“That’s quite impossible, regardless of any fairy tales you might have heard,” Morg’s avatar told him firmly.
Kor’s lips compressed with frustration. Arguing with a stubborn old man was difficult; trying to have that same argument with the avatar of a stubborn old man was an exercise in futility. He’d come in expecting Morg to tell him how it was possible to turn someone into a Force-sensitive, hoping to be able to replicate it with other people, only to have the old Master tell him it couldn’t be done.
“But I did it,” he said, knowing it was useless.
“No, young Jedi, what you did was help a chrysalite break out of their cocoon,” Morg’s avatar said condescendingly. “It’s rare but it does happen, usually in a family where the Jedi bloodline had become diluted.”
Kor blinked in confusion. “Wait. What? What’s a chrysalite?”
Morg settled into what Kor had already grown to recognize as his ‘lecturing teacher’ mode. “A chrysalite, from the word chrysalis, or cocoon, is the name given to those individuals who are sensitive to the Force but are born with a permanent block in their minds. They cannot use the Force except unconsciously without knowing it. In effect, they are surrounded by a chrysalis they can never burst out of. They are unable to feel, sense, or consciously use the Force. Occasionally they can use the Force by instinct in life-or-death situations; to choose the right way to run from danger, which weapon to pick up, where to aim, when to duck, what to say or how to convince someone of something.” Morg smiled fondly. “Outwardly it simply looks like they're the luckiest person in the world as things just seem to break their way. Unfortunately, a Jedi can only detect a chrysalite when they're unconsciously using the Force, and then only if the Jedi is physically very close to the chrysalite, and paying close attention to them, focusing on them if you will.”
“But they come from Jedi families? Right?” Kor asked.
“Correct. Now and then a Jedi bloodline becomes diluted or weakened to the point where no one in the family can sense the Force anymore. When it reaches that point, sometimes – just sometimes mind you – an individual in that family is born as a chrysalite.”
Kor found himself pacing the floor thoughtfully. He spun on his heel to face Morg. “And how does a Jedi break them out of their cocoon?”
Morg’s smile faded. “We don’t know. There have only been three recorded cases in Jedi history. The only commonality between the three cases was they took place during very intense circumstances.”
“Life and death?” Kor asked, leaning forward with interest.
Morg’s smile returned. “Obviously.”
Kor nodded to himself. That made sense. He and Prauf had been in an extremely intense situation in their prison cell when he’d broken him out of his mental cocoon. “That’s what happened to my friend and me.”
Morg nodded approvingly. “Of course it was.” His expression shifted as the program reverted to a standard question. “Did you need anything else, my young student?”
Kor shook his head. “No, thank you, Master Morg.” He bowed, feeling foolish for bowing to a hologram but unable to stop himself.
Morg’s avatar must have been programmed to detect physical motion. He gave Kor a slight bow in return then vanished.
Kor strolled back to the Whimsy, pondering what he’d learned. If Prauf came from a Force-sensitive family, maybe there were other chrysalites among his family on Aubreta. He wondered if they should go back and search for them.
He found Prauf in the kitchen fixing a sandwich. “Hey.”
“Hey, yourself,” Prauf said.
Kor spotted the training bands sitting on the table. He pulled up short. “You’re done with the training?”
Prauf gave him a triumphant grin. “Yep!”
Kor shook his head in wonder. “I guess it makes sense you’d be fast, given your family history.”
Prauf paused with his sandwich halfway to his mouth. “Family history?” He lowered the sandwich. “What are you talking about?”
Kor repeated what he’d learned from Morg’s avatar.
Prauf shook his head. “Unh uh, not a chance. There’s never been a Jedi in our family.”
“There has to be,” Kor insisted. “Morg said so.”
Prauf took a huge bite of his sandwich. “I don’t care what Morg said,” he mumbled around his food. He swallowed. “There’s never been a Jedi in our family. Heck, there’s never been a Dhiketh Jedi at all for that matter.”
“My people,” Prauf said. He waved at Kor then himself. “Human. Dhiketh.” He shook his head. “You can check the history books if you want to, but I guarantee there’s never been a Dhiketh Jedi. I’m the first one,” he said proudly.
Kor sat down, confused. “But how is that possible? Master Morg –”
“Master Morg is long dead and buried,” Prauf said, interrupting him. “That,” he waved at the training bands, “is just a simulation. It can’t learn or assimilate new information and discoveries.” He took another bite of his sandwich and leaned back against the counter. “Don’t always assume someone is right just because they have a fancy title or whatever. You need to start thinking for yourself, kid. Question what they say, investigate other possibilities. You might be surprised at what’s out there.”
Kor felt he had to defend the old master. “His training has been good enough.”
Prauf shrugged as he finished his sandwich. “So? It doesn’t mean he knows everything about everything.”
Kor bit his lip. “Alright, alright. But none of this explains how I turned you into a Force-sensitive. I thought Morg could tell me but he said it’s all just fairy tales.” He trailed off uncertainly.
“That’s how he put it.”
Prauf leaned back and crossed his arms. “Well, why don’t we use the control room he showed us and see if there’s anything in there about fairy tales or Jedi fairy tales or whatever.”
Kor smiled. “Hey. There’s an idea!” He bounced to his feet, glad to shed his disappointment.
Prauf nodded. “Sure thing, kid. After you.”
It took them several hours but eventually, they found what Morg had been talking about. It wasn’t under fairy tales though, it was listed under rumors and innuendo. The entry was just one paragraph long:
There are rumors from the First Days about early Force Using wizards who could make ordinary people into Force Users. There is no evidence to support such a claim and no corroboration from any source.
Kor was aghast. “That’s it?”
Prauf was trying not to laugh at his disappointment. “Sorry, kid. What did you expect?”
“More than that.” Kor waved at the screen. “It’s pathetic.” He sat back in disgust. “And it still doesn’t tell us what happened, it’s a dead-end.”
Prauf waxed philosophical. “Well, you know what they say about dead-ends.”
“When you reach one, turn around and go back.”
Kor stared at him in shock for a moment then burst out laughing. “That’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever said!”
“Yeah, but it’s true.” Prauf took him by the shoulders and steered him out of the control room. “Let’s focus on something else for a while and come back to it later.” He forced Kor into one of the chairs they’d brought to Morg’s old quarters.
Prauf sat down. “Like what’s in that training book?”
Kor shrugged. “Lessons about mind talking to each other, manipulating sound and light to create illusions, seeing the future, making true lightsabers, how to –”
Kor stopped in surprise. “What?”
“True lightsabers.” Prauf was excited. “Morg mentioned them when we first found his quarters but I’d forgotten about them. We should make some for ourselves.”
Kor sat up, feeling some of Prauf’s excitement. He retrieved his lightsaber, turning it over in his hands. Morg had disapprovingly called it a half-and-half lightsaber because once a Jedi manufactured it, anyone could use it. He’d had to exert the Force on it to keep Sanarrn from activating it but a true lightsaber could only be used by a Jedi since the Force to power the lightsaber had to come from the Jedi, not from electrical stimulation of the kyber crystal array inside a regular, half-and-half lightsaber.
“You’ll need to take the lesson from the book before we try it,” he said.
Prauf nodded. “Let’s get to it.”
The rest of the day was spent with the training book, after which the two of them together attempted to make true lightsabers. Like everything else in their training, doing it for real was different than in the simulation. Their first few attempts were laughably inept. The puddle of acid goo that resulted from Kor’s second stab at it, ate a sizable hole in the floor and sent the two of them running out of the room waving their hands to get rid of the noxious fumes.
It wasn’t until the wee hours of the morning that Kor finally got it right and wound up with a light blue bar made entirely of kyber crystals. With that success under his belt, he was able to help Prauf finish his light-gray kyber crystal bar a little while later.
They stood in Morg’s old quarters holding the bars, the same size as mechanical lightsabers in their hands. There were no outward controls or decorations of any kind on them. The surface was slightly rough to enable them to get a secure grip but aside from that, they were featureless.
“I’ll go first,” Kor said, holding his out in front of him in the classic two-handed pose. Morg’s simulation said a Jedi had to channel Force through themselves and into the kyber crystals to create the blazing blade of the lightsaber. He’d practiced several times in the simulation, but as their recent efforts had proven, simulations and reality were often quite different. “Stand back.”
Prauf backpedaled quickly. “You don’t have to tell me twice.”
Kor grinned briefly then focused on his new lightsaber. He concentrated on the Force, pushing it down into the semi-living kyber crystals in it. For a moment there was a flicker at the end. It died as soon as it started but he was encouraged it worked at all. He tried again and this time a full lightsaber bladed flickered into existence for nearly a second before it winked out again. He shifted his stance, blocking out everything around him. He could feel it working. He tried again and this time it lit up for several heartbeats before he lost it.
“Let me try,” Prauf said. “I”ve been watching you in the Force and I think I see how it’s supposed to be done.” He brought his lightsaber to bear. “Watch me.”
Kor nodded and focused on his friend.
An instant later Prauf’s lightsaber blades sprang into existence with a full Pssshhew-Schvrmmmmmmm! It was a brilliant off-white color. He waved it around several times, vrãu, vrãu. He turned it off.
Kor compressed his lips, disappointed Prauf had managed it so much easier than he had. Still, he saw what his friend had done. “I can do that,” he said. He concentrated on his lightsaber and the blade sprang into existence with a satisfying Pssshhew-Schvrmmmmmmm! The brilliant blade was light blue. Now that he’d done it, he could immediately feel the difference. With his old lightsaber, he’d always been aware of it as a separate weapon like a blaster or knife, but this one felt like an extension of his own body as if it was part of him. He swung it experimentally a few times. “Wow.”
Prauf activated his lightsaber. Pssshhew-Schvrmmmmmmm! He crouched over it in a battle stance. “Defend yourself!”
Kor’s eyes widened and he brought his lightsaber up just in time. The two blades came together with a crash. Kksssshhhh! He spun quickly, bringing his blade around but Prauf countered easily. Kksssshhhh! Kksssshhhh! They backed off, grinning, and deactivated their weapons.
“That’s kinda fun.” Prauf was grinning ear-to-ear.
Kor laughed. “No, it’s not. It’s lots of fun!”
Prauf gave him a mock bow. “I stand corrected.” He turned and stretched out his hand. Kor’s old lightsaber sailed across the room to him. “What about this one?”
“We destroy it.” He nodded at Prauf who obediently tossed it in the air. Kor’s new lightsaber flashed in an arc, slicing it in half. The two pieces, smoking and glowing where they had been cut, clattered to the floor. He slid it into the holster on his hip. “And if we find any others like it, we destroy them too. I don’t want anyone who isn’t a Jedi to be able to use any lightsaber.”
Prauf nodded approvingly. “Lightsabers are for Jedi only.”