Using the small monitor built into his wrist brace, Darrus was able to keep track of the new Maelstrom's progress. They were lifting into the upper atmosphere now, about twenty minutes from rendezvous with the crippled Mandalorean vessel in orbit.
While he knew Vykara would not be able to handle all the minutae of capital ship combat on her own, a simple approach and dock was well within her capabilities. He had come to depend on his basilisk since becoming bonded to her; he had faith that despite her strange nature, she could always be counted on when he needed an ally.
The two people with him fell into that category as well. Tymor, for all his similarities to Marr-ek, did not feel untrustworthy. Darrus could certainly envision a day when they might come into conflict, likely on the battlefield, but for now they were almost friends. Darrus found himself appreciating that and hoping one day that 'almost' would be gone. Jedi might prefer allies to emotional attachments but he knew himself better than that now.
He had ruined too much in life by trying to be a 'good Jedi'. Being a good Jedi had brought him nothing but hardships and loss. The Dark Side was definitely not an answer to his woes but neither was the Jedi Code. If he had to divest himself of all emotions, all connections, to attain someone else's ideal of perfection, he would just have to be content with being flawed.
One of those 'flaws' was the other person with him - Maya. Since meeting her, since being rescued by her from the sands of Tatooine, she had quickly become a fixture in his life. He knew she had turmoil of her own, but the ex-medic had given up her whole life to follow him. Darrus winced inwardly at the realization that in all honesty he had no idea exactly where he was going or what she was following him into.
Were they still trying to track down the powers behind the Scarlet Wake? Was he intending to use all these new resource to equip a Mandalorean army? Did he intend to track down Skywalker and see if the son was anything like the father? What was his purpose now?
Did he even have one?
Then he reached the last security door on this narrow, hidden hall and one purpose reasserted itself. There was one thing he absolutely had to do. He had to protect what his friends and fellow Jedi had fought and died for, what he had now been entrusted with safeguarding.
"Beyond this door lies the real trea..."
Tymor sighed. "Enough preamble. Just open the door before I blast it down."
Maya smirked softly, nodding her agreement. "I think we are both just anxious to see what's here, Darrus. Please show us?"
"Right, of course." Darrus keyed in the authorization code and freed the final locks. The door slid open to reveal a chamber so brightly lit that all of them were blinded for a moment. Polarizing lenses compensated quickly, easing them all back into being able to see.
The room was round and extended at least twenty meters into the air. The center of the chamber housed a column of plate crystals set into a lattice of shimmering iridium lines. Several of the plates were slightly tinted, each of a different hue, giving the pillar the look of a stained glass column from floor to ceiling.
Some of the plates were also polarized and shedding light; these were hologram projectors current set to simply emit a broad spectrum of radiance. They were all connected by glowing lines in the glass to a plinth on the floor inside the column. This five-sided platform stood two meters tall and had the appearance of an esoteric computer bank, lights flashing across each of its faces.
For all of this, the most impressive sight in the room was the object floating above the plinth. It was fashioned like the column, a dodecahedron of platinum and crystal with a barely visible glowing structure at its heart. Each of its twelve sides was engraved in aurebesh characters, every string of letters more complex than the last.
Staring, Maya could not help noticing the similarity between it and Darrus' red crystal pyramid. "Is... is that a...?"
He nodded, watching in quiet wonder as the shape turned, orbiting in its vacuum pillar over a gravity hover disc. Each time it pulsed, a spark traveled along one of the circuit lines and a random holo-screen flickered. "Yes. It's a holocron."
"These are rare treasures," Tymor said as he approached. "But they are not unheard of. Why so much trouble for something like this? The cost and loss seem disproportionate to the value of the item."
Darrus smiled very softly to himself. "Are you sure you aren't a droid, Ty?"
That earned him, Darrus was sure, a sour look under the man's helmet. "Just answer the question, Silverlord. What am I not seeing?"
To reply, Darrus just raised his hand to the nearest screen and touched it. Instantly, shapes and characters began to flash over the black panel. Several tiers of data extended outward, projecting as holograms of nested menus just waiting to be accessed. "Tell me what you see now, Tymor."
The Mandalorean stepped up and touched a selection. After a quick scan, he touched another. And another. And still another. There did not seem to be any end to the option, to the number of things he could select off each new open display.
"What I don't see would be a shorter list. How much information is in this thing? It seems to cover just about every topic I can imagine."
Darrus nodded. "As well it should, considering what it is."
Maya leaned close, kissing him on the cheek. "And just what is it?"
"This, Maya, is something that as far as I can tell does not exist any more. I did a scan through the holonet for it back on Tatooine when I had access. The original is not on Coruscant and, from what I was able to see? It was likely destroyed. I didn't detect any other copies online either."
She bumped her forehead against his. "Like the scary man said, no more preambling."
Darrus blushed softly. "Sorry. This, my dear, is a full backup of the largest information codex in the galaxy. Astrogation, galactic history, cultures, science and philosophy. It is a compendium without compare in known space. If anyone knew something anywhere in the galaxy as of twenty years ago, it is in here. It even documents most everything known about..."
He paused for a moment before admitting this. "...the Force."
Tymor nodded, his suspicions confirmed. "Then this really is what I think it is?"
"Yes," Darrus relied quietly. "This is the Jedi Archives."