Santos sits, alone, inside the blanket fort that was almost immediately erected in the Corellian hotel room he shares with Zet. She left the room about an hour ago, likely looking for a contact to sell the Jedi crystals and speeders to. Santos uses this time to figure out that cube he found in the temple. He hadn’t so much as looked at the thing since he told Zet about it. She made it clear that she wanted to be as far from the Force as possible. Not realistic considering the company she keeps, but he can at least pretend it’s not a permanent addition to their lives.
Having no training in the Force, or knowledge of Jedi relics, he has no concept of what he’s holding in his large, blue hands. He runs his fingers over the cube, failing to feel any joints or seams that would suggest an opening. After a half an hour or so he gives up, satisfied that it won’t just pop open when at his touch.
If he were on the Rainbow Dash, he would have access to his tools. On Corellia, he has to improvise. He holds the vibroknife he liberated from a Stormtrooper on the Corellian Runner, almost at the point, with the blade facing away. The cube’s surface is by no means smooth, a pattern of metallic ridges decorates each side. If he applies enough pressure with the knife, he just might be able to pop one of the ridges off.
Sometimes the Force prompts you to be in the right place at the right time. Callia is feeling one of those promptings at the moment, probably due to the fact that Santos is bound to accidentally stab himself in the leg before he ever manages to pry his newfound cube open.
That’s why there comes a gentle knock on Santos’ hotel room door at the moment before he really starts to giv’er.
Shit! Who could that be? “Just a minute,” Santos says through the door. He sets the cube down on a desk and throws a crumpled up jacket over it. Even on Corellia it isn’t smart to be in possession of anything related to the Jedi.
He opens the door and let’s out a little sigh of release as he sees Callia waiting on the other end. “Oh, hi. Feeling better? Can you see again?”. He closes the door as she enters the room, and got back to the holocron, and knife.
Callia smiles at Santos when the door opens. Her eyes are still vacant, answering the question as to whether she can see again or not. “I am, thank you.” She replies. She walks confidently into the room, back straight and somehow avoiding tripping or bumping into anything. “I cannot, sadly. It’s returning slowly. Just light and blobs of what might be objects.”
She stops not far from inside the door, trying to get her bearings in the Force. “I felt a prompting…” She starts. “Is something the matter in here?”
“Nothing’s wrong,”. Santos focuses on repositioning the vibroknife. " I just found this funny toy in the temple, and I’m trying to open it. I almost have the knife in the right position."
“A toy?” Callia asks. “You are trying to open a ‘toy’ you found in a Dark Side-infected Jedi temple by prying it apart with a knife.” She deadpans. “You realise how ridiculously dangerous that sounds, right?” She moves closer, tentative before she lowers herself to the floor. “Describe the toy to me.”
“Well, it’s a cube.” He holds up the holocron to examine it closely. “It fits in the palm of my hand. I’d say about 10 or so centimeters.” He spins the cube slowly in his hand. “Each face features a center disc, with thick, elevated designs reminiscent of circuit boards reaching out to a solid border along the edges. These designs are metallic and silver in colour, while the depressed portion seems to radiate with a pulsing blue light.”
Callia lifts a hand, holding it palm out. “May I hold it?” She asks. Her tone is tentative, brows furrowed as she builds the picture in her mind. “It sounds like an old Jedi relic used to hold knowledge. We had many of them in the Temple.”
It makes sense the the one trained by the same tradition as the creator should look at it, so Santos guides her out stretched hand around the cube.
“What kind of knowledge would it hold?”. He asks, slightly disappointed. Would the knowledge from this thing be useful or even interesting to him?
Callia murmurs a soft thanks as Santos helps her find the cube. She doesn’t hold it for long, fingers feeling every crevice, nook and cranny on the device. “Mmm yes, it is a holocron.”
She holds it out to the Chiss after she has thoroughly inspected it. “You are not going to open this with a knife or any other commonplace means. To open a holocron, you must use the Force.” She inhales slowly. “As to what what knowledge it holds…it could be anything from the most mundane to esoteric Jedi knowledge in the galaxy. The only way to discover what this one contains would be to open it. Would you like to try?”
Santos would be lying if he said he wasn’t apprehensive about accessing knowledge found in a dark Jedi’s temple, but Callia had said it was a real Jedi temple before Sora came along, and the holocron is probably older than that.
“Ok. Let’s open it.” He replies cautiously, but with a mixture of excitement and curiosity. “What do we do? Wait, don’t tell me. Meditate, right?”
Callia chuckles. “Yes, meditation is how you open it. It doesn’t feel particularly dark, so it should be safe for us to look at what’s inside.” She folds her legs under herself. “You have to focus on the holocron and wanting to open it.”
Santos sighs. It looks like meditation is a fact of life for him now. He flops down beside Callia and crosses his legs. He then places the cube on the floor in front of them, and stares at it until the image is completely ingrained into his memory. Time to unleash the power of wanting.
Callia smiles softly at the sigh. “Meditation is a good way to keep you grounded. You learn now with no distractions to clear your mind and stay calm, it will be a little easier when there are distractions. Emotions cloud our judgement and reactions, as you may have seen on Jiroch.”
She releases a slow breath and closes her own eyes. “Clear your mind, keep the image of the holocron at the forefront.” She says, her voice picking up that familiar cadence once more. “Reach out to it with the Force.”
It’s not hard to keep the holocron in the forefront of his mind. The cube itself is remarkably beautiful, and despite the dangers he does want to know what is hiding beneath that tiny shell.
As the cube floats peacefully in the void he creates for it, he imagines the Force encompassing it, causing its already lit core to shine brighter and brighter.
Callia keeps her eyes open through this guided meditation, not that it matters much for her. She has the cube pictured in her own mind, feeling it with the Force as well.
“Alright. Reach inside of of the holocron with the Force,” She says. “Twist it with the Force and pull it apart at the seams.”
Santos follows instructions as best he can, willing the Force to probe deep into the holocron. He loses track of time as he focuses on the object, struggling to have any impact on it. He retreats briefly, and tries another approach. The Chiss feels the internal walls of the cube he’s created in his mind, tracing the joints with the Force, and applying pressure until the seams are forces apart. For an agonizing moment it seems like still nothing has happened, until he feels another presence join him and Callia in the room.
Santos opens his eyes and is greeted by the projection of a human male, dressed in antiquated clothing that calls to mind an air of nobility. Even through the bluish tone of the holographic image, the man’s left arms seems to possess a metallic sheen, a product of a time when cybernetic prosthetics weren’t commonly covered with synthskin.
“Welcome, Padawan,” the image begins to speak in a calm, even voice. “I am Cay Qel-Droma. It is my intent that this holocron serve as a learner’s manual in the art of Ataru, so that it may live on through the ages.”
The Chiss simply blinks, waiting for his Jedi friend to explain what the hell this human is talking about.
Callia is patient, trying to help him as best she can, guiding him with the Force. He might feel a gentle nudge in one direction or another, or a helpful swell of power at one joint. She wants him to be able to do this mostly on his own, but she will guide where she feels it’s necessary.
She’s aware of the other presence immediately, though she remains seated and calm. A smile curves up on her face and even lights her unfocused eyes.
“Ah. You did it.” She says brightly, perhaps with more emotion than she usually displays. “Cay Qel-Droma? This is extremely old, then.” She pauses and tilts her head.
“Ataru is one of the seven Lightsaber forms.” She explains. “It’s an offensive form, relying on acrobatics and using your space to your advantage. It’s about power and agility and may be a good form for you.”
“So you think I’m offensive?” Santos cocks an eyebrow and smiles crookedly. He’s succeeded, no doubt with a little bit more than simple guidance, so he feels he’s earned a bit a light-heartedness. It doesn’t help that he’s egged on by Callia’s uncharacteristic display of emotion. “How old do is it? I have some idea of the Old Republic, in the centuries after Revan, but the Chiss didn’t have much contact before that.”
He gives some serious thought to this Ataru form. He has to agree with his diminutive friend, it does sound like a good style for him, and he finds himself looking forward to focusing his ability in the Force in some fashion. “How does this work? Do I talk to him, or does this have to be done through meditation? Is he alive somewhere? Was he alive at all? Is this some kind of ghost? Is Ataru the form you use?” Santos stops at that question, realizing that he should give her a chance to answer one or two before continuing.
Callia chuckles. “It depends on which meaning of the word we are discussing.” She quips right back, clearly kidding as well. “In all seriousness, you are a big, powerful being. Ataru is about wipe sweeps and big strikes. It’s not meant for long-term combat, though.” She brushes her fingers through her hair. “It is believed to date back to the Mandalorian Wars, if I am recalling my Jedi history correctly. Cay Qel-Droma, on the other hand, was a Jedi warrior during the Great Sith Wars.”
“He is no longer alive, no. It is not a ghost so much as it is an interactive hologram. Cay Qel-Droma is the gatekeeper of this particular hologram and he will give you what you need to know to begin to learn the Ataru form. You use the Force, focus on the questions you would like to ask and the Holocron will begin to display them for you.” She chuckles again. “So many questions. No, I do not use Ataru. I use Niman, form six. It was developed as a more catch-all form for Diplomats. It relies heavily on defense Form three, Soresu, though with bits and pieces of all the other forms sprinkled in.”
Santos nods his head in response and starts to address the hologram, before hesitating. He’s not sure what exactly to ask a computer representation of someone who lived 4000 years ago. However, the real reason he hesitates is that he knows exactly what he needs to ask Callia before he even considers pursuing this. “You said that this was an offensive lightsaber form, built on power. Isn’t that, well, isn’t there a risk of going dark?” The memory of Callia losing control and Sora fully embracing her dark side is still fresh in his mind.
Callia looks both surprised and pleased when Santos asks that question. “There is always a risk of going to the Dark side, no matter what sort of weapon you are using.” She replies. “It’s not an offensive form in terms of…attack first or for nefarious purposes. It’s offensive in the sense that it is built for Lightsaber to Lightsaber combat.”
She pauses, considering her words carefully before she continues. “I do not, typically, engage in combat with a Lightsaber without a level of reservation. A lightsaber is a last resort and at least, with the Jedi before the Clone Wars, it was purely meant to protect. It is a tool in which the holder carries a large amount of responsibility when using it.”
“If you choose to learn this form and to look for a kyber crystal in order to build your own Lightsaber, you will have to accept that responsibility as well. We do not attack to seek death or revenge, we defend ourselves. Even with an offensive form like Ataru. What I mean by power is that it is built for someone with your build and reach. A form like Niman is built for someone like me, who is small and can utilize the small amount of space that I occupy. Ataru is about keeping combat moving. Niman, pulling from it’s roots of Soresu, is about keeping the combat focused.”
“I will warn you, though, that this form will not be as proficient in combat against blaster fire.”
“I think I understand.” Santos is going out on a limb and assuming that it’s ok to defend others as well. It doesn’t take long for him to think about how things might have been different on Bespin if he had had a lightsaber, and knowledge of the Force when Shard attempted to abduct Zet. “I think it would be useful to proceed. At the very least it will give me something to focus on, other than meditation.”
He turns towards Cay, unsure how to address him. “Where do I start?” he asks the gatekeeper, deciding to let the program play out how ever it was intended to. He considers the hologram to be a teacher in every sense, listening intently, and asking questions. This Chiss would seem almost unrecognizable to anyone who didn’t grow up with him on Csilla.
“You’ll be able to learn the forms and move onto moving meditations.” Callia offers helpfully. “We were taught all the basics of every form when we were Initiates. I may remember some so if you want someone to practice with, please let me know.” She brushes a hand through her hair again. “Moving meditation can be an extremely helpful way to clear your head if you are a more fidgety sort.” She smiles. “The process of moving through the forms can be very soothing.”
Callia cannot see the Chiss, but she can feel how intent he is on learning this. She doesn’t move from her place, instead listens to what the holocron has to say. She seems pleased, once again, at how much Santos wants to learn. “I shall leave you to this.” She murmurs after a time and begins to get to her feet. “If you would like my help further, please come knock.”