Ask Jakku Trial by Sand and Sun

Irisa Ece

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Irisa stood on the barren sands of Jakku, a desolate planet known for its unforgiving environment and hidden secrets. The sun beat down relentlessly, casting long shadows across the wreckage of scattered starships that littered the landscape. Soon though, it would be replaced by the two moons. So, she stood at a designated meeting point, checking the location beacon once more just to confirm it was functioning properly. Irisa had situated herself on the outskirts of one of the settlements, so she wouldn’t be that hard to find.

As she waited, the hybrid absentmindedly twirled a lock of her purplish hair, a habitual gesture that betrayed her impatience. Her unique Zeltron-Falleen heritage was evident in her striking appearance, with vibrant skin and eyes that shimmered like spinels. For the most part however, she did as the locals did and tried to cover up as much as she could. Her hood was drawn up, as was her neck gait.

For the umpteenth time, she huffed, not that it mattered because the sound was lost in the wind that whipped around her. The Jedi Council had been well aware of her aversion to children. The mere thought of taking a youngling under her wing had always been met with resistance. Yet, this assignment was different. Kaedan Javik, the padawan she was to observe, was not a child in the traditional sense. He was old enough to fend for himself, and his training had reached a crucial juncture where assessment was necessary.

Irisa's task was clear: observe and assess Kaedan's abilities as he took the lead on this mission. It was a test of his skills, judgment, and readiness for the trials ahead. She was here merely to monitor, to watch from the shadows and intervene only if absolutely necessary.

The minutes stretched into what felt like hours, each one amplifying her impatience. She glanced at the horizon, scanning for any sign of the padawan's arrival. Irisa knew that the real test would not only be for Kaedan but for her as well. Patience had never been her strongest virtue, and this mission would demand every ounce of it.

 
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Kaedan

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Kaedan had never been to Jakku. As a result, he had to do a bit of research with his EZPhone on the planet from infrastructure to customs. When he saw that it was another sand planet, he groaned. He didn't like sand. Not because it was coarse or rough or irritating or that it got all over. The problem was where there was sand, there was a huge possibility of there being a sandcrawler. Where there was a sandcrawler, there were Jawas. He wasn't a fan of those little critters. They were thieves and they enjoyed touching other people's stuff and then selling that off, even right back to the owner.

It was a long journey from Takodana to Jakku so while the ship flew in hyperspace, Kaedan kept himself busy. He looked at his reflection while he was in the refresher. His hair was starting to get really long and so he figured it would soon be time to cut it. He absolutely hated having to wake up an hour early just to brush his hair. He had the time to cut it with his vibro-knife but he wasn’t confident in his ability to make it look good.


pfft!

He heard the sound and rushed out of the refresher, seeing steam blowing up out of a compartment. He sighed and used the force to pull duratape towards him. He also pulled a mask towards him and he put it on his face. He opened a floor panel and he got into the compartment. He applied the duratape and it was able to block the steam from being on blast. “That should hold.”

He climbed out of the hole and secured the floor panel. He heard beeping coming from the cockpit which signified that he was about to be in the Jakku system. He rushed to his seat and a few moments later he pushed the lever up which pulled the ship out of hyperspace.

The planet materialized before him and he was almost unimpressed. It looked like a ball of dust from his view in space. Given that he grew up on a nature planet filled with water and grasslands, this was the extreme end of the other side. Was the planet always this dead looking or was this the result of something? If that was the case, he hoped that Rion would never have to turn into a dead wasteland like this.

After the ship entered the atmosphere, Kaedan used the coordinates given to find somewhere close enough to land. He brought the ship down two klicks away from the meet up the spot.

With a hiss, the ramp descended. Kaedan walked off the ship and locked it up. He was wearing his usual tunic paired with a robe to protect him from the possible harsh environment of Jakku. On his hip, his lightsaber sat snugly and his vibro-knife was attached to his shin. Across his shoulder sat the strap to his satchel. Inside, he had a datapad, some medical supplies and a few chilled bottles of water. He didn’t know how long they’d be there so he wanted to make sure he was prepared.

After the long walk, the Jedi Knight he was paired up with came into view. It didn’t take long before he was right before her. Kaedan bowed with respect before speaking.
“I hope that I didn’t keep you waiting too long, Master.” He didn’t have any idea on if she was friendly or not but he hoped that he’d be able to make a good impression. “I brought a few bottles of chilled water, would you like one?”

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Irisa Ece

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Perched atop a rock formation, Irisa lounged rather casually with her legs crossed at the ankles. Having pulled down her neck gait, she now enjoyed one of her many guilty pleasures. A slender cigarra. Its tip glowed dimly as she took a long drag of its mixture. The smoke that escaped her lips carried a sickly sweet scent, a fragrance that mingled oddly with the arid, dusty air of Jakku.

Bright spinel eyes scanned lazily at the horizon as her thoughts began to drift once again. She found herself contemplating the mission, the nature of their call for aid, and the desert planet’s bleakness. Sensing Kaedan’s approach, the hybrid took down her hood and marked his steady progress. The stiff, respectful bow earned him the arch of an eyebrow. While she appreciated the sentiment, it wasn’t her style. She would, however, take him up on that offer of water.

"As sweet as it is, I ain’t one for formalities, Sparky. Call me Ece. None of this ‘master’ shtic." She said whilst catching the bottle. The cool water was a welcome relief against the desert heat. A bit of booze would have also been a delight.

Taking a moment, the hybrid began her initial assessment of Kaedan. He was young but not annoyingly young. If she had to guess, he was probably leaning towards late adolescence. A prime age, all keen and eager. At least he seemed well-prepared, his gear neatly arranged and his stance full of purpose. She noted the satchel slung over his shoulder, the lightsaber at his hip, and the vibro-knife strapped to his shin. He had come ready for anything, it seemed. Time would tell however whether all of it would be a help or hinderance.

"You’re takin’ lead on this one, padawan. I’m here to observe and report back to the council. Now, if things start to go south, I’ll step in and help," she instructed, assuming Kaedan had read the mission brief.

Still, she recited it just to ensure clarity and eliminate any chance of misunderstanding."The people living in that settlement over there-" she said, jerking her head towards the distant cluster of buildings, "-have reached out to the Jedi. What’s your first point of action?"

Irisa took one last inhale from her cigarra before stubbing it out whilst simultaneously studying Kaedan’s reaction. She was waiting to see his strategy. If he was smart, he’d suggest heading to the settlement first. They needed to confirm the information in the report was accurate. Not only that, maybe he could secure some transport. The idea of trekking across the desert, even with the sun beginning to set, was far from appealing.

With that in mind, the Jedi Knight jumped down from her perch. For some, her appearance was a lot of drink in. Her fuchsia pink skin was as vibrant as it was radiant, being further adorned with shimmering marks across her cheeks, forehead, chin and throat. Her hair was a wave of thick, purplish hues. She often tied her hair back during missions, but today she let it flow freely. Irisa's eyes though were perhaps her most captivating feature. Large and expressive, they resembled precious gems, their dark spinel depths sparkling with a hint of mischief. These eyes could be both disarmingly warm and piercingly intense, capable of reading a person's intentions with unnerving accuracy.

And right now, they were fixed on Kaedan. Something about him and caught her attention and now she was thoroughly inspecting it. “You sure you’re a padawan? I don’t know what they’re feedin’ you on Takodana but you’re too damn big!” The hybrid was now comparing their heights, and indeed it seemed the Kaedan was fraction taller than her.

In a joking display of exasperation, she shooed at him so they could start to get a move on. “Come on, Sparky. You the one in charge. You lead the way. Move it or lose it” she then proceeded to poke at him, rather vigorously until he started walking.
 

Kaedan

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Kaedan tossed a chilled water bottle towards the knight who caught it. She wanted to be called Ece. Wait, did she call him Sparky? What the hell was up with that. Out of all things in the galaxy she went with Sparky. “Of course, Mas- Ece.”

When she told him that he was taking point, he blinked quite a few times. “You want me to take lead? Okay…” This seemed familiar, like something he saw before. He then remembered what, he was watching a holoshow about training coruscant police and they called it Civi wear shift. After Ece recited the mission briefing, Kaedan nodded. “Well, let’s get to it.”

She started by asking him about his choice in dealing with the people in the settlement that had contacted the order for help. Kaedan didn't take any time between her asking and him answering. "We need to speak with the people in the settlement. Messages can be lost through word of mouth so we have to make sure the mission briefing has everything right and we're not making a bad situation worse."

The sandy breeze caressed his skin and while he wasn't irritated by it, he would have preferred it not be there. His preferred environment was grasslands and fresh waters. It didn't matter though, he had a job to do and a Jedi Knight was going to evaluate his performance on this mission. It wasn't the worse thing that could happen.

When Ece jumped down, Kaedan took note of her from her pink skin to the was she stood. Her facial tattoos seemed like they belonged on a Mirialan which was weird to why she had them. Even so, it wasn't any of his business why she had them. They didn't have enough social capital for him to ask about them anyway. Then there were her many piercings. He didn't know people would even wear that many.

She looked as if she was fixated on him. That made sense since she was evaluating him. Maybe it was an intimidat- What? She was questioning his status as a padawan because of his size. He chuckled.
"Sure is. Maybe you're just too short to be a jedi knight." He joked. From her tone, she seemed more like a cooler kind of knight than all about rules kind of knight. This was somewhat relaxing.

She started shooing him which indicated that it was time to get to work.
"You got it but if you call me sparky, do I get to call you pinky? Only seems fair." He laughed a bit while he began to walk towards the settlement. When they entered the settlement, eyes were on them and whispers were around. It was kind of strange. Though, he didn't let that get in the way. He approached the area where the leader would be. After all, he was the client and the one that would have the information. He knocked on the door and it slid open, revealing the leader of the settlement. "Hi there. We are the Jedi that were sent to help out with your problems. Mind if we come in?"

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Irisa Ece

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Irisa nodded approvingly at Kaedan’s choice of actions. Reaffirming information at the source was always a good habit to get into. Messages, especially those sent in times of panic, often lacked vital details. His immediate decision to speak directly with the settlement’s inhabitants was as good a start as any. At least the Youngblood had some instincts.

As they walked towards the settlement, Kaedan, trying to lighten the mood, made a cheeky remark not only about the hybrid’s height but also about the possibility of her nickname. Irisa responded accordingly with a flick to his forehead, playful yet sharp enough to make her point. “Don’t push ya luck with me, padawan. Impress me today and maybe, just maybe, I’ll remember your real name.”

As the two continued their trek, the wind picked up, carrying grains of sand that brushed against their skin, but neither of them wavered. Upon their arrival at the settlement, Irisa’s spinel eyes scanned the inhabitants. Her gaze was surprisingly sharp and discerning, catching the nervous glances and whispered conversations among the villagers. She sensed their apprehension mixed with great concern, a clear indication that this was indeed an emergency. Her initial skepticism faded; she had seen distress signals used to set up ambushes before, but this felt genuine. Still, better safe than sorry.

The village leader, an elderly man with a humanoid appearance, greeted them at the entrance. His gait was labored, supported by a wooden stick and a crude metal prosthetic replaced his foot. It was a makeshift solution, likely the result of some accident. He ushered them into a modest seating area where several clusters of people were waiting. The group consisted of some elderly individuals, a few young children, and only a handful of adults. Irisa leaned against the wall of the dwelling, her posture relaxed but her gaze alert. She swept her eyes over the group, taking in their anxious faces and the subdued murmurs that filled the room. The air was thick with tension and hope, the villagers clearly desperate for assistance.

The village leader began to explain their predicament, his voice tinged with worry and fatigue. “Our people survive largely by mining. We find ore and trade it. Two days ago, we were investigating a new deposit when the preliminary caved in. Some managed to escape, but there are still at least five of us unaccounted for. We don’t have the proper equipment to breach the debris….”

As he spoke, Irisa twirled a lock of her thick, purplish hair absently, her mind racing with the implications of their situation. This was far from ideal. The Jedi didn’t carry mining equipment capable of such tasks. The Force might aid them, but there were other considerations, such as the stability of the remaining structure and the safety of any potential rescue operation. She wondered if Kaedan would recognise the complexity of the situation and think beyond immediate solutions.

Her eyes flicked to the padawan, watching him closely. His response and actions would be telling of his potential and his readiness to step into the larger role he was being trained for. There was more to this challenge than just strength and skill…

“Please, can you help us? We beg of you.”
 

Kaedan

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After Kaedan's playful remarks about Ece's height or the fact that she was pink skinned which made pinky a good nickname, she flicked his forehead. It stung but that was just about it. It seemed to have come from more of a playful place than a serious scolding but it still was a sign that he should get on her good side before trying to make it seem like they're cool. "You got it, Ece." Did he think he'd be impressing her? Of course not, he didn't think that she'd be impressed by anything he did on the surface level.

When the doors opened and Kaedan introduced himself to the leader, he got a good look at the man. Near human and old. He walked with a stick and had a robotic foot. Not a great one though. It was surprising that the thing even was functional and the sandy environment couldn't be doing it any favors.

After being escorted by the elder, Kaedan observed the people and their looks for aid. Just how long did they suffer and why? Questions that would have to wait for a different time. The young padawan listened to the elder as the old man explained their plight. They were missing members of their prospectors from a cave in. Without proper tools, they were helpless which lined up with some of what the briefing stated. It didn't speak much about the cave or who was missing but that there was a situation that needed them to help rescue people.


"We will help. People are at risk." He said firmly. "But we will need some information." He pulled his datapad out of his satchel and turned it on. During his study of Jakku, he downloaded a planetary map so that they'd be able to have an accurate location pin on where they'd be going. He zoomed into the area the settlement was located and turned the datapad towards the elder. "Can you first mark on the map where the exact cave is? It would save us having to guess which cave to search. You should also be able to mark the cave in area." He looked over at Ece momentarily before he looked back at the datapad.

"It would also help us greatly if you could tell us about the cave structure. Are there any other paths into the cave aside from the cave in? What about the fauna and creatures who call the cave their habitat? Are any of them venomous, poisonous or remotely dangerous? We have to be sure of all of those variables."

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Irisa Ece

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Irisa nodded silently, her approval clear in her eyes. Kaedan was starting this mission strong, demonstrating both initiative and strategic thinking. His approach to gathering information and understanding the situation was commendable, and she felt a growing confidence in his abilities.

The village elder took the datapad from Kaedan, his hand trembling slightly with age. The deep wrinkles on his skin told tales of many years of hardship, and his eyes, though tired, held a glimmer of determination. With a shaky hand, he marked the location on the map, the blue marker dotting the screen with precision. The cave was not too far from the settlement, situated towards the west, beyond a series of jagged rock ridges. Stealing a look, Irisa estimated the distance and considered the rough terrain; on foot, it would take them several hours to traverse, a daunting task under the harsh sun.

One of the villagers, a burly man with calloused hands and dirt-streaked clothes, stepped forward. He was the foreman of the mining expedition, his face etched with lines of worry and fatigue. "The preliminary tunnel was the main entrance," he began, his voice rough and gravelly. "We work by extending any existing spaces. There are some minor mouths and openings, but we don’t know the status of them. They could have also been filled in during the collapse. As for critters, there’s a few to watch out for: Gnaw jaws, ripper raptors, and Vworkkas. That’s why we couldn’t stay too long in the area and dig at the cave-in. Those beasts will pick us off one by one.”

Irisa’s expression soured at the mention of these creatures. Gnaw jaws, with their razor-sharp teeth, could tear through flesh and bone effortlessly. Ripper raptors, small but deadly, were known for their speed and ferocity. Vworkkas, massive and territorial, were perhaps the most dangerous of all. This was no simple rescue mission; it was a venture into a hostile environment where every step could be their last.

The old village leader stepped forward again, his eyes glistening with a mix of hope and desperation. “We know there are many dangers. We did not know who would be able to help. But if you return our kin, we would be forever grateful.” His voice, heavy with gratitude and the weight of his people's expectations, resonated in the small room.

Irisa felt a pang of sympathy for the villagers; their plight was dire, and their hope fragile. She stepped forward, her expression one of reservation, ready to address the gravity of their mission. “We can’t make any promises. The cave-in was two days ago, so maybe the five missin’ are still alive. Ya have to prepare yourselves, though, for the possibility that we might be returning bodies to ya instead. Maybe not even that.”

Her words, though harsh, were necessary. She wasn't going to raise false hopes and she didn’t want Kaedan to fall into that trap either. The reality of the situation was grim, and it was crucial that the villagers understood the potential outcomes.
 
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Kaedan

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The cave's location and the main entrance was revealed by the elder and the villager who've been inside. They answered the questions that Kaedan needed for them to proceed. With the new information, Kaedan thought about the plan that would be right for them. They needed to be able to get into the caves without collapsing it further, save the villages (if they were still alive), defend against dangerous creatures and return to the settlement safely. It was dangerous but this was the job. For jedi, this was just another Tuesday.

While the villagers were hopeful, Ece let them know the reality of the situation. It was good to be honest upfront instead of leaving them on the hope that it would be okay when it really might not be. Even so, they were going to do their best to bring back their kin, alive.
"We will be on our way. If we move fast, we should make it to the cave by nightfall."

Kaedan took the datapad and synced the info with his EZPhone and his EZWatch. It would be much easier to traverse without having to keep a tablet in his hand. Besides, the watch was already on his wrist so that made things way more convenient. Kaedan made his way out of the settlement, looking over the intel on his watch.

The journey to the cave was treacherous. The beating sun was no joke and it was another reason the boy hated desert planets and sand.
"Let's take a break here. There are some rocks we could sit on and rest our feet. No sense in wearing ourselves out since we have a good ways to go. Not only that, we may run into some of those beasts." He said, sitting on a stone. He took out water from his satchel and tossed one at Ece. "Catch."

He took a few sips, enjoying the feeling of the liquid on his lips that had started to dry up in the heat. "When we do get to the cave, I think our entry should be the main entrance. While we were walking I was thinking. The other entrances are too risky to be viable points of entry. We simply do not have enough information to say that they're safe or that they didn't close when the cave in happened." He took another few sips. "So, we go through the main entrance, use the force to move rocks safely and once we have safe entry we can use the tracks of the prospectors to find them. It would be great to be able to echo them in the force but sadly, I haven't learned Psychometry yet. It's very high on my to-do list."

Suddenly, there was rumbling around the area. Something was coming and it was coming fast. Kaedan quickly got up from his seat and grabbed his lightsaber hilt, waiting for visual to engage with whatever was around.
 

Irisa Ece

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As they trudged along the sandy path, Irisa groaned, her voice heavy with frustration. "Ya couldn’t have asked for transport?" The relentless sun beat down on them, its rays unyielding and oppressive. She would have definitely tried to haggle for a beast of burden, anything to avoid this grueling march.

When they finally stopped to rest, the hybrid settled into the shadow of a large boulder. The shade provided marginal relief from the overwhelming heat, but it was better than nothing. She leaned back against the cool stone, savoring the brief respite. She took a long, refreshing sip from the satchel Kaedan had tossed her, the liquid soothing her parched throat. Usually, she wouldn’t but actually it was another good habit for the padawan to get into, caring for others and being responsible for their well being. One day, if Kaedan ever became a master, he might have a padawan of his own to nurture.

As she drank, she listened attentively to Kaedan as he explained his plan. Irisa nodded thoughtfully, her mind working through the logistics of their mission. "Solid plan, but be realistic, yea? Everyone thinks they can lift some rocks, till they realize how heavy and how much they gotta move. Fatigue sets in real quick…" Her tone was practical, tinged with the wisdom of experience. She knew the physical toll such a task could take.

As Kaedan continued to outline his strategy, Irisa’s attention began to drift. Her senses heightened, she scanned their surroundings, feeling a disturbance in the Force. She detected a presence before Kaedan did, her instincts honed to a razor's edge. The rumbling above them confirmed her suspicions. Remaining still, she watched the horizon with narrowed eyes while Kaedan sprang to his feet, his hand instinctively reaching for his lightsaber hilt.

And with a subtle use of the Force, Irisa pulled Kaedan’s lightsaber from his grasp, her expression unreadable.

Moments later, a ripper raptor, a flying reptile-like bird with keen eyes and leathery skin, dove from above, targeting Kaedan. Two others circled overhead, their sharp eyes observing, waiting for the opportune moment to strike. Feigning concern, Irisa called out, "Oh no, you have lost your lightsaber during an ambush, padawan. Whatever will you do now?" Her tone was laced with amusement, her lips curling into a faint smirk. She knew the ripper raptors, though menacing, were mostly carrion birds. They preferred to prey on the dead or dying, but they would test Kaedan’s mettle nonetheless.

Watching with mild amusement, Irisa remained seated, her posture relaxed. This was a test, an opportunity to see how Kaedan would handle himself without relying on his lightsaber. Her dark spinel eyes sparkled with curiosity as she observed his reactions whilst also inspecting his saber. "Too many Jedi rely on their weapon. Ya won’t always be able to use it. Or the Force, for that matter. Ya gotta be prepared for every situation, includin’ ones where you’re at a disadvantage. So, what you gonna do, sparky?" She leaned back, folding her arms across her chest, waiting to see how Kaedan would rise to the challenge. This was his moment to prove his adaptability and resourcefulness, and she was eager to see how he would fare.
 

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Ece complained about Kaedan not asking for a transport of some sort. Wait, could he do that? Also, the settlement didn't look like they were in a position to provide speeder bikes or any other form of machinery. Perhaps, they could have asked for mounts. Though, the beasts that people ride on this planet were awfully slow so he didn't think that'd be better than going on foot. "We're better off on foot. The settlement looks worse for wear which means they probably don't make enough credits to survive and provide full maintenance. That also means they wouldn't have any transports that would be beneficial for us to use unless you wanted to be on the back of a Happabore and be no where as far as we are now." Kaedan pointed out. After all, this was an evaluation so she needed to see where his thinking was.

When they made the stop, he provided the plan which she thought was solid.
"I agree fatigue can set in. Never said it was going to be easy but it's the best plan we could have with the intel we were given. That said, if we can make a space safe enough for us to get through without having to move too much of the rocks, we should fine. We won't know until we get there."

Then came the rumbling. The padawan got into a ready stance right before he felt his lightsaber being pulled out of his hands. Ece had taken away the lightsaber and made it a challenge. Very well, no sense in complaining. He still had his Vibro-Knife but instead of using it here, he'd wait until the right time if that ever came. The chaos had revealed the source? A Ripper-Raptor? But how did it make the rumbling? Wasn't important. At least it wasn't a rancor or a skriton. Were they even on this planet? It didn't matter, they weren't there and that was great because they'd be much worse than the Ripper raptor.

He could hear her in the background, laying out the test. Even so, he focused on the approaching bird, reaching out his hand to it in order to tame it with the force. It would be great for transport too. The problem was, the force taming didn't work and now the bird was rampaging towards him. He tried to dodge out of the way but ended up being smacked into a rock. That was going to hurt in the morning.
"Alright feathers, wanna play it rough. Let's go." He tussled with the bird trying to take control with the situation but most of that caused him to be struck by its beak.

After a few failed attempts, he managed to get under the bird. He pulled out his vibro-knife and struck the underbelly of the bird with the bottom of the hilt. He didn't want to kill it, just show it that he wasn't some push over. Reeling from the pain, the bird assessed the situation before flying off.
"Awww don’t run, let’s be friends Seriously feathers, let’s be friends. This heat is abysmal!" He groaned. "There goes the other possible transport." He said, wiping sweat and blood from his face. He was mostly fine, 'Twas just a few scratches. "We should get going before any more creatures want to take a go at me."

He put away the vibro-knife and the walking began again. "Would have been nice to simply ride there. I had a speeder, one of the ones made by EZTransports for Jedi. Had to trade it to Jawas just so I could get back my ship." He sighed. "Would have saved us the trouble. Anyway, the sun is setting so hopefully it's going to be a better trek."

Eventually, the duo made it to the main entrance to the cave. "We're here." He walked inside and inspected the boulders and stones blocking their path. "If we remove the top layer, we should be able to make a space to get inside but that won't help us on the getting back out especially if some of these prospectors have a bit of size. We will definitely need to clear the top first and then we should remove the biggest boulder in the center. I'd say our lightsabers may be useful in dividing the size and effectively the weight of the big one which would give us an easier time moving it."
 

Irisa Ece

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Irisa watched passively, her expression neutral, as Kaedan fought off the ripper raptor. She leaned against the rock, arms crossed, evaluating his every move with a critical eye. It was good, she mused, for the padawan to have an additional weapon. Not many would assume a Jedi to carry a vibro-knife, and it showed resourcefulness on his part. She also noted his failed attempt to use the Force to befriend the avian adversary.

“Yea, word to the wise,” she called out, her voice carrying a hint of sardonic amusement,“Animals can be a lot like people. Not all of them wanna be your friend…”

When Kaedan finally managed to fend off the bird, Irisa offered him a slow clap, the sound echoing softly in the vast, empty desert. With a fluid motion, she threw his lightsaber back to him, the hilt spinning through the air before he caught it deftly. “Jawas, huh? Tough break there. They ain’t easy to trade with…” She chuckled softly, shaking her head at the memory of her own frustrating encounters with the diminutive scavengers.

The journey continued, the sun dipping lower in the sky, casting long shadows across the rugged landscape. Eventually, the duo made it to the main entrance of the cave. The opening loomed before them, partially blocked by a chaotic jumble of rocks and boulders. Irisa silently assessed its condition as Kaedan commented on it, her eyes tracing the lines of the debris, noting the precarious balance of the stones. Getting the rocks out of the mouth would be tricky. Any particular shift could affect the structure, causing further collapses unless someone was there to stabilize it with precision.

Kaedan’s observations were sound, and she found herself nodding in agreement as he outlined his plan. The task ahead required not just brute strength, but careful strategy and a keen understanding of the forces at play.

Irisa then turned to the padawan. “Well, you’re on point. Instruct me.” Her tone was rather expectant, ready to follow his lead and observe how he would handle the delicate task ahead. She was prepared to offer her expertise and strength, but this was his moment to demonstrate his capability and leadership.

As Kaedan began to organize their approach to clearing the debris, Irisa closed her eyes and reached out through the Force, trying to sense what lay within the cave. She focused deeply, extending her awareness beyond the physical barrier of stone and earth. There was something inside, a presence, but it was faint and uncertain. She couldn't be sure if it was the missing villagers or something else entirely. The feeling was elusive, slipping through her mental grasp like sand through fingers.

“There’s something in there,” she murmured, opening her eyes and looking at Kaedan. “But I can’t be certain. There’s inference.”

Dice roll:
Sensing for survivors - 10/20
 

Kaedan

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After the scuffle, Ece gave Kaedan advice on animals which he simply nodded. He caught him lightsaber when it was tossed his way. "Would have loved to do some aggressive negotiations but we really didn't have the time so I gave them the bike."

At the cave, Kaedan did his inspection and came up with a game plan. Ece solidified that he was in charge and so he told her what he was thinking. She spoke about feeling something in side but she wasn't sure if it was the villagers. Kaedan nodded even though he couldn't feel the presence she felt yet. He beckoned her over to him and he closed his eyes and held his hands out. He used the force and focused on the stones, trying to feel which ones to move first. The smaller stones began to tremble, then slowly, reluctantly, they shifted. Stone after stone, they were able to safely move them without causing any issues. The padawan felt the strain on his body from lifting the heavy rocks but he focused even more. Sweat rolled down his cheek, even above the cuts he had sustained while fighting the Ripper-Raptor.

Eventually they came down to the big boulder. Kaedan activated his lightsaber and carefully carved the boulder into more manageable stones which were abled to move out of the way just like the others. At last, the path was clear. He deactivated his blade and wiped the sweat from his brow.

Kaedan pulled up the map with his EZWatch to see the network of tunnels. He was comforted knowing that there weren't many. Suddenly, something called to him. He was confused as to be what could be trying to pull him toward it in the cave. Was it a survivor's desperation to be rescued of something else? It definitely felt like something else, something familiar.
"Master Ece, do you feel that? It's so strong and it calls to me." So lost in the pull, he didn't realize what he was saying until he had already said it. "I mean Ece, sorry." He took a breath. "It doesn't feel dangerous..." He said. "I say we follow it." After all, he was in charge so she'd have to follow his lead here.

Kaedan activated his lightsaber to use it as a light source. He carefully walked along the main cavern path until he came to a junction. He didn't slow for a moment as he knew exactly which direction to go. It was as clear as his vision on a clear day. He kept following until he came to a space within the cave that was strangely lit. He extinguished his lightsaber and saw the reason it was so lit. The room was filled with cyber crystals.


Suddenly, the area changed and he was alone. He reached for his lightsaber but it wasn't there, neither was his vibro-knife. He slowly wandered through the unknown void, trying to figure out where he was and where Ece went. He heard voices in the distance, strangely familiar yet still sounded eerie. He ran towards the voices but the closer he got the more distorted they sounded. They called his name in a sing song way and that spooked him greatly. Still, he was determined to figure out what was going on. He arrived to what seemed to be a door and he opened it and suddenly he was in his childhood home and he was viewing his parents giving him up to the jedi.

After his young self and the Jedi left the planet with him, the area looked like it took a jump through hyperspace and he was catapulted back into the void. The next events he saw was the moment he became a padawan after his trials but then he saw the many padawans who had masters and then he saw himself all alone. He felt alone... unwanted... unchosen. He felt like he would never be good enough... He didn't matter.... He was just in the way...

He may not have cared what anyone else thought of him but he truly wanted to be someone's choice. Just once he wanted to be chosen. Then he saw her. Alienor. He saw them training as he taught her how to use a lightsaber. He saw how she hugged him. He saw the prom that they attended together. She chose him. She wanted to be his friend and she was the first one he felt that with. The next person he saw was Shaw. Shaw had become a real friend to Kaedan and that was something Kaedan didn't fully consider. Next he saw the ship he flew which his mom gave him and with it he saw that his parents were happy and proud of him. Maybe they truly chose him but needed him to learn from the Order.


He suddenly no longer felt alone and a smile appeared on his face. He felt like he mattered to others even if it was different than how he originally felt.

He was back in the cave with Ece and in his hand was a mature Kyber crystal he had somehow taken from the wall of the cave. "Woah... that was..." He had tears in his eyes. Internally, he was holding onto so much that he couldn't fully process what was going on. He quickly wiped those tears. "Sorry, I don't... we can talk about it later. We should document this present location and also get back to searching for survivors." He said, safely securing the kyber crystal in the bag while taking out the datapad. He marked their current location on the map and made a note that there clusters of kyber crystals there. "Alright, I say we sit and meditate, focusing with the force on life forms outside of this room. We should be able to get it done if we work together. We would still be able to pick up recent deaths too." He stated.

He sighed and sat down and crossed his legs. He hoped that this would work.



- Rolled 11 (full success) on them getting into the cave safely using Kaedan's plan of using the force and lightsaber
- Rolled 16 (full success) on feeling/finding the Kyber Crystal
 

Irisa Ece

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Irisa stood by, her gaze steady and assessing, as Kaedan began to move the large rocks and boulders blocking the cave entrance. She noted with approval how he paced himself, avoiding the common mistake of many padawans who might try to show off or overexert themselves by moving too many rocks at once. His methodical approach was a testament to his growing maturity and understanding of his own limits. Occasionally, the hybrid lent a subtle hand, using the Force to nudge a few of the rocks when Kaedan wasn’t looking. Her assistance was delicate and precise, designed to speed up the process without undermining his efforts. She didn’t want to patronize him, but with survivors' lives on the line, a little help could be forgiven.

As Kaedan continued to work, sweat trickling down his brow and muscles straining under the effort, Irisa watched with a mixture of scrutiny and silent encouragement. He showed resilience and determination, qualities that would serve him well in his journey. When he finally finished carving up the larger stones and moving them out of the way, Irisa stepped forward to assess his work.

"Not bad, wonder boy. Not bad at all," she said, tapping his shoulder in a rare show of praise. Her tone was approving, and her eyes held a glint of satisfaction at his progress.

Irisa sensed the resonations within the cave, a subtle vibration that felt both familiar and elusive. Whatever it was, Kaedan was picking up on it too. Normally, she would have tapped Kaedan’s forehead for his verbal slip-up, but for now, she let it slide, especially as it seemed they had some exploring to do. She might have argued about prioritizing the search for survivors, but this feeling might be linked to them. With that in mind, the hybrid followed Kaedan deeper into the cave, her keen eyes catching the budding cluster of kyber crystals. It was an unexpected discovery, their shapes and colors indicating they were still in their formative years. She was about to warn Kaedan about the potential heightened sensitivity to the Force when in close proximity to kyber crystals. He likely knew, but she felt compelled to remind him in case he started seeing things.

Little did she know, she would experience something herself.

In an instant, the cave around her faded and she was alone, enveloped in darkness. Shadows and shapeless masses circled her, stalking with malevolent intent. Irisa tensed, her heart rate fluctuating as a snarl tugged at her lips. Her hand drifted instinctively to the hilts of her sabers on her belt, an old habit from a bygone day.

Then, she bumped into Kaedan, and reality snapped back into place. The sight of his tears stopped her short, pulling her from her own haunting visions. Compassion or empathy might have been expected, but instead, there was something hollow in her expression. She visibly paled and looked away from Kaedan, as if trying to block out his emotional distress. Luckily, the padawan managed to compose himself, which helped the hybrid do the same. With a shaky breath, she focused on his discovery, offering a fleeting acknowledgment."Well, would ya look at that. Today must be ya lucky day," she said, her voice tinged with a forced lightness.

The idea of meditating made her grimace inwardly. It wasn’t her strongest suit, personally. Not in the conventional sense. She could, however, guide Kaedan like her instructors had done during her time as a padawan.

Sitting on a boulder, she offered her advice.“Personally, I try to picture the Force like it’s a large body of water. An ocean, for example. Every being that exists within its depths creates ripples. Some are bigger than others. Search amongst the ripples that surround us. Find the abnormalities and see what ya feel when your ripples of existence meet others. Ya can then use that to pinpoint a direction to follow.”

 

Kaedan

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He nodded when Ece told him good job. It seemed like he was already off to a good start with her. He hoped so at the very least.

After they got to the crystal room, Kaedan had been through his trance in the force and came out the other side with a kyber crystal in hand and a bit more resolve. He felt lighter. Maybe he still had a ways to go but at least a little closure was better than none. He smiled when Ece told him that it must be his lucky day though there was something off with her. Or was it maybe that his head still wasn't fully back to normal? It didn't matter. If there was a problem then Ece would tell him if it posed a threat to their mission. If not, then it was her business until she wanted to share the burden with him.
"Maybe it is."

He sat down facing Ece as she sat on a boulder. He closed his eyes and listened to her voice. He reached out with the force, focusing on it as space instead of the ocean. It was the calm stars that he loved seeing when flying that worked really well for him. There were planets, moons, suns and stars along with other things and their sizes differ. Just like the ocean, there were different kinds of abnormalities in the galaxy. Through the force, he found them. He also searched for other things to ensure that they could avoid conflict in getting the prospectors out of there safely.

They were...alive? Yes, they were alive. He opened his eyes and smiled.
"I found them. They're not alone in this cave. There are critters near by and if we want to get them out of here alive, then we have to hurry." He jumped up and darted out the door. "Will you help with the beasts?" He asked as he ran from one junction to the junction furthest away. Deep into the path, the prospectors were laid on the floor, holding onto their lives. All of their emergency supplies were depleted and laid across the ground of the junction.

"My name is Kaedan Javik. I am a padawan in the Jedi and I've come to get you guys home." He approached them and handed them water which they desperately needed.

"We thought we were goners for sure."

"I'm glad we made it in time. Though we all have to move to get you guys out safely."

Just then, A gnaw-jaw entered the cave room ready to prey on the injured. It lunged but not before Kaedan had activated his lightsaber. The padawan sliced one of its legs off and it recoiled. Of course, the beast wasn't alone. It moved in swarms and here came one. "Stay behind us."

- Rolled a 5 on getting to the prospectors and safely getting them out without problems
 

Irisa Ece

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Gnaw-jaws were six-legged carnivorous insects, no bigger than a meter, but their swarming nature made them deadly. Their chitinous exoskeletons glistened in the dim light of the cave, their mandibles clicking menacingly as they advanced.

Irisa briefly contemplated unsheathing her own sabers but decided instead to gain them some ground before being overrun. She extended her hands, feeling the familiar surge of the Force flowing through her. With a focused effort, she unleashed a powerful push aimed at the first wave of gnaw-jaws. The energy rippled outwards, hitting the insects with an invisible force. The bugs were determined, however; some latched onto the ground with their sharp legs, anchoring themselves against the energy. They carved up the earth, their claws digging deep grooves into the stone as they were pushed back by Irisa’s power. Despite her efforts, the gnaw-jaws tenaciously resisted, their bodies twitching and squirming as they fought to hold their ground.

There was some space between them now, but not as much as she would have liked. The insects, undeterred by her display of resistance, continued to hiss and titter at the pair of Jedi. Their intent was clear: they saw the weakened miners as ideal prey, easy targets for their relentless hunger.

"Get yourselves movin’, carry the injured!" Irisa commanded, her voice firm and loud. She pointed in the direction they had come from, ensuring the miners knew the path was clear. The miners, driven by a desperate will to survive, began to shuffle away, carrying their injured companions with them.

Once the miners had shuffled out of harm's way, Irisa turned to Kaedan, gesturing to the rocks above them in the cavern. “There are too many to fight. Best way to deal with bugs? Squash 'em!”

She meant for them to create a cave-in of their own. A small, controlled one. Her eyes locked onto Kaedan’s, conveying the urgency of their situation. She would create a shield to protect them and the miners while Kaedan caused the collapse. “Think ya can handle that, wonder boy?”

Force Push - 8/20 = partial success
Gnaw jaw intimidated - 5/20 = partial failure
 

Kaedan

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Kaedan combined lightsaber swinging and semi decent force pushes to keep the swarm off of him and from getting close to the miners. Even Ece's force push didn't stagger them. They were very determined which just meant that they wouldn't simply be defeated. No matter, the jedi were not going to just let anything happen to the miners.

With Ece's command, the miners were on the move and that helped tremendously. Being overwhelmed in a sandbox situation was not on Kaedan's bucket list. He still had plenty of life left to live.

As soon as they were in what could be considered the safest place for them to be in the moment, Ece gave Kaedan the advice about squashing the bugs.
"You got it." He deactivated his lightsaber and reattached it to his hip. With both hands raised, he reached out with the force, finding the best parts of the stoned roof to pull down that wouldn't set off a chain reaction of falling boulders. He strained against the pressure but ultimately was successful in pulling down boulders that crushed the bugs completely.

"L-let's get out of here." He said through panting breaths. He guided the prospectors and Ece out of the junction and towards the exit. Luckily for them, there were no more threats inside the cave and all that was left was the long trek back to camp. The best thing about it was the sun had set; the worst thing about it was the sun had set. It was no longer overwhelmingly hot but damn, it was chilling. Such a drastic temperature shift had to be annoying to deal with.

Eventually, they had made it back to camp and the healers of the people came to their miners' aid.
"Even though we all made it back, the mission isn't quite over yet. We have to speak to the leader and debrief before we are free to leave." He knew Ece knew that already but she was evaluating him and so he needed to be clear with what protocols he was going to follow.

Kaedan walked up to the room they started the journey from and entered.
"We have returned and your people were saved. The injured are being tended to by your healers."
 

Irisa Ece

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As the rocks began to fall, Irisa swiftly extended her hands, using the Force to create a shimmering protective barrier around their retreating party. The translucent shield shimmered with an ethereal light, holding firm as debris pounded against it. She could feel the vibrations of each impact, a testament to the power and precision required to maintain the barrier. Numerous gnaw-jaws were crushed beneath the falling rocks, their screeches silenced by the weight of the collapse. The sound of chitin cracking and the hissing of the insects was quickly drowned out by the rumble of the cave settling.

With the immediate danger neutralized, Irisa turned her attention to the injured miners. The journey back to the settlement would be long and arduous, especially given their condition. Healing was not her strongest suit, but she was determined to help as best she could. Kneeling beside a miner with a broken arm, she carefully examined the injury. Her hands moved deftly, securing the arm in a makeshift sling using strips of fabric torn from her own cloak to reduce movement and prevent further damage. Another miner had taken a nasty knock to the head, a deep gash bleeding profusely. Irisa pressed a clean cloth against the wound to stem the bleeding, her touch firm yet gentle. Irisa's efforts were tireless. She moved from miner to miner, offering what comfort and care she could.

As they approached the settlement, the first rays of the rising sun cast a golden hue over the landscape. The villagers, alerted by their return, rushed out to greet them. The scene was one of heartfelt emotion: tears of happiness streamed down faces, cries of relief echoed in the air, and loved ones clung to each other, their joy palpable. Irisa watched the reunion with a sense of quiet satisfaction, her mission to protect and save fulfilled.

She left Kaedan to handle the sentimental aspects, knowing it was a good opportunity for him to connect with those they had helped. While the villagers expressed their gratitude to Kaedan, Irisa stood back, giving them space. She pulled out her datapad and began making her final notes for the mission report. Her fingers moved swiftly over the screen, documenting the events, the challenges they faced, and the outcomes achieved. She also made detailed notes for Kaedan’s evaluation, highlighting his strengths, his quick thinking, and his resilience under pressure.
 

Kaedan

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As Kaedan spoke with the elder, letting him know that they had returned safely, the elder smiled. "We do not have much to offer however what we can give is our gratitude and gratefulness of such heroes."

"We accept your thanks. We were happy to help." Kaedan bowed before leaving the room and returning to Ece. "Alright, now that this is done, we should get going." He started to walk towards his ship which was two klicks away. He really could have parked the ship closer but that was a lesson for another time.

Once on the ship, he did a check to make sure no one came aboard or touched anything. The interior of the ship looked okay for the most part save for the areas held together by duratape. Even though it looked unsafe or safe depends on which side you looked at, the floors were clean and there weren't any clutter. Most of the rooms in the ship's doors were closed save for the bottom gunner room. It was an unused room since he never had a person who was needed to operate it. Heck, he didn't know if the gun was operational since he never tested it out. The top turret on the ship was operational though and that and the missiles were all he needed so far.

He moved to the cockpit and climbed into the pilot seat, turning on the ship and doing a systems check. Fuel reserves were good, the hydraulic system was online, hyperdrive engine and the sublight engines were both at maximum capacity. The weapons and shields were online which meant they were safe for takeoff. Kaedan made sure the ramp was closed and took the ship off of the sandy floor of the planet and out of its atmosphere. In no time, they were in space at the jump point and he activated the hyperdrive.

When the ship made the jump, intense rattling began. It was a wonder how they could travel through hyperspace with a ship that felt like it would break apart any second. Amidst the chaos, Kaedan remained as calm as ever. He was used to it. He kept the ship steady and eventually they came out on the other side of the jump. He brought the ship down in the hangar and smiled.
"So how'd I do? Or is this something you'll tell me the same time as telling Master Jun?"

Regardless of if he was told or not, he had to report back to the Kel Dor Jedi Master. He walked with a sense of urgency until he was finally in the presence of the man.

"I see you're back from your mission, Padawan Javik." The Jedi Master turned his body to face Kaedan and Ece. "I will discuss with Knight Ece your evaluation. Unless she'd prefer you here, you're dismissed and you will hear from me afterwards."
 

Irisa Ece

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As the ship made the jump to hyperspace, intense rattling began, shaking the vessel violently. The duratape holding some parts together seemed to strain under the stress, and the interior lights flickered ominously. It felt like the ship might tear apart at any moment, with the metal groaning and the entire structure shuddering as it pushed through the fabric of space-time. Irisa gripped the armrests of her seat, knuckles whitening, her usual composure tested by the sheer instability of their craft.

Irisa had experienced her fair share of rough travels across the galaxy, from turbulent atmospheric re-entries to dodging asteroids in the Outer Rim, but Kaedan’s flying death trap was an entirely different ordeal. Each jolt and shudder felt like a personal assault on her nerves. The hybrid had never been one to pray, but she silently beseeched every entity she had ever heard of during the tumultuous journey across space. The names of long-forgotten deities and spirits slipped through her mind as she willed the ship to hold together just a little longer.

She would have sought the comfort of a drink if she hadn’t feared throwing up her stomach contents due to the undulating motion of the spacecraft. Every twist and turn made her stomach lurch, and she fought to keep her breathing steady. She closed her eyes, focusing on the rhythm of her breaths, trying to drown out the cacophony of rattling metal and creaking joints.

When they finally exited hyperspace and landed in the hangar, the ship settling with a final groan of metal, Irisa let out a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding. Never had she been so happy to touch solid ground. She shot the ship a dirty look, a mix of disdain and relief, before glancing back at Kaedan. “I’m tempted to fail ya, after that fragging journey…” she muttered, the corners of her mouth twitching in a reluctant smile.

Spotting the Kel Dor Jedi Master Jun, Irisa motioned for Kaedan to follow her as they approached. She preferred to deliver the report to both of them at once, ensuring clarity and transparency.

Standing tall before the Jedi Master, Irisa began her report.“The padawan managed himself well,” she said, her tone steady but light.“He even discovered a small cove of kyber crystals. Might want to keep an eye on that, see how it develops. I don’t think the mission could’ve gone any smoother, really. He’ll make a decent Jedi one day. I ain’t got any complaints… well…” She sent another look over her shoulder at the questionable spaceship, which still seemed to settle with groans and creaks as if protesting its recent ordeal.

Standing before the Kel Dor Master, Irisa knew that she had earned a bit of a reputation as a voyager. She rarely stayed long at temples, preferring to keep her ear to the ground in corners of the galaxy where few Jedi tended to venture. Even now, the hybrid sensed the Jedi Masters wanted her to show more initiative, a potential that lingered at the forefront of Master Jun's thoughts. She glanced sidelong at Kaedan, wondering if the Council hoped to pair the two of them up. She wasn’t quite sure how to feel about that. They knew how she avoided the role of mentorship, but then again, there were worse students than Kaedan.
 

Kaedan

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Kaedan was dismissed by Master Jun but Ece wanted him there in her giving her analysis of his performance. She reported that she didn't have any complaints aside from his hip which he held in a smile at. She even said he'd make a decent Jedi. This was the stuff that he hadn't heard from anyone else and it kind of made him feel special. Though it didn't remove the void of loneliness completely, his kyber illusion and her words made him feel like he mattered.

Jun folded his arms while looking between Kaedan and Irisa. He had heard the words Ece offered about the padawan and he could see the young man made quite an impact. He also knew that this high praise wasn't some fabricated nonsense since the woman before him avoided any kind of mentorship ever. It was a reason she was chosen to oversee and evaluate his progress. He brought one of his hands up to his mask where a beard would be and he stroked it.

The boy didn't have a master of his own and he and her seemed to have done well together. He had to make a decision and either way it would end up with Kaedan being cleared from his probationary period and punishment.
"Well done, Padawan Javik. I am hereby deeming your probation over effective immediately." He said before his eyes shifted to Ece. "And now I am appointing Jedi Knight Irisa Ece as your master. You both have plenty to learn from each other and you seem to work well together already. That will be all."

After Jun left, Kaedan turned to Ece and smiled. "So now I get to call you pinkie, right? I mean I could always call you master." He said, chuckling.
 
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