sad ones both.”

Jor-val stuck his head out of the cockpit. “Ao, is that you?” He walked to the nautolan and grasped his forearm. “Long time no see. You’re a knight now?”

“Yes, master…I mean Jor-val.”

“I was your master for like a week before they reassigned you.” Jor-val shook his head. “Do you remember Dor Thay?”

“Vaguely. I met him like once.” Ao walked into the cockpit. “Are we all warmed up?”

“Assuming you have your lightsabers, yeah.” Jor-val poked Ao in the ribs, jokingly. Then he looked serious. “You did, right?”

“It was once! Once!” Ao turned around and went to the crew quarters he used the last time he was on the ship. “If you need me, I’ll be meditating.”

– – –

After a short wait in the skies of Coruscant in the queue to break atmos, the Tempest made the jump to lightspeed. It was heading to coordinates on the edge of known space.

“So,” Jor-val stood at the door to Ao’s quarters, “what assignment did you say you were going on?”

“I said I was exploring. I’m an honorary member of the Jedi Explorer Corps.” Ao held up his holopad showing an Explorer Corps charge account. “Complete with all the perks.”

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Lousro on Dagobah – Pt. 15

The swamps of Toydaria weren’t Lousro’s favorite place to be, but it was home and he felt at peace here. He avoided the more watery parts of the swamp, sticking to the drier paths. He was aware that this was a vision, and he had a suspicion that the Dark Side was waiting for him to get too close to the water.

The call of the crystal was different than the one in his shield emitter. The one in the shield emitter wanted to defend. This new crystal felt like it wanted to attack, but not to kill. Only to stun.

Thinking of what this crystal could possibly be Lousro fluttered too close to the water. A figure coalesced on the surface of the water. A shadowy figure. Not Teslief, someone else. A Dark Brother. One of the Sith Lords on the council.

“Brother Lousro,” it said in a voice that sounded like a waterfall breaking on rocks, “stop this foolishness. Return to the Brotherhood. Return to the Dark Side.”

Lousro shook his head, his trunk waggling. “No, you sense the light within me. The Dark Side has no hold on me anymore.”

“That’s where you’re wrong. Once a Dark Side Force user, always a Dark Side Force user.” The Dark Brother’s mask cracked. “Look at the backs of your hands. Do you not see the broken blood vessels there?”

It took all of Lousro’s concentration not to stare at his hands. Instead, he activated his Light Buckler without looking and held it to defend himself. In his other hand, a training saber materialized.

The Dark Brother’s mask broke into pieces and Lousro stared into his own eyes. No, not his own eyes. The eyes of a version of himself that slew Teslief and stayed with the Sith. “You are not me.”

“On the contrary, I am the part of you that still hungers for the Dark Side.” The Dark Brother Lousro activated a red Light Buckler and pulled a lightsaber hilt from his belt. He activated the angry, crackling, crimson blade. “You can go no further until you defeat me.”

“I see,” said the real Lousro, “that you still use a shield.”

“It confuses the enemy. They think it’s purely defensive.” The Dark Brother Lousro flicked his wrist and the disk of energy disconnected from his buckler, launching at Lousro.

Lousro blocked with his Light Buckler and parried the blow from the dark version of himself that followed immediately after. “If you are a part of me I know what you’re going to do before you do it.” Lousro deactivated his Light Buckler. “I also know that no matter how hard you try, you can’t claw yourself out.” Lousro’s training saber disappeared.

“You leave yourself open to my attacks?”

“Just because I have no weapons does not mean I leave myself open.”

Lunging forward the Dark Brother Lousro aimed at Lousro’s heart. However, after he launched forward Lousro took to the air, his Toydarian wings straining at taking him higher than they were used to.

“You leave yourself open to me, now.” Lousro dove back down and tackled his dark self. He used the Force to deactivate the Light Buckler and the lightsaber. “You are a part of me, and you always will be. That is my burden to bear.”

The dark image smiled. “You pass.” It dissipated into a puff of black smoke.

Lousro breathed deep and looked around. The image of Toydaria faded and in front of him, growing out of the cave wall, was an orange crystal. He reached out in the Force and pulled it to himself. The crystal was too new, too raw. He put it in a pouch. The crystal was not yet ready to be in a lightsaber hilt. It needed more time.

“Chaos, yet harmony,” Lousro muttered under his breath. He then turned to find his apprentice. He exited the small cave and looked around.

Ao was sitting on the ground next to T8-T3. He was fiddling with some spare parts.

Lousro walked forward and pulled two emitters from a pouch at his waist. “Here. Use these.”

Grabbing the parts from his master Ao smiled. “What are these from?”

“A pair of lightsabers I never made. Teslief expected me to dual wield, like her.” Lousro looked at Ao’s two crystals. They were ready to be in hilts. “You aren’t like her. Those crystals won’t kill, they will only stun.”

“Good, I don’t like the idea of killing.”

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Help us, Jor-val Ondelios, you’re our only hope! – pt. 2

The dinner crowd was in the cantina. Unlike the breakfast time the cantina was bustling and Jor-val let the waiters and busboys do their jobs. He served as the bartender, mixing drinks and doing small talk.

“Hey, Ondelios, you got anything for a war veteran?” A man built like a soldier with a face that resembled Revan’s was sitting at the bar. “Maybe listen to a proposition he has?”

A broad smile broke across Jor-val’s face. “Dor Thay, long time since the war. How’re you holding up?” He set a drink in front of Dor Thay. “This one’s on the house.”

Dor Thay sipped the concoction in front of him. “Whoo, strong stuff. I came here ’cause I heard some rumors of a vergence. Thought you’d be interested…and maybe a little restless. Seems too quiet here.” He motioned to the loud, bustling cantina crowd. “Well, you know what I mean, too routine.”

“A vergence, you say? What kind.” Jor-val picked up a glass and began to idly polish it.

“I don’t know exactly. I just have this feeling about it.” Dor Thay nodded at a lightsaber hanging on the wall behind Jor-val. “Is that his?”

 “Yeah, Teslief gave it to me after she became a master.” Jor-val turned and pulled the lightsaber hilt down. “Well, I may as well take this with. Let’s meet at the Broiling Womprat tomorrow. You know the landing pad. Man, we should change the ship’s name before we leave.”

“Tomorrow then?”

“Tomorrow.”

Dor Thay downed his drink quickly then nodded. “See you there at oh-six-hundred?”

Jor-val nodded. “I’ll have everything warmed up by then. The door code’s the same. If I’m not back at the ship by that time I’ll comm you…same code?”

“Same code.”

– – –

The Jedi temple hadn’t changed much. Jor-val had only been there a couple of times. One of the times was when he was granted the rank of master, a position he technically still held, another was when they had the funerals. One for Kasmor, the other for Lousro and the gungan Jedi who stayed with him at the end.

“Master Ondelios.” The guard at the door leading into the main temple nodded at Jor-val. “Are you here for an assignment?” The guard smiled in a way that said he already knew the answer.

“No, here visiting an old friend. Is that okay?” Jor-val waved up at a camera that was watching the door.

The guard nodded. “Sure. Should I page them for you?”

A smile crept across Jor-val’s face. “Oh, I’m sure Tate already knows I’m here.”

There was a crash from inside the door and a few whistles of an apology.

“That’ll be him now.”

“You know that droid’s going to get you in trouble, right?”

“Wouldn’t be fun if he didn’t.”

The door slid open and an astromech droid rolled out of it. T8-T3 chirped a few bits of binary and bumped into the door guard lightly.

“I have no clue what he said.” The guard looked at Jor-val hopeful that he did.

Jor-val shook his head. “Sorry, I only know little bits. I think he said something about a leave of absence.”

“Right. No problem.”

T8-T3 rolled past the guard and headed for the temple entrance. He beeped a few times and Jor-val got a message on his datapad.

Jor-val checked the text: Fill me in at the Broiled Whomprat. I need to grab something first.

Jor-val jogged behind to catch up. “It’s called the Tempest now. The old name was a little too weird.”

A short chirp emanated from T8-T3. Jor-val knew without a translation that he liked the name.

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