His investigation into Ukio wasn't exactly starting there. Well, not on Ukio proper anyhow.
Their transport had made for Ukio's main shipping depot, which had witnessed an unexpected attack that had come and gone in the flash of an eye. It seemed little damage had been done, and good thing too. It's loss would have left Ukio with few ways to transport its bountiful harvests offworld, and that would mean ill winters not merely for those on the planet below, but on the many who relied on Ukian harvests for their produce.
But this had not been the only worries on Ukio in recent memory, though it was Saul and his companions first lead,
Skkkk-bhrk wheezed his rebreather as he began to speak,
"Part of me is worried that there will be little left to see" Saul mused to his companion with concern as they passed down the station's hard worn hallways to the far docking bay "The Ukian's haven't been too forthcoming over holo" thereSaul wasn't sure why, though perhaps they meant to try and keep their vulnerability quiet, that they'd allowed them here at all was a godsend.
There was word that one of the fighters that had attacked had been destroyed by Absalom Station's security forces, though it had taken one of their's with it. Whatever had happened to the other attacker, Saul did not know yet. Perhaps today they would find out, or at least find out who exactly was responsible for the attack, though he had his suspicions. If the Ukian's had recovered the wreckage then they could comb through that, though the question remained of what had happened to the other fighter,
"Mmmm," hummed the waddling, wrinkled elf called Yoddle. He was using a cane for a crutch, though, at only five hundred years of age, he did not need the twisted wood to walk. "Or, perhaps, nothing to see, there is. Clear your mind of assumptions and worries. Cloud your judgement, they can."
Yoddle had been assigned this mission for a number of reasons; but the chief-most reason was that he had been wary about a dark side threat from the far-edges of the galaxy since before any of the current Jedi were born. And now his fears seemed to finally be materializing. The Knights of Ren. He had encountered many legends about such Knights while studying the Unknown Regions during his day. The new Council must have finally seen it fit to heed his warnings and make use of his centuries of expertise on the matter.
A cluster of humans were waiting for the Jedi duo on the edge of the landing pad. Yoddle gathered, by looking at their uniforms, that they were part of the reclamation team sent to salvage and evaluate the crash site. One was carrying a datapad and was clearly taking inventory of the wreckage. The others were picking through charred and twisted remains of two crashed ships that were smashed into too many pieces to properly identify.
"You must be the Jedi I was told to expect," the man with the datapad said. He glanced at the two of them suspiciously and it dawned on Yoddle that this was the man's first time seeing a Jedi up-close. "I'll be honest. Not quite sure why sector security thinks you guys can do any better with this mess than us, but... orders are orders. Wreckage is all yours. Doubt you'll find anything useful."
"Thank you for your help," Yoddle said pleasantly.
The man's face pinched, but he didn't say anything. He merely gestured for his men to clear out; and then they were gone, leaving the two Jedi on the platform alone.
"Many years have passed since the Jedi were the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy," Yoddle said to Saul when they were alone. "For the Ukians, the first time seeing a Jedi it is. That—" He punctuated the word by jabbing with a clawed finger "—is the true reason for their distrust. Show them patience, you must." @Nightfall
Saul's eyes looked over the wreckage as the reclamation teams began to move away from it, trying to see if any parts could be identified amongst the burnt, twisted hunks of metal that were collected there. Whatever had exactly come to pass it had to have been with violent force to have torn starships to pieces so thoroughly. He breathed a heavy sigh as he moved from the wreckage to his companion,
"They'll have my all" he replied almost distantly, he had to admit that despite the advice of his diminutive friend, his mind still swirled with concerns, though shaking his head he tried to refresh his vision as he began to circle the rubble,
"They've been thrust into a conflict they only wish hadn't come to their borders, we're a reminder of that too. Their doubts might only be multiplied" Saul rasped as he waded his way within. Though he tried to search the wreckage for clues, there was little there he could identify by sight alone. He was not an engineer, or a lover of starships himself, and even he had been forced to be closer to machinery every day now, it did not make him familiar with its workings. But, the machine itself was not what they were truly looking for.
In the midst of the materials he seated himself upon his knees. Breathing deep, he closed his eyes and extended his senses into the Force,
Skkkk-bhrk huffed his rebreather as he let himself go,
"Perhaps there are traces beyond what the Ukian's have seen" Saul spoke to his ally, inviting him to join him as the wreckage began to hum with energy. Between the two of them, perhaps they could see beyond the wreckage, lingering spirits still clinging to it all in the Force. Or so Saul hoped, anyhow.
Yoddle's face folded into a deep frown. Not because he was displeased with what Saul had said, but because he was focusing his own energies for another purpose. He clenched his tiny fist and the wreckage in front of them floated up above the platform and reassembled until it vaguely resembled two shapes. One was the wreckage of one of the Ukians' Y-wing starfighters. The other ship, on the other hand...
"A snubfighter," the old Jedi said, rubbing his chin. "Recognize the design, I do not." He scanned the wreckage. "Taken the black box, the Ukians have. Critical, it will be, that we recover that device. Flight data and cockpit recordings, it contains. We can take it back to Ajan Kloss for examination." A smile peaked through the grim expression on Yoddle's face. "If into the flight recorder we go, learn more about our enemy we can."
Yoddle threw a glance over his shoulder at where the Ukians were huddled towards the edge of the platform. They were watching wide-eyed from afar as the ship wreckage floated in formation until Yoddle relaxed his focus and let the metal clatter back to the surface of the platform.
"Convincing the Ukians to part with the box, more difficult it will be," he admitted, though there was a mischievous twinkle in his eye when he looked back up at Saul. "Yes, critical to their own investigation, the box is. Hmmm... Have you a solution?"
Inwardly, he noted how remarkably like Master Yoda he had begun to sound. He was no Jedi Master. Not by rank. But he had more experience as a Jedi than the entire New Jedi Order collectively. There was much he could teach them, especially in the realm of diplomacy. @Nightfall
Opening his eyes as the wreckage began to reform around him, he followed Yoddle's assessment of the crafts, their damage, and what they were missing. He weaved between the shards of metal as deftly as he could nowadays, he found that he was somewhat slowed compared to how he used to move. On each ship he inspected its parts, could see whereabouts it appeared each had been hit, the immense damage that had been done. Breathing deep, if he reached out to the materials he could almost see flashes of the explosion that had took them out, the sudden, shaking violence of it all. But it wasn't enough.
They needed that black box,
"We could..." Saul began to respond. He agreed, their distrust made it difficult, and now was not a time where they wanted to lose the limited tolerance they had. What could they offer them? The Jedi were in no position to promise such attacks would never happen again, even though Saul wished he could say it.
Justice, perhaps? Would they be interested enough in having the culprits returned, should they be found? Saul found it unlikely, they could attempt that on their own. And equally unlikely was the thought of mentioning the horrors of the last war with the First Order to them. They had probably seen and heard enough, opening old wounds would not secure their trust. Saul, for all his radical thoughts and need to act, was lost,
"What would you recommend?" Yoddle was a being that had near seen more years than he had days as a Jedi, and his the cheek in his smile as he asked his question told Saul he had something in mind.
"The key to diplomacy, compromise is," Yoddle replied, parroting the words of his first Master so many centuries ago. "We must show the Ukians that we are not simply here to conduct Jedi business. The safety of their people, our concern must also be." The ancient Jedi Knight rubbed his chin again. "Two routes there are. Ask the Ukians to hand over the box, the contents of which we will share with them upon our investigation on Ajan Kloss, or—" He held up a second claw, as if enumerating their options. "—allow them to keep the box, we can. And ask them to share its contents with us, instead, we can try."
Yoddle reached into his robes and retrieved a cylindrical comlink, which connected him to his X-wing further up the landing pad. "Beegee," he said. "Come to me. Work I have for you, my friend." He glanced up at Saul and pointed towards the Ukian technicians, who were still keeping their distance. "Of diplomacy, much to learn, you still have. The best way to learn is to do. Go to the Ukians. Compromise with them."
About that time, a green, ball-shaped BG-unit rolled up to their position: Yoddle's beloved BG-9. The little droid whirred in Binary to his Jedi companion and Yoddle's answering chuckle was full of mirth.
"While you speak with the Ukians, investigate deeper the wreckage, Beegee and I will," Yoddle explained. "Scans we will create, which we can then analyze on Ajan Kloss and discover the identity of the mysterious snubfighter, mmm." Then, before Saul could protest, Yoddle cackled before setting off back towards the wreckage with his droid in tow. @Nightfall
“And if they refuse...” Saul tried to reply to Yoddle, but his fellow Knight was off with a laugh back to the starship wreckage, his cackle like a trickster god who knew more then he was letting on.
Saul supposed that, in a sense, Yoddle might as well have been, with so many years behind him one had to continue to be entertained somehow,
Skkk-bhrk his rebreather sighed as his eyes rolled slightly back, before a smile rested on his face,
“Yes, yes, we all have a lot to learn” Saul muttered. He was in good spirits in truth, the investigation had begun in earnest, he knew his goal, and his companions lightness was something he needed, so dour could his thoughts become when he was left alone these days.
Making his way over to the Ukian’s who looked about at datapads and generally tried to keep looking busy while Saul approached, he tried to lean his way into conversation,
“Excuse me. We’ve taken a look at the remnants, and while my companion is still trying to get more out of it, we had something that we wanted to ask you all about” Saul tried to begin in a relaxed manner, as if he was merely asking a friendly favour. The Ukians though stood up, their shoulders were tight, and though one relaxed a little, the others still looked taken aback,
“And what exactly is that?” the Ukian who met them initially replied,
“We’ve noticed that among the wreckage both ships flight recorders have been removed. If we are all to get to the bottom of this, that data will need to be unlocked...” Saul began to speak, trying to frame the advice he’d received and turn it into real words was harder than it appeared. For everyone’s sake though, what was inside those things needed to be seen by all.
BG-9's scans were completed minutes later, whilst Yoddle held up the wreckage of the ships as he had before. The old Jedi Knight could only hope the scans proved useful once they returned to Ajan Kloss. Of course, they would ultimately become meaningless should Saul fail to procure the black boxes or at least the data inside. He waddled around until he could see his companion on the far end of the platform.
Fortunately for Yoddle, his species had big ears and acute hearing. So, he didn't need to go all the way back to Saul to hear what was going on.
"Both boxes are instrumental pieces of evidence to our own investigation of the incident," one of the technicians was saying to Saul. "I'm afraid I cannot clear you to just take them wherever you like. Not without orders from my superiors, and I can tell you right now what they will say!"
The technician was getting flustered. Yoddle could sense that his thoughts were painted with misunderstanding. He had grown up in a galaxy without Jedi (at least, as far as he knew). And here these robed monks appeared, sticking their nose into his investigation, tampering with his crime scene, and demanding his evidence. The old Jedi could certainly understand the technician's frustrations. He might have even known how to defuse them. But this was an important learning moment for Saul, so he did nothing to intervene but watch. @Nightfall
Saul could sense his ally taking interest in the discussion as he listened to the technician dispute with. Part of him wanted to clarify that he hadn't in fact asked for the boxes as of yet, but the technician wasn't wrong in thinking he might do. Saul did nothing about it though, and instead kept his face and demeanor calm. He was not annoyed anyhow, he simply wanted this to work, and to succeed in the little test Yoddle was leaving for him,
"Of course not, I understand, this is your crime scene and I wouldn't ask you to part with the boxes, especially not without talking to your superiors" Saul started at first to roll back the worries of the technician, to put the conversation back in a place where they were on even ground once more,
"Both our expertise may be needed though to see what exactly is going on here. Perhaps a copy of the data could be approved for investigation by myself and my ally. We'd run our own analysis, and you your own. We'd then provide any discoveries made back to eachother. With two teams looking into this we'll be sure to pick up anything either may miss" he offered to the technician, trying to build up a deal that put them both in a stronger position then undercutting either of them on the information. You could almost hear the technician working the plan over in his mind, though from Saul's position at least it seemed the Ukian's mood had sombered a little. With a sigh, they replied,
"We'll want updates on what you find as you make them, anything out of the ordinary, let us know. We'll be comparing what you find, and any conclusions you come to, we want to know too" the Ukian scratched his head going over the deal, and with his hands he sent off another to get the copy. Saul bowed in thanks before turning to Yoddle, giving him a smile that said 'What did you think of that?'.
Yoddle was waddling over by the time Saul turned to face him, having sensed a conclusion to the conversation arriving. He smiled back at the young Jedi and nodded at Saul approvingly.
"Done well you have, young one," said Yoddle. "My Padawan you are not." His smile became coy. "But, if you were, I would give you passing marks." The old Jedi hummed and stroked his chin with clawed fingers. "Return quickly to Ajan Kloss, you should. Take and analyze the data. For the time being, remain here on Ukio I will. The Ukians are frightened after what they experienced. I will help them with their investigation and with anything else they require."
Yoddle had come to the conclusion while listening to Saul speak to the technicians. The Jedi Order could not be seen to just come to worlds, take what they wanted, and leave. A Jedi's life was one of servitude and humility. The Knights of Ren attack had failed, but the people of the planet were spooked. For the Jedi to ignore this in favor of their own interests was unbecoming, despite the investigation's importance.
"Contact me here if you find anything," Yoddle said. "Otherwise, return to Ajan Kloss, I will, when the situation here is resolved." @Nightfall
He had to admit he appreciated the bit of praise he received, he had managed to defuse the situation and keep everyone moving on. And Yoddle's plan to stay behind and assist the locals was a good one. There was likely much to still do here, Saul knew for a fact that there had been other sights across the planet that had been attacked, and there the assailants had left no trace. The Jedi at least could help allay their fears and offer what they could, as small as the Order was at this time they could still be of service,
"I'm sure you will, though I wouldn't try to be so witty with the Ukian's as you are to me" he followed with a smirk "not until you know them a little better, that is"
Saul was happy enough to had back, there was still much to be made of the information they now had in their hands. It needed to be seen, and he knew someone back on Ajan Kloss who would want to be updated anyhow,
"I look forward to seeing you back there in one piece" Saul added as an Ukian returned with a data slate for him, presumably containing the information they sought "May the Force be with you" he bowed his head to both Yoddle and the Ukian technician. He would take the shuttle back to Ajan Kloss, and leave the station in Yoddle's capable claws.