“I don’t know.” Ahnk replied solemnly as he began to examine the damage of his severed hand.
Irtar’s face however contorted with worry. He couldn’t sense that far in the Force, he was lucky to sense things five feet away most of the time. But Ahnk seemed to be able to case an entire building. If he wasn’t able to sense what was down here….
It’s not often that someone jams for a particular gem, perhaps it could be-
“I also do not know who would have set up these defences.” Ahnk said, cutting off the train of thought in the padawan’s mind.
“Yes, but to jam for this particular gem… Is there any group that pops to mind?” Irtar offered.
“It was no secret that we used Corusca Gems. It is almost impossible to keep a mining operation of that scale secret.” Ahnk said with a frown as he prodded at a few smouldering servos. “It is something difficult and challenging to do, for certain. Dampening fields like this are not cheap, and only work in a small radius. But it is possible.”
Irtar finished packing up, and walked towards his Master, looking at the broken robotic hand as he went. “May I?” He offered.
“Of course. Never understood why all the maintenance on these things seemed to require two hands to do.” Ahnk said with a smile despite the pain receptors in the device continuing to scream out bloody agony.
“Let’s see…” Irtar muttered, his old pre-Jedi comfort of droid work coming comfortably to his mind. A few of the motors were severed, along with the structural damage to the fingers. “Did you bring any spare parts?”
“Not enough.” Ahnk said with a frown, turning the carbon scared hand over.
“Well, lucky for you we’re surrounded by thousand year old battle droids and whatever else were left behind by the old Jedi Order and however ransacked this place. I’m sure I could find something that’ll do the job. Not as well as properly measured and fitted servos and structural bits, mind you. But it’ll do in a pinch.” Irtar said, motioning towards the deactivated turret and other broken bits scattered around them.
“How long will this take?” Ahnk asked, dubiously looking at the piles of scrap around them and thinking of the bigger piles above them.
“Damned if I know. I haven’t even had a crack at this ancient tech yet. Could be an easy thing. Could be complicated.” Irtar hesitantly replied, tapping at his chin. He let out an exasperated sigh as he walked back the way they came. “Well, I’ll start upstairs I guess? There was more salvage up there.”
“We search together.” Ahnk corrected, following behind the padawan.
“But shouldn’t someone be on watch or something? We don’t know if we’ve set off some alarms and if someone is on their way down, or up.” Irtar said, looking past the deactivated turret, into the untouched darkness.
“And we don’t know if there are any hidden pathways, or if they are already lurking here.” Ahnk said, putting a comforting hand, his only hand, on Irtar’s shoulder. “And any group that prepares for a Sith Order and I can’t sense through the Force is nothing that a one handed old man or a young padawan should face alone.”
“Consider me reassured.” Irtar groaned as they made their way back up to the previous floor.
Despite the darkness, the death, and the danger, Irtar felt in his element for the first time in months. He eagerly picked apart the old droids, measuring, testing, and teasing for what he needed. His mind flashed back to those early days on Naboo. After Leia left, and he was left to his own devices. The run he built, the droids he restored. It was a peaceful life, though frustrating at the time.
In the end, maybe the Force had a plan for him. It would explain why he never found a Master that would deal with him longer than a month at a time. Either that or he was a terrible student that no sane person wanted to deal with.
Irtar cast a quick look at Ahnk who was quietly looking where the turret had grazed his shoulder. Thankfully, it looked like it was just a glancing blow. Like a deflected shot that was just a fraction of a fraction of a second too slow.
“So, how’s the arm?” Irtar asked from his collection of likely candidates he picked out on his first pass.
“Better than my hand.” Ahnk replied dryly as he wrapped a bandage around the plasma burn. “You never really struck me as the salvager type.”
“What can I say.” Irtar said as he tossed a piece of steel into his makeshift rejection pile. “Engineer, politician, salvage expert, Jedi, general pain in the ass. I am a man of many skills. A couple of them are even helpful.”
Irtar took a look, eyeing up an ancient chunk of steel he thought would make a good temporary index finger, before deciding against it. Too much of a curve, would make gripping unwieldy. The trick was finding something rigid enough to maintain stress without being too stiff to survive a shock. You want something that won’t bend, but will bend before it breaks.
The metal these old droids were made out of would have been ideal. When they were originally made. The millennia hadn’t been kind on these units, nor had the Stormtroopers. There was also the stress of time. Neither knew if there was a legion of troopers assembling beneath their feet, or descending from above. It seemed almost impossible that whoever had set these defences up would have no idea that they were here or coming.
Irtar held up a small shock absorber and gave it a good hard look. With a nod he added it to his keep pile. It wasn’t as degraded as the other steel and had been one of the best candidates he’d seen so far.
“So, anyone else come to mind?” Irtar probed as he began to knock together what parts they had found that could do the job into a makeshift cybernetic hand. It’d have none of the sensitivity or precision of his properly built one, but it could hold a lightsaber.
“Hrm?” Ahnk had been settling in to meditate while Irtar worked.
“The guys behind all this.” Irtar motioned from the broken droids to the carbon scorched walls. “I know you said it could be anyone, but these guys beat you to this lost city, and came specifically set up to counter the Sith Brotherhood. Surely some group has got to come to mind.”
“Dozens.” Ahnk replied, his eyes closed with most of his attention being elsewhere. “But I wouldn’t expect to find Zark Ekan in a place like this.”
“Who?” Irtar soldered together some wires from the makeshift data port to the motors on the fingers. They were giant by any measure for modern prosthetics, but still small enough for the job at hand.
“Nevermind.” Ahnk said, his focus drifting off entirely.
Irtar worked about another half an hour in silence, Ahnk journeying to parts unknown through the Force. No troopers came storming up or down. No Sith came crawling from the walls. No rats even went scurrying about. The only company the noise of his work, and the sound of the empty city rusting around him.