October 22, 2020

Isaiah the Gray, Part 26

Previously: https://storytogether.com/2020/10/15/isaiah-the-gray-part-25/

Competition is Good for Business

“I believe I can be of service,” says Zero-You. The combat droid is positively beaming.

“Nonsense,” says AI over the intercom. “Please, allow me to help in retrieving the chip’s data.”

“And why, disembodied voice, do you get to have all the fun, huh!?” replies Zero-You, his expression becoming more exasperated.

“Fine,” says AI through the computer version of gritted teeth. “We’ll do it together.”

As the droid/AI rivalry simmers down, Jimmy turns to Corban. “How long have you had this chip?” he asks of the Blind Jedi.

Corban and Isaac share a glance. “It was a gift from the Council when I became its Chief Archivist,” says Corban. “At first, I could not glean anything from it, no Force sensitivity, no history, no nothing. But as the weeks and months went on, it began to vibrate when it was in my presence.”

“Never a good sign by the way,” says Zero-You, not looking up from his hacking work.

The Singing Crystal Chip

Corban, rarely phased by his droid comrade anymore, continues. “Years went by and one day, it began to sing the most beautiful tune. At first, I couldn’t understand the words but the more time I spent in its presence, I was finally able to make out “Tatooine,” “Desert,” “Jedi,” and “Path.” From my research and my own meditation, I surmised that this chip was related to the test of our ancestors and may contain the location of the Jedi Catalyst.”

Isaiah tries to put the pieces together. “That’s quite the leap Corban. But I trust in your faith here. A crucial question though comes to mind: if the Jedi gave this relic to you as a gift, do you feel they know what information it may contain?”

Corban ponders this question for a few moments. “Truthfully, I hadn’t thought so until very recently. But it’s not something we can rule out anymore.”

Isaiah feels something in Corban’s words, something missing. “Have you left anything out, Corban? Anything important?”

Isaac interrupts. “Corban is aware that…I gave the chip to the Jedi Council. A long time ago.”

Isaac’s Story

Isaiah fixes his gaze on Isaac. He accesses the Gray Captain’s memory through the Force to try and cut straight to the truth.

An image forms and fills Isaiah’s mind’s eye. Isaac, the same age as today, is standing on the magnificent stone steps of the Jedi Library. Frozen in time, he’s handing the chip to an old Jedi, cloaked in royal blue. On the surface this man looks very much like Corban – but not Corban himself. Isaiah fixes his attention on this old Jedi, using the Force to try and figure out his identity.

Back on the Defiant, Isaiah’s trance breaks and his eyes grow wide for a moment. “Isaac, how is this possible? That man was Corban’s ancestor from ten generations ago,” says Isaiah, stunned.

“I am sorry if this feels like deception,” replies Isaac. “What you witnessed is true. But this…is part of being a Gray.”

Surprised and skeptical, Jimmy pushes the issue. “How so?”

“As I mentioned before Jimmy, the Gray are awakened at critical inflection points in the Galaxy’s cycles to ensure the health and preservation of the Force itself,” replies Isaac. “But perhaps not as clear: it’s the same Gray who live through those events in each cycle. And are again put to sleep when the Force is back in balance.”

Isaiah and Jimmy have heard some extraordinary things in the past week or so. But this one from Isaac may top them all.

We Have a Catalyst to Find

“Our memory of our home-world are erased for its own protection,” continues Isaac. “But when our mission is a success we get to go home and sleep, awaiting our next awakening. That is the life of a Gray.”

The AI pops over the intercom as Zero-You runs back into the room. “Location confirmed. The chip is in the Tamari desert, nearly on the other side of the planet. My scans don’t reveal anything special in the area.”

“The mystery deepens,” adds Zero-You.

“We will save this conversation for another time,” says Isaiah to both Corban and Isaac. “For now, we have a catalyst to find.”