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In Search Of...

Written by: Aardvark and posted on: May 28, 2022

Mir Aar-D'Vark smashed his furry paws onto the control console of the transport. "By Harga's Claws!" he growled. His tufted tail, bent uncomfortably upwards by the human-centric contours of the pilot's chair, twitched angrily above his huge head. He snarled, "Where is it?"

 

What had brought the Sith-in-training to this out of the way corner of space were rumors of a drifting, derelict vessel. When Aar-D'Vark stumbled across a blurry holo-image of the ghost ship, he immediately recognized it as a Corellian Defender Light Corvette. Seeing the holo, his pulse had quickened. Some three thousand years before, during the height of the Old Republic and before the Great Jedi-Sith Wars, the Defender was a type of craft commonly used by the now-defunct Jedi Order. Aar-D'Vark hoped that inside this ancient ship, he would find the rare item that he was looking for. The first step was finding the ship.

 

Aar-D'Vark had paid handsomely and taken a few souls for the purchase of the information that led him to these coordinates. But when the grizzled spacer who held the last key to the puzzle tried to renege on the terms of their contract, the smuggler had paid for his greed and impudence with his life. Sane persons don't cross a two meter tall, muscular feline brimming with the power of the Dark Side. Aar-D'Vark chuckled at the memory of the worm blurting out the coordinates even as his blood and entrails spilled across the cantina floor.

 

Long-range scans showed no vessels in the area. Of course, the drifting corvette had long since lost power and would be broadcasting no signals for the scanners to register. Switching to shorter scans focused on picking up concentrations of metal alloys also proved fruitless. The Togorian had even tried reaching out with the Dark Side to guide him, but his power was not yet sufficient for such a feat. Aar'DVark raged and again pounded his bulky paws on the console. Extending his claws, he raked them along the dashboard causing deep grooves to appear. His dark eyes turned bright amber and glowed, an outward sign that the power of the Dark Side was feeding upon on his anger. Seething, the feline nomad turned dark side apprentice leapt from his seat and stormed about the cockpit of the transport. A backhand swipe of his claws shredded the upholstered headrest of the co-pilot's seat.

 

Suddenly, the sensor console chimed. Aar-D'Vark's upright ears swiveled in the direction of the sound a split-second before he jumped into the captain's chair with speed and grace that seemed impossible for his bulky frame. Crouching over the display, his whiskers twitched as he scanned though the analysis. Yes...yes...this was no common metal-laden asteroid - this contact was definitely a starship. Punching a few buttons on the console, he rolled the transport onto a new heading and accelerated at maximum speed.

 

Soon, Mir Aar-D'Vark's ship was within visual range of his long-sought target. There was no mistaking the hammer-head silhouette and the faded orange markings. The exterior was pockmarked with the scars of thousands of mini-meteoroid hits but this was it, an ancient Republic-era Defender. There was significant damage in the aft section where the engines were located and signs that the hull was breached in several places. Close range sensors showed no power, no atmosphere, no artificial gravity and as expected, no life-signs. Truly a lifeless hulk. However, Aar-D'Vark wasn’t interested in the ship - only its contents. One item in particular.

 

Aar-D'Vark eased the assault transport alongside the drifting corvette. The Old Republic ship was almost three times the size of the newer, Imperial craft but Aar-D'Vark had picked this transport as it had the capability to allow him to board another spacecraft. The dark apprentice engaged an automatic computer routine which first activated tractor beams and deployed magnetic grapples to bring the ships close together. Docking clamps joined the vessels while a docking passageway was extended from ship to ship. Less than a minute later, specially designed automatic fusion cutters had breached the corvette's hull. With some difficulty, Aar-D’Vark forced his large clawed feet into zero-G boots and pulled a specially-made environmental suit and helmet over his huge frame.

 

Crouching as he made his way through the narrow boarding umbilical, in the would-be Sith's hand was a vibro-scimitar - a powered version of the favored weapon of the Togorian warriors. Though he sometimes wore one in a shoulder holster under his muscular left arm, Mir Aar-D'Vark rarely had need for a blaster. In addition to his sword and claws, the Dark Side did his bidding. The zeroG boots hindered the warrior's progress and made him feel slow and clumsy but soon he was in the entrance alcove of the Old Republic corvette - standing where no living being had been for thousands of years. Activating the helmet mounted light projectors, he moved farther into the dilapidated corvette. Togorians could see well enough in low light but it was still difficult to see in total darkness and there was no need for stealth.

 

Climbing a short stairwell, Aar-D'Vark found himself on the corvette's main deck. There, floating in the zero G, was a primitive protocol droid. It gave him a start, but the droid was inert as its batteries had long since drained. Still, no need to be careless, thought the apprentice. Reaching out with his hand as his mind reached out through the Force, anger and hate welled up inside the Togorian as he used the Force to pull the droid from across the room. As it hurled closer, a quick slice of the vibro-scimitar separated the droid's cranial unit from its torso.

 

Moving through the flight deck, the Mir Aar-D'vark soon reached the cockpit. The two chairs closest to the viewport each held the bodies of humanoids. A gaping hole in the viewscreen exposed the cockpit to the vacuum of space and offered a clue as to the reason for the crew's demise. One of the pilots was clad in archaic battle armor and the other in some kind of civilian flight suit but Aar-D'Vark wasn’t interested in those members of the long dead crew. Behind the two foremost chairs was a single command chair. Like the others, a figure was still strapped in place where it died. Also humanoid, this one was clad in simple robes. Aar-D'Vark hissed, “Jedi.”

 

The cold, sterile vacuum of space had preserved the Jedi's body better than any mortician. Other than looking like a sun-dried Jogan fruit, the corpse was in remarkable condition. Male, human and bearded - a typical Jedi of any era. Still, Aar-D'Vark wasn't here to admire curiosities. Stooping to rummage through the dead Jedi’s robes, the dark apprentice quickly found his prize. Smiling a toothy grin behind his helmet's tinted visor, Aar-D'Vark pulled the Jedi’s lightsaber free. Illuminated by the dim light of of the helmet projectors, it was such a unpretentious thing. Nothing more than a metal tube with a slanted emitter and a simple leather wrap. Dried and brittle, the leather turned to dust at his touch. Holding the ancient weapon in his outstretched paw, the Togorian gingerly pressed the activation switch. Nothing happened. After being dormant for more than three thousand years, he did not expect a shining energy blade to materialize but the urge to press the button was intense and Mir Aar-D'Vark was usually unable to avoid temptation. He was just about to turn away when something else caught his keen eyes - a datapad was wedged under the long dead Jedi's thigh. Scooping up the mini computer, the huge feline warrior strode back to the exit with his trophies in hand.

 

Back aboard the assault transport, Mir Aar-D'Vark breathed a sigh of relief. His hot, stank breath fogged the helmet's visor. Once the transport’s door was sealed behind him and the nearby console indicated it was safe to do so, Aar-D'Vark removed his helmet and made his way to the flight deck. Still clad in the restrictive environmental suit, he began working quickly to disengage his craft from the corvette and engaged the sublight engines to move away at full power.

 

Once a safe distance separated the two ships, Mir locked the transport's targeting computer on the drifting hulk and launched a single torpedo. The Imperial ship's hyperdrive was already spooling up when the torpedo found its mark. A silent explosion reduced the drifting corvette to innumerable, unrecognizable pieces at the same moment as the transport made the jump into hyperspace.

 

Later, having shed the environmental suit and boots, Aar-D'Vark sat admiring his loot and basking in his good fortune. The swirling blue glow of the hyperspace tunnel illuminated the cockpit as the transport hurtled through hyperspace. It took some modifications but he had managed to connect the retrieved datapad to a charging port. A blinking light indicated that the ancient batteries were taking on power and recharging. Ignoring the datapad for the moment, the Togorian turned the lightsaber over and over in his clawed hands. He wasn't interested in recharging the ancient weapon, he coveted what was inside. Twisting, pulling, and prying, he eventually figured out how to open the hilt and access the internal workings. Inside was revealed the treasure so long hidden - a simple blue crystal. Aar-D'Vark extended a single claw and lightly touched the crystal. The crystal briefly glowed then fell dark again as if acknowledging the touch of a living being but retreating once it sensed Dark-side power. The apprentice bared his fangs in what passed for a smile. “Soon, little crystal,” he thought to himself, “you will bleed and your power will add to my own.” Aar-D'Vark replaced the cover on the hilt and stashed the lightsaber safely in his own robe.

 

Turning his attention to the recovered datapad. Mir Aar-D'Vark powered it on and scrolled through the datafiles. Survey and exploration reports, ancient diplomatic treatises, food recipes, holos of long-dead worlds... nothing of much interest. One file though caught his attention. He read the scrolling text...

 

Introduction to lightsaber construction - A lightsaber is an amazingly elegant and complicated weapon. To those that haven't had the pleasure of wielding one, they may seem like an archaic weapon of an old age...

 

 

 

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