MIsadventures in Excavation [Master - Student]

Hello!

This was meant to be my submission for the Odan Urr Velastari Temple excavation comp, but I didn’t finish it in time. Basically, the setup is that Irhan was helping out around the edges of the dig, helping some students and mine workers look for new sites when he and a student fell down a hole. Now they’re making friends!!


All in all, Irhan Lo’Vex was having a very good day. Many in a position akin to the one in which he now found himself might have a very different attitude to the situation, but Irhan loved new experiences, especially unexpected new experiences. Unfortunately, the man who’d fallen down the hole with him after the cave-in didn’t seem to share his appreciation of the situation.

“How are you not more bothered by this, your kriffing leg looks broken!”

“Hmm?” Irhan blinked, turning his attention away from the Interesting designs on the only clearly visible, unobstructed wall, to look at his companion. Considering the man’s words, he became aware of the fact that yes, his leg certainly felt broken. Ah well, he’d had worse. He reluctantly focused his attention on the injury, trying to get a clear picture of its extent.

“In two places, it looks like, yes.”

The student, who seemed to be slightly older than the Jedi, quirked a confused, concerned eyebrow.

“And you’re… fine with that?”

Irhan’s own brow furrowed and he frowned.

“Of course not, but I can hardly do anything about it right now. In any case, it’s preferable to being dead, which is how I would’ve ended up had I not executed that, uhhh… improvised evasive maneuver. Besides, if I hadn’t done that, you’d probably be more injured yourself. Maybe not, that was some pretty impressive tumbling.”

“Oh, um, thank you.” The student said, not quite sure how to respond. The two men lapsed into a silence that was comfortable for Irhan, but considerably less so for his companion. As the young Jedi resumed his inspection of the opposite wall, slightly older man continued to look at him, fidgeting. Eventually, apparently unable to stand the prolonged quiet, he spoke haltingly. “What’s… what’s your name?”

“Hmm? Oh” Irhan grinned, “Irhan Lo’Vex, Jedi-in-training. And, yourself?” He had an accent, his companion realized, a strange one he had never heard before. Clearly, Basic was not his first language, but he seemed to have an excellent grasp of it.

“I’m Jabe Lewitt, studying here as part of my degree.”

“Mm, I guessed as much. Say, I don’t mean to derail the conversation, but is your device working?”

“My… you mean my data pad? Yes, it’s fine.”

“Can you use it to call for help?”

The student gave Irhan a funny look.

“Not with all these rocks in the way.”

“Ah, of course, Id forgotten”

Leaving Jabe to puzzle over this latest odd exchange, the Jedi leaned back against the wall and closed his eyes. The aspiring archeologist blinked at him.

“Are you… taking a nap?!”

Irhan chuckled.

“No, I’m calling for help.”

“Calling for-“ the Jedi tapped his temple with a forefinger. “Oh, right.”

As Jabe lapsed back into an unsure silence, Irhan concentrated, letting the material world fall away. Beneath it lay the Force, wild, yet serene, deeper and caster than the void between stars. It comforted and thrilled him, as it always did, to be part of such a magnificent web. Putting such appreciative thoughts aside, he filtered through the web, looking for a familiar string. Finding it, he gave it a mental tug. He wasn’t proficient enough for complex telepathy, certainly not at this range, but he could do this.

<Master?>

<Pain. Slight distress. Embarrassment. Assistance?>

Aura Ta’var, master to Irhan Lo’Vex, was busy sitting in a meeting with the head of the excavation efforts. Her steepled fingers were motionless as she silently judged the archaeologist across from her, his slight stammering getting worse as the room grew quieter. Nervous glances peered between the two of them, waiting for the inevitable showdown.

“So you mean to say that you drilled in an area of the temple that I, the High Councillor, specifically told you was off limits and now not only are priceless artifacts broken but possibly also some people,” stated the Zeltron coldly.

“No one is more saddened by the loss of those artifacts than I but frankly there are no lost people. That is just the miners’ gossip.”

Master?

Aura Ta’var closed her eyes and took a deep breath, reaching out to the Force a slightly scared apprentice in pain.

“Do you hear me?”

The Zeltron ignored the main and used the Force to get a rough idea of her apprentice’s location.

Somewhere southwest on the other side of the temple, near where they were drilling, she thought.

“Ma’am?”

“Yes, I did. Now, if you’ll excuse me, my apprentice is trapped in a dig site you weren’t supposed to be drilling in and he probably has friends. We’ll discuss your discretion later but perhaps you can make things better by doing a full sweep of the area with me.”

“But, I uh- I have to do some-”

“You are coming with me. Coordinate a team and get everyone to safety. I’m finding my apprentice before you kill him,” she said in a huff before she walked out.

<Irhan, stay calm. I’ll be there soon. Where are you?>

The knot of fear and anxiety that Irhan had been unwilling to acknowledge in himself unwound slightly as he felt his master’s answer, registered her awareness of his predicament. He leaned his head back against the wall, opening his eyes and looking over at his companion. The older man was watching him, nervous. He was trembling slightly, Irhan realized. The young Jedi gave Jabe his best reassuring grin, accidentally making it more of a grimace when he shifted on his broken leg.

“My master knows where we are, she’s on her way here. We’ll be out in no time at all.”

Jabe relaxed, letting out his breath in a rush.

“Thank the Force!”

“Hn.” Irhan smiled genuinely. Thank the Force indeed. Speaking of which… ah, damn. He frowned, quickly adopting the most upright posture his current situation would allow. His leg wasn’t actually trapped under rubble, but broken in as many places as it was he didn’t want to risk moving it too much. He had been flung about rather a lot trying to prevent his companion, and himself, from being crushed during their unexpected cave-in rock-slide tumble… but he was getting distracted. His master needed to know where he was, so she could help him. He knew, roughly, where he and Jabe had been, having a conversation about the dig’s prcgress in a previously excavated tunnel some distance from the surface. There had been other people around- Force he hoped they were alright- but in the chaos of the collapse, fall, and slide he’d lost track of them. He still had no idea what had even caused the whole mess, if it weren’t for the premonition from the Force… Hmm, it had started below him, he thought… With a flash of insight, he remembered Jabe, not that he’d known his name then, mentioning something he’d heard about a few of his colleagues and superiors wanting to open up a new tunnel in an area that had been declared off-limits for some reason, neither of the two men were sure. Jabe was under the impression that his superiors believed the ruling to be erroneous, or a mistake, and were apparently considering demonstrating this by defying it. Irhan never got the chance to voice his opinion, and subsequent events had blown such concerns out of his mind. They were back now though. If that was what happened, the area in question wasn’t directly below them but… it could be possible, he wasn’t an architect. A horrible queasy feeling bubbled up in Irhan, adding to the cocktail of worry that was threatening to disperse what remained of his good mood from having survived the fall. What had happened to the miners in that area? The researchers? He hadn’t… he hadn’t felt anyone die… but… He shivered, and focused inward. He needed to let Master Aura know what was going on, now, no more delays or introspection. There would be time for that later. He concentrated, and, conjuring up his memory of today’s work, used it to draw a three-dimensional shape in his mind. It was a sort of inverse map of the path to where he had been before he’d fallen, as best he could work out. little more than a lopsided scaffolding of line/paths. He focused on it, then on an impression of the entrance that formed the starting point of the crude map. He hoped his master made the connection.

It was the best he could do.

Force, he hoped it was only he and Jabe trapped down here. Deep down though, he knew how unlikely that was, and a terrible, very different, but distinctly familiar sort of helplessness pushed its way through his equilibrium, dashing to pieces. He had never wanted to feel this way again, it made him feel small again, and more trapped than mere rocks ever could. People were hurting around him, and he could do nothing to help them.

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