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    Learning at the Academy isn't all about meditation, books, sparring and exercise. Nope. It's also about field work! Going out to different systems and helping the less fortunate make way. These are the experiences that shape and craft the apprentices into the Jedi that they become in the future.

    Or at least, that's the plan.

    But of course, everyone has to start somewhere. And for the reasonably new apprentices that have gathered? They were starting right at the bottom. Hell, they weren't even leaving the planet! They were venturing deep into the forests of Yavin IV. But don't let the plant life and lack of hyperspace fool you. True, they were remaining on-planet. But the trees and ravages of Yavin IV are known to house a few nasty beasties on occasion.

    The mission is simple. One of the water pumps that collects and filters water from the rivers to the Academy has broken down. The reasons for this are unknown at this stage, but it cannot be left in a state of disrepair. Given the instructions and tools on how to fix the thing, the trio had set out just past dawn.

    As the oldest of the group, one would expect Percy to be running point. But in this case? He's sort of mingling with the others that have gathered. He trudges along the path, feeling the humidity in the air. A dampness is near constant on his face as he breathes in and out. "It shouldn't be too much further, I don't think?" He asks Araa and Solin. As a junker in a previous life, he carries the tools needed to repair the pump. The swag of equipment hangs off a spare shoulder.

If Percy's equipment belies his upbringing, then so does the vibroaxe that Solin carries. "To be honest, I'm not sure. I've never been this way. Best to ask Araa. She probably knows better than me." Despite the heat and the activity, Solin seems to take it all in stride. It's a mission and that sort of thing relaxes him. He's more in his element.

Araa is, in fact, the one on point. Percy has the equipment, Solin has a vibroaxe, and she's got the map. She glances down at the datapad displaying it. "Yeah, I think we're nearly there," she says, tapping the edge of the datapad with one finger. "It should be just a bit up that slope, where the river splits off."

   "They said we'll be able to find it pretty easily. It's probably the only piece of metal in this forest." Percy hypothesises idly, continuing his trudge along the path. "This forest is brutal. I don't think I've ever felt humidity like this before. It's as if the very trees are trying to sap the energy from me." Turning to look at Araa as she reveals they indeed aren't too far off, the blue eyed man lifts a thumb up. "Hopefully we won't need that axe you're carrying, huh Solin? Heh."

    The group weaves their way down the path, turning left and right as deemed necessary. Just as Araa mentioned earlier, the river splits off and widens into a greater flowing area. And there, sitting in the water on the embankment is the water pump. On top of general wear and tear of existing in conditions such as this, it looks like something has physically damaged the pump to an extent that the entire casing on one side has been ripped off. It lays a good meter or so away, meaning that exposed wires and parts from the pump (also broken) can be seen. Birds can be heard chirping in the trees above, along with other animals growling and making noises in the distance.

    "What could have done this?" Percy asks curiously, surveying the damage. "Casing doesn't just fall off on its own accord like that."

"Better to be safe than sorry, Percy," Solin says with a shrug as he takes a look at it. "Where I'm from if you go into a potential dangerous situation without arming yourself, our people...well, the people I grew up with...they'd say you deserve to die." He shrugs his shoulders, "Everyone dies, of course. But hopefully I'll be old and wrinkly when I do." 

As they come upon the pump, Solin's lighthearted banter fades and his face fills with worry. "I don't like that one bit." He holds his vibroaxe a bit tighter and tries to reach out with his senses, as limited as his powers might be.

Araa bends down to examine the pump. "I have no idea," she admits. "I somehow managed to get pulled into most of my trouble offworld, so I'm not up on the local wildlife. Looks like it /really/ hated this pump, though." She runs her hand over an undamaged section of its casing, frowning slightly.

    Joining Araa to examine the casing and pump carefully, Percy examines the thing to the best of his ability. He remains mostly silent as he does so, thinking through options on how to best repair it. Could they?

    Araa's surveillance of the casing will reveal that they do have the parts to fix it, albeit temporarily. They could likely jury-rig it to function, but an actual team will need to come down and fix the thing permanently. Heck, an entire replacement might be needed given how much damage its taken! But that still leaves the question ... what damaged it in the first place? There are no fallen branches around that could have knocked it. Solin's sensing reveals the answer. Only twenty meters or so away, stalking in the shrubbery, is a wild runyip. The squat quadruped makes itself known to the trio as they get close to the casing, stalking aggressively for them. It looked like it meant business!

    Araa might then notice something quite peculiar. Inside the casing itself, smack bang in the interior of the pump, is a nest. And within that? A runyip pup. The thing is only weeks old at best, sleeping inside the protective shielding that the pump provides. Yep. They had stumbled upon a makeshift runyip nest. And the mother wasn't too pleased! "Oh dear," Percy breathes in shock - taking a backward step in surprise.

Araa coughs quietly. "Uh, well, I guess we found the problem..." She stands up and backs up a couple steps.

"I should have stayed in bed today," Solin says as he shakes his head after noticing the nest. He doesn't have the training to alter the mood of the beast. He assumes Percy doesn't either. Maybe Araa can do this without violence. Especially because of the runyip pups. Solin really does have a heart, despite what the families of the vanquished have said about him.

He looks to Araa, and then slowly turns on the vibrating laser of the axe without making a move toward the beast.

    "I don't suppose anyone knows how to calm down a wild animal like this?" Percy asks hopefully, licking the moisture off his lips when Solin switched his weapon on.

    The runyip doesn't appear to like that, taking another few steps towards the trio. It growls and makes a few low noises that are clearly meant to intimidate anyone or anything it comes across. In particular it looks to focus on Solin more than anyone else. Probably because he has the weapon!

    "If no-one can calm the animal down, how about this for a plan?" Percy begins, running his mind through a few options. "We need some people to distract it. Cry out, dance, do a jig. Draw its attention. And then, uh, the third person can get the pup and relocate it over to the shrubs over there." The man points to where the runyip had come from originally. "Sound like it could work? Who wants to be the one to grab the pup?"

    The runyip at this point is stomping on the ground with its front hooves, threatening to charge at any moment!

"No, don't," Araa says, holding up a hand. "Not yet, at least." She keeps backing away from where the pup has been hidden. "Don't worry," she tells the runyip, tone going gentle and soothing. The Force is humming beneath her words, but not like a mind trick would. She's just... trying to get across that they're not pup-eating monsters. "Don't worry, we're not here to hurt your pup, it's okay, we're friends..."

Solin nods nervously to Araa, "My plan was to get it to chase me." He double takes at his friends, "I get that it wasn't a great plan." As Araa uses the force, Solin quickly shuts the vibro part of his blade off in hopes that fixes it.

     As the runyip stomps and begins to rear itself up to charge, Araa's skilful use of the Force in this case manages to calm it down significantly. Solin de-activating his weapon at the same time no doubt helps the cause!

    "Awesome," Percy breathes, stunned at this turn of events. He had never seen the Force used in such a way before, so was no doubt surprised and impressed by the execution. "Alright - I need to take the pup out of this pump." He announces. Reaching forth into the pump and getting the lump from its nest, Percy gently cradles the thing and places it over to the edge of the shrubbery.

    The runyip, though remaining calm and under the influence of Araa, stares at the older man HARD. Stares DAGGERS! Sweating profusely and perhaps worried he'll drop it, Percival eventually places the nest down on the end and slowly retreats back to the group.

    It's at this moment though when the runyip snaps! Araa's control, as great as it is, is just not quite enough to tame the creature through having its pups moved like that.

    With a thundering noise of its hoofs, it bellows out a shrieking call. It's prepping to attack! The fully grown adult mother runyip shrieks into the air once more, before it kicks forth into a deathly charging motion! It kicks off the off the ground with great acceleration and strength, tipping its head down to attack with its thick and tough antlers. The attack is on!

    "Watch out!" Percy cries out. It's all he can do at this stage, as he ducks and runs off to the side to avoid the straight line attack.

     Solin checks to make sure Percy and Araa are safe, and hopes that the beast remembers that he's the true taldarian hole here. He leaps from the pathway in an attempt to dodge the oncoming runyip, dodging out of the way and flicking on the power button of his axe.

      Araa winces. One hand goes for her saber---which isn't there, because it was loaned to her for her missions for the senators, and is now safely back in the armory. Weaponless, she instead scrambles to get out of the charging runyip's way.

     While Percy and Solin dodge successfully out of the way from the rampaging beast, Araa is not so lucky. Her dodging motion is stopped by her foot being caught on a muddy foothold beneath. Though she manages to avoid the brunt of the attack, one of the horns still strikes her squarely enough to send her toppling for the embankment and cause damage to her torso. In doing this charge, the runyip has also cannoned into the remains of the water pump and destroyed it outright! Bits of scrap and metal go flying.

    "Araa!" Percy cries, teeth gritted as he spots her AND the pump, their goal, destroyed in one fell swoop. "Solin, we gotta get outta here!" He had seen and experienced enough, obviously. "Araa, you okay? Can you run?" The hit she took was pretty intense. "Solin, can you distract that thing? Araa might have some busted ribs."

Solin nods, "Help Araa, I'll take care of the runyip!" He looks past Percy, worriedly, however, as he looks to the nest of the baby beast. He can't kill its mother, can he? He certainly doesn't want to. "Hey! Over here!" he yells, waving his arms. "Pick on me!" he exclaims!

For a moment, after the initial dizzying slam, the affected area just feels strange and fuzzy, like someone took her ribcage out and replaced it with cotton. Then Araa tries to stand up, and hisses in pain as the burning sets in. It's definitely worse than... well, not the time she fell out of one of the acrobat harnesses and broke both her legs during a rehearsal, but most of the other spills she's taken. She takes a deep breath and tries to focus. The pain is insignificant. Unimportant. Just nerves. 

She stands up. "I can move," she calls back, "but we need to climb, not run! It's a charger, it can run us down, but it's not going to be able to get up a tree." She glances around. "We just need one that it can't shake us out of."

     "Ah!" Percy seems to think that the tree-climbing is a good idea, even as the runyip rounds on Solin with a snarling breath. He does manage to distract the thing enough for Araa to collect her feet, but it's not long before it is charging again. This time, directly for Solin! Its thunderous hooves rock the ground heavily as it pushes against the muddy embankment. It has horns downs, ready to skewer the padawan where he stands.

    "Solin, go into the trees! Can we jump from branch to branch to get out of this things range? The canopy is so thick we might be able to get away that way!"

    Sure enough, Percy then follows the advice of Araa. Taking a few breaths, he manages to locate a tree trunk thick enough to support him. And then? He uses the Force on his own! He LEAPS into the tree, a good twelve feet or so, landing on a thick branch. And from there, he will try to locate another branch in an effort to escape.

    Solin breathes heavy as the beast bears down on him. It's too late to jump, he's just not that close to the branches at this point. There's a moment, they say, when you're about to die that your life passes in front of your eyes. The padawan feels reassured that he's not gotten that sensation. At least not yet. He invokes the force as the beast bears down on him to help push him in a burst of speed to get out of the way!

  Araa would be jumping too if she didn't have the feeling it would worsen whatever the runyip did to her ribs. Instead, she makes for a tree with low branches and starts clambering up it, taking care to keep her torso as straight as possible as she ascends.

     'There's no such thing as luck'. Whether there's any truth to that statement or not, Solin can thank the Force later on that he manages to avoid the rampaging runyip. As he leaps high up and into the air, he'll be able to feel his foot get collected by the horn. Though not enough to crush the appendage, it's certainly going to bruise! More or less though he evades the hit.

    The poor mother runyip however smashes into the tree trunk that Solin was just standing in front off of, doing so with such force that she staggers around in a stunned state for a moment. It gurgles a little in discomfort, trying to collect its wits for the next attack.

    "Solin!" Percy calls out from his branch, having watched the episode play out. "You alright? Can you move okay" Then, blue eyes look down to Araa. "Araa? You as well? How're your ribs feeling?"

"I'm not so sure!" Solin exclaims. "My foot was hurt pretty bad....and I dropped my axe!" There, on the jungle floor was the item he just purchased in order to protect them on this journey. Some protection. Hanging there, dangling from the tree, he feels as impotent as any time since he was taken from his parents on Livat.

    "Alright," Percy replies to Araa, noting that she seems to have everything under control. This didn't seem like her first rodeo. "Araa is right, Solin. Forget the axe. We can come back for it later." Pursing his lips, he looks down to the scene below. "Wait... look."

"I'm not so sure!" Solin exclaims. "My foot was hurt pretty bad....and I dropped my axe!" There, on the jungle floor was the item he just purchased in order to protect them on this journey. Some protection. Hanging there, dangling from the tree, he feels as impotent as any time since he was taken from his parents on Livat.

A little awkwardly, Araa hoists herself up about level with where Percy is. "I'm fine," she replies. "I'll be fine until I lose my concentration." She gives Solin a forced smile. "We can come back for the axe later. Right now..." She swallows. Not like she isn't fairly new herself---even if it's been a few months by now---but she at least knows how /she/ does this. "Right now, you need to focus! The pain is real, it's there, it's not gonna go away quick, but you don't have to feel it. Hold your thoughts steady, and put them between you and the pain."

    Beneath the trio and back on the ground, the runyip has settled. Perhaps it's because it can no longer see its enemies or because it just smashed its head into a tree trunk, the beasty has calmed down significantly. It trots over to where Percy placed the pup, gently nuzzling its nose against the Bub to comfort it. Picking it up in its mouth, the runyip then trundles off into the surrounding shrubbery and bushes - leaving the scene entirely.

    Percy remains frozen, blinking in surprise. "...are we safe?"

Solin lets go and falls to the earth, favoring his foot. He sighs as he looks to the others, "Well, that was embarrassing." He reaches down to the axe and picks it up long enough to turn it off and then slings it. "At least we didn't have to kill it. I really, really didn't want to kill it."

Araa climbs back down. "Yeah. Yeah, that's the worst part of---all of this, really." She bends down and retrieves the datapad from where it fell on the riverbank. Thankfully, it's still working. "Yeesh," she mutters, experimentally prodding at her ribcage and then wincing. "Angry Wookiee hostage crisis, accidentally knock him out by rescuing the hostage. Runyip? Trip over the ground and get my ribs busted up."

    After everyone else, Percy also drops down to the ground - landing with a thump. "It's alright, Solin. You're just an apprentice like the rest of us. There's nothing to be embarrassed about. You were good to avoid a lethal blow before." Picking up the equipment that would have helped them jury-rig the broken pump, the man sighs. "Well, we weren't able to save the pump. But at least we saved the pup, right? And the mother. They would have had to replace the whole thing eventually anyway. We'll just have to go on water rations for a while or something."

    The man laughs at Araa's version of events. "Angry wookiee hostage crises? You'll have to tell us about that on the way back. I dunno about you guys, but I think I'm going to have runyip nightmares for at least a week. Those things are scary." Securing the equipment and tools once more, he gestures back. "Let's get back to the Temple. Solin, did you need a shoulder to lean on for the trip back? Or you good?"

"Maybe for my ego," Solin says in response to Percy as he limps along. "I think my ego hurts the most." He lets out a sigh and looks up the trail towards the Jedi Temple. "I won't tell anyone if you guys don't." 

"Well, we're going to need to tell a medic-y type, at least." Araa grins. "Unless you want to entrust your foot to me, that is."

     "We're gonna have to fill out some sort of report. Don't fret so much about it, Solin." Percy remarks with a small smirk. "I think everyone's going to be happy about how cool you were under the collar. You could have taken that runyip down any time, but you didn't. It was a good job." As the only one who isn't injured, Percy takes this opportunity to take point and lead the trio back up the path and back to the Temple. For rest and more immortally, medical attention.

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