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Old 05-08-2006, 03:50 AM   #163
Jae Onasi
@Jae Onasi
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Chapter 18

(Thanks to Jiara and Emperor Devon--your help with the beta-reading is much appreciated.)

Chapter 18: Tornado

“Hang on; it’s going to get rough. This tornado’s right on top of us and I don’t have enough room to maneuver. We have to get above the storm to escape,” Jolee said.

The winds grabbed hold and rocked the ship. Jolee’s hands gripped the controls, fighting to keep us airborne as the furious gales slammed us up and down. My fingernails bit through fabric where I grabbed the armrests too tightly, and I breathed deep to fight back the fear as the ship bucked again. I shouldn’t have stayed out so long. I shouldn’t have risked our lives for a couple of pieces of a broken starfighter.

“Jae, block those emotions. I can’t afford the distraction,” Jolee growled over all the noise of debris peppering the ship. He hit another control when the ship started to roll violently. It corkscrewed a few more times before Jolee could slow it down to shaking turns.

I compressed the terror into a tiny nugget and hoped it would be enough to allow Jolee to concentrate. His eyes were riveted to the displays, and he said nothing. An alarm sounded, warning of extreme structural stress, and I felt the vibrations down to my bones. I fought to press the fear back down again and block the adrenaline surge.

The ship shuddered. One of the compartment latches broke free, and tools flew out into the cockpit like miniature missiles. I froze them all in mid-air. One hovered a few centimeters from Jolee’s head, and I held on tight through all the shaking. Please, let this end soon….

The skies lightened abruptly. We broke through the top of the storm into the clear stratosphere where all weather stopped. I looked at the cloud deck below us, its puffy white innocence belying the deadly winds that roiled below.

“Heh, good girl! Knew you could do it,” Jolee said to the ship, patting the edge of the instrument panel. Then he looked up and saw the hydrospanner suspended just above him. “Jae, were you planning on whacking me with that thing if we crashed?”

I giggled and breathed the rest of the anxiety away. I used the Force to fly everything back to the compartment, then locked the latch down tight.

“Show-off,” Jolee snorted. “And make sure it’s latched tight this time.”

I grinned and then scanned the instrument readouts. “Ship integrity looks OK.”

He studied his readouts and nodded agreement, then looked at me. “What do you think the odds are of surviving a Class five tornado like that one?”

“After what we just went through, I’m betting it’s less than flying through an asteroid field.”

“The answer is it doesn’t matter as long as you survive.”

“Oh, Jolee…” I just shook my head in amazement.

“Let’s get back to the capitol. I’ll contact the Li’adans and give them the short story on what happened. And for Force’s sake, go get some dry clothes on before you leave a giant puddle all over and catch cold or something like that.”

* * *

We landed, and the emergency teams scrambled around the ship, searching for any danger. Finding none, they released the Accipiter to the repair crew. Kiol’ad and Tarm’ad came aboard to evaluate Dycen’a and get more information. Jolee spoke with Kiol’ad while I took Tarm’ad to see Dycen’a.

“The injuries are pretty extensive. Jolee and I agreed we don’t have enough power to prevent multiple organ failure during healing. It’ll take a couple of Masters to heal him properly.” I sighed. “I wish he’d surrendered instead.”

“I don’t believe it was in his nature. He needed to be stopped. We found his base, and there were tens of Singles there, some severely injured or damaged in some way by Dycen’a. We think it took a remarkable restraint to keep him alive, actually,” Tarm’ad said, peering at one of the wounds and then looking at the monitors. “Looks like a very stable stasis field. This should hold him well as long as you leave soon for Coruscant.”

“We’ll have to leave Talin here, then.”

“He’s healed enough to go with you,” Tarm’ad said. When I raised my eyebrows in surprise, the Triad continued, “He was the model patient while you were gone. We were able to free up a kolto tank, and he didn’t even complain when we put him in it for awhile.”

Jolee overheard us as Kiol’ad and he came to see Dycen’a. “Will wonders never cease. The boy actually listened to reason, then.”

Tarm’ad smiled. “He is rather strong-willed, but he did well.”

“‘Strong-willed’ is not the description I’d use,” said Jolee.

Tarm’ad’s smile broadened. “We’ll send him to you shortly, along with your belongings, so that you can be on your way.”

After Tarm’ad debarked, Jolee said, “Jae, show Kiol’ad what you found running around in that damn storm that nearly killed us.”

Kiol’ad’s eyes widened. “That was one of the worst storms we’ve had in years. You were out in it? You’re lucky you weren’t killed.”

“I had to go out. It was the only way to find out where Dycen’a had been. I found the navicomputer, and this object. I’ve never seen anything like this before.” I handed him a slim metal cylinder.

Kiol’ad pressed a tiny button, and a display flashed to life. “Ah, good, it works. This is a timestreamer. It maps out time with great precision. All events are referenced to these instruments.”

“That’s a pretty fancy chronometer,” Jolee said.

“Rather like that, yes, but far more detailed, and it works in multiple dimensions. Our species has the ability to make limited transfers extra-dimensionally in time. The timestreamers prevent the formation of time paradoxes. We know exactly when we leave a particular dimension and exactly what time we return. Most curious that he would have one of these on a ship. We’ll have Aklar’an process both instruments for data.”

“Can non-Li’adans use it?” Jolee asked.

“No, only those who can make the transfers in time.”

“So we have to worry not only where Dycen’a went, but when he went.”

“Precisely. We’ll contact you shortly,” Kiol’ad said, and then left the ship.

I watched various thoughts play across Jolee’s face. “So, what are you thinking?”

“A lot of things. Let’s get Talin settled, and once we get going we’ll all talk to see if any of my ideas make any sense.”

* * *

Talin eased his tall frame down onto the sofa with a sigh. “It’s good to get out of that infirmary bed. I don’t know what it is about those things, but they’re never comfortable.”

“You look a lot better. The kolto did you good,” I observed, handing both Jolee and Talin some mugs of caffa before sitting down on the sofa with a cup of my own.

“I hate the taste of that stuff. No matter how tight a mask they put on, somehow it always works its way in.”

“It’s awful, I know. I’m glad I don’t have to do that again.”

“Why would you have to do that again….just how did you get hurt?” Talin’s eyes narrowed as he frowned at me.

“I’m fine, it was all minor. You can’t even tell where I healed. Your fighting tips were very helpful, by the way.”

“Yes indeed, the fighting tips were quite useful. However, Dycen’a wasn’t the main problem, was he, Jae?” Jolee said.

“What’s worse than a Sith apprentice, except maybe his master?” Talin looked back and forth at Jolee and me.

Jolee replied, “She ran out into a Class five tornado looking for little souvenirs in the wreckage of Dycen’a’s ship. Thank goodness it was actually something important instead of a caffa-maker.”

“Great, Jolee. I’m glad you broke it to him gently.”

“When we get back to Coruscant, I’m going to ask the other Masters if impudence was added to the Padawan curriculum recently. I think I missed that somewhere in Jedi Master training.”

Talin looked at both of us in disbelief, then concern. “Why would you do anything so insane? You could have been killed! Didn’t I tell you to come back safe?”

“Talin, we’re both fine, and you need to stay calm right now.” I put a hand on top of his briefly to transmit tranquility and pointedly ignored Jolee’s amused look. “Going after those instruments was our only chance to get some answers on Dycen’a’s whereabouts. Kiol’ad has Aklar’an reviewing the information in both the navcomputer and the timestreamer.”

We filled him in on the rest of the events.

Talin brought out a datapad. “While I was stuck in bed, I looked over the data that Kiol’ad gave us at our first meeting. The vortices have been appearing in this system and near Ossus. That has to be connected to what you’ve found.”

“Why go back in time to Ossus?” I asked. “Oh, wait. The Scourge defense holocron was from the Jedi Library there, wasn’t it?”

“The Jedi managed to get some materials out of the Library before the stars exploded, but we still lost a lot of items,” Talin said.

Jolee sat back in his chair, stroking his chin in thought. “That holocron was supposed to have been one of those lost items. Here’s my theory. Dycen’a was apprenticed to a Sith Master and went traveling around in time to steal items for him. Somehow, he was able to slip in and out of the Jedi Library, though we’ll probably never learn how.”

“Dycen’a and his Sith Lord had to meet up from time to time so he could deliver whatever he got from Ossus and get his training,” I said. “If we can find out where he’s been going, we may be able to narrow down the location of his master.”

Jolee nodded. “Now you’re using that brain of yours. When we get to Coruscant, we’ll check with the Master Archivist to see if any other items were missing instead of confirmed destroyed at Ossus. If Dycen’a has been time-hopping for this Sith and stealing holocrons, we may be up against something far more dangerous than we anticipated.”

From MST3K's spoof of "Hercules Unchained"--heard as Roman medic soldiers carry off an unconscious Greek Hercules on a 1950's Army green canvas stretcher: "Hi, we're IX-I-I. Did somebody dial IX-I-I?"

Read The Adventures of Jolee Bindo and see the amazing Peep Surgery
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Last edited by Jae Onasi; 11-14-2006 at 04:08 PM. Reason: revision
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