[Odan-Urr] Jedi Chronicles #1: Rescue Mission Gizka

Life at the Jedi Praxeum is hard work but the younglings always seem to have an abundance of energy. After the day is over they find themselves back in their common room, on the first floor of the west spire, with their minds on a mission to find one of the Praxeum’s treasures: the beloved campus gizka. Thought to gotten there by a passing ship, the younglings race to find it before the adults take it away forever. Some want to save it and some might want to eat it…

Character sheets to start:
Tanda Cal
Zoe Ta’var
BoTean
Sirra
Vera Kotra
Jeor-Mytiss
Larun Pamril

Students of all ages milled around the West Spire’s first floor, which served as a large common room. A Jedi youngling named Zoe wandered through the crowds looking for familiar faces. She was still younger than many of them and was thus often ignored by older students, something which annoyed her. She glanced longingly at their sabers, not allowed to carry her training saber outside of classes yet.

The Zeltron youngling did her best to ignore them back and looked in the corners of the room, her face lighting up when she found her new friend Bo-Taen. The Zabrak went to classes with her and he complimented her cape. Not enough people appreciated capes. He was surrounded by some new faces this time. An Ongree, Pantoran, Kiffar, and Gand were of similar ages or slightly older by the looks of their armory sabers were deep in discussion. Of note, the Kiffar was silent but oddly observant.

“But we checked the East Spire already. It’s not there,” stated Vera.
“This one didn’t see you make it to the top. Maybe you missed it,” replied Tanda.
“Remember we have curfew soon. We can’t find Ralph until the morning,” said Joer.
“Stop calling it Ralph. Gizka aren’t pets,” whispered Tanda.

Doing what she did best, Zoe butted in. “I want to help too. My name is Zoe Ta’var. Nice to meet you.”

The older students looked over their assembled group and shrugged before pulling her into the group and hushing her.

“Got to be quiet Zoe. The teachers want to get rid of him,” said Bo sadly.
“I will. But I can help. I’m good with sensing animals,” Zoe replied.
“This one is also good at finding animals,” added Tanda.
“You just want to eat it,” accused Jeor.
“Cut it out you two. We have another kid to help search. Sirra, can you keep the adults occupied once we get closer to the South Spire. I heard a rumor it’s hiding in the kitchens,” asked Vera.

The Kiffar merely nodded affirmatively.

“Let us all go. Get anything you want to bring with you and lets meet outside. This one wants to begin.”
“For Ralph,” said Bo and Zoe.

The group of Jedi students nodded and ran off to get their stuff.

The departure of a few students from the common room went largely unnoticed. With the halls filled with groups departing the day’s final lessons, no one was going to question a few stray neophytes. Hunting through the surrounding campuses with few interruptions, they were able to each quietly depart the West Spire with little opposition. The sun was drifting low as they emerged from the Praxeum’s walls, washing the surrounding area in an orange haze. Yet as each of them arrived, gathering beneath one of the trees beyond the towers, it was clear that many of them had very different ideas as to what would be useful.

“A flare gun, seriously?” Jeor-Mytiss said as Bo-Taen arrived, finishing off the group’s numbers and accounting for his equipment. “How’s that going to help us find it?”

“You never know,” the zabrak smiled in response, “it depends how far he’s run or how far we’ll need to spread out.”

“We have comlinks for that though. At least some of us do.” Zoe butted in, realising that she had undermined her own point a second after she had said it.

“Then it’s there if we need to signal anyone if we’re separated,” Bo-Taen said with a shrug, apparently deciding to go with the easiest answer before moving on. “But do we really need this many weapons?”

No one said anything for a few moments. Most of them had taken the situation as an opportunity to wear lightsabers as any knight would. They had tried to excuse this with the risk of the sun setting and a lack of glowrods, and they had been silently accepted out of a shared desire for the thrill of carrying their chosen weapons on a mission. Yet a few of them had taken it further. Vera had somehow procured a blaster - something that she insisted was set to stun just in case they needed to safely bring the gizka down - while Zoe openly wore an energy slingshot on her arm. Yet almost all of them, as Bo-Taen voiced the question, were looking at Tanda.

“What?” she asked.

“Don’t you think that’s a bit much? A Jedi is only supposed to need their lightsaber,” Jeor piped up.

“And a findsman never hunts without their equipment,” Tanda responded hotly, her combination of twin lightsabers, net gun and slingshot clinking slightly as she folded her arms. “This one does not intend to hunt without taking her task seriously.”

“Sirra, do you have anything to add?” Vera interrupted, trying to derail a fight before it began and noting the Kiffar’s lack of lightsaber.

Looking distinctly uncomfortable at the sudden attention focused upon her, Sirra produced a set of macrobinoculars, a grappling hook and, with some reluctance, a large ornate dagger. Some of the neophytes had seen similar designs in textbooks or historical documents, but never in person.

“Where did you get that?” Zoe asked after some silence, visibly on edge given the weapon’s alchemical origins.

Sirra opened her mouth, struggling to find the words for some moments and then shaking her head. She frowned, and the other students were given a momentary flash of an older memory; of a red armoured figure and a cycloptic giant standing before a forge, hammering the weapon into shape.

“That’s probably the closest thing we’ll get to an answer,” Bo-Taen said, massaging his temple at the abrupt telepathic interruption. “Look, so long as no one shoots or stabs Ralph, we’ll be fine. Got it?”

A series of acknowledgements answered him.

“So, to the kitchens then!” Zoe said, clapping her hands in excitement and swiftly being hushed by the others.

Tanda stared at the Kiffar for some time. She didn’t want to say anything to her peers but the Gand couldn’t help but respect the Padawan’s choice of weaponry. She also couldn’t help but want to keep track of the quietest one. Something was different about that one, and Tanda couldn’t quite tell what it was. Putting the thoughts aside, Tanda took the lead in moving towards the kitchens.

The young Gand had debated hunting the Gikza on her own but, during her last attempt, a Findsman ritual some old Jedi in a dusty robe had caught her and accused her of falling to the Dark Side. She could still remember the sound of their lightsabers crashing when she attacked the hostile sentient. The sound and short fight found its way into the forefront of her thoughts, replaying itself repeatedly as the group wandered the halls towards the kitchen.

“This one is not a fan of ‘probation’,” she muttered to herself as the gang got to the doors of the kitchen. “Zoe, Jeor, Bo, Vera please go in the kitchen and search.”

“What, hunting it with just Sirra to eat it?” Jeor chuckled.

“Wait, don’t eat it!” Zoe almost shouted before Bo-Tean put a finger over his lips.

“No. This one will be right here. She thinks Sirra can help her search for the gikza,” Tanda explained. “While you all check the kitchen. This one will look, while Sirra distracts.”

“We will be back Tanda,” Vera replied.

Tanda was already tuning them out, waiting for them to enter the kitchen. She didn’t think that it was actually there.

“Sirra, this one will need help with distractions. She will be looking for the Gikza with a ritual. Please keep the adults away from her,” the Gand explained. “They don’t like when this one does this.”

Sirra nodded moving around a corner while Tanda got to work. She pulled off her backpack, pulling out what remained of another Gikza. Stealing it had been tough, and the Gand had to break curfew, but it should be a good link. She closed her eyes, and reached into the heart of Kiast. Almost immediately she could tell that the link was too old, but she was able to use it to bridge her senses from that of searching for the Force to sensing for another Gikza.

Tanda opened her eyes somewhere outside. She gazed upward to see the night sky. The stars looked the same as they did a few nights ago, though Tanda didn’t know for certain. Something big roared in the distance and she found herself running. She could see the Praxeum up in the distance but soon found herself in a wooded area. Before her stood a ruin covered in plant life, and a creeping feeling of decay began to wash over her. Seemingly not noticing it, her body continued walking into it when-

Tanda jolted back to the Praxeum, her eyes opening to see Sirra’s face. Tanda couldn’t read what the young Padawan was thinking, but noted an odd look of concern.

“Adults,” Sirra whispered. “Get others. Will distract.”

Zoe, Jeor, Bo, Vera had started their search of the kitchens in the main caf, checking as a group under all of the tables and chairs. Scratched messages under the table were already etched in the freshly painted furniture and small dents pockmarked the wooden seats. Idle hands were the Dark Side’s play thing at times. The children ignored them, oblivious to the older student’s artwork. They found nothing.

“Bo, let’s go check back there. Maybe it’s near the fridge,” said Zoe as she ran off.
“Hey, let me help. Don’t go alone,” the Zabrak already on her heels.

“Let’s check out over there. I’ve always wondered what the back room looked like. Maybe we can find out what’s for lunch tomorrow before everyone else and find the gizka,” said Vera as she nodded toward the other side of the room.
“You already know it comes from our farm,” said Jeor as he rolled his eyes but followed nonetheless.

Zeltron and Zabrak pushed open the door to the storeroom and peered inside, the lights were already turned off. Zoe unclipped her training saber and ignited it with a snap-hiss, casting a blue glow in the surrounding area. The soft blue light revealed tall shelves to their left and a switch off to their right. Bo-Tean easily pressed it, activating the lights overhead. Several columns of shelves were crammed with food supplies and they could catch a glimpse of what looked like cold storage in the back. There was no direct line of sight as it appeared the storage units were moved to wherever made sense at the time.

“I was having fun,” said Zoe disappointedly as she turned off her training saber.
“Yeah but we need to find Ralph. You can play with your lightsaber later,” replied Bo, who was normally much more playful. Zoe immediately picked up on it.
“Right. Let’s find him.”

The two neophytes started at the end rows and made their way towards the center, craning their necks upward to try to see the higher shelves. Food of all types in funny-shaped containers packed the room, leaving no empty space for a gizka. The pair of them headed straight for the cold storage, marking the rest of the room as a lost cause. Perhaps a bit haphazardly, Zoe and Bo turned the end corner without checking around it first and found something unexpected.

The Zeltron froze and held up a hand to tell the Zabrak to stop, finally feeling the other intruder in the Force all of a sudden. She had heard some Jedi could hide themselves from the Force but it still felt very disconcerting. The Force always told her who was around here and what they were feeling. A tall bearded human man with short black hair somehow fooled it. Her heart beat faster with adrenaline as she instinctively backed away slowly, Bo-Tean right behind her. She could not get caught.

That is until both of their hearts stopped. They never knew who did it but someone brushed against a nearby can of roasted porg. The canister fell almost as if in slow motion as both neophytes reached out to catch it. Zoe concentrated as hard as she could but it was no use. The Zeltron neophyte wouldn’t catch it in time. She closed her eyes, covered her face with her cape, and winced as it was about to hit the ground except it never came. The Zabrak smiled with pride and and brought it back up to his hand. Zoe sighed in relief, but it didn’t last long.

The Human jumped and looked around, his eyes tracking upward as he looked for fellow adults. It only took him the span of a breath to notice the much smaller statures in front of him. Puzzled, he took in their scared expressions and quickly pivoted to a feint.

“What are you kids doing? You aren’t allowed in here,” Callan acted, hiding his own fear.

Bo-Tean opened his mouth to explain himself while the Zeltron lowered her cape in defeat, listening and feeling the room around her. Fear, odd thing for an adult to feel in this room, she thought. Her gaze fell to his armory saber and a guilty expression she often found staring back at her when her mother caught her stealing cookies. Her suspicions heightened. Going for it, she went on the offensive.

“Jedi Knight? Ha! I bet you are stealing food. What’s that in your hand, huh?”

Sirra didn’t see the other Neophytes bumping into the older intruder. She didn’t even hear them in conventional terms, but she felt them through the Force. The sparks of emotion as they bumped into one another, with suspicion and alarm rife within their minds, was as loud to Sirra as any raised voice. Tentatively, she uncoiled her mind, reaching out and touching the surface thoughts of Zoe. A cacophony of faces, new details and emotions quickly stood out, most of which were centred upon the new arrival - A remarkably tall human with short-cropped hair, older than any of them but with an expression of uneasiness. That was likely to complicate matters. Yet Sirra was more concerned with the fact that he had been only one of two that she had sensed moments ago.

As Tanda disappeared through the door into the kitchens, Sirra looked about at the exterior walls of the building. Eventually settling on one particularly worn area of the structure, she began snatching at shallow handholds and splintered bricks before hauling herself up onto the roof. Sirra could pick out the thoughts of the other individual nearby - Old, certain and serene, but alert. Sirra could see their owner even with the dim illumination of early starlight, but she could feel them coming gradually closer with every passing second.

Keeping low to the rooftops, Sirra silently crept forward, ducking low between large vents and industrial outcroppings across its sloped surface. A few tiles would tilt slightly underfoot every now and then, and she gingerly shifted her weight about them, sometimes even catching them before they could fall away to the ground. She listened carefully, darting forward in time with the heartbeat of the kitchen’s generators, using the hum of its extractor fans to disguise bolder movements. This came as easily to her as breathing, a lesson taught in a lifetime spent in Nar Shaddaa’s undercity; learning to cling to shadows that others overlooked, using the thrum of industrial systems as cover, but above all else remaining silent at all times.

Reaching out in the Force as she arrived at the opposite of the kitchen roof, she sensed the other adult once more. He was close by now, standing with his back to one wall of the kitchen and leaning against it. Some sense of amusement dominated his thoughts but, most surprisingly, there were no images in his mind. Creeping closer until she was directly above him, she risked a glance down, catching sight of greying hair and a simple tan robe in the gloom.

Prying one of the loose tiles free from just behind her, Sirra looked toward one of the isolated trees which peppered the Praxeum grounds. It was far enough away to keep him busy for a few moments, perhaps long enough to let them flee unseen with the right distraction. Yet before she could hurl the slab and shatter it against the tree’s trunk, the figure below spoke up.

“Please don’t do that, the artesans have enough to fix as it is. And your friends inside are making far too much noise for that to work.”

Sirra froze. For a few heartbeats she had hoped that he might have been addressing someone else, searching through his surface thoughts for any confirmation of what he had just said. An almost cartoonish image of Sirra emerged from his mind, showing her trying and failing to distract him with her plan. Then the old man turned a pair of milky white eyes upward, until he was directly facing her.

“Is there something wrong with the ground, Padawan?”

Sirra’s jaw worked quietly as she looked down at the old one, frustration beginning to ebb into her thoughts as she tried to plumb the recesses of his mind for insights or information. Yet he remained serene, and more surprising to her, actively seemed to calm his mind further; it felt as if she were gazing at a calm pool of water, or perhaps at a serene mountain range. Calmness emanated off of and through the man in waves, and soon enough Sirra took a deeper breath to calm her own mind, lowered the stone tile back down to its place on the roof, and went to climb down. Pausing for a moment, she gritted her teeth before leaping out toward the tree she had intended to strike, landing on one of its branches before backflipping down to a smooth landing.

“That’s better. Well-executed,” The old man said with a smile. The faint light of Kaerls in the distant sky played over his face as he turned toward her, highlighting deep crags and weathered wrinkles of age as his blind eyes stared vacantly just past where she stood. “I believe your friends were looking for you.”

Awkwardly shuffling her feet, Sirra looked around, taking in the worn stone courtyard in which she stood. Sharp peaks rose up above the swirling gasses of Kiast in the distance, highlighted by the same faint moonlight that had painted the man’s features. Sirra slowly turned in a circle, noting exit points, escape routes, and possible ambush sites as she did. Slowly, timidly, she turned toward the elderly Jedi and waited for his reprimand.

None came. He was simply gone, as if he had never been there. She was just about to go looking for him when a low growling noise drew her attention from the left, prompting her to drop into a combat crouch. Ralph the Gizka went hurtling by a few seconds later, apparently spooked by some noise or shift. With a startled gasp, she followed, hurling telepathic panic toward Zoe and the others as she went.


“I’m telling you,” Callan said impatiently, “That I’ll report you to your Masters if you don’t get out of the way.”

“And I’m telling you that I’ll go to the Council if you don’t put those back!” Zoe replied indignantly, gesturing at the cans of food he had tucked into his robe. “You’re stealing!”

Bo-Taen went to reply, when a wave of images - a fleeing gizka, panicked running, the moon, the landing pad - flashed through his and Zoe’s minds. Abruptly, they turned and took off, just as Callan went to raise another objection. The Padawan raised a hand and yelled after them.

“Where do you think you’re going?!” Callan asked, as he pursued.

“To save Ralph!” Bo-Taen replied. The young Zabrak looked to Callan, then to a nearby box, and winced. “I’m really sorry for this!” He said, waving a hand.

The box flew from the shelf, landing right in front of Callan’s feet and sending him end over end, cans clattering and jars smashing as they flew from his robes. He winced, mumbling words of frustration about his Master, and Younglings, and midnight snacks. Racing after them, he followed the footsteps they’d left in the soft soil outside for a few steps before taking a breath and reaching out with the Force, as Master Torun-Urr had taught him. Finding their alarmed minds, he darted after them, in the direction of the landing pad.

He rounded the corner in time to see a supply shuttle’s exit ramp closing, a gizka and several Younglings stowing away as it went. With a panicked cry, he darted after them, before leaping up to the top of a stack of crates and then once more leaping up to land on the side of the shuttle. With a furious yell, he brought his fist down on the outer hull, knowing full well that they would hear him inside the ship.

“Let me in!” He hollered, as the air began to thin out. “Karabest, it’s cold out here!”

The group of students jumped reflexively, an audible thud coming from just outside where they had snuck in. Bo-Tean and Tanda squared up in front up of the landing ramp while the others retreated a few steps back. Sirra was already hidden behind stack of boxes. The gizka was currently shaking in the corner, silent and watchful.

“Help! Let me in!” said a muffled voice once more.

Bo-Taen cautiously let his guard down and put his hand against the door, reaching out to the Force nearby. He felt what was now a familiar presence on the other side and rushed to open the ramp.

“What are you doing? We don’t know what that is,” said Vera, fear tinging her voice.

“This one says let it in. This one is ready for a fight,” replied Tanda as she went into a hunters crouch.

“Vera, it’s okay. I feel it too. It’s the thief we found in the kitchen stealing our lunch food,” said Zoe as she reached out to the Force as well.

Sirra merely positioned herself on the side of the door, holding the handle of her dagger just in case she needed it. Tanda nodded approvingly. The others eyed the pair warily.

“We aren’t killing them. It’s probably just Callan, but just be in the ready,” ordered Vera as she both her and Bo-Taen reached out to the Force to trip the switch.

The doorway started to lower, the cold Kiast air whipping through the storage hold and tugging at their robes. Some of the lighter items on the floor tumbled sideways, their contents shaken to and fro. Even worse, the bright Kiast suns were already blinding them with light. All of the students grimaced and hoped that whoever it was would come in soon.

As if the ship read their minds, the door started to close once more, prompting a brief but adamant refusal of culpability. By the time the light outside had disappeared a pair of armored boots connected to a very alive but irritated Callan slid into the ship through the gap. Some momentarily raised their weapons for a heartbeat but Vera interjected quickly.

Bo-Taen was already asking for forgiveness, recognizing him from before.

“Please don’t tell the Council. We just wanted to save the gizka. I know you’re a Jedi Knight but–”

Vera cut him off with a scoff before Callan could resume the act.

“Stop begging Bo. He’s a padawan just like me and in just as much trouble.”

“I knew you were lying. Liar liar pants on fire,” cried out Zoe as she stuck her tongue out at him. “My mom is going to be so mad at you when she finds out you stole.”

“What?! My master told me to,” said Callan defensively. “And why would you snitch?”

“This one doesn’t like snitches,” said Tanda as she eyed Zoe warily.

The Zeltron rolled her eyes at the lot of them before explaining. “I’m not a snitch. But we are here to save Ralph and if you can keep quiet about that then I can forget about you being a thief. Oh and you owe us all cookies too.”

“What?!” said Callan incredulously.

“You heard me. Deal or no deal?”

The group was speechless, not expecting Zoe to haggle. The group looked at Callan expectantly, the only sound that of Ralph in the corner and the soft purr of the engines. Callan sighed and put up his hands in defeat.

“Fine, let’s agree none of this happened,” he said as both he and Zoe shook hands.

The Zeltron smiled at him and then pranced off to go play with Ralph, Bo-Taen not far behind. The small reptile cooed as the pair of young Jedi pet it. As Zoe coaxed Ralph easily out into the open, Bo-Taen couldn’t help but wonder what she could get away with. Meanwhile, Tanda was already trying to lock in on the pilot’s comm channel, the rest were watching her or poking around the boxes.

“Are we there yet?” asked Jeor.

“This one is finding out,” said Tanda with a swift predatory look at the gizka. Zoe looked back at her suspiciously and whispered into Bo-Taen’s ear. The Zabrak stood between Tanda and Ralph as if he was a shield.

“This one will have Ralph where you like it or not.”

A radio burst cut off any argument.

Velastari Temple, this is a transport from the Praxeum. I’ll be there in 5 minutes. Forest landing pad delta.

The light of Kaerls illuminated the treetops, creating frightful images in light and shadow upon the ground. To any other youngling the scene would have been horrifying, but to Larun, a Miraluka, it made little difference. She sat cross-legged on a rock and tried very hard to meditate, sensing and focusing on the living things around her; the sleen slowly finding its way back to its burrow, the hare nipping at the tuft of grass, the mole digging underneath the rock, and even Rumi her Convor, perched on a tree branch above her.

She had been sitting there, in complete silence for half an hour at least, and slowly but surely her patience was growing thin. How long did she have to sit there, she though.

“As long as it is necessary, padawan,” her Master’s voice echoed in her mind. It was calming and supportive. There was no tension or annoyance in it at all and it put Larun at ease, making her relax her shoulders. “Stretch out with your feelings. Find interest and energy in the Force. What do you feel?”

“I feel…” Larun spoke out loud for the first time in what seemed like hours. “I feel the animals around me. I can sense their energy.”

“Good. Now, focus.” Vorsa nudged and Larun complied, focusing her attention on Rumi, her pet. She could tell he had just eaten by the pieces of rodent still stuck in his claws. He felt content and ready for the night’s rest.

The bird’s eyes suddenly widened and its heartbeat quickened before it flew away, into the sky. The sudden jolt broke Larun’s concentration and snapped her back into her surroundings. The sound of repulsors and thrusters echoed through the forest as the shuttle from the Praxeum flew overhead. Larun panicked momentarily, unsure what was going on, and crawled backwards into her Master.

“It is alright, Larun,” Vorsa smiled at her, somehow at her side within moments. The shuttle found its landing spot in a far-off clearing designated for just such occasions. Vorsa helped the young girl to her feet. “Come, let us see what they brought.”

Larun’s smile spurred them on.

The shuttle looped about the temple’s rooftops, its engines flaring with pulses of crackling ion energy as it came in low toward a parting in the trees. Tilting as it carefully navigated its way into the narrow space, the shuttle banked at a steep angle as its pre-programmed flight path fought to fit the angular craft into the forest’s narrow confines. Every movement was underlined with a roar of energy along with other sounds. Muffled by the armoured hull and all but hidden by the roar of the shuttle’s drives, occasional voices could almost be made out. A plethora of voices were each yelling in surprise, trying to issue orders, and exchanging insults as the ship lowered itself to the ground.

As its flight-blackened wings folded back and stubby landing gear swung out from beneath its ventral plating. As Master Vorsa arrived a short distance from its base, with Larun trailing a few paces behind her, the primary ramp lowered to the earthy ground. Yet, in the place of the typical cargo droids or self-guided repulsorlift crates, there was nothing. Then, as the seconds passed, a squealing and half terrified Gizka shot down from the cargo bay. Moving with all the speed that its ungainly body could muster, it raced past the Jedi Master and her surprised student and headed for the relative safety of the treeline.

“How-? What!?!” Larun started, turning to follow the Gizka’s path as it hurried away.

“I believe we’re about to find out,” Vorsa answered. A moment later, Larun felt the blaze of heightened emotions spilling out from the shuttle and stepped behind her Master.

Several figures quickly emerged from the shuttle, racing down the ramp as several of them argued with one another.

“You see, you scared him!” Zoe said, leading at the group’s head, and glaring at the Gand just behind her.

“This one did no such thing!” Tanda answered, one hand still gripping her chosen hunting weapon. “She was quite willing to wait until you were finished, and thought that you had him under control!”

“Don’t blame her, that was before the shuttle decided to start flying loops about the trees.” Bo-Tean answered tersely, rubbing his head where it had struck one wall moments before. “I don’t know who programmed that ship but-”

The rest of the conversation was lost as they raced passed the waiting pair of Jedi and after the Gizka. The mob managed to run a full ten meters before any of them realised who they had just raced by in their continued chase. Callan was the first to pause and turn, his face turning white at the realisation.

“Uh, kids?”

The others stopped in their squabbling, some sooner than others. First a few halting and turning at his voice, only to soon realise their mistake. The others did the same once they looked back to wonder just why some of their number had paused in their chase. A few of them were visibly trying to decide if running would make their situation better or worse now that they had stumbled headlong into one of the Praxeum’s tutors.

Vorsa simply held them in a level gaze until they started to walk back toward the pair, most of them trying to avoid her eyes. As Larun looked back at the shuttle and whispered something to her Master, Vorsa turned and looked poignantly toward one particular spot of the shuttle’s ramp. She simply stood there, staring seemingly at nothing, until the air shimmered and Sirra phased back into visibility, with both hands held up in a gesture of surrender.

“So,” Vorsa said as Sirra stomped down to join the other Padawans, “would you care to explain yourselves?”