Aria chewed her lip silently as Neta recounted her story, the Champion finding herself at a loss for words. She couldn’t imagine the strength of will that the pilot possessed to keep herself going after losing yet another loved one in much the similar way as her first husband. “I’m sorry, Neta….But for what it’s worth, it sounds like your kids take after you too, they’ll be fine.” she offered a reassuring smile. “And I promise we’ll do everything in our power to make sure that you get back to them.”
As the topic at hand turned to how they would get down to the surface of Malachor V, however, the Champion fell momentarily silent as Yerbol asked for her opinion on Neta’s suggestion. In her mind’s eye, she saw brief flashes of memory: blaring alarm sirens, the scream of warped metal, sour kolto burning her lungs and eyes as she breathed it in, quickly pushing it away to keep her thoughts objective rather than overridden by her own fears. Still, the Champion faced Neta with a slight grimace to her features.
“No offence, Neta, but the callsign of this maneuver alone doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in its success.” she sighed, running a hand through her hair. “But I suppose it DOES have some merit to it, steering a little shuttle between the four of us would be close enough to the size of the ship we navigated before...so it WOULD be possible.” her frown turned back to Neta then. “But then what about YOU, Neta? How long can you dodge debris up here in this ship? Not to mention comms-wise we’d probably be radio silent, I doubt we could get ANY kind of signal through those electro fields, from the surface at least….Not that I doubt your abilities in any way Neta, but this isn’t Quensu, it’s a literal graveyard for hundreds of ships and planets. It’s not safe to hang around in, and who knows what we’ll find down there.” a pause, then: “I don’t like it. At all. But I don’t suppose we have much of a choice at all if we want to find out what happened to Revan and Bastila. This is our best shot at getting down there to check it out.”
Clearing her throat, the Champion shuffled her feet. “But if you don’t mind, I think I might take up Kytra’s suggestion myself, I’ve got to clear my head before we drop out of hyperspace, if we’re REALLY going to pull this off.”
The shuttle that Neta’s ship was equipped with was far more high-tech and sturdy than the rickety old thing which the Qyaari had first boarded on their journey to Zinuthra in the company of Roan and the others, and that in itself was reassuring.
“So...how does this work again?” Kytra mumbled as she strapped herself into her seat. The interior was somewhat cramped, with two full grown men, two Sith hounds about the size of a grown man apiece and a slightly smaller human and Selonian cramped into the smaller corners (by their own suggestions, since they could fit more comfortably than either of the men).
“When Neta drops the shuttle after we come out of hyperspace, we should be able to clear the worst of the debris field so that we can use the Force to push and pull the shuttle through the eddy currents of the stratosphere.” Aria explained as she settled into her own seat, both hounds close by. She turned towards her husband, asking:
“Do you think you’d be able to throw a shield around the shuttle, like we did last time? Then the rest of us could help you maintain it. That would mean we’d have a bit more leeway for stray debris bumping into us, we don’t want to damage this thing if we can help it, we might need it to get back up again.”
“Are you sure we’ll make it all the way to the ground?” Kytra squeaked, her whiskers quivering in anxiety.
“Ninety nine percent confident.” the Champion nodded her head, “We managed it before. Of course, there’s no way to GUARANTEE it but the calmer your thoughts while you’re trying to work, Kytra, the easier it will be.”
“That’s easy for you to say, YOU’RE not afraid of anything!” Aria wanted to scoff at the rife inaccuracy of that comment, but felt that doing so would be rather unhelpful, the last thing they needed was to be making the youngsters any more nervous than they already were. Instead, she simply chuckled and shook her head.
“I know it’s easy to say and difficult to do, but just try to keep your head on straight, okay? If it helps, try not to think of this as the “life or death” situation and try to think of it as just another classroom meditation drill.”
“With chunks of asteroid and space debris bumping into the windows every few seconds?!”
“Close your eyes and plug your ears, then.” Aria retorted calmly. “Trust me, you don’t NEED to see anything to be able to do this, you only need to feel the currents within the Force, and you can do that without concentrating so much on what it IS that you’re moving.”
Kytra fell quiet, the contemplative frown on her face a telltale sign that she was considering her Master’s instructions and logically trying to analyse their likelihood of success. The Selonian finally lifted her head again and glanced across at Ethan.
“Do you think we can do it?”