Galaxy's Tunnels: Chpt. 1

A damp breeze hit Will Burrows in the face as he looked into the remains of the monastery.

"Woah," was the only response he could make. The space in front of him was dark, illuminated only by his glowrod. The handheld stick had a metal base, a yellow stick, and gave off a bright light. It still wasn't enough, however, for him to see the entire compound they had discovered.

A scuffling came from the large tunnel behind him, and a man appeared in the light.

"Will, this is just...mind-blowing!" Dr. Burrows exclaimed. He also carried a glowrod, which added to the bubble of light the two had created.

"Yes, the coordinates were exactly where the computers said they would be. I haven't seen precision like that in years. And to think where they would lead us!"

"I just hope it's gonna be worth it," Will replied as he walked over to a decaying pillar. It was once smooth and royal, but now it was an artifact of a past long ago.

The Republic. The Jedi.

There were more pillars in front of this one, and they formed a line that extended at least 40 feet to the right. The floor was made up of tiles that at one point were obviously colored and polished. Will noticed that he and his father must have entered from a southwest point. The tunnel they had used to find the monastery had ended at a stone wall. Luckily, the two had been able to break it open.

Dr. Burrows was a man in his 40s with a childlike passion. A passion that sometimes got him into more trouble than he realized. A passion for digging and exploring.

"Will, I mean, imagine if the surface world knew about this! A Jedi monastery, right below the city! And all the way out here, of all places! I am at a total loss for words! I imagine the Empire would have erased whatever archives mention this place, but..."

"Dad, don't dig yourself too deep into this. Pun intended." Will said. Although he pretended to be cautious with his father, Will in fact was exactly like him. Both father and son shared the same love of digging for as long as he could remember. Will was no ordinary 14 year old boy.

"Let's split up. See as much as we can see and meet back at the tunnel. Got it?" Dr. Burrows asked.

"Already on it." his son said back.

Will began his trek over to the right, past the pillars he saw. He came to a tall wall that had a single metal door set into it. He walked up to it and half-expected it to creak open. It didn't. Grabbing his shovel, he jammed it into the side crack and pushed it forward. With a creak, it slid forward. Will stuck his glowrod out and entered the dark room.

Inside were 6 small round chairs. Will instantly recognized them as the kind of chairs that Jedi would meditate in with their fellow Knights. A chest sat next to the nearest chair. Holding his glowrod in one hand, Will opened the chest and saw what he knew were training remotes. They were the round kind with many ports. He could imagine Jedi brandishing their lightsabers, deflecting bolts from the hovering remote.

Since his backpack was stuffed with supplies like first aid and water, Will could only fit one remote into it. In his opinion, one was enough. Will walked out of the meditation chamber and back into the main atrium with the pillars. He then started down the main pathway marked by the pillars. He reached a spot where the floor had a faded design in it. It was a perfect circle with an ornate border. Will knew it wasn't a Jedi symbol, but it probably represented the simple lives the monastic Jedi lived here.

"That you, Will?" came a voice from behind him. Dr. Burrows stumbled forward, glowrod in one hand and a datapad in another. "We hit the jackpot today, that's for sure!" he said gleefully. "We might be able to get this datapad up and running sometime. And if not, look what else I found." He produced a leather strap bandolier that had quite a few straps.

"Why would Jedi even need bandoliers like this?" Asked Will. "I mean, with their lightsabers and the Force. Seems kind of...primitive for them."

"The Jedi were not the ones who used these, Will. Anyways, I think it's time to turn back. There's always tomorrow."

"Sure." Will said halfheartedly. He truly enjoyed these father-son exploration trips, and this one in particular was the most stunning yet. But he knew the rest of his family was

waiting for him.

Will showed his father the training remote he found. "Amazing, isn't it?"

His father replied, "Yes. For once we might able to show the A-Guild that we are worthy at last." His tone became angrier. "Remember that time we discovered that mountainside smuggler base? I was the one who found it, yet that snobby professor grabbed all the credit and was made a High Member. And what do I get? A tiny mention in his report and 200 credits. 200 credits!"

"Yes, Dad," Will said. He remembered how angry his father was after that experience.

As the two started to climb into the round tunnel they had made to enter the building, Dr. Burrows began to get on Will about his shoring work.

"We will need to bring more supplies in next time. Will, I thought I showed you how to set up the beams so that the pathway is secure all around. Don't get lazy or we might never get to see this place again! "

For once, Will's mind was on something else. Months of planning had led them to this point, a Jedi monastery. When Dr. Burrows first ran up to him, saying he had the coordinates that could bring them the respect they wanted, Will thought he was being over dramatic. However, now he could understand what his father was feeling back then. Back when Will was a child, the Empire was in power. That meant no trespassing (digging and exploring), something that Dr. Burrows refused to accept and tried to resist in any way.

Most of all, Will thought about what life was like centuries ago in this place. A place filled with Jedi, meditating, practicing combat, learning the ways of the Force. That in itself was an amazing though. To think there was a time when Jedi lived here, in a place so far from Coruscant. To think that there were Jedi on Terra, all the way out in the Outer Rim.

This joy of discovery was why Will loved to dig.

Later that Night

Ornan Ronn's mind was in a blur that night as he raced home on his speeder. It started as a normal day at the construction site, that was for sure. Somewhere along the way, he saw something that he could not get off his mind.

He remembered leaving the main building after signing out. He deposited his helmet on the rack where he always did. Somehow his dark hair was dusty, even with the thing on. As he started to walk towards his speeder, cleaning up was the only thing on his mind. That was until he heard the whistling.

He turned to look at a stone building that was scheduled for demolition. "Unh?' he muttered to himself, wondering what was going on.

After hearing it again and realizing that it wasn't his imagination, Ronn strolled over to the building. A spray painted symbol on the front reminded workers not to enter. Since it was late, Ronn decided it wouldn't hurt to take a look.

The building looked exactly the same on the inside as he remembered it last. It was a former scrap shop from the days when scrap trade played a role in Terra's economy.

The whistling came from under a storage box. Ronn lifted it and a blast of musty air came up at him. He sneezed and stumbled back, being a somewhat clumsy man.

But he noticed something shocking; a large hole was under the box, just barely under 5 feet long. Stairs curled along the side of the hole and down past sight.

The whistling must have come from deep in the hole. But why was it so loud?

Ronn was wary at first, but knew it wouldn't hurt to take another step further. Another step followed, and another. Before he knew it, he was already near the bottom. His spare lantern was the only light he had.

Soon he came to double metal doors, which looked surprisingly modern. A card scanner sat on the wall right next to the door. Ronn didn't know who could have built this and why no one had noticed it before. The whole thing looked like an entrance to an important Republic office.

The whistling seemed to be coming from the doors themselves, as if they weren't properly shut and were leaking air. He tapped his fingers against the panel, wondering what to make of this.

A round camera a few inches long suddenly activated and jutted out of the scanner panel, almost making Ronn jump. While it scanned the worker, a red light started to beep on the panel, and the camera locked onto his position. Not knowing what to do, he dashed back up the stairs out of view, the camera still beeping red.

He managed to make it back out of the hole and cover it up with the chest again.

Ronn found the whole experience to be odd. He planned to report this to the Construction Guild the next day. Who would build a modern card-activated door underground? What did it lead to?

Most importantly, why did Ronn feel a creepy sensation down there, unlike any other time he had been working underground?

All this was on his mind as he rode his speeder home.

He didn't notice that as he began the trek home, a thin man in a leather coat skulked behind a waste vehicle.

The man raised a walkie-talkie, spoke a few guttural words, and was gone.