Kor and Prauf looked at each other blankly. Being addressed by the ancient mechanism wasn’t something they’d been prepared for. Having it assume Kor was a Jedi was even more surprising.
“What do you think?” Kor asked.
Prauf shrugged. “I guess it’s programmed to assume anyone with a lightsaber is a Jedi.” He stepped back, waving Kor forward. “It’s your game.”
Kor took a breath to steady his nerves then addressed the grill. “Open the door,” he said. It seemed like as good a response as any.
There was a squeal of metal from the other side, followed by scraping as of a crossbar being raised. The door swung open on grinding hinges. Kor grimaced and pulled his head back from the earsplitting noise.
He wiggled a finger in his ear. “We need to get some oil on those hinges!”
The doorbot answered his rhetorical comment. “I will send another request to the maintenance department, Master Jedi.”
Kor rolled his eyes. “My name is Kor Kendas and my friend is Prauf.”
“Actually, it’s Prauf ne Jhemon d’Aubreta,” Prauf added formally. Kor gave him a puzzled look, so he added, “My name then ne Jhemon to show who my father is and d’Aubreta indicating I’m from the planet Aubreta. Prauf ne Jhemon d’Aubreta.”
“Very well, Master Kor, Master Prauf,” the doorbot agreed.
Kor said to the doorbot, “Don’t bother calling maintenance though. I don’t think anyone is there.” He looked around.
“That would explain why they haven’t responded to my previous 178,389 requests,” the doorbot said pedantically.
Kor nodded absently as he slowly went through, staring around the huge room beyond. It had the look and feel of a lounge or reception area. There were groups of couches and chairs around the room, usually surrounding a low table. Each group was sized for comfortable conversation yet not so close to the other groups as to intrude on their conversation. Huge pots that once must have held indoor trees were scattered around the room as well. One whole wall was made of plexiglass but it was so overgrown with vines on the outside that hardly any sunlight made it’s way through, casting the room into a green-shaded twilight.
“Close the door and don’t let anyone or anything come in,” Kor said to the doorbot. “And alert us if anyone enters the hangar bay.”
“Yes, Master Kor.”
The door swung close with another earsplitting squeal of rusty hinges.
Prauf shook his head. “Definitely need some oil on that thing.” He flipped on the flashlight on his blaster and panned it around the room. Everywhere they looked it was more of the same except on the far side where three sets of double, sliding doors, looking very much like lift doors were bracketed on either end by obvious open stairwells.
“Lifts or stairs?” he asked.
Kor shrugged. “The doorbot was functioning. Maybe the lifts are running too.”
“All Force-powered technology in the building is working, Master Kor,” the doorbot said unexpectedly from behind them, “but some of it may be malfunctioning due to a lack of maintenance.”
Prauf was puzzled. “Force-powered technology?”
Kor nodded, leading the way. “Morg Shippa has made it pretty clear that the Jedi of his time relied on the Force the way people today rely on electricity or gravitics. Lightsabers,” he patted his, “are an example of Force-powered technology. Since they get their power from the Force, which is generated by life itself, they never run out of power.”
They reached the far wall and he touched a button by one of the lifts. A red light above the door came on. A few moments later it turned green and the doors slide open to reveal a lighted empty lift.
Prauf was impressed. “This place has been sitting empty for how long, and everything still works?”
Kor nodded as they stepped inside. It affected him the same way. He looked at the buttons. “I guess we try them one at a time.” He touched the one for the next floor down.
They spent the rest of the day and part of that evening exploring the building. It was bigger than it looked but nowhere near the massive scale of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. Prauf’s datapad recorded everything for future reference but mostly it was recording empty rooms. When the ancient Jedi left for Coruscant they’d taken everything with them. Moreland had called it a library but if so, it was one where all the books had been checked out. The furniture, except in cases like the big lounge where it was bolted to the floor, had been taken as well. The cupboards were bare and most of the appliances were missing. Plaques and pictures had been removed from the walls and the curtains or drapes had been taken too. It was all one huge, empty echoing space, from one room to the next and one floor to the next.
The only time anything interesting happened was toward evening when they were poking around some of the larger living quarters. When they entered one of them, the bands on Kor’s wrists lit up with flashing lights and a hologram of Morg Shippa appeared in the middle of the otherwise empty room.
“Hello my Jedi student,” the avatar said. “It appears you’ve been led here by the training bands on your wrists. As you can see, we’ve pulled up stakes and moved to Coruscant.” The hologram waved his arms around indicating the empty room. “I’m afraid we took everything that wasn’t nailed down so there’s not much here for you.” The avatar paused, then smiled. “Except for two things.” He waved a hand and a hidden drawer slide silently out of the far wall. “Take a look at the first one.”
Kor shrugged and went to see. Prauf followed him curiously.
Inside the drawer were trays of glowing blue crystals.
“What’s that supposed to be?” Prauf asked.
Kor shook his head but Morg’s avatar must have heard the question. “Ah! You’ve brought a companion with you. Hello, whoever you are. And the answer to your question is, these are the semi-living kyber crystals that we use to power all our Jedi technology. There’s a data disk in here that explains in detail how to grow more of them. It’s a time-consuming process that many Jedi are starting to avoid in favor of just ‘digging them up out of the ground’ and I fear that one day the Order may forget the process entirely, so I left your Jedi friend several trays of them to use until he or she can grow new ones.”
“Use them for what?” Kor asked.
“For starters, you can use them to build a true lightsaber only a Jedi can use,” Morg said. “I detect you’re carrying a half-and-half lightsaber that can be used by anyone. Such compromises are part of what’s wrong with the Jedi lately.” His tone was disapproving. “I suspect it’ll be our downfall someday, along with other things.”
Kor felt his eyebrows rise. He wasn’t exactly sure how the Jedi had fallen but the fact they had argued that Morg’s worries had been prescient. “Can you show me how to make a true lightsaber?”
Morg’s avatar smiled. “Of course. Once you’re finished with the training bands and graduate to the book, you’ll find the information in there.” He gestured at the drawer. “Now that you’ve seen it, you’ll be able to use the Force to open and close it, so you can take some of the kyber crystals with you or leave them here for safekeeping. It’s up to you.”
Kor reached out with the Force and closed the drawer. It slid back into place so seamlessly it was impossible to see. Morg smiled wider. “Leaving them here means you’ll be coming back. A wise decision.” His avatar winked out.
“And I’ll show you why.” His avatar reappeared in the opening to a short hallway. “This way to the second thing I have for you.”
Kor glanced a Prauf.
Prauf nodded. “This is the most interesting thing that’s happened all day.”
Morg’s avatar floated smoothly down the hall. The door at the end whisked open to reveal a console of controls with a huge wall screen above them. The avatar waved his hand and the controls came to life. The screen flickered then showed a picture of the galaxy.
“You can zoom in on any star that’s been surveyed,” Morg told them. “and see all the information about it and any planets it has.” He demonstrated, using the Force on the controls until Kor had the hang of it. “However, you’ll notice there is no record anywhere of this planet, Zosma. I erased it from the records. I couldn’t erase the system from the records, but I changed it so it looks like the most boring one imaginable, with no planets or anything.” He smiled impishly. “My own little project. In a couple of generations, no one will be able to find this place again except by accident.”
“Cute,” Kor said.
The avatar hesitated. “I’m not familiar with that phrasing but from the context it appears to be a compliment or agreement. Correct?”
Kor reminded himself he was talking to a machine, a prerecorded answer-and-response holo Morg had made of himself centuries ago. “Yes, it was.”
The avatar nodded. “Good.” It waved at the console. In here is a library of historical information about the galaxy, the Force, the Jedi, the Sith, this planet, our new Temple on Coruscant, everything you need to know. I trust you’ll use it well. May the Force be with you.”
The avatar disappeared.