October 29, 2020

Isaiah the Gray, Part 27

Previously: https://storytogether.com/2020/10/22/isaiah-the-gray-part-26/

Set A Course

Corban, Isaac, Jimmy, and Zero-You go about their business, knowing that the conversation is over for now.

“AI, set a course for the chip’s location,” says Isaiah. “With all due haste.”

“Right away, Commander,” replies AI over the intercom.

The sleek and elegant Defiant zooms around nearly 180 degrees in mere moments – and blasts off through the massive desert expanse of Tatooine, shredding the sound barrier in the process.

With the sonic boom in the rear view mirror, Isaiah approaches Jimmy.

“Something feels off about this situation, Jimmy,” he says. “My gut tells me we’ll find more than we bargained for when we arrive.”

“I don’t doubt it,” replies Jimmy. “We’ve been on the back foot ever since we got here.”

“Commander, we’ve arrived at the coordinates,” says AI. “My sensors indicate that Roshannon Darek’s ship is set down near the edge of what appears to be a massive sarlacc pit. There’s nothing else on scanners for many miles around. I am also not detecting any lifeforms, even from the pit itself.”

“Set us down,” says Isaiah. “But everyone – you too AI – be on our guard for any trickery. She evaded the Jedi and their mercenaries; let’s do this right.”

The Desert Floor

One by one, Isaiah, Jimmy, Corban, Isaac, and Zero-You descend the Defiant’s gangplank and arrive back on the sands of Tatooine. The scorching heat of the mid-day suns beats down on the group as they fan out to begin their search.

In front of them spans a absolutely massive sarlacc pit – perhaps a half-mile across. Isaiah approaches its edge and tries to sense its life essence through the Force. The creature is indeed alive, but barely. Yet, oddly enough, it’s radiating an extraordinary amount of Light Side energy. Unexpected for a sarlacc. But perhaps that’s why the Jedi hid the catalyst here in the first place.

Jimmy turns to Zero-You. “Is this pit way larger than normal or is it just me?”

“By the looks of it, it would be the largest one ever recorded,” replies Zero-You. “But it could be just you too.”

Isaiah calls out to the group. “Jimmy and I will investigate the pit,” he says. “You three see if she’s still on-board her ship. Be on your guard. We don’t know what she’s capable of.”

Corban, Isaac, and Zero-You nod as Isaiah and Jimmy look down into the pit. They can’t see the bottom. To call it a daunting sight would be a tremendous understatement. “It’s radiating an immense amount of Light Side energy,” says Jimmy. “How is that possible?”

“Stands to reason the catalyst is down there,” says Isaiah. “Perhaps it even fused with this creature somehow. Let’s take a look. I will ensure the spines do not attempt to digest us.”

“That’s…comforting,” says Jimmy who wears an uncomfortable look.

Down the Rabbit Hole

Slowly but surely, Isaiah and Jimmy make their way down, treating the sarlacc’s spikes like a ladder. But with each step, the concentration of force energy is akin to sinking getting deeper and deeper into the ocean. The pressure mounting and building. For Isaiah, the descent is fairly easy; for Jimmy, each step is an arduous task.

At the bottom, there’s no stomach. Instead, there’s a long, organic passageway further into the creature’s depths. The “tunnel” of sorts is lit with what appear to be baby-blue colored beacons of some kind.

As he takes his last step and reaches the bottom, Jimmy is barely able to breathe.

“Stay here,” says Isaiah. “I’ll return for you.”

Jimmy hangs his head. He doesn’t have much of a choice.

Now in a bit of a hurry, Isaiah proceeds down the passageway. As he runs, the Light Side of the Force moves freely throughout his being. It’s a simultaneously exhilarating and anxiety-inducing sensation, one that Isaiah tries his best to block out.

At the end of the tunnel is a large, circular room. There, a great machine of incredible complexity, much like the one on Korriban, sits atop a raised altar of some kind. Roshannon Darek, clad in sand-colored camouflage robes stands in front of the machine, her back turned as Isaiah enters the room.

As she senses Isaiah’s presence in the doorway, she spins around. “Who are you?” she asks.