Finally changing from defence to offence, Aru sheathed his saber and grabbed his brand new pair of blaster pistols, custom made to his personal taste. He fired bolt after bolt, aided by Qyreia, which allowed the rest of the group to rally behind them.
“Took you long enough!” The Gray Jedi stated, another volley of bolts being fired.
“Ve hadt some problems on the vay,” Tali explained.
“You don’t seem too distressed to be honest,” Qyreia argued, panting from all the running they had been through.
“I’m just happy to see you all! I missed those purple lekku,” the Human flirted with his Quaestor.
“You’ve been on this station for a few hours at most,” Tali said while rolling her eyes, “vhat happendt here? Your comms vere down.”
While Aru explained everything to Tali, Aay’han and Archian were still firing on Collective forces. The Zabrak seemed to be enjoying the shootout, though she prefered to be closer to the action.
“Can we leave yet?” sShe asked, itching to draw her lightsaber.
“One moment please,” Aru replied., Oonce more he turned to Tali and Qyreia. “As I was saying, Mister slowpoke here,” the Jedi gestured towards the head researcher of that sector of the academy, “insisted on salvaging as many holocrons, artifacts and datapads that we possibly can.”
Tali and Qyreia peered behind the academics. They were in fact loading two big repulsor trolleys with carefully packaged artifacts, and several industrial sized holocron tubes.
“Ve have to leave immediately to the central core,” Tali informed, haste in her tone. “The Nesolat is definitely going down andt ve don’t vanna be here vhen it happens.”
“Tell that to him! He won’t listen despite me having made clear that I am a Magistrate.”
With a quick movement, Qyreia grabbed the scholar by his shirt and pushed him back. Knocking him against a wall, she pointed her blaster to his face.
“Listen up schutta!” she yelled, causing fear amidst the academics present. “We are leaving now, or you’re not leaving at all! Got it?”
“Y-yes ma’am!” The old man squeaked.
Qyreia then released him, and he fell on his knees. Still static from the experience, all he could do was nod to his peers, signaling them to obey Qyreia.
“I think I got that covered.” The red Zeltron smiled.
“Remind me to never get on your bad side,” Aru quipped.
More Collective forces were gathering on the corridor they had come in through. Archian and Aay’han were still fighting them, but some were managing to avoid their fire.
“They’re too much!” Archian yelled. “We cannot hold them for long.”
“I’ll go help the kids.” Qyreia announced, raising her blaster and moving to a vantage point behind a big crate. “You, hurry up!”
“She’s right Aru. Ve needt to go,” the Twi’lek stated as Aru scratched his beard.
“Not yet. Before you came in, I received a message from Ciara,” The Human explained. “She knew I was in this sector and ordered me to retrieve some specific high value holocrons.”
“Andt vhere are those holocrons?”
“In the back.”
Tali and Aru quickly made their way towards the back corridor of the archives. In order to enter, they needed a high level clearance pass which was not a problem due to Aru’s very recent new post in the Shadow Academy.
“Right, vhat are the holocrons ve needt?” Tali asked. She could sense something in the Force, a different feeling she hadn’t felt in a long time. Before she could fully focus in determining its origin, Aru’s voice broke her connection.
“Yes, we need secret files Shadowcast, Lightsbane, Immortalis, Honeybadger…"
“Vait, vhat?!” The purple Twi’lek was confused.
“That’s what it says, file name: Honeybadger.”
“… I don’t know vhat that is about, but ve have to have it!”
Aru paused for a moment, weighing his options.
“Alright, I suppose I can tell Ciara the file was lost in the fighting.”
“Vhat a nice Aedile!” Tali smiled. The feeling invaded her mind again, this time stronger. She turned around and could almost smell the Force, like it wanted her to follow the scent. She did.
A few meters away, Tali crouched and looked behind the shelves full of holocrons. A glimmer in the distance spiked her interest. She pushed several of those holocrons away and, with aid from the Force, pulled the strange object that glittered towards her.
“What is that?” Aru asked. He could now feel a disturbance in the Force.
Tali didn’t answer. She was fully focused on the object. It looked like a small plant, though it was made of kyber crystals of different colors. The leaves it possessed were emanating an enticing smell, both to Tali’s nose and her mind, through the Force.
“Hey.” Aru touched Tali’s shoulder, breaking her trancse. “We should probably isolate this.”
Feeling numb and disorientated, Tali was forced to kneel down. She handed the plant to Aru who was careful not to touch it for too long. Immediately he placed it inside a thick durasteel container, commonly used by the academy to transport sensible loads.
“Are you alright?” He asked, helping his Quaestor up.
“Yes. My stomach’s just a little upset.” The Twi’lek replied. “Ve needt to go, now. Ve’ve delayedt for too long.”
Aru agreed with her. When they left the archives, Qyreia was being pinned behind the crate she had been covering by. Archian was patching up some injured scholars, and Aay’han was nowhere to be seen.
Tali rushed to his apprentice and Aru started firing upon the Collective, giving Qyreia a chance to rejoin them.
“Vhere’s Aay’han?” Tali inquired the Shistavanen.
“She was yelling something about being too bored,” he explained between pants and bandaging someone, “and grabbed her lightsaber, and then she jumped towards the Collective agents and that’s the last I saw of her.”
“You didt goodt. It’s time to leave.” Tali told him, proud of her apprentice.
Meanwhile, Aru was ordering the scholars around. They fired up the repulsor trolleys and prepared to leave.