Log:Mystery of the Obroan Core

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The Jedi investigate a power core issue

OOC Date: April 1, 2021
Location: Aurora City, Obroa-Skai
Participants: Ban Iskender, Chani Tahn, Aryn Cortess

What scant light of the system's star is able to filter through the thick clouds glitters on the oceans of ice that cover the great majority of the planet surface. On approach to Aurora City, the landing procedure runs as smoothly and predictably as ever, and soon enough the ship is landed and the trio of nascent Jedi are moving through the alien city toward the tall towers of the Obroan Institute for Archaeology. Ban had been idly entertained by the eclectic variety of music he'd half overheard on their travel through the city, delaying their travel by a moment at one terminal in order to queue up a classical Alderaanian piece before moving on.

It is one of the greatest repositories of knowledge in the galaxy, and last time it had needed a tractor beam to drag Aryn away. Now she has returned, and as the legendary towers loomed near, a few curiosities seized the eye: first, a steady procession of freight crawlers were moving away from the Institute, toward numerous disparate landing pads. Second, while there were far too many redundant backup generators for the library towers to go dark, over half of the windows in the complex stood dark, and several more flickered periodically.

Lastly, upon reaching the towers proper, an Obroan guard- a bulky, seven foot walrus-like mammal in a Constable's helmet and uniform- blocked approach with an upraised flipper-like hand. Four security droids flanked him. "With respect and courtesy, I am to inform all knowledge-seekers that in light of irregular and unstable power fluctuations, access to facilities and archives is temporarily restricted. Restricted! Unless of course you have an appointment." As he speaks, a binary loadlifter trundles out of the institute, carrying a large crate stamped with RELIGIOUS ESOTERICA SUBDIVISION toward a half-loaded freight crawler.

The stamp catches Aryn's eye about mid-speech from the Constable, and Aryn speaks up for the trio, brushing her hood back to reveal neatly brushed and partly braided blonde hair. "Constable, we are here to speak with Under Secretary Heironymous Bomm of the Religious Esoterica Subdivision. Might you facilitate informing the Under Secretary that the Princess, Aryn of New Alderaan, has arrived?" Aryn name dropped her title and used the Constable's to establish a precedent of importance behind the meeting. Surely, if a Princess was here, it meant something.

The state of the Archives seemed reflective of their luck of late, but Aryn supposes there is no technique that might arcanely inform Lana Panteer of their intent OR destination, so she marks this inconvenience appropriately without the usurper's name in the blame column.

Aryn glances toward her companions a moment, sharing a gaze with each before looking back to the Constable to see if her request finds any merit and sets the Obroan to purpose.

"This architecture is amazing. It's like nothing I've ever seen before." Chani's dark gaze fixates on one of the crystalplas towers as they approach the library. She settles into silence, robes wrapped around her, as they approach the steps and find their way barred by what seems to be an employee, if the box in his hands has anything to say about it. Arms wrapping around her, Chani conceals most of her body behind the feyd-cloth robe. The only thing visible is her head. Her dark hair is pulled back into a tight ponytail, leaving all the tresses slicked back and held down so that they're not in her face or vision.

"Hurmmm. An appointment. Very well, very well. One moment," the Constable rumbles in response, before activating a communicator and waiting for several seconds for the sign to be accepted. A brief conversation in the grunting barks of the Obroan language follows. The Constable's small black eyes flit from Aryn to Chani and Ban as he speaks again, before receiving an answer. The connection is closed and the Obroan guard crosses flippers above his expansive abdomen to voice, "Welcome back to the Institute for Archaeology, Doctor Cole. Yourself and your research assistants are hereby admitted." A turn toward one of the droid guards, "Escort the visitors to the Xenology Tower, Religious Esoterica subdivision." The droid claps its hands together in some native variety of a salute or bow, and begins a mechanical march into the facility.

"Thank you. Be well, Constable." Aryn remarks before dipping her chin in gratitude. She steps off after Ban does, and walks beside Chani. "There used to be a temple on this world," She explains, "We visited it once. The ruins were in a sorry state, but once many years ago, I imagine the architecture looked much like it does here. Even the ruins held some humbling aura. The great stones used to forge its walls, or the various structures within, took a great deal of work."

"Shiraya bless your day," Chani offers to the Constable with a bow that sees her arms unfold so her palms can place flat against the front of her thighs. It's deep enough that she bends at the hips for it, but not so far that she's ninety degrees. A respectful gesture if there ever was one. Standing to her full height again, which is meager against most other humans save for the noble Princess near her, Chani folds her arms again and hides them into the over-sized sleeves of her robe. She follows into the building with the pair of Alderaanians and at the guide of one of the guard droids. "I get the sense that it's very old. On Naboo, they teach that the archives here once held all knowable information. I'm not sure how true it is, but there's always some hint of truth in legends and myths."

Ban Iskender falls into step with the others behind their mechanoid guide. Of the ruins, he remarks, "It was the greatest of the Consular Temples, before the Imperial Purge. A sizable band of bounty hunters had made use of its remains as a.. training camp." Subtle distaste is audible in the last two words.

A turbolift ride is delayed briefly as the power fades for several seconds as a backup generator struggles to keep the platform functioning. The droid reports the power fade, and the remainder of the trip is swift, arriving at what Aryn would recognize as the crystal turret occupied by Heironymous Bomm. Non essential lights are dark, and the big alien is entrenched behind his desk, mid communicator conversation: "That is the last of the temperature sensitive reliquaries, yes, yes. Inform me immediately once the inertial dampening containers are prepared for the suspended artifacts. Immediately!" The blubbery mammal's tongue is briefly visible in a smile as the academic- resembling a seven foot walrus in a waistcoat, greets, "Doctor Cole! Welcome, welcome. And you have brought new faces! Are these two of your fellows in the Skywalker Restoration?" The cheerful creature looks from Aryn and Ban to Chani.

"Just so, you have the pleasure of meeting Lord Ban of House Iskender, and Chani Tahn of the Naboo." Aryn introduces the Under Secretary in turn and steps into a small circle to gesture. "This is Under Secretary Heironymous Bomm of the Religious Esoterica Subdivision, the same who granted us access to their extensive archives about the Order." Aryn's hands lock behind her back and she grows quiet to allow the others a moment to respond in kind.

"It is a pleasure to meet you, Under Secretary Heironymous Bomm," Chani bows once more with the same kind of genuflection to showed the employee outside the archive. She seems willing to display such levels of respect no matter the recipient. "You have my gratitude for allowing us access." Her gaze travels to the blonde Princess a moment later. The silent question of just what the Skywalker Restoration is lingers in that gaze, but she speaks nothing of it in the interim. There are probably things better left unsaid in the public light. Especially when she is unsure of the full capacity of their credentials and what this Heironymous Bomm may or may not know about the good doctor.

Ban Iskender offers the, "Under-secretary," a short bow of the head and shoulders in greeting, one gloved hand composed at the small of his back, the other adding a small flourish to the short bow across his abdomen.

The Obroan chuffs happily, "The pleasure is entirely mine, I assure you. Entirely mine." Unabashedly peering at the minutae of clothing, and weapons carried by the trio. "The variety is wholly refreshing," he muses, before clearing his resonant throat. "I regret that the present circumstances do not allow me the leisure to interview you all more thoroughly, but.." A hefty sigh. "The primary and secondary power cores are failing for as of yet undetermined causes. The auxiliary generators have of course prevented the destruction of the list vulnerable artifacts, but if course procedures must be obeyed, and thus, the present limited evacuation of the Celebratus Archive. It has been underway for days."

Aryn meets Chani's look and nods as if to convey that it is okay. Though her attention returns to the Under-Secretary and nods her head. "A most peculiar circumstance, I gather. Knowing of our particular gifts, might I offer our service to help ascertain the cause of these power fluctuations?" Aryn did not mention the true reason of their visit. That had been addressed in the private communication to arrange the appointment. The priorities had shifted because of the archives current situation. As Ban might say, it 'bears addressing.'

"Are there often power fluctuations?" Though Aryn is negotiating their assistance in the matter, Chani asks the question nonetheless. This is her first visit to this planet, and the more seasoned of guests -- and the Under Secretary besides -- will know better than her. Still, it helps to have a full grasp of the situation at hand. "I imagine not, given the mention of vulnerable artifacts." And the fact that there have been evacuations in the previous days. Chani glances around the archive itself, still in awe of their surroundings and not having yet had time to fully absorb where they are. She finds that to often be the case. Sometimes her only views of new worlds are regretably ones that preclude her from being able to truly appreciate it.

"Most peculiar. Mist peculiar, indeed," Bomm agrees with a huff through whiskers. "If any assistance can be offered, every Obroan would be most grateful. Mist grateful, indeed. It is a puzzle we cannot yet solve.. The power cord should have functioned unt it's scheduled replacement in another sixty-seven years.. Still, when it faded, and all power conduits remained in working order, a replacement core was inserted. What should have functioned for over a century was spent on two days. Two days! My poor colleagues in the physics and engineering subdivisions are beside themselves. Any information you require shall be supplied- provided of course it is not removed from the planet." The reflexive Obroan caveat. Chani's inquiry draws a curious "Hurm," and he prompts the, "Computer: what is the standard degree of power fluctuations within the Celebratus Archive over the past fifty years, disregarding the past ten days, and any designated periods of maintenance." To Chani, "I dislike speculation.. Your patience, please." The computer recites <Average deviation of zero point one two one percent. Automated alarms triggered in cases of power fluctuation greater than zero point two five percent of output.> Heironymous nods. "So yes, fluctuations are common, but nothing near this scale." When Ban inquires what state the spent power cores were left in, the Obroan huffs, "That's another mystery. No cracks, no detectable defects. No detonation or burnout. Simply.. spent."

"We can revisit the reason we have come after we look into the matter of these fluctuations," Aryn addresses, placing the need of the Obroans over their own. The answers to the questions lead Aryn to speculate quietly, briefly orienting her eyes toward the ceiling buried in thought. "It seems indicative of a power drain. Though I do not know what could possibly drain that much power without leaving a mark to the culprit. Would you grant us the necessary permission to look at the core and investigate its surrounding chambers?"

"That is.. frighteningly accurate." The computer's ability to relay such precise information at any given moment is a marvel. She wonders what other knowledge it contains with its resources. "I can understand the need for avoiding speculation. Speculation is often made with presumption based on personal bias. Information, and truth, should be void of that." Chani looks away from the Under Secretary to her two companions. "Are power draws even possible away from the site?" She's no engineer. She's not sure how the equipment might function. She knows that most everything she's had to charge has necessitated it being plugged into some sort of battery or source.

Heironymous Bomm answers Aryn, "I will recommend you to the Director of Maintenance with emphasis. With great emphasis!" As he continues speaking, the Obroan academic dispatches said missive. "She has welcomed any advisors on the matter openly, I anticpate the necessary clearance will be pushed through the process of review, verification, and approval within-" His computer terminal beeps, interrupting. "Hurm? Well, that was almost.. unseemly haste. Ah well, it is not for me to judge the Director of Maintenance on matters of maintenance, is it? Approval granted." Bomm beans at Chani. "Just so, madam. Just so! Truth must be void of speculation. So succinctly put!

Ban muses to Chani, "I have but little knowledge of such technical concerns, mistress. I can only surmise that if it has not been drawn away, then it must somehow remain. Inspection of the core and adjacent chambers as the good doctor suggests seems an apt step."

Aryn draws back her cape to slide out a flashlight that was clipped to her belt. She tests the device by clicking it on, then off, its beam oriented toward the ground. "With approval granted, I suppose we need only the direction to go to reach the core. Could you arrange for an escort, Under-Secretary?" Aryn releases her cape to cover the lightsaber hilt once more and looks between Ban and Chani as they discuss the fluctuations and logic behind power draw.

"I'm no expert in technology, myself. My skills are limited to what basic functions can be performed with a holoterminal or datapad," Chani remarks to Lord Iskender. "I simply found myself curious as to whether or not the answer would be deceptively close, as answers can often be." She bows with genuine respect to the Under Secretary a second time before departing with her companions to ascertain the truth of the situation they find themselves in. The clearance to do so comes with the kind of haste that surprises her, but as is often in these situations, Chani finds herself best relegated to silence and introspection. She is, after all, a student in many ways. To the galaxy and its goings-on most assuredly. Best to observe and learn.

"Of course, of course. The security escort who brought you here can be instructed to show the way. It will be quite the descent, to the roots of the Archive.. the power core was required to rest very deep underground, since the Solar Flare of- I'm getting off topic, again..."

The Celebratus Archive is vast, and the descent into the depths of the power grid is both lengthy and- with all auxiliary power diverted to the essential functions of the facility- generally dark, apart from far spaced emergency lights in a dark red color that was quite helpful to Obroans, but.. rather ominous to Humans. Deeper and deeper until the cold begins to bite deeper. And gradually- as their holographic map provided to them indicates that they are nearly at the core itself, their trust guard/guide begins to report, <Power failure in unit Roger Rooooogg..> before the vocoder fades into silence, and the droid- interrupted mid-step, clatters to the ground, as if it were on strings that had been cut.

The clatter of the droid and its dying commentary followed by the vacant darkness that surrounded them left Aryn feeling chilled to the bone, and not just from the temperature. She clicked on her light, shining it down at the droid to ascertain why it had just stopped working. Were there signs of damage on its chassis? "I have a dreadful feeling. Like our next moments might evolve to something more sanguinary. Danger looms in the darkness above us.."


Aryn unfastens the lightsaber from her belt and angles her flashlight to the space above them. A deeply rooted fear manifests in the back of her mind and she recalls Umgul, the mines where the Mnngal Mnngal pulled her from her companions to kill, and presumably, consume her. The leather glove tightens on the cold curved hilt of her lightsaber with the telltale ticks of friction.

The chill of the frosted air outside of the Archive was not something pleasant on their arrival. Chani finds that the deeper they go into the structure, that doesn't seem to change. She supposes it makes sense. If there are data servers and items vulnerable to humidity and heat, the best thing for them is the cold. Still, Chani draws the robes around herself a little closer and tries to focus on keeping her mind on something else. Mind over matter has been an important subject in her study of the Force. Learning to distance herself from the annoyances in the physical, emotional, and mental spectrum is supposed to help her get closer to her connection with the Force and to be able to call upon it despite outside distractions. ..Supposed to. She's learning.

But that doesn't mean she's oblivious to danger. She's learned to trust this feeling of wrongness that settles in the pit of her abdomen like anxiety. The difference is that it is sometimes elusive and just a feeling. No glimpse into the future precedes it, which means she's not so much in immediate danger as she simply needs to be wary. "Qutha would dislike this place," Chani offers in response to Aryn's note of danger. She means the darkness of course. While the Princess procures a flashlight from her equipment and begins to beam it around, Chani tries to center herself in the now and steady any jitters that come from being nervous. Danger, after all, has a tendency to excite one's nerves. Despite the danger lurking from above, it's the droid that Chani begins to approach. "Curious, don't you think? That it just falls over like that. Perhaps the power leech is not connected at all. Does anyone know how to check a droid's power core?" She can barely talk to the one that sometimes accompanies her. The thought of attempting to delve into one seems absurd.

The scant illumination of Aryn's light catches upon a massive form slowly descending the crystal-smooth housing of the power core. When further given detail by the ignition of Ban's lightsaber, it resembles a colossal muscular leech, made of tar and with it's movement assisted by a number of irregular arachnid legs growing in a cluster around a wickedly fanged maw. Yartivan energy leeches are a rare and generslly harmless pest native to a single moon in a single Outer Rim system. Unable to survive travel outside of status, they rarely grew larger than a human's thumb. But gorged on enough power to fuel a planet, this one looms larger than the ship that carried the Jedi to Obroa-Skai.

Ban had begun to answer the Naboo, but his words caution with his rising sense of the the descending dread, "Chani, take care!" He instinctively moves to strike at the horror..

With a hand extended out to shine a light toward the unknown, Aryn finds the revelation to freeze her in place. The unfolding of compact arachnid legs both sickens and frightens Aryn into stepping back. Aryn imagined that if Lady Kiko had been among their party, she may have asked 'What the Rekk is that?!' But Aryn utters no such fowl language and instead finds some measure of composure and draws upon the force.

Taking herself back to a time long past, what felt like a lifetime ago, Aryn tried to urge the beast to stop its advance and halt hostilities. A complex thought like this is not easy to impart upon a beast though; they do not communicate in the same manner, and inception is still a theory conceptualized with the Force. The long story short version is that Aryn's attempt yields failure.

"I believe it means harm! Move wide or we may be crushed beneath its weight!" Aryn's cape snaps from her rapid movement to one side, her light waving from the arm pumps of a run.

Ban's shout is what make the hackles on the nape of her neck stand up more than the sense of danger that continues to permeate her emotions. His outcry forces her to look up from the droid to follow the combined illumination of Princess Cortess' flashlight and the green glow cast from the noble Lord's lightsaber. What she finds is a terrifying vision of a chitinous creature that makes her suck in a breath. She might feel paralyzed with fear and dread if not for the gnawing thought that touches at the back of her mind. Take care she does, for this creature is gargantuan and no doubt it could cause them harm. Still, Chani remembers that this is an unusual circumstance. These power fluctuations are deviant from the data. They need to know why.

Rather than attempt to attack this creature, Chani attempts to open her mind to it in the Force, so that she might glean some semblance of thought or emotion that it is producing. She cannot help but shudder nonetheless. It's a thing that plays out through her back and arms as simple muscle spasms. A ripple of pore-tightening goosebumps plays up over the skin well hidden under the layers of her robe and coarse attire. Unable to distance herself from the sensory overload and fear trying to grip at her, Chani finds no connection with this creature. She does give it a respectful distance, however, just as Aryn recommends. "What is it?" Maybe the answer of what it's doing here lies in figuring out what it is.

Ban Iskender strikes at the monstrous bulk of the horrific creature, looking to cut away one of the nightmarish grasping legs that cluster around its maw.. He strikes with an unexpected effect: the luminous green blade of his sword dims to a flicker and then it too goes dark, it's power cell drained. And where he had sought to cut the beast, a purple glow bubbles up like a cancer, and another small arachnid leg sprouts from the spot.

Ban falls back a step, and mutters a rare profanity under his breath.

Aryn's connection with the Force yields a response that manifests as a realization more than an actual answer to her questions. "This thing, it desires only to eat. It is here quarrying energy. Ban!" Aryn casts back her cape to slide out a cylindrical weapon with a covered spear head. The item is cast to the Green Knight in haste, though any further action beyond survival would have to wait because Aryn is driven back by the heavy stomp of a leg. The soles of her boots slide over the polished floor and she falls over a technician's desk, emerging from beneath it coughing.

Watching the effects of Ban's lightasber versus the creature is a moment of learning all its own. The lightsaber seems to die without making any impact. Chani wonders if it has to do with the power being drained from its cell just like with the droid. "Maybe it sees us as a threat to its food source!" Could it be territorial? If it feasts on energy, then this main power core is a gluttonous buffet that it can draw from and seems to have been doing so. She tries to communicate with it again, but Chani has never actually tried opening her mind to someone or something, much less such an alien mind as this creature's. It is no wonder she fails to accomplish such a goal. "I don't think attacking it will make anything better!"

Ban Iskender ducks backward several more steps as the monstrosity settles its bulk onto the ground level, lasing out with its mandible arms first at Aryn and next at Ban. It smells of slime and ozone.

Ban closes his eyes for a moment, centers his mind, and extends his gloved right hand toward the creature, impacting it with a wall of willpower. He seeks to push the vast creature back, but can only hold it in place for a moment, as he catches the lofted cylinder from Aryn, extending it into a spear with a smooth metallic whisper. "My thanks, my Lady," he offers to Aryn before voicing to Chani, "I daresay you are correct, Mistress. Yet if it cannot be reasoned with, and cannot be driven off, I confess I am at a loss for other courses of action. It cannot be allowed to feed upon the droids and Archives forever."

Aryn has come back to her feet but still coughs. Seeing Ban having to contend with three tasks at once leaves her to join him in his effort of casting the beast back. She marshals her energy of the force, compounding it to exit where her hands push out, extended forward as if Aryn is ejecting something from her grasp yet nothing is seen.. until it impacts the creature with palpable bass and semi-effective result. Aryn sends it backward but not enough to celebrate. "A non-lethal blow to buy us time for a better solution.." Aryn says, negotiating but obviously waiting until the scales tip toward more decisive action.

"The answer cannot be death with everything we encounter," Chani says in lieu of knowing what to say next. "We must convince it to leave somehow. Generate a stronger power signal elsewhere. Maybe somehow.. contain it or put it to sleep so that it can be removed. It is biological, even if it feeds from the power, yes?" They might not be able to stun it with any kind of current if not even a lightsaber could cause it harm. "If we don't have the correct tools now, we should retreat to find them! We found the cause, but perhaps the solution is not immediate." Her mind scrambles to think of anything besides killing this creature for simply doing what it's instinct tells it to do. "Can we somehow generate a power source greater than this core outside?" Even she admits that she's grasping. "Maybe shut it down for a brief time?"

When the great beast lurches after Aryn, Ban steps to intervene, striking at the base of the chitinous arm that grasped after the princess, and wounding the creature. A slightly luminous purple ichor pulses from the Fanged leech's ruptured hide. "The planet's largest city is a kilometer above us. And if we were able to lure or drive it to the surface, could it survive?" he wonders aloud.

Aryn must move again, sliding briefly across the ground as a leg sweeps just over her head intended to kill her. She stumbles back to her feet, not exactly the action hero type of seamlessly transition from slide to run again. "If it is calming the beast, I can try again, but I can make no promises.

Aryn attempts again her influence through the Force to impart upon the animal to retreat and stay away, but its impulse to feed overwhelms any logic inherent to its mind leaving Aryn without any results.

<<"Under Secretary Bomm, we have found the source of the problem, but it is proving.. difficult to manage with non-lethal tactics. An animal, one whose source of food is energy, preys upon the power core. It has gorged itself to the point of unnatural size and immeasurable hunger. Do your people have some means to safely contain this creature?">>

"I don't know! I don't know anything about it, other than that it doesn't belong here!" Following in Aryn's proverbial footsteps, albeit mentally rather than physically, Chani herself tries to implore some semblance of necessity to leave on the alien creature. It's a moot point. As much as she could not attune herself to its mind, she finds it impossible to make any sort of meaningful impact on its thought processes. Again, she's dabbling in areas that she has no study or training in, and as is oft the case, Chani finds herself more a liability than a helpful factor in this situation. Still, there is a moment of relief that floods through her when Aryn attempts to contact the Under Secretary to discern if they can somehow resolve this in some semblance of peaceful resolution to the situation.

Ban Iskender chooses not to press his attack, as the creature- while terrifying- seems unable to threaten much mortal harm to three Jedi. He seeks to reach out for the creature's mind in his own way, but recoils, unable to derive nuance from the animalistic intellect.

Heironymous responds with audible interest, <<An unprecedented zoological specimen, you say? I will notify the Assistant Director of Xenofauna at once. Do be certain to record all you can and preserve any tissue samples!>

<<"We will do our best, Under-Secretary.">> Aryn says, before looking back at Chani and shrugging. She wasn't sure what the Assistant Director of Xenofauna might have for resources, but it was a step toward not killing the thing. Aryn steps out in front of Ban then and raises her hand once more. "Wait," Aryn says, "I.. I feel it."

A stunning moment of clarity brings back the old memories of using this technique on an uncharted world to save her life. IT WAS THE FORCE. This realization leads Aryn to impart a simple message. One encouraging the tired beast to slumber, that it was safe from harm. It was the best she could impart without making it too complex for a simple, instinctive mind. The effort to do this leaves Aryn drained of energy herself, and she begins to fall from the exhaustion.

Things are not going well for Chani. Her connection with the Force is muddied by a number of things. No amount of attempting to exert herself through its binding energy is succeeding. The one true contribution she has made to this excursion is to convince her compatriots to not kill the creature, though Chani wonders if that's a contribution rather than a hindrance. The Under Secretary's reply sounds promising. Not quite as promising as Aryn's ability to finally reach out to the creature. She's watching the Alderaanian woman perform her feat through the Force. It provides her a front seat to also watching the woman begin to fall. "Aryn!" She can't cross that much distance in that time. It doesn't even occur to her to use the Force to do so.

Ban Iskender gives a terse exhale as the battle draws into stalemate and Aryn's appeal to the professional academic is answered with an academic's priorities. When Aryn at last reaches the colossal leech on some level and urges it to draw off and conserve its energy, the displaced parasite does indeed delay its menace, leaving the drained droid the only immediate casualty.

The solution chosen by the Obroans? Yartivan fanged energy leeches reproduce by mitosis. The monstrous creature is ultimately cut painlessly into parcels for analysis, study, and relocation.