The Harakoans were always a superstitious people. Constantly looking towards the heavens, the stars and planets above told of their fortunes, and their peril. To each tribe, the stars had different meanings - different constellations that were recorded through their collective memories and passed down through generations. Almost three years have passed since a supernova rocked the beliefs of the Harakoan people. The Gioki tribe, in particular, were thrown into disarray at the celestial event. Their most beloved constellation was shattered in that moment, missing a vital piece that would have held together the foundations of an ancient tale - one that has been lost since the beginnings of time itself.
Even as their stories were lost to time, their traditions lingered, and the fragments shattering in the heavens have reminded them of this lost tale. Wielding his staff overhead, passed down from his father, and his father before him, the elder sanctified the blessed ground of the sacred Tapoamūana-nuku, the Holy Blue Mountain. The Harakoans of the Gioki tribe bowed in reverence to their Tūpuna Tāne, their Great Father, pleading that one day, their tales would return and the heavens would be restored.
Soon, all of Harakoa would learn that some tales are meant to be forgotten…
“We’ve found it, Jeryn!”
As with all secrets, a scratch is all it takes to break the surface. Organized by an eccentric Bothan going by the name of Jeryn Yorcot, the first expedition into Sanulu’s hazardous zones uncovered what they thought was a remnant of the Harakoan tribe that fled east into the calm zone, left behind in the migration to escape worsening volcanic activity in the region. It was an architecture that could be seen in most ruins on Harakoa, but this one prevailed above the others, despite the constant threat of the volcanic activity running rampant through the area.
Jeryn wasn’t fazed by anything; he was a face that appeared frequently on the holonet with his documentaries and journals on various discoveries from the Inner Core, stretching through Wild Space. He didn’t seem at all aware of the environmental suit that clung to his fur, matting the hairs he hadn’t bothered to groom since news of this site filled his ears. After this, the holonet would be buzzing with interest from this find - one of the fabled ancient temples on New Tython, still intact and unplundered. Of course, he was forced to surrender potentially dangerous artifacts to the safekeeping of the Jedi, but it never prevented him from recording every detail in his journals, right down to the scratch patterns on every uncovered relic buried in the dirt.
His producer wouldn’t normally share his enthusiasm, but he hoped that she would indulge him this one time. He had pulled strings to be sent to lead this dig site as it moved to uncover the structure. “Completely intact.” He barked, stopping one of his crew who was beginning to plant explosives around the entrance, absolute authority barely showing past the fog-covered lens of his breathing mask, “Go get something to pry open this door. I won’t risk collapsing a part of the architecture.”
Building up a steadfast reputation has earned him quite the respect through his years in the field. He didn’t mind the spotlight, it kept his crew doing as they were told, when they were told. A galaxy was watching, even if his views had dropped in the last few years down to a few million within the Core Worlds. Anxiously, the crewman picked up the explosives, exchanging them for a pair of thin metal bars from the hoversled they had in tow.
“Breaching in three… two….”
“One” Jeryn counted silently, his heart beating in his chest while his claws extended in anticipation, tearing small pinholes into his suit. “Clear!” He shouted, just after the doors had been forced open. Like the jaws of a Rancor, it stood agape. Silently, he cursed at himself for allowing the Jedi to send with him two of the Tanduran Commandos for artifact reclamation. The fools would contaminate the precious stonework with their muddied boots as they walked in through the pressurizing chamber, weapons raised.
To his calculations, the main chamber would have been sealed off completely. If anything did live in there at one point, it would have suffocated based on the amount of air rushing past the group to fill the void. If he wasn’t wearing an environmental suit, the resulting headache would send him to the on-site medical facilities.
“Nothing’s here”, one of the masked soldiers called back gesturing forward with a gloved hand, “Its safe to enter at your own risk.”
Jeryn knew what the soldier meant, he had skimmed through those cumbersome waivers countless times. Pushing his way past the crew at his back, the Bothan squinted in the dark of the temple’s interior.
“Someone get me a karkin’ light!” He ordered, swiftly snatching one from a nearby holo reporter. It sparked to life with a ‘hiss’, the chemicals from the glow rod bouncing off the stonework and several feet around him. When he finally gained a glimpse of the grandeur that was expected, his expression flashed from a frown, to horror.
Apparently, the soldier was literal when he said “Nothing.”
Save for a floor of sand and dust with the occasional stonework protruding from its surface and etchings adorning the otherwise flat stone walls, the room was bare, with no further structure that he could see in the dim lighting. Without so much as a word, the crew went to the arduous task of dusting off the stonework, revealing the intricate patterns beneath.
His producer was going to kill him.
The heavy box slammed down on the desk with a ‘thud’. “Take it.” The Bothan spat, “I’m done with this planet.”
Solari’s photoreceptors stared motionless at the thick-built alien, now eschewing the environmental suit in favour of an oversized duster that hung loosely over his broad shoulders - his signature outfit in front of the cameras. “I appreciate the gift, though the Ordain Vonoro Spacedock has notified me that your ship has been impounded for the time being.”
“What!” Yorcot slammed on the table with a clenched fist, “On what premise?”
Solari let the question linger in the air, giving the explorer time to calm his emotions before his vocoder broke the silence, “Intention to smuggle potentially dangerous artifacts offworld without approval from the Disciples of Odan-Urr.” He explained, in the monotonous voice that his mechanical form possessed.
“I received that approval weeks ago!” He shouted, leaving trailing claw marks in the table. Yorcot fit the stereotype perfectly; he was ambitious, cunning and mild-mannered, with an even shorter temper. If Solari could have a bodily reaction, he would have shifted uncomfortably, “I must ask you to refrain from - “
“Shut it, droid!” Yorcot interrupted, slamming into the side of the Shard’s metallic head with a clenched fist. Before Solari could respond to the sign of organic aggression, the two were cut off by another presence in the room.
“But it wasn’t approved by me.” A’lora Kituri answered, chastising in a cool-mannered tone. Dressed in a robe of hides and furs, the Togruta made an offhanded attempt to blend in, at least whilst visiting the halls of the Arca Praxeum.
Jeryn looked up incredulously, the anger on his face replaced with a scowl, “Explain.” He grunted, the snout-like protrusion on his face contorting in disgust.
“That box is filled with untranslated languages, once lost to memory. Don’t you want to know what it was that you uncovered?” She asked, taking a step around the room to examine the flimsiplast records, picking one up with callused fingers, “After all, it would be remiss to have you leave without a story, wouldn’t you agree?”
Expected as it was, the Bothan became more confused than irritated. Even those who were aware of the Consul’s talents in seeing into the possible future were often left with more questions than answers. Detailed as they were, recounts of her visions were always clouded with hidden variables that could shift the entire perspective of the event. She trusted in the will of the Force to guide her through making the right choices, and it has served her well, so far.
Jeryn stroked the matted fur on his face in deep contemplation, “Well then. Since my ship is impounded, I’ll entertain your offer…. for now.”
“We can have the Disciples of Odan-Urr work on translation of the language.” Solari reported, diagnosing his robotic host for signs of damage along the metallic cranium, “Expect results within a few weeks.”
“I’ll be looking forward to it.” Yorcot challenged, heading for the door in search of the nearest cantina.
He was going to need a drink.