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Project Viridian

<Locate Record Rax, Korath JC75>

*Accessing Jedi Archives*

//Load Current Record//

*Transmitting Message*

Holocron of Jedi Consular Korath Rax, Project Viridian [110613 ATC 10]

Members of the Council,

I submit the following report to Your Graces for immediate consideration and action. Although Master Ju-Wein no longer sits on the Council, prior to his departure he authorized the above referenced research project. While our fields of research have been patiently tolerated, only recently have I pieced together a puzzle the solution to which had been right in front of us all along. Each of the following artifacts, taken separately, are benign and show no particular signs of importance. When read together, however, they reveal a deep and astonishing Truth. Before you dismiss my claims as Heresy and strip me of my rank as you did Master Ju-Wein, please consider the information submitted. Attached to this record are the following Artifacts:

1. Reflective Disk recovered from Byss. Originally thought to be decorative adornment, Jedi Researcher Master Chogun-Was discovered that light passed quickly over the surface of the disk vibrated in such a way as to create sounds and images. Those sounds and images have been previously observed, but never translated. Until now. The newest phonic and protocol matrices developed have proven modestly effective at creating a template for translation of the signals embedded on the disk. A partial transcript is included.

2. Jedi Holocron (very degraded) obtained by an archaeological research team on Yavin IV. Describes the discovery of a small crystaline structure underneath one of the temple pyramids. Teeming with Midichlorians, the crystal leaf shaped item shows all the signs of life, although it appears to have no carbon based molecules.

3. Sith Holocron obtained by a Republic Trooper stationed with the Garrison on Korriban shortly before the Sith attack. It had been hidden in a quickly buried Cache of what appeared to be agricultural and mining supplies. It contained old log entries from a Sith infiltration team raiding trade routes. A short entry regarding an ambush of a research team on Yavin IV is of great interest to the current project.

4. Jedi Holocron located in the Jedi Archive - "The Heretic Writings of Pue-Dian Uridani" - Long thought to be a collection of rambling metaphors and parables, the musings of Consular Uridani were archived and hidden. It was commonly believed that the Jedi Order considered Consular Uridani to be suffereing from dementia brought on by stress and old age. Rather than ejecting him from the Order, they archived his writings and sealed them away. Only those with the highest research clearance can access them. Some entries are of special importance to the current project.

5. Sith Holocron located in the Jedi Archive - "The Entity of Light Shrouded in Darkness" by Darth Vidias - Thought to be a work of fiction or Creation Myth utilized in Sith Rites and Rituals, this story relates how the Force came to be and how it was subjugated by the ancient Sith into a path to unlimited power. Some chapters are of obvious importance to the current project.

*Pause Report*

//<Load Record "The Entity of Light Shrouded in Darkness" by Darth Vidias>//

from a speck of dust/All Life Arose/no death befalls/This Crystal Rose/approach thy test/Through Your Mind's Eye/secrets revealed/Within It Lie

those who dwell/Within The Flesh/the darklight reveals/Creation's Nest/immortal secrets/Await The Wise/can one with will/Know Death's Demise

from within/And From Without/of whence life flows/There Is No Doubt/but those who dwell/Within The Prim/reveal no secrets/The Silence Grim

its ebb and flow/Harnessed By Might/reveals all secrets/Tho Dark As Night/breaking bending/Tearing Rending/the darklight fades/Tho Remains True Sight

do those within/Now Dwell No More/tho light's dark twin/From My Rage Pours/consumed by fire/To Forever Reign/the corpus gone/This Force Remains

//<Redirect to Record "The Heretic Writings of Pue-Dian Uridani">//

Prologue

On Tython, in my youth as a padawan, I came upon a path. Beside that path there stood a tree of a most singular nature. Its color more vibrant, it seemed, than the other plantlife surrounding it. Being completed of my training for the day, I lay beneath the verdant tree and slept. For how long I do not know, because I dreamt. I cannot say at any time whether I am awake or dreaming, for it is possible that never did I wake from that slumber. Even now, some years later, I can hear their voices speaking to me.

In the beginning... Of course we know of no beginning. Life has always BEEN! In one form or another. Before the Light. Before the Darkness. There was The Force. On its wave I ride. It rises and falls like breath. On its inhale I rise. I see myself fall away beneath. Lying below the eerily green leaves of that conduit to another world. I rise into the sky and dwell among the stars. I rise above the stars and see the galactic core. I rise still and see a multitude of galaxies swirling and writhing, as if they are some living thing. I rise still and see sparkling swirl of flowing water. It is not blue as I would have expected. I look up to see a monstrous alien world hued in a purplish color of nightmares. I look down to see the flowing water. Hoping to see something, anything familiar. What I see takes my breath away. A single drop of moisture on a blade of purple dying grass. Still the inhale continues. I rise above the alien landscape. Into an alien sky and through an alien galaxy. This process repeats itself over and over until my mind can take no more. I have reached the crest of whatever Entity or Force propels me. I have time to look up only a moment before the exhale. I see astonishing light. I am in a spectacular crystaline city. There are beings here! They are aware of me, though they have no discernable features. They are beings of pure energy, long devoid of the need for corporeal husks. Suddenly I feel a longing most deep and profound. I want to stay with them. To learn from them. I am desperate to be among them, to be one of them... but then I fall. Back through the infinite levels of existence... of space... of time. Is it all one and the same? Still my mind cannot comprehend.

As I flow downward into myself, I see all manner of life. Some basic. Some complex. Some attain intelligence and form into societies. Some societies engulf their planets, their systems, their galaxies and some span the whole of the universe. They rise and they inevitably fall. Some by destruction from without. Some by destruction from within, but fall they do. And always, there is The Force. Aeons melt into aeons innumerable. When I reach the bottom of the breath, I find myself in the same crystaline city facing the same beings of pure energy. I can feel their greeting as if I were an old friend. And I was old. Had I not just observed ten thousand times ten thousand lifetimes? Two of the beings approached me. Taking me not by the hand, for they had no hands with which to manipulate me, I flowed... Yes, that is the only fitting description. I flowed with them along one of the shimmering crystaline streets. As we moved, I felt more than heard whispers in the back of my mind. I was told a great many things.

The Nature of Life

Life may arise in the vastness of the sea or on a grain of sand. Thus these beings came to be. On a speck of dust floating through the universe, their society was born. These beings powered the engine of their exploration with a Force. It bound their worlds together, it held together the very fabric of their space and time. So attuned were they to this Force, that they became immortal. Shedding their corporeal bodies, they coalesced, blended and fused. No longer individuals, they formed a collective conciousness. Though they spanned eternity, their coalescence resulted in a single Entity on a single planet near the core of a single galaxy. They were at once singularity and Infinity. Their singularity took the form of a gigantic crystaline tree who's leaves never fall. From this immortal eden, these beings created new life. All manner of creature and plant, from the largest beast to the smallest microbe, and they delighted in it. Inside all fantastic manner of being they created, their essence was imbued.

The Nature of the Force

I saw before me a mighty river. Its waters flowed over a vast flat expanse, without order or form. Over time, the waters found the natural faults and causeways in the ground and were guided into a focused powerful current. That current may be manipulated or directed, either naturally or by intervening force. Some bends come about by accretion, and others may be caused by some structure placed by simple creatures or more intelligent beings. With all things, the river flows. The river does not care about its course. Nature favors neither order nor chaos, so the river favors neither. The river is.

The Parable of Duality

Revealed to me was a Justicar and a Brigand. The Justicar's duty was to uphold society's law. The Brigand's pursuit was violence for personal gain. Along a lengthy travelling path, the Justicar would daily patrol, keeping watch for those who would trespass against authority. The Brigand hid by the side of the path until the Justicar passed, then robbed a traveller of their wealth. So frustrated was the Justicar that he could not catch the Brigand, he petitioned the authority to make illegal leaving the travelling path so that the Brigand could not hide. The next day, the Justicar patrolled. The Brigand disguised himself as a travelling farmer, and when the Justicar had passed, robbed a traveller of their wealth. The Justicar petitioned the authority to make wearing a disguise illegal, and the next day set out on his patrol. The Brigand travelled the path openly and was not recognized by the Justicar, and only after the Justicar passed him by and was out of sight did he rob a traveller of his wealth. The Justicar finally petitioned the authority to make illegal the carrying of wealth along the travelling path. The next day the Justicar set out along the path to patrol. When he came upon any traveller, he would detain them, search them, and confiscate their illegally transported wealth if he found it. When he came upon the Brigand, the Brigand slew the Justicar. The travellers hailed the Brigand as a hero, for he had freed them from the oppression of the Justicar. A lamp cannot see its own shadows, and where light is brightest, the shadows are deep.

The Nature of Time

There is an old saying that if you stay in one place long enough, the Galaxy will pass you by. My Master once told me that it included me! Time is a wheel and the axis is the Force. If the observer in that ancient maxim is the Force, is it no wonder our destinies are shaped with such precision? Is it any wonder that attunement allows one to glimpse both the past AND the future?

To know the Truth would be to know madness. To see the Universe for what it is, both on its face and underneath the surface, requires more than any person's mind is capable. Such a mind would cease to be human and become something else entirely. That all of this has happened before, and all of this shall happen again. That there is no multiverse or alternate dimensions as our greatest scientific minds would have us believe. All imagined realities can and do come to pass with the passage of time. Time and space are illusions to the Force. It shapes our destinies as if they have already happened, because they have. In infinite permutations, the universe moves on.

Epilogue

My walk with the luminous beings seemed to go on and on, and I was shown a great many things. Eventually, I was brought back to my sleeping body. When I awoke, I found that barely any time had passed at all. I was expected to return to my training, which I did with solemn duty, although I was forever after an ancient man in a young man's body. Now as I approach the precipice of old age and failing health, I am at peace. Soon I shall join my old friends and walk again on that luminous crystaline causeway. I shall be one with eternity... I shall be one.

//<Redirect to Record "Holocron of Jarron Yarr, Marauder Infiltrator for the Sith Empire, Raid Log [110622-110930 BTC 140]">//

//Parsing Pertinent Record//

110729 BTC 140: Destroyed a group of Republic rats ransacking one of our Ancient Temples on Yavin IV. Spoils were light, but interesting. The grave robbers had located the entrance to an underground structure that is unknown and not on any current maps of the area. The firefight left the entrance badly damaged and collapsed. An inventory of equipment confiscated includes: 8 Heavy Ion Blasters, 3 Blaster Rifles, 7 excavation kits, 8 packs of 20 each: Advanced Medpacks, 4 packs of 10 each: Adrenals, 1 Field Surgical Medkit, 1 composite container. Inside the composite container we found an odd greenish blue crystal sculpture in the shape of a leaf. Testing revealed high midichlorian levels, but no Force disturbance or signature emanates from the item. Although we thought the Republic dogs were stealing Sith Artifacts, there are no known artifacts matching this description in our records. Subspace communication with the Inquisitor Cruiser stationed just outside the Galactic Rim resulted in Orders to return to Sith Space and compare the item to a similar artifact discovered in deep, extra-galactic space.

/<Redirect to Record "Holocron of Sophis Madra, Jedi Knight, Mission Log [110718-110728 BTC 140]">//

110718 BTC 140: Departed Coruscant today. Last minute briefing at the Jedi Temple with Master Uro put us behind by several hours. We'll reach Yavin IV likely after nightfall in the target hemisphere. So much secrecy in this mission. Since when do archeological digs merit the attention of so many council members?

110719 BTC 140: Base Camp Established in the Shadow of what is being called Blueleaf Temple. Interestingly enough, our dig site is said to be 3 Kilometers South Southwest of here. We set out at mid-day. I find myself wondering what I'm doing this far outside of the Galactic Core. Of course, I know the answer. Curiosity. Since I was a child, I've always enjoyed discovery. Its why I trained as a Jedi. Its why I chose research as my focus. Some people leave home for the adventure. For me, its always been the mystery.

110720 BTC 140: The dig site is... well... there's nothing here. I guess that's why they call it a "dig" site. We're exacting probing excavations around the general area. Hopefully something will turn up. I search my feelings. As with all Massasi areas, I sense the Dark Side of the Force, but not as pronounced here. I wonder why.

110721 BTC 140: This morning Bikal found something. A stone structure, quite possibly the top corner of an underground building. Will be unearthing it for the rest of the day. The Dark Side influence I felt yesterday seems to have abated completely.

110722 BTC 140: Its definitely an underground, built structure. Resonant imaging shows its large, but cannot penetrate deep enough to reveal its internal components, rooms, etc. We've excavated an arched gateway with stone steps leading down. We're already 10 meters down and there's no indication of a break in the tunnel.

110723 BTC 140: ...(degraded signal, unable to retrieve)...

110724 BTC 140: We've excavated over 50 meters down the stairs at a constant 45 degree incline, and haven't breached a chamber. Bikal hopes we aren't digging to the Massasi underworld. I'm beginning to believe this structure may not be a Temple. While the Massasi markings adorned the entrance, there are no ceremonial engravings in the hallway leading downward. I suppose we'll have to keep going til we can't to find out. At this point, I'm not sure I'm willing to call off the dig even if we have to go 100 more meters.

110725 BTC 140: This morning we broke through into a large room. It is clearly made by hand. Smooth walls, alcoves. There is even what appeared initially to be an altar in the center of the room. Turns out our "Altar" was a sarcophagus, so it appears this is a tomb. Oddly enough, the sarcophagus appears to be empty, even though there's no indication of prior entrance over at least 1000 years. Perhaps the person it was intended for was laid to rest elsewhere. Massasi carvings adorn the interior walls. The alcoves, though, are interesting. There are four, oriented mid wall on each of the four points of the compass. Around the interior of the alcoves, there are pictograms that differ greatly from the Massasi glyph writing common to the period of the temples. We are recording them for research back at the Jedi Temple. The one in the Western alcove is very interesting to me. My eyes are almost drawn to it. In the center, a figure, clearly a Sith, is sitting lotus on a cushion or pillow. He is surrounded by four... I can really only guess they are stars. They appear to be flames hovering above the ground and radiating light. On the interior of the flame, there appears to be lightning branching in all directions. Sith have a very strange way of picturing stars. They almost look like small plants or shrubs, but no known plant emanates light, much less from above the ground. ...(inaudible)... Bikal tells me they've discovered an air pocket underneath the sarcophagus, and that there appears to be a source of illumination inside. I am suddenly quite excited... elated really with the prospects of what it may be. They are bringing it out now, I'll report back when I know something.

110726 BTC 140: ...(degraded signal, unable to retrieve)...

110727 BTC 140: I woke again late last night, dreaming about the artifact. It confounds me. If I could just piece the puzzle together, I'd have the answers. Bikal is right, I need a long rest after this mission.

110728 BTC 140: Ran some more tests. Have no idea how the artifact contains midichlorians but displays no discernable Force signature. I know I should return immediately to the Jedi Temple and report my findings, but there are still questions to be answered. This isn't an obsession, no matter what Bikal tells me. I just need a little more time to study this... Entity... before I can make any reliable findings known. With some more tests, maybe I'll understand its... (inaudible)... (blaster fire)... ENDLOG

//<Redirect to Record "Transcript of Byss Disk (Audio Only), by Jedi Master Chogun-Was">//

The text that follows is an audio only transcript of the "Byss Disk". The images discovered on the disk are stored separately in the Jedi Archives. The creatures in the images appear almost completely human. It is clear they are partially, if not wholly, related to us by phenotype. Because no genetic material exists on which to base a genomic comparison, our actual divergence, if any, will for now remain a mystery. All the images collected are viewable only in two dimensions. This may mean that they were only able to perceive the world in two dimensions or that their technology wasn't such as to record three dimensions similar to ours. The spacing of their eyes suggests perception in three dimensions, but again, no empirical tests may be conducted.

The age of the disk is impossible to determine. It is made of an unknown silicate material that is nearly unbreakable. The surface of the disk, upon rudimentary and microscopic inspection reveals nothing but a smooth even surface. It was not until the administration of an "electron bath" cleaning of the disk that it became clear that there are near atomic scale variations underneath a micron thin layer of crystal clear material. It became immediately apparent that the disk held a great amount of information. Investigation so far has only revealed the audio and random images. As our protocol matrices improve, so shall our knowledge of the extent of the information pool.

The transcript:

"December 15, 5372 - Maybe I should just say Day One. I'm not sure of where or even WHEN we are. Space Travel can get funny, or so I'm told. My name is Major John Lucas Carter. I am the Commanding Officer of the USC Odyssey. Myself and a group of eleven other survivors are marooned on an unknown planet in unknown space.

A roster of surviving crew is as follows: Myself (Executive Officer), Captain Leo Goodwyn (Astrogation Officer), Lieutenant Jarvis Washington (Junior Electrical Engineer), Lieutenant Roger Morrison (Executive Staff), Gunnery Sergeant Raymond Daggett (Master-at-Arms), Lance Corporal William Gardner, Private Jacob Alexander, Private Donnie Huffstutlar, Private Gene Pearson, Arnold Huypac (Mission Specialist, Astrophysics), Rajesh Pyara (Mission Specialist, Oracle Engineering), Dr. Laura Carter (Medical Unit).

The Odyssey was test firing the experimental Oracle Jump Drive. Move to the edge of the Solar System. Cycle up. Cycle down. Come home. That was our mission. The Odyssey is the Solar Commonwealth's most advanced exploration vessel and, even with only the Test Skeleton Crew, had over 100 souls on board. We had reached our optimal distance of 5000 terameters and proceeded to engage the Oracle Drive's engines. According to Pyara, the cycle-up to an actual Gravity Well Jump should be approximately 2.5 minutes to maximum power. According to Lieutenant Washington, the Oracle Drive's meters were pegging inside Fourty-five seconds. With that kind of energy expansion going on below us, we looked to the Colonel for orders. He just stared at me and said 'My God, John. What have we done?' I didn't have a choice. I ordered the flight crew to jump. We could stay and explode or see what was on the other side of the fence. I'm not convinced I made the right call.

When the jump was complete, everything was silent. I don't know how or why because I could see the chaos around me. Everyone was in the air... almost floating. Outside the forward portals I could see blue sky. It looked beautiful... serene. There was a wisp of cloud in the distance. Bright sunlight, warm on my face. I wouldn't know until later that we had materialized in the lower atmosphere and upside down, hurtling toward the ground at terminal velocity. I suppose its lucky that the Oracle Drive is heavy and in the lower holds of our ship. The Odyssey had enough time to flip about 200 degrees before impact. Had the vessel landed on its back, we'd all be dead. As it was, the Engineering Compartments took the brunt of the impact, followed by the crew mess and quarters. The miracle is that there was no explosion. Thankfully, solid and liquid fuel cells were replaced ages ago by electron propulsion. I'm not sure what the Oracle Drive used as fuel. All I know is that it won't use anything as fuel ever again. What should have been our tomb is now our home... at least until we can get to know our surroundings better.

I know I should be more disciplined. I am an Officer of the Commonwealth, but I couldn't even begin to think straight until I found my wife. Why the brass OK'd a wife serving on her husbands deployment would be appropriate, I'll never know. I tried to talk her out of it, but she's never been one to back away from a new experience. The medical bays were on the level above the crew quarters. She was the only one alive. Thank GOD. Just a few bumps and bruises. Like the rest of us survivors. Its truly a miracle we didn't die with the rest of them. We finally locate a hatch we can open.

Another miracle! We can breathe. Although we can't test the molecular structure of the planetary atmosphere, its close enough. Against my wife's threats, I insisted they all wait inside for 5 minutes in case I got a batch of the crazies or bends. They gave me 3. Unlike our world, this planet appears to be a single ecosystem with no discernable variation in climate. It is lush with vegetation. I am a little wierded out by how familiar some of the plants and trees look. When I get close, I can certainly tell they are difference species, but by God if this place doesn't look JUST like Guatemala. Some quick experiments with sticks and shadow reveal this world is much smaller than Earth, yet it feels as if the gravitational effect is equivalent. I'll have to ask Huypac about that. Looking up at the star illuminating this world opens some additional questions. It is either too small or too far away to be providing this much light. Its a brightness I'd approximate to midday at home. The glow becomes heavier on the horizon. It seems we may have an answer in a few hours. It would be amazing to awake to twin suns. We shall see. Although we're thankful to be alive, rescue is not coming. We are stuck here."

"Day Two - We got the answer to our light problem. It appears we are very near the Galactic Center. The clusters of stars making up the core put off an amazing amount of light. Still, even with the small star we orbit, the temperature is perfect and the weather is beautiful. I don't know what we're going to call this place, but as far as castaways go, we hit the jackpot. We haven't seen any indigenous life, but then again a flaming ball of metal fell out of the sky yesterday. I'll assume any 'intelligent' life may have headed for the hills. All joking aside, I am sending Gunny out with his squad for reconnaisance. We need to locate sources of food and water as quickly as possible. What little we salvaged from the mess will maybe last us a few weeks. Securing our location and survival are our orders of the day."

"Day Five - No time for reporting before now. Turns out the indigenous wildlife is mostly nocturnal. Several types of mamallian rodents and reptilian quadrupeds inhabit the immediate area, and we'll likely be able to feed ourselves indefinitely. Water is still an issue. The presence of clouds in the sky implies the presence of water vapor in the atmosphere, and the air becomes relatively humid at night, but Gunny has not yet found a source of water."

"Day Nine - On the day our water stores ran dry, Our recon patrol brought back fantastic news! A partially underground lake is approximately 4 kilometers to our north. Pvt. Huffstutlar reports that the lake is mostly enclosed in a grotto and that it is easily defensible. Its a long way to haul water, but I’m not sure we should leave the safety of the ship’s hull. The crew knows it is impossible to get home, but Laura tells me that these last few things we have that are familiar, even the crushed hull of the Odyssey, are soothing to the mind. For now, we'll make trips in shifts."

"Day Ten - Huffstutlar and Pearson brought back water this afternoon and reported they had been exploring the grotto. Between some boulders far back in the cave there was a passage that emerged into a valley on the other side. They were very adamant that we all go with them to the grotto... that they had something for us to see. I'm reluctant, but they are persistent and excited. I've got a bad feeling about this..."

"Day Eleven - We're stayed overnight at the grotto. What we saw in the valley beyond the grotto was spectacular! You emerge from the cavern entrance into a dense jungle. Moving in about 100 meters, the jungle fades into low ferns and shrubs. In the center of the almost perfectly spherical clearing at least 1000 meters across is a gigantic crystal tree. Its a single tree. Of that I have no doubt, but its main body is made up of hundreds or thousands of smaller trunks intertwined rising up through the jungle mists. The canopy is so wide we cannot see the top. Branches grow from it in sizes ranging from a few inches in diameter near the base to what appears to be up to 100 feet in diameter near the canopy. Every branch is covered in what can only be described as leaves made of the same crystal as the body. The hard surface is opaque. Laura tried to take a sample, but she couldn't snap off any piece. We stood around the thing, gaping up in awe at its sheer size, and its abject alienness. The crew asked to move our camp to the grotto. I'm still uncomfortable with the idea of leaving our "home" behind. The fact that they are so eager to become truly at home in this alien world makes me feel somehow inferior. I wonder if I should let go of the familiar and comfortable. Still, I say the safety and strategic importance of our crash site is too important to give up. Gunny and the boys ignored me and called for a vote by everyone. I should have Ordered them to stand down. Marooned or not, we're still Commonwealth Soldiers. But I didn't. Everyone but me, Huypac, Goodwyn and Washington voted to stay in the grotto. Laura voted to move here! I know she is curious about the tree, but I was hurt. With that single instance, our structured lives will fall apart. Those four Marines will do anything Gunny says. Pyara seems pretty dead set on staying. if I can get Morrison and Laura to listen to reason, maybe we can get everyone back focused on survival. For now, I'm afraid it may be every man for himself."

"Day Fifteen - Its been four days since we relocated to the grotto, and by extension the Valley. We've been in this clearing a majority of the time. The scientists are doing their sciency thing, studying, testing, thinking. The Marines spend a majority of their time just looking at the thing. Most of the officers and I have kept to foraging for food or trapping. Laura has still been working on one of the leaves on the lowest branch. It won't budge, and she's even taken to hitting it with a rock. When she's not trying to break that leaf off, she's lying down at its base. I ask her if she's sleeping, but she says she's just 'resting her eyes' and 'wrestling with the angel'. I'd never heard her use that term before. I took her to mean she was working on something theoretical in her mind. I'm not so sure anymore."

"Day Sixteen - Something amazing happened last night. The light from the galactic core was shining down from directly above the tree. As the rotation of the planet brought it into perfect alignment, the tree began to glow with a cool green light. It was beautiful enough just to watch, and we did for several minutes. I almost didn't notice the objects around me rising into the air. One of them brushed against the small of Gardner's back and he let out a high pitched yelp far too effeminate for a Marine. We couldn't help but laugh. Gardner's face turned bright red, or so I guessed, in the soft green glow. Our laughter didn't last long, though. We watched as, here and there, the small shrubs and ferns making up the clearing began rising into the night sky. As they floated in and around us, their roots extended, folded into themselves, and the plant itself became almost spherical in shape. Slowly they rose. Laura approached one and held out her hand to touch it. She pushed her hand into the fronds of the fern that, only moments before, had been firmly and logically affixed to the ground. 'Nothing,' she said. 'No electical fields, no magnetic fields. I don't feel anything but the texture of the plant.' As she bent to pick up a blade to take a sample, the glow subsided. The galactic core had passed beyond perfect alignment. The shrubs and ferns, which had reached hights of roughly 10-12 feet, slowly began to return to the ground. 'How often does that happen do you think?' Huypac said, more breaking the silence than actually asking. Washington replied that an alignment of a fixed point in space with a fixed point on a rotating moving three dimensional object like a planet was... well... astronomical. This morning, at first light, Morrison and I examined the plants around the clearing for anomalies. Everything was as it had been the day before. I'd almost think it was a dream I'd had if I didn't hear everyone talking about it. Always hushed. No one wanted to say too loud what we'd all seen last night, otherwise we'd probably all go crazy."

"Day Twenty - Washington is dead. Gardner shot him in the night when he got up to relieve himself. Gardner swears he was having a nightmare. I don't know what to do with him. I don't know if we SHOULD do anything with him. Wasn't it just an accident? None of us have slept too soundly the last several nights. Dreams mostly. Not necessarily bad, just vivid. Laura said something about needing more deep sleep and less REM sleep, but I didn't follow. I'm so tired. Laura noticed somethign after we buried Washington in our clearing. The leaf she'd been working on for days had broken off. It did not, however, fall to the ground. It was floating just behind and above where it had been attached to the tree. She took it and wrapped it in a cloth. Even though it had been floating, it was easy enough to store. This led Huypac to declare that it wasn't some type of anti-gravity keeping the leaf afloat. He and Laura have been theorizing non-stop since she found it."

"Day Twenty Two - I don't know what's happening to us. Three Marines are dead, Gunny and Alexander are tied up in the grotto and Morrison is badly wounded. It started yesterday when I suggested we start sleeping at the ship in shifts. The vivid dreams kept coming and we were all suffering from lack of deep sleep. I thought the tree might be the cause. Laura says it could be Post Traumatic Stress, survivor's guilt or some other psychological condition indemic to deep space exploration. For the safety of the crew, I issued orders for the Marines to take first shift at the crash site. I've never seen Gunny with that look in his eyes. Anger mixed with... something... paranoia? The five marines immediately drew weapons. Stunned, I tried to reason with them. To help them see that I was trying to help and that what they were doing was from a lack of sleep. It never occurred to me, in my deprived state, that they would actually kill anyone. Morrison had been foraging, and had come back at exactly the worst (or best, depending on your point of view) time, and he had his sidearm. He wasn't a hardened marine, but he was good with his sidearm. Pearson was dead before we registered the shots. Then everyone opened fire. I had nowhere to go. I was standing directly in the middle, but never was hit. Huypac and Pyara dove for cover. Goodwyn took out Huffstutlar and Gardner. Alexander fired four times at Morrison. The last one tore a hole in his stomach. Laura screamed. I watched, in excruciating slow motion, Gunny turn his rifle toward her. I could feel him pulling the trigger. I reached out to her... screamed her name in my mind. The same silence fell over me that I had felt in the Odyssey during our freefall through the atmosphere. Laura fell over on her back just as the hammer fell, sending metallic death travelling at the speed of sound into the jungle behind her. Had I had time to think about it (or been thinking at all), I would have thought she just tripped, but at least she was safe. I had other things to worry about. I felt Gunny hesitate only slightly, having seen his intended target fall out of his sight. Then I felt him turn the barrell on me. I saw it all so clearly. What he was going to do, when he was going to do it. I could feel his anger, primal and irrational... his rage at being ordered to leave the presence of what he had come to believe was a heavenly being. I closed my eyes. I reached out to the rifles in the marines' hands. Felt for their forms... could almost feel the composite material they were made from. Then I felt the explosion, or what I thought was an explosion. When I opened my eyes, Gunny and Alexander were on their backs unconcious. Huypac was standing behind me, his eyes wide, staring at his hands. As Goodwyn secured the marines and Laura tended to Morrison, he told me 'I just wanted them to stop.' From above us, we heard a few pops and cracks, as if something had broken off the tree. We can't see anything, though. Until we know what's wrong with Gunny and Alexander, we'll have to leave them tied up. After surviving everything we have, no one else needs to die!"

"Day Twenty Three - We buried the marines and Morrison with Washington. Laura took it pretty hard she couldn't help Morrison. She turned back to studying the leaf she had taken with Huypac. Goodwyn and Pyara are watching Gunny and Alexander. I looked up as we finished laying our friends to rest and saw the source of the cracking sounds. Four more leaves had broken off their branches. Each a few meters away from the breaking point, and apparently above the branch they came from. I point it out to Laura and Huypac. They believe that what we're observing is Centrifugal Force. The rotation of the planet and its motion through space causes what would normally be stationary objects in space, the floating leaf, to rise out and away from the center of motion. It is all way above my head. Because we're too far below the leaves to grab them, we'll continue to watch them and see where they go. Huypac and I also discussed the strange events of yesterday. How was I able to have such hyper-aware senses? Did he really push over two marines from 20 feet away? Laura confims that she felt a physical force push her over. She thought, at first, that she had been shot, only later to learn what Huypac and I had felt and done. We'll have to discuss this more."

"Day Twenty Five - How Gunny got out of his bindings, I'll never know. Goodwyn probably never knew what hit him. A bloody rock was found next to his body. Pyara shot Alexander trying to escape, but Gunny is gone. So few of us are left. The last thing we need is a psychotic marine stalking us. Maybe he'll run for greener pastures? I doubt it. In other news, Huypac and I have been experimenting with what we're calling telekinesis. Even without stressors, we're able to, with great focus, move small objects. Its the most amazing feeling! Almost like pins and needles, like your foot falling asleep, but in your MIND. Pyara shows no interest in what he calls 'parlor tricks'. He spends his time sitting underneath the tree sleeping or writing. We're all still having overly lucid dreams, but I guess you can get used to anything. My fatigue is almost completely gone. We all feel like we're in better shape than ever. Two more leaves broke off after Goodwyn and Alexander died. The others have risen out of sight."

"Day Thirty - Apparently its like a muscle, your mind. Huypac and I have gone from moving small stones and sticks to lifting composite crates. Pyara has been irritated by our joviality to the extent he's taking long walks to avoid listening to us go on like kids playing a game. Laura tolerates our company in a bemused way. She watches us like we're lab rats. No sign of Gunny. Maybe I was right. Maybe he has moved on and intends to leave us alone."

"Day Fifty Nine - Almost two months since we crashed, but it feels like it could have been a lifetime ago. Huypac and I are making steady progress with our telekinetics. Pyara and Laura have been studying the tree. We know no more now than we did seven weeks ago. They keep going back to the leaf she collected. Convinced there's something about its crystaline structure that resonates or something. They keep talking about resonances and frequencies, but I have no idea what they are talking about. If Huypac has any idea, he's keeping it to himself for now."

"Day Sixty - Gunny woke me in the middle of the night. I wasn't sure if I was awake or dreaming. He had snuck in while we slept, coveed my mouth with his hand and hissed at me not to move. He told me he'd been to other parts of the planet. That there were creatures here. Intelligent creatures. Similar to us in size and shape, but wholly alien. What he told me then was unbelievable. He said we had to leave. Me, Laura and Huypac as quickly as possible. He told me that Pyara had killed Goodwyn and shot Alexander. That he would have shot him, too, if he hadn't been able to move at what felt like superhuman speed. He told me that during the stand off with the marines, he hadn't been himself. He felt like someone, or something, was in his mind with him... commanding him. He had watched our camp for a few days to make sure Pyara didn't hurt us, then he left. He intended to stay gone in order to atone for his actions, but one night he had a dream that we were in danger. He had to come back to warn us. I was shocked when he paused in his story. I waited for him to continue. It was then I realized he was struggling to breath. I looked over my shoulder and Pyara was standing behind me. On his face he bore a grin so terribly fiendish, I caught my breath. His outstretched hand grasped an unseen object. When he crushed it, I heard the snap in Gunny's neck and he fell to the ground. Pyara had apparently been flexing his own 'muscles' during our stay under the tree. He once again grasped empty air, and I felt my breath escape me. I struggled to take in air, but my throat was contracting. I felt myself lift up off of the ground. Pyara told me he had heard it calling him. Even on Earth. It had told him to overcharge the Oracle Drive, causing the accidental jump. All I could think of were the lives we'd lost... sacrificed for his macabre pilgrimage. The rage overtook me. Washington, Pearson, Huffstutlar, Morrison, Gunny... everyone. Dead at his hand or his design. Suddenly I could feel his invisible fingers around my throat. I took one and bent it backward. I imagined I could break it... or break him. Pyara's grip was released. The painful grimace I saw wiped away that horrid grin, and I was glad. I reached for his belt, although I was 10 feet away from him. Grabbed it in my mind's eye and threw him against the tree. His impact was hard. Harder than a man should be able to take. I heard cracks and crashes from above me. The tree was groaning! I felt it. I rose into the air, lifted by unseen hands and crashed to the ground. The fall should have killed me, but I got up and fought on. I was almost blinded, seething with an anger I never knew possible. What saved me was her scream. Laura and Huypac had been awoken by the combat. Upon hearing her, I turned. She was looking at me. Her face twisted in abject horror at what she saw. She didn't fear Pyara in that moment. She feared ME. Pyara's hand went out, and I saw her throat clench. In that single instant in time, all my rage, my anger melted away. I thought of nothing more than protecting her... my wife. My love. I moved in front of her and turned to face Pyara, shouting at him to release her. I ran at him, intending to tackle him to the ground. I could sense Huypac behind me, coming to my aid. As I reached in my mind to throw Pyara, he stretched out his hand. I saw a purple flash, and then I saw nothing..."

"Day Sixty One - I awoke with the sunlight warming my face. Laura and Huypac were tending to my wounds. None life threatening, but some good gashes and bruises. Pyara was gone. Huypac told me their battle lasted for hours, but he had ultimately fled. As I looked up into the tree, I saw thousands of the crystaline leaves had been knocked loose and were slowly, almost imperceptably, rising into the sky. 'what will happen to them?' I asked. 'Where will they go?' Huypac answered 'I don't know. Other worlds, I guess, if they ever find them. The planet, the solar system, the galaxy even are always in motion. Those leaves may be the only stable objects in the universe.' No one wants to say it, but with Pyara still out there, we should move on. Both Huypac and I feel he's done with the tree, for now. Maybe we'll seek out these intelligent creatures Gunny told us about. Maybe we'll find something else. Where there's intelligence, there's the possibility of further communication. We'll talk tonight and decide on a course of action."

"Day Sixty Two - We're setting off toward the west this morning. We're only taking what we need to survive, so I'll be leaving this recorder behind. I've only really been making the logs out of habit, and perhaps for sanity's sake to keep some semblance of my pre-crash life intact. But that life is over. We have new mysteries to explore. Huypac and I will continue to test ourselves and our limits. Laura is bringing her tree specimen along, hoping someone, somewhere can tell us more about it. I feel very positive about our future, unknown as it may be."

"Day Sixty Two (Supplemental) - We're leaving shortly. Huypac and Laura are gathering last minute things from the crash site, so I'll enter this quickly. During a meditation, I concentrated on Laura. I felt her mind and her body. Something had changed. Where there was one heartbeat before, I now felt two. She's pregnant. With all the stress of the crash and responsibilities I've had, not to mention the lack of privacy, we haven't been intimate since before we left Earth. My mind refuses to believe it, but she must have been with someone else here. My mind immediately goes to Huypac. They've spent so much time together, I'm surprised I didn't suspect them before. I've been a blind fool. I'll keep this to myself. I'm not convinced she knows her condition yet. I'll deal with them later. For now... I'll wait."

//End Record//

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*Attach Archived Message - Project Veridian*

My faithful apprentice, as you can see, there are deep and disquieting mysteries contained in this record. I have been summoned before the Jedi Council to present my findings in person. I have sensed disturbances in the Force leading me to copy my report to you for safekeeping. Should my worst fears be realized and you not hear from me, understand that this may be the ONLY collection of these records left. Do not be surprised if the Jedi Archives are purged of this information. As you know, "if it isn't in the Jedi Archives, it doesn't exist" is used to explain anachronisms. Guard this information with your life. Take it and preserve it. Spread this knowledge wherever you can. I do not ask you to betray the Jedi Order. I ask you to save it, if indeed they would rather supress this information rather than study and learn from it. Keep it, and yourself, safe. May the Force be with you. KR
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[As you close the message, you gaze out the window of your starship. Whoever this "apprentice" was, they didn't do a very good job of keeping this message safe. As you punch the coordinates into your navigation system, the corners of your mouth bend upwards in a smile... ]