Chapter 9

Ando Prime was a post-garden world in the middle of an ice age that scientists believed would be quite pleasant…in about 20,000 years. The Ando Centrum Circuit was located through one of the larger mountain ranges on the planet's northern continent. Through the first 4 races of the season Geda had had very few interactions with any of the other racers, and those that did occur had been with the lower tiered racers and had been rather pleasant given their chosen profession. That's why it was doubly surprising when she collected her personal bag off the customs grav cart and turned around only to have it knocked from her grip by a violent shoulder bump from the current championship leader.

"Excuse me" Geda said automatically.

"Make sure this is the only place you run into me. The snow drifts here are still known to hold the corpses of more than a few arrogant humans" the Gran muttered.

Geda had always been one to do her talking on the track, but the implied death threat was too much for her and she dropped her bag purposely this time and wheeled on the triple eyed alien. A strong hand gripped her bicep and turned her around the other way and she looked up to see the disappointed eyes of her father. "Your mother taught you better than that".

The rebuke stung and her father could see it because he softened and his grip turned into a caress. "Come with me. I want to make a stop before we go to the track".

Once Geda saw the stone and quartz dome rising out of the snow flurries she knew the stop her father wanted to make. She pulled her coat tight under her chin and followed him up the short flight of stairs. As they entered he put a couple credit chits into the alms reliquary and then looked back surreptitiously to make sure she did the same.

The temple sanctuary was packed and Geda looked around for a reason why. Temples were open all day everyday for people to come and go, meditating at their leisure. Very rarely did people all come in at the same time. Unless…

Nearly every Force Temple was unique in some way. There was no organized hierarchy that regulated things like interior design. Temples were built and paid for by the Jedi Service Corps, but they always sub contracted local architects to do a design that would reflect the culture and sensibilities of the native population. Ando Prime was no different. Like the ice planet of Telos, Ando Prime held enormous ice caves that were home to kyber crystals. And a swoop bike sized crystal stood upright in the center of the sanctuary, held in place by cleverly designed arms from the floor and roof that were designed to look like the ice caves stalactites that had no doubt really held the crystal in place at one time. The crystal cast a light purple glow across the sacred room, providing a contemplative mood that was broken by a soft but authoritative voice coming from the far side of the sanctuary.

Like some of the other faiths that permeated the galaxy, Temples of the Force did not have leaders or teachers per say. Usually the most devout regular would often answer questions from other parishioners, but rarely did anyone lead a collective teaching. That it was happening today would normally be no cause for such rapt attention had the teacher been wearing something other than the brown pauper robes of the Order that had come to define the power and will of the Force. The Jedi Knight retracted his hands from either sleeve and signaled for the parishioners to quiet down.

Geda knew from history courses that this was a sight that had not been common since before the Ruusan Reformation, some 1,100 years ago. Fearing the power and sway the Jedi held over the populace, the Old Republic had begun a long slow process to bring them under their control. Over eight hundred years they had effectively neutered the Order, and made them more senatorial operatives than Force chosen embodiments of its Will. However, after the Imperial Wars the Jedi had overseen a rebirth of the Order. They had moved their headquarters back to their ancestral home on Tython, built aid outposts in every inhabited system, and spent more time in non-Order temples teaching non-Jedi about serving the Force.

With the passing of her mother, Geda had found it more therapeutic to find solace in the mechanics of a pod racer, rather than the mechanics of life and death. That said, she was not above basic reverence for the warrior monks that had been the protectors of society for more time than she was comfortable contemplating.

He appeared to be at the end of whatever lesson he was giving; "many beings believe that serving the Will of the Force is a means to an end. That end being a glorious next life in spiritual union with the Force. But let me give you another way to think about it; serving the Will of the Force is THE end, not the means. This glorious life is the reward. And serving the Will ensures it reaches its most glorious state and continues to improve for the generations blessed with the spark of life in the ages to come".

So live life to the fullest and do good for others…Geda could get behind that. Didn't mean she was going to become a Sister of Silence and start hovering around med center beds, but she could probably start incorporating that message into her life. Either way, the lift it gave her father was well worth the detour.

The first part of the Jedi's message came into clear view for Geda as they left the temple, in the form of a stadium amphitheater rising over the small city skyline. It was time for her to do what the Force brought her into this world to do.