Title: Recovering Hope
Author: Silver Dragonfly
Genre: General, Canon Divergence
Fandom: Star Wars, Kenobi
Character Focus/Pairing: Obi-Wan Kenobi
Beta: A red pen and grammar checker.
Summary: Obi-Wan Kenobi had been lost in grief for over a decade after the rise of The Empire. Now he has been pulled back into the greater galaxy and reminded of what it means to fight for light and hope after meeting young Leia Organa. Now he must follow his instincts and the force once more to protect and guide the light in the future.
- The Story
- Author Notes
Obi-Wan suppressed the instinctive need to reach up and pull the edge of his non-existent hood lower over his face. The hair dye that had turned his hair a nondescript brown had done plenty to disguise his natural, distinct hair color. His facial hair was gone once again, and a lot of dirt had taken its place. It made his face itch. He moved easily through the downtrodden crowd. His shoulders hunched, head lowered, and for all appearances, he was more focused on where he was going than on what was going on around him. He slipped into the shadows along the road’s edge before turning down a side alley. The cutpurse that had been following him glanced briefly down the narrow path, but didn’t see him in the shadowed outcrop. A muttered curse and the wiry thief vanished from sight. Obi-Wan watched the alley entrance for several long moments before he slid back and sideways into the invisible passage on the other side of the shadowy space.
Not even emergency lights greeted him, but he had not expected any. He moved along the narrow path carefully, wary of what might be waiting for him in these abandoned halls. Far overhead, darkness pulsed and thumped like a twisted living thing as it continued to spread its poison throughout what was once the very heart of The Galactic Republic. That the festering rot had been there for so long, just waiting to spread out and destroy everything right beneath the very heart of The Jedi Order, was still a fact that made Obi-Wan physically ill. He locked the feeling away, not daring to let it go into the force just now. He could not risk anything that might alert the lurking presence above him while he sought out the hidden vaults below. Why neither he nor Yoda had thought to do this before he couldn’t explain, but then, they had still been holding onto hope to end The Empire before it truly began. If only they had known. No matter, he was fixing that oversight now.
His foot brushed against cloth, and a putrid stench wafted up from the floor. Obi-Wan stilled and exhaled slowly. He had known this was probable. Whoever the remains belonged to, they were long gone, and there was nothing Obi-Wan could do for them now except move on. He felt his way past the unknown body carefully and moved on through the hidden passage, refusing to let himself dwell on who it could have been. Light flickered against his senses, the very heart and essence of the Jedi Temple imbued into the very foundations of the temple after centuries of the order living, breathing, and radiating the light into it. Now it withered and faded until only the faintest flickers could still be felt here at the very deepest levels, far below the sith presence at the surface and his heart ached at its struggle. All too close of an echo to the remnants of The Jedi Order slowly being sniffed and smothered out across the galaxy. His own apathy and overwhelming grief about it all threatened to rise up and all but overtake him again, but he couldn’t and wouldn’t do that.
Like these last flickering bits of light hidden so deep in the foundations that even most jedi masters would have not been able to find their trace, he would not give up or falter. Obi-Wan had light to hold on to and he would not falter again.
He stopped suddenly, sensing a sudden change in the air, an open space where there had been none. Concentrating, he focused carefully on what his senses were telling him of the shape and size of the space before him and ahead.
Three, no, four paths spread out before him. Left and right paths both remained at this level, but the path straight ahead turned into a stair leading both up and down. He considered where he was currently and what he knew of the location he was trying to reach. He knew where the vault he was seeking was, in theory, but he had never needed to visit it personally. No jedi master, high-councilor or otherwise, had visited it in their lifetime to his knowledge. The fact that the vault even existed at all was a highly guarded secret amongst the high council and had only become slightly more well-known amongst those serving actively on the war front.
So many were lost in such a short time that the council had chosen to take more aggressive action in preserving any knowledge they could for the future of the order. What knowledge had been saved had been a blessing and each of the members had willingly gone through the process to provide a seed crystal for the creation of an imprinted holocron. The holocron built around the seed of kyber crystal would bond to the jedi who had created, or split it from their lightsaber, and become an imprint of the high councilor in question, saving all their memories and knowledge, and even a shadow of their personality, for any future need.
Many high councilors in the past, of course, chose not to do this, being uncomfortable in the process, and instead had put in more effort to make journals and teaching records to pass on their wisdom. Yoda himself had been one such who chose not to create a bonded holocron. But all the high councilors involved in The Clone War effort had felt the high risks they were all taking make any discomfort worth it. Perhaps, the fact that Yoda himself had not created one was why the grand master had not thought to retrieve them the day the Empire first rose to power.
Obi-Wan frowned and refocused his thoughts on the location of the vault and not the origins and reasons for its existence. He had surveyed this level personally when security protocols were being finalized during the start of The Clone Wars, and he knew there was no other staircase to this level. The staircase itself was nondescript and unassuming, but something about it tugged his senses downward. He wished he had dared to bring his lightsaber with him as the resonance between the crystal in his saber and the piece that had gone into the holocron he had crafted would likely help him a great deal, but he hadn’t dared risk it. His lightsaber would have been a beacon shouting “Here I am!” to anyone sensitive enough to feel it, of which The Emperor had plenty just such individuals on his staff. Obi-Wan fought down the wave of nausea that the thought brought with it. He considered the gut feeling lurking behind the sith-induced nausea and decided that down was, in fact, where he needed to go.
Obi-Wan moved into the downward stairwell carefully. It curved in a clockwise spiral once the descent had moved deep enough to be just out of the casual line of sight of the previous corridor. He caught himself as he nearly tripped over an opening that appeared on his right. He considered the opening carefully but then shook his head and moved on down the steps. He could feel the vault now, just as he would if it had been his lightsaber stored in a vault. His kyber crystal called to him in the force, as it always had and baring anything unforgiveable, always would.
He moved more easily down the passageway now. Trusting himself and his senses a bit more with each step in the right direction. His sense of the light side of the force resonated a bit stronger with every step he took. It was perhaps only a half dozen breaths later that he realized it wasn’t just the force embedded in the temple itself that was fighting to maintain its presence. The holocrons of an unknown number of past jedi masters and the kyber crystal fragments they had imprinted on were putting up their own fight to not be smothered by the dark. Obi-Wan’s resolve doubled, and he silently vowed to rescue them all. There was no knowing what a sith lord could do to a Jedi holocron that’s core was made of kyber. The sith already tortured and bled the crystals contained in their screaming red blades, and Obi-Wan had no desire to know what such methodology applied to the holocrons would lead to.
He took three more turns down the stairs before he came to a landing with two paths leading to the left and right and a small alcove directly forward. The alcove walls were unadorned and had no markings or indentations of any kind. Obi-Wan settled himself carefully down on his knees and fell quickly into a light trance, minding his shields and being very, very careful to not reveal himself to the darkness above. He reached out to the solid surface with the force. It was a giant coded puzzle lock embedded in the force, which was difficult enough to unlock on a normal day. Now, while trying to keep his presence masked to the degree as to be non-existent? It was only fortunate that control over his shielding abilities had become his mastery in force skills, as much as Soresu had in lightsaber forms.
Time slipped away as he teased out the solution of the puzzle lock until it finally glowed faintly in both his mind’s eye and his physical vision. The symbol of The Jedi Order radiated light in a soothing glow before fading away. A moment later, the panel slid down into the floor to reveal a cylindrical chamber with dozens of hexagonal-shaped glowing boxes filling niches on every shelf. Obi-Wan took a slow breath, and then another deeper breath to steady himself.
“I’m sorry, my friends, but quarters are going to be a bit tight for a little while.” He said quietly as lifted the first pair and placed them into the collapsible packing crate he’d brought with for just such a purpose. “Do forgive the smell and grime.” He offered as he laid several more side by side and nestled against the lining of ratty cloth and fur. The markings on the exterior of the crate indicated it was scrap leather and various damaged materials. The unscrupulous and desperate would use the materials contained within regardless, but most inspectors wouldn’t dig too deeply inside without proper gear to protect from contaminants. It would protect the holocrons from any overly close or curious inspections until he could get them somewhere safe.
The holocrons themselves seemed to glow and twinkle in turn as he moved them into place, greeting him but settling quickly and quietly. Obi-Wan was grateful for that, as he was very aware of just how traditional and stubborn the former members of the high council could be. He had half-expected some of them to demand a full debrief before he moved a single one of them from their place, and there frankly, wasn’t the time. He scolded himself for the thought, even as three different holocrons all lit up at the same time.
“Master Kenobi.” The holo-projected form of the late archivist Master Jocasta Nu glowed before him. “It is a relief to see you.”
“Master Nu, I was not expecting to find you amidst those kept here.”
“No, I suppose you wouldn’t. I once served on the council, but I did not create a holocron for this archive at that time. I took the liberty of adding myself later as there must be a keeper of knowledge wherever it may be found. May I introduce Master Sifo Dyas and Master Mirai Cho.”
“Greetings, Master Kenobi.”
“I was worried you might not make it. This part of my visions was always so fluid.” Master Dyas said, clearly relieved.
“You foresaw this event?” Obi-Wan asked, an overwhelming feeling of sadness and yet understanding for the well-known seer running through him.
“This and many other things, but I could never be certain which path would come to be the truth so I could only put contingencies into place for the darkest.”
“Count Dooku killed you and used your name to order the clone army that destroyed us,” Obi-Wan stated. It was the past now, but it was a sad truth and if the spirit of the dead master tied to this crystal didn’t know it, he should.
“Yes, that was true in all that I saw.”
“Yet there is hope and a few precious stars burn bright still, yourself among them Master Kenobi.” Master Mirai Cho added. “Master Sifo Dyas and I can offer no more knowledge for the future, but we can offer a service to you here and now.”
“This vault must not remain intact when you leave, Master Kenobi.” Master Nu interjected. “There are several caches of additional items stored in hidden compartments here in the vault you must remove. I managed to move several items of import here during the war and before the temple was completely overtaken.”
Obi-Wan understood what she truly meant by that. He had been both relieved and deeply concerned when he and Yoda had met Master Nu on their way back out of the temple on that traumatic day. That she had, even then, been taking measures for a hopeful future where jedi would thrive once more was just as inspiring as it was disheartening. He pushed past the memories once again. Now was not the time for contemplation or grief.
“When you leave, Master Dyas and Master Cho will guard your back,” Master Nu explained.
“But if the Sith Lord finds you here—”
“He won’t. Nor will any of his leashed pets.” Master Cho interrupted, his expression of unwavering determination clear despite the translucence of the holocron projection.
“Our purpose is to be fulfilled, Master Kenobi.” Master Dyas explained. “Our last act will be to self-destruct. You must be far away from here by the time that occurs.”
“Self-destruct! But your crystals and everything—” Obi-Wan was dismayed and heartsick at the very thought of what they were proposing.
“We understand your concern, Master Kenobi. Our greatest skills in life was foresight and the visions the force gave us. That skill has no impact on what we are now, or what we can offer future generations.” Master Cho stated, calm and poised despite the topic. “Our holocron crystals will fuel the explosion and cover any evidence of the removal of the rest.”
“I was so pleased to learn you had grown out of the worst of your visions. Your light shall guide many yet in the future, Master Kenobi.” Master Dyas stated warmly, moving away from the topic of their self-sacrifice.
“You can access the hidden compartments I was able to hide in the vault by opening the force locks here and here.” Master Nu stated as she illustrated the points where even now Obi-Wan could sense a force puzzle waiting for him.
Obi-Wan looked from one to the other, then took a steadying breath. “The rest of the holocrons first.” It was clear the two masters were set on their path and would not change their minds. Furthermore, he had a strong sense that it was what the force wished of them. He reached out carefully with his senses and shielded, as he had not done since some of the worst points in the war. Any unshielded use of the force now could draw attention he did not want. He coaxed the force into the form he needed, and it wasn’t just a barrier to hide behind. This was a shadow technique, built with interwoven layers, and incredibly difficult to master. Quinlan had been so irritated when Obi-Wan had picked it up before he had. There, with one final twist, the complex shield was in place. No one would be able to sense him as he worked, despite some minor active force use. Using a level of fine control he had not had before living on Tatooine he lifted and guided all the remaining holocrons into the container waiting for them.
The only negative of this shield was that it was incredibly draining, both mentally and physically, to maintain for an extended time period. Thankfully, his endurance, a requirement of his chosen lightsaber form, worked in his favor for this need. He had twelve hours at most before he would likely drop from exhaustion and overuse of his force abilities. That was something he could not risk as it would leave him completely exposed to other force sensitives. No, he would need to be well on his way off of Coruscant long before he had to drop this level of shielding, and even then, he would still need to maintain the usual masking cloak he had made his habit in the last decade.
He watched the last of the holocrons, excluding that of the two seers, slide into place. He studied the space remaining in his storage crate and realized he would have to do many shielding there. His mundane methods to make the crate look uninteresting would not hold up to any level of scrutiny once he started adding kyber and whatever else Master Nu had left for him.
He moved to the first puzzle lock and its hidden compartment. He set to work on the puzzle in the force. Studying how it moved and reacted, feeling, and adapting his action based on how it responded to him in the force. Obi-Wan wasn’t sure how much time had passed, but he felt like he was coming out of a meditative trance when he was done. That puzzle had been a pure force model of his kata forms for Soresu and not the traditional ones. It had been the jakari adapted variations he had hoped to work on and teach Asoka when the time was right. He hadn’t shown them to anyone.
“Master Nu, how did you?”
“Master Drallig set that one for me. He said you would know it.”
Obi-Wan suppressed the wave of nostalgia and grief. “It was masterfully done.”
“You can tell his holocron so.”
He opened the panel and slid the unmarked flat-top container out from within.
“Best to leave that sealed for now. It will keep them quiet until you are somewhere secure and safe.” Obi-Wan drew a deep and careful breath as he carefully packed the flat container in with the holocrons making sure that all were well padded and secure. He could scarcely believe it.
Kyber crystals, the heart and soul of a jedi’s lightsaber and a jedi’s lifelong companion. It didn’t matter if they were retired crystals of former knights or unbonded crystals that had never found a match. That they had been saved at all from ever falling into the hands of the sith, provided Obi-Wan could keep them so, was a miracle in and of itself.
He moved on to the next compartment and the next waiting puzzle. This one proved no less complex, and still just as familiar. “Master Nu, I believe you’ve hacked my personal medical files.” How she had turned the exact pattern of scars from his time on Bandomeer into a puzzle lock, he couldn’t quite begin to fathom. He found the concept of it quite disconcerting.
“You will find I have done much more than that in the last days before the fall of the Temple.” The holocron form of the Master Archivist stated crisply.
Obi-Wan opened the compartment and pulled out a flat carton with twelve compartments. Nestled securely in each of them were faintly glowing great-databank-holocrons. He lightly traced his fingers over each row and the label for each. “Agricorps. Educorps. Exploracorps. Medicorps.” He swallowed thickly. These were backup data cores for each corps service’s archival library. Unlike the Knight Corps, which was always based and centralized out of Coruscant, the other four branches were widespread across the galaxy, and access to their databases had needed to be equally more widespread. Nexus nodes for the service corps had been created at waystation points that linked up with each other and with the main archive in Coruscant. A set of four could be used to create a new nexus, and this box held three entire sets.
“I received a dead-drop warning from Dooku when he was killed.” Master Nu said, her holo voice a bare whisper. Obi-Wan looked up at her in surprise. “It was nothing that could have truly helped us in the end.” She continued, not meeting Obi-Wan’s gaze. “Yan simply sent me a message that he had failed to kill the sith master and that his sith master sought the eradication of all that was jedi.” She looked up to meet Obi-Wan’s expression straight on then. “I never suspected what it meant for us all, but it let me send out a warning to the remaining Corps Nexus to shut down and go to ground if anything happened to the Coruscant temple. By that point, two nexus had already been destroyed as collateral damage in the war and we had neither time nor resources to replace them.”
“The remaining nexus databases may still be out there.”
“Perhaps. Secure what you have first and investigate the others independently. You will need additional tech support, Master Kenobi. You are no slouch, but the level of skill required to recover these databases and not bring the sith down on you…”
Obi-Wan nodded. “I understand.”
Master Nu’s holo form studied him long and hard for several long seconds before giving a sharp nod and vanishing back into her holocron. Obi-Wan carefully added the new container to his precious stash and began the careful process of camouflage and packing it all up for the upcoming journey.
He glanced at the two remaining holo-forms that stood sentinel over his progress silently. “Any wisdom for my venture, Masters?”
“Nothing you do not already know.” Master Dyas answered.
“You have lived through more upheaval in your short life than most any other jedi in nearly a thousand years. Have faith in the lessons you have learned and patience in the ones you will come to teach.” Master Cho offered.
“Teach? Really, Master Cho?” Obi-Wan asked, seriously skeptic. He knew he would likely have to offer some guidance to Luke one day, but to actually teach anyone as a Jedi again after what happened to Anakin.
Master Cho arched a delicate eyebrow. “I’ve been told your own padawanship was difficult but rewarding, was it not?”
Obi-Wan frowned. “I suppose that is an accurate statement, but I don’t see—”
“Don’t you? Did your own master not struggle to come to terms with the guilt of a fallen padawan as well? Did you blame him for his padawan’s actions? Did he not have much to offer as a teacher still?”
Obi-Wan glared at the holo-form of the old seer. “Yes, fine. I see your point. Logically knowing it and controlling one’s feelings on a matter are two different things, however.”
“So they are, but you are aware of the issue, and you will have time.”
Obi-Wan put his full focus on setting the necessary masking shields over the crate rather than respond to the old master. It took a bit of effort, but not as much time as he suspected for the shields to settle in and anchor themselves around the crate. He suspected there was a shadow master two amidst the holocrons who might even be aiding in the endeavor, as much as such echoes were able to.
It took barely moments after the shielding was complete and the lingering light of the council holocrons faded from Obi-Wan’s senses before he could sense a shift in the dark presence lurking far above them.
“He noticed.” Master Cho stated.
“Time for you to be gone from this place, Master Kenobi.” Master Dyas said calmly as he too focused upward.
“You are certain this is the only way?”
“Certain? No, only the sith deal in such things. But it is the will of the force that we guard your back, of that, I am sure.” Master Dyas stated.
Obi-Wan studied the two holo-forms of the late Masters who had been known for their terrible visions and foreknowledge more than anything else in their lifetimes. Neither of them displayed any of the supposed madness that reportedly plagued them later in life, but the form of a holocron was not immersed in the force the way an organic form was, despite the heart of kyber. He glanced around the rest of the vault once more and then turned to pick up his cargo crate and left the room, using the force to seal the room closed and reactivate the locks behind him once more.
He rested for a moment beyond the door and shed the persona of Master Kenobi that had crept over him while he was in the presence of and conversing with the images of the other long-gone masters. The shadows of their true selves that were imprinted on the kyber crystal that was the heart of their holocrons was both a blessing and a tease in his current circumstances. The echo of their force presence made his broken force bonds ache. An ache he had no respite from with no other jedi to anchor himself to, but Obi-Wan would endure. He already sensed the eddies and currents pulling him away from here quickly. This was not a place meant for the likes of him and what he carried anymore. He headed down the stairs instead of back up the way he had come. The further away from the smothering darkness above, the better, even the usual darkness that had always been present in the deeper levels of Coruscant was light in comparison to the presence that now occupied the surface.
Obi-Wan worked his way through the deep levels of Coruscant with a skill that came from years of practice, and despite not having been used in well over a decade, still served him well. He quickly found a small grav cart and several shipping crates and various bits of salvage and scrap to add to his collection and image. The mostly broken down and tattered look of everything kept anyone too interested from risking a fight with him, particularly when he added a holster and blaster to his outward appearance. As much as he hated the weapons, it was necessary, and needs must.
He moved through the lower levels and its warren of abandoned industrial warehouses, storage facilities, and broken-down transit services as one who had lived in them could. It gave him a variety of paths and various opportunities for salvage. He even managed to add more water collectors to his salvage, something that would be quite valuable when he returned to Tatooine but was of little use on Coruscant and considered to be worth less than the materials they were made from. Travel through the lower levels as he was felt both longer and shorter than it would have been on the surface as he made his way back to where he had docked his small ship.
He had taken a risk, using an incredibly old jedi shadow dock port. Obi-Wan had needed somewhere that his ship would go unremarked upon, with no questions asked, and yet be left alone by the locals. The jedi shadows had cultivated a series of such small berths all over the planet to use as needed, but they had not been maintained in recent years and the locals may have grown more bold about investigating who used them now. More caution would be required as he returned in case the alarm had been raised around his ship and he had to abandon it for another option.
He found the ship where he left it and carefully set about loading his new cargo. He sensed more than saw the eyes watching him as he loaded up his meager findings, but no one appeared out of the surrounding buildings to question or stop him. His cargo was not interesting enough to invite the effort. Good. Obi-Wan finished quickly and began his launch preparations before he slipped out into the lanes of traffic and moved toward open space with long practice. He set the coordinates and cleared his flight plan with the local flight control and made the first jump to hyperspace along the Corellian Run.
It was in the first few seconds of entering hyperspace that he felt the burst of light and explosion answering dark in the force that marked the final service of Master Dyas and Master Cho. He took a steadying breath and glanced back toward the cargo space.
Now for the truly challenging part, finding a safe haven to relocate his incredibly precious cargo to. He had some ideas for that long-term, but it would require some delicate investigative work in the short term that could draw the wrong kind of attention if he wasn’t incredibly careful. There would be no ‘springing the trap’ on this trip.
Obi-Wan had been drifting from small spaceport to small spaceport along the Corellian run now for a few weeks. His small ship had the hyper-drive capable of longer trips, but he had left Coruscant with little in the way of consumable supplies. This had given him the added benefit of time to go over the tiny ship with an in-depth level of care. He had removed a surprising number of tracking devices, some of which had probably been in place since the ship manufacture date. Considering he had picked the ship up from a questionable source in a game of sabacc only a few short days before his trip to Coruscant, the number of tracking devices wasn’t too surprising. It was a good little ship despite its questionable beginning. The more time he spent crawling around through her inner compartments, the more he was certain of the ship’s registered name as well.
The Magpie was full of hidey-holes and niches that could be secured in various fashions. Dozens of which he never would have found if he had not had the force to guide him to them and the tracking devices still attached inside them. He was quite certain the ship had seen quite a bit of custom retro-fit if it had not been a custom build from the start. He’d removed a fair amount of troublesome security code and reprogrammed it for himself. A task he had found little need for since his own days as a padawan, but he had kept his skills sharp. He’d had little choice if he had wanted to have any hope of keeping Anakin out of mischief in his padawan years. Once Obi-Wan had been satisfied with the ship’s security, he had found the most secure of the compartments and moved the crate he had secured from deep below the fallen jedi temple there.
This had given Obi-Wan more security and freedom to seek the information and supplies he needed for the second part of his self-assigned task to see that light and hope would always have a chance to rise again. He was thankful now for following the force’s will when he had been temple-bound after his return from Melida-Daan all those years past.
The temple support staff had included members of the various service corps who had particular skills in engineering and crafting. It was from those individuals that many of the common custom-fit parts that most jedi found hard to craft with the force could be sourced. He had taken a series of lightsaber crafting, theory, and design workshops while recovering from his ordeal on Melida-Daan. These had given him the skills necessary to find the parts to repair, rebuild, or even build a lightsaber from scratch wherever he found himself in the galaxy instead of depending on the supplies kept available in the temple. Those sources and supplies were now unavailable thanks to the rise of The Empire. Obi-Wan had started and would continue to pick up the raw materials in small quantities here and there as he could to add to his treasure pile for the future of the jedi. He also used the downtime of hyperspace travel to start crafting more.
Obi-Wan next exited hyperspace in the Doudel System where his next planned stop was located. The small space station he planned to visit orbited a mostly water-based moon with a core of valuable minerals that neighbored an asteroid belt full of mineral-rich asteroids, both of which made it a popular stop for members of the Mining Guild and independent salvage operations. The station’s location on the edge of the Outer Rim and the fact that the asteroid belt itself made it impossible for larger ships to frequent the station kept the operation small and mostly run by independent contractors. More than one bit of information Obi-Wan had gathered since leaving Coruscant had pointed him in this direction, so he had a pretty good feeling about this stop.
He finished the lockdown process on Magpie, having already arranged for his docking fees to be handled from the credit account he had set up specifically for his current identity. Ben Cooper was a spacer by choice, lifestyle, and trade. He meandered across the galaxy wherever jobs took him and picked up jobs that caught his fancy along the way. He gambled when it suited him, but he liked the courier jobs that also tested his flying skills and took him to new areas of the galaxy. He had no living family since his family’s generational ship had been destroyed during the Clone Wars while Ben Cooper was off on a side job. It was a common enough story these days, as hard times had fallen on anyone and pretty much everyone. Even better, it had just enough truth woven into it, from a certain point of view, that allowed Obi-Wan to appear rather honest and shallow in his motives.
He’d made good use of the skills his old friends had taught him in the last few weeks. Anyone digging into Ben Cooper’s history would find exactly what Obi-Wan wanted them to find, right down to a few potentially embarrassing run-ins with local law enforcement over some gambling upsets, but never enough to make him a target for the even more unsavory crowd.
“Ben Cooper…” the port master drawled as he entered the port master’s office and approached their desk. “You didn’t list an expected length of visit on your paperwork.”
Obi-Wan stopped before the desk and gave the ithorian a friendly smile. “Port Master, I didn’t think it was required?”
“It’s courtesy. Moreover, migration season has started and berths will start to fill up, so I’ll need to know what’s available if you’re going to be long term.”
Before the port master could answer, Obi-Wan was shoved aside as a large humanoid in some sort of space suit pushed past him. “Cla’vix, they’ve taken out the two of the asteroid mineral drones as of 20 minutes ago. I’ve recalled the whole shift but sensors are already detecting movement in the field.”
Port Master Cla’vix sighed heavily. “Thank you for letting me know Guild Master Pycides. Migration Protocols are officially in effect as of Centaxday of the second week of the Water Moon.”
The man identified as Guild Master Pycides gave the port master a sharp nod of approval and then strode back out. “I’m off to tell Master Halorix and Lady Yilaro if anyone comes looking for me.”
“I’m not your social calendar!” The port master shouted after him, clearly irritated.
Obi-Wan watched the departing figure with some concern. “Asteroid mining drones are supposed to be all but indestructible, or so I heard…”
“They are, usually.” The port master stated as he entered several commands at his control station and a flurry of automated systems all initiated. “However, all bets are off when purrgil are involved.”
Obi-Wan let shock fill his features. “Purrgil! The migration you are talking about is about purrgil!”
“Don’t look so excited. I’d think a spacer like you would have a healthy fear of the beasts.”
Obi-Wan shrugged, “Yeah, sure, I mean everyone’s heard stories. But I’ve never actually seen them.”
The port master huffed. “Well, you’ll see plenty if you don’t change your mind and leave immediately. The port is going into lockdown in the next six hours and no one is allowed in or out until the migration has passed. We’ve learned the hard way how to deal with the migration. If we let the beasts go on buy without interference, they won’t bother us none. Any free-floating ships are another matter.”
Obi-Wan frowned as he thought the matter over. “How long does this migration usually last?”
The port master shrugged. “Can’t say for certain. It seems to vary from year to year. Around two cycles before the start of that blasted Clone War, we thought it was over, but Doc Ligrupoa managed to convince the port master then to keep the lock down another few rotations and saved all of us. The biggest pod we’d ever seen came through and nearly took out the entire station. A few who refused to listen and obey the lockdown didn’t make it.”
“I had hoped to pick up a job or two from here before moving on. Where can I go to see if anyone has anything ready?” Obi-Wan asked.
“There’s a cantina called Megs. Spacer types like yourself frequent the place, so Meg put up a job posting board. If you are that interested in the purrgil, you might also want to check in with Doc Ligrupoa. Last I heard, he had some crazy research project he needed extra hands for.”
Obi-Wan shook his head. “Not sure I want to stick around long enough for something weird. I would like to make arrangements to fuel and refresh my water and air filtration systems. The water reserves and emergency supplies also need to be replaced. Will I need to place that order with a port quartermaster?” Obi-Wan asked as he placed a pouch of credits that would cover the cost of his request easily. The Port Master hummed in consideration.
“I’ll see the request gets to Quartermaster Miinqua, this time. There will be a service fee for expediting the order. You can find ration and emergency supplies at the General Store. Quartermaster Miinqua will handle the fuel, water, and air supplies.”
Obi-Wan grinned, “I appreciate it.” He turned to leave the Port Master’s office, then paused to turn and call back just as he left the door. “Thanks for the info, Port Master.”
“Six Hours, Cooper!”
Obi-Wan chuckled as he headed out of the Port Master’s office and deeper into the space station. It was interesting that no matter how many different spaceports and such stations he visited over the year, there were certain elements amongst them all that always remained true. The port or dock master was always a busybody to some degree and could generally be counted on for some degree of information. Whether that information was honest, indifferent, or generally deceitful varied depending on the individual, but the information was always there. The bartender at whatever bar, pub, or cantina this station had to offer would be next on his list.
Like the port master, the bar owner or their staff would know the locals and anyone new around, and then, of course, there were the semi-regulars. Those who could be counted on to frequent the establishment whenever they were at the dock or had the money to spare. He took note of the various warehouses and small craftsman shops as he moved out of the port proper. There was some variety, but not much, which didn’t surprise him for what was essentially a mining hub. There would not be much call for goods or services outside of those used by The Mining Guild.
Obi-Wan quickly found his way from the industrial area into the trade sector. Here he’d find the promised cantina as well as other common shops and amenities that frequently made up the economy of such remote space stations. He first found the equivalent of a general supply store the Port Master had told him about and made arrangements for a resupply of the basics to be sent to his spaceport bay with enough time for him to still escape the upcoming lockdown.
“Is it serious then, this lockdown?” Obi-Wan asked the shop vendor as they finished up his order. The force seemed quiet on the matter as to whether he should stay for the lockdown or leave.
“Serious enough, that’s for certain. Emergency crews will get out still if needed, but navigating this system while the migration is in movement is no easy feat. Takes a calm and kind hand in the pilot’s seat.”
“I can understand calm, but why do you say kind?” Obi-Wan asked.
“Doc Ligrupoa figured it out years back that the purrgil react empathically. Those that get in their way with too much anger or fear, the pods never respond well to, usually to the ship’s detriment. I’m not sure how much of it I believe about them being force sensitive, emotion sensitive, or whatever such nonsense, but certain mannerisms are preferred for any trips out that become necessary during the event.” The shop owner explained.
“I see, well I best get moving then. I’ve got another stop or two before the time limit the port master set.”
“Good luck to you then, and don’t go stirring up trouble!”
Obi-Wan waved and headed back out into the street and nearly got plowed into by two others.
“Oh, excuse us.” The woman of the pair apologized, even as she bent to pick up several dropped packages.
“This is why you shouldn’t argue with me!” The other grumbled as he bent to recover his dumped satchel and data chips.
“Well, you should know better than to risk us all by using that frequency!” The woman argued back.
Obi-Wan frowned. “I’m sorry to interrupt, but what exactly are you arguing about?”
The man huffed and eyed Obi-Wan critically. “Drifter, spacer, hmmm. You might be useful. How do you feel about helping out with an important research project?”
“What the Doctor means is his latest plan to try and get us all hunted by The Empire.” the woman interrupted.
Obi-Wan brows shot up at that. “Why would you want that?”
The man so far only identified as ‘the Doctor’ huffed, “You are exaggerating. Just because the Empire has hunted down people using the frequency for propaganda doesn’t mean our using it for this will even catch their attention.”
“Frequency Zero may have once been the go-to frequency for system alerts and warnings, but now it’s a sure-fire way to bring the Empire calling.” The woman stated, her frustration and fear becoming evident.
“Why do you want to use that particular frequency?” Obi-Wan asked.
The Doctor lit up then, “Oh yes, I think you could be a great help. I’m Doctor Ligrupoa. I have a project that should help us communicate with the purrgil. You see, there are multiple recorded interactions with the purrgil that were clearly in response to something that was broadcast on Frequency Zero. However, there has been nothing of a similar nature reported on the newer emergency frequency bands.”
Obi-Wan was intrigued. He had, in fact, run into purrgil several times during his travels. It was well known amongst the jedi that they were somewhat force sensitive and a jedi could generally manage such encounters without harm to either party. However, he had never heard of the empathy the shopkeeper had mentioned, or this new information about them being receptive to the old Emergency Broadcast Frequency, more commonly known as Frequency Zero. Intrigued or not, he didn’t think helping with this Doctor’s plan was a good idea. The woman’s concerns seemed valid enough, and Obi-Wan could not afford Imperial attention at this juncture.
“I’m sorry, Doctor Ligrupoa, was it? While I think the purrgil are interesting enough, I have no plans to stay here.” Obi-Wan explained and gave a shrug. “I am only interested in picking up a small cargo or a courier job before I have to leave to avoid the lockdown.”
“You best hurry then.” The woman said even as she moved to take the Doctor’s burden.
“Isa!” Doctor Ligrupoa hissed at the woman.
“Don’t you Isa, me. You can’t just drag strangers into your project!” She growled back at him.
Obi-Wan fought back a smile. “I’ll just be on my way then. Good luck!”
He turned away even as the pair started arguing with each other again. He would check the posting board at the cantina and then he would return to the Magpie and leave Todge Deep Station. Despite its earlier complacency, the force resonated with his choice in a way Obi-Wan had not felt in many years.
Obi-Wan slipped back into the space dock five and a quarter hours after he had left. He only hoped the port master had not upped the time frame on his lockdown. He quickly reached the berth where the Magpie was docked and reviewed the logs posted. The rations and supplies he had ordered at the general store had been delivered and stored in the cargo by the service droids staffed in the port. Refueling had also been seen to per the arrangements he had made earlier in his meeting with the Port Master. The water, air, and reserve systems were also refreshed and taken care of. That would be a relief, as he had some significant warnings from the force that all was not right with the systems. He settled himself and spared a moment to scan his ship with the force and found nothing amiss. The jedi holocrons were still where he had left them, tucked away in a hidden compartment shielded inside their storage container and by the force.
He shifted his focus in the force and took a moment to consider his current choices. Stay on the station and hope for an opportunity to make contact with the purrgil or leave now and trust the force to guide his path. The force pressed eagerly against him, tugging and pulling at him to open himself. He centered himself and checked his shields even as he boarded his ship and began a routine pre-flight inspection. Pre-flight checks completed, he accepted the force’s prodding and opened his thoughts to its direction. The force’s insistent push to leave the station was almost staggering, a foreboding warning of danger if he did not. Something had clearly changed in the last few hours since he had docked. He pushed back into the force and tried to determine if the threat was a personal danger or a danger to the entire station, but the feeling remained too vague to be clear on how serious of a threat the coming danger was to the station and the people living there. The threat to himself if he stayed, however, resonated in a way that almost made him ill.
He opened a comm channel to the Port Master. “Ben Cooper, here. I’ve decided to not stick around for the lockdown.”
“Get your ship out of my spaceport if you aren’t sticking around!” The Port Master shouted back at him through the comm and Obi-Wan smiled as he fired up the ship’s engine and initiated take-off. In moments he was out of the spaceport and leaving Todge Deep Station behind. He orbited around the moon Todgellis, around which Todge Deep Station orbited, and then angled out toward the Doudgril Asteroid Field with the force guiding him.
Obi-Wan was woken from his meditation by the peculiar song of the purrgil. He had set his ship down on one of the larger asteroids and settled in to wait for what he hadn’t been sure, but this was the path the force laid out for him. It felt remarkable to let himself take in its presence once again, even if the force was still shadowed and full of pain and so much of the dark. Obi-Wan understood and shared that pain. He had known the dark and how to protect himself from it nearly all his life and the realities of life and the force now in The Empire just increased the scale.
Questing thoughts reached out to him as he watched the pod of purrgil orbit around his asteroid and its neighbors. He was amazed and humbled by the sheer number of the beings. He reached out carefully, respecting the wisdom of the unique creatures who were capable of navigating both regular space and hyper-space.
Feelings of welcome, safety, goodwill, and hope were his focus. Obi-Wan’s feelings rippled out amidst the pod and he felt their reactions and responses all through the force. Welcome, safety, and goodwill rippled back to him, but instead of the hope he had sent, he had a sense of curiosity.
Obi-Wan smiled to himself. A bet won years and years after the debate that had sparked it. Before he could get lost in the memory of his old friends, he focused on sending his question and request out to the pod.
There was a sense of surprise and excitement, and then the pod as one drifted away from him.
Obi-Wan sighed in disappointment. It had been a long-shot, but one he had truly hoped would prove successful. It seemed he would have to depend on his own memory of the edges of wild space and the force alone to find what he was seeking.
His ship rocked suddenly as tentacles scooped it off the asteroid’s surface and pulled the Magpie into the embrace of the largest purrgil Obi-Wan had ever seen.
Feelings of welcome, safety, adventure, and a knowing swirled through the force to him.
Obi-Wan blinked rapidly as he reached out a hand to the console before him to steady himself at the strength of the sending.
Hyper-space. A remote star system with a moon and asteroid field much like this very one, but light in the force and devoid of sentient life. That is, if Obi-Wan understood the sending correctly. Obi-Wan blinked rapidly as tears welled at the swelling of hope in his own heart. Yes. That is exactly what I need. Can you guide me?
Amusement and agreement rippled back to him as the being whose tentacles cradled his ship began to pulse with bands of light at an increasing speed.
This was it. Obi-Wan would be able to create a safe haven for the future of the jedi. For Luke, Leia, and perhaps countless others. A new temple on a wild world flashed through his mind’s eye as the force pulsed along with the glowing bands of the purrgil.
A flare of light and they were gone.
Old Ben Kenobi paused in the hallway of the Millenium Falcon beside the achingly familiar astromech droid that had shadowed so many of his and his padawan’s journeys. It was clear to him that to this day, the sassy little R2 unit’s memory had never been wiped. Obi-Wan sighed as he carefully kneeled to be on eye level with the blue and silver dome. “Well, old friend, it seems I have to ask a favor of you once again.” He held out a small data chip. The journey to Alderan was giving him a terrible feeling and he couldn’t leave any further preparations to chance. “You’ll have to use my personal security clearance codes from the end of it all to decipher it. But if I do not survive this journey, you must see to it that Luke, and Leia too, reach this location.”
R2D2 trilled a series of mournful and beeps as he accepted the chip, uploaded its data to his own memory and secured it. His dome whirled at the information, as a shocked trill sounded.
“Thank you R2D2. May the force be with you.”
Notes: This story’s rough draft was completed in Jan 2023 after much noodling over various Star Wars fix-it-type ideas. I fell into the Star Wars fanfic fandom a few years ago and Obi-Wan quickly became a favorite.
Author End Notes: [Minor Spoiler] Ever since I first saw the purgills in Star Wars Rebels, the concept of them fascinated me. I was thrilled to see them return and be expanded upon in Ahsoka (7-8 months after I wrote this story).