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Do not think me mad, even if the doctors around me declare it so. Do not declare my sanity is non-existent, but instead listen to these words. Listen, listen to these words on this holocron, and make a judgment of my sanity for yourself. 

 

My name is [redacted]. I was born on Naboo, within the city of Theed, and while my heritage was neither Human nor Gungan, I felt Naboo as always my home. I was a member of the Jedi Service Corps, within the ExplorCorps, from the years [redacted]. While many of my peers would think me a washout, I held no shame in my occupation. Of the service corps, I held an invigorating position, and my placement often put me on the same level as some Jedi knights, despite not being as skilled in the Force. My tasks were often helping chart out courses into Deep and Wild space, finding new routes between major spacelanes, creating shortcuts that the republic could use. My findings were never published publicly, but instead kept strictly for military use, so that smugglers could not make use of my discoveries. 

 

In the year [redacted], I was granted the rank of captain, and my very own ship, a [redacted] that bore the name [redacted]. Sleek, sturdy, and capable of taking up voyages that could last an entire year, I was very proud of the vessel. Under my command including 100 technicians, 50 navigationists, 2 other so called ‘washouts’, 65 droids and 4 doctors. All members of the [redacted ship name]  were well trained. I only carried 8 greenhorns, and during the voyage I would oversee some of their training. 

 

In addition to our normal crew, we carried 1 Jedi Seeker, a Nautolan named [redacted]. [redacted] and I were good friends, and while he went on to become a knight of the Jedi order, he never lorded over me his accomplishment. He was a humble and dedicated individual, and never wavered in any of his duties. His role was only to advise me and help deal with any potential dark sided threats, but given my ship experience, we often became lax on that and instead focused our discussions on philosophy and politics. 

 

Our maiden voyage was to explore sectors [redacted] to [redacted]. The reason for this was because several smugglers had been captured, ranting and raving about a new star system they had discovered. Their data droid provided us with coordinates, but the smugglers' stories themselves made me curious. Or rather, the lack of stories. They were blubbering messes, and believed to be suffering some kind of psychological disease. My mission was to explore the region their droid had shown, to gather biological samples, and to ensure that no one else was in the system. 

The journey to the system took us about [redacted]. During that time, my friend and I discussed the potential of what a psychological disease could do if an outbreak took hold on Coruscant. Our discussions turned towards philosophy, and how the Jedi code meshes with subjects such as diseases and madmen: If all life is sacred, are we going against the Force eradicating diseases? If the Force is sentient in the manner of that some believed, was fighting disease going against its will? Are cures inherently good just because they save life, or are they good because we deem it so? What of the madmen that this potential disease creates? If the disease is natural, then are madmen as how the Force intended them to be? Is madness something to consider in the realm of the light side? Is there such a thing as a genuinely mad Jedi? Does a madman’s death affect the cosmic force on a whole? Should enough madmen die, would the cosmic force suffer in the end? What would that effect look like?

 

My friend, a staunch traditionalist, was a worthy verbal sparring partner in these discussions, but in the end we were both left unnerved with our conclusions. He pondered in the Jedi council even debated these subjects like we have, and if they had, what conclusions they came to. I on the other hand was more liberal, and while concerned about our conclusions, I was more excited than anything else. The pursuit of knowledge always made me this way, a reason why I was assigned to the ExplorCorps. 

 

System [redacted] was an elusive target, but once found, my friend and I both felt something was off. Not as well trained, I would've defected to my friends' conclusions about the force, but here we were in agreement separately. The force here felt stale and old. While the Force was still here, it did not feel correct. I wondered if the Force here was the reason for the smuggler’s condition, but my friend assured me that was unlikely. 

 

The system had 7 celestial objects circling a black hole with the approximate size of a medium mass orange-yellow star. However, much to our confusion, this black hole had a much larger than average accretion disk, providing light and heat across the system. Of the celestial objects, two were gas giants, with numerous small moons, three were micro planets, and two were planets within habitable levels. 

 

Our discoveries made me ecstatic to say the least. The fact that the black hole here had two planets that could provide life would be a discovery of the ages. My joy became almost enrapturing when we discovered radio signals coming from both planets. While the signals were garbage for the most part, it did seem to indicate that intelligent life may have existed on these worlds. My friend was not so eager. Being more attuned to the Force, he knew something was off. Had I been more attentive, I would’ve noticed he had become nauseated just being in the system, but my focus was on the potential archeological ruins on the habitable planets. 

 

To cover more ground, my friend and I led two different teams. He would take a team to the first planet that was further away from the black hole, a seemingly near-water world, with temperatures and land mass like Lamaredd. I would lead a team on the closer planet, a more tectonically active world that, while it had a thin but breathable atmosphere, sensors indicated a tunnel system underneath the surface. We both took along protective equipment, remembering the possibility that a disease may have originated here. 

Edited by Xar
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My first steps on the planet were exhilarating. The crimson ground was soft to the touch, like old flesh never devoured by the scavengers so many planets had. The sky above carried a pale white glow, for the black hole’s accretion disk had a unique effect on that thin atmosphere mix of oxygen and neon gasses. The moisture in the ground made it squish under our feet, being slightly spongy in certain places. Samples of the soil revealed it to be highly carbon based. We came to the conclusion that below the surface, where the tunnel system was, would reveal an environment more akin to Sullust or Mustafar. 

 

The surface of the world held very little architecture, but from where the radio signals emitted, we found a massive entrance into the earth. Carved from a singular black material, the temple-like gateway stood against the white sky like a dagger piercing the heavens. Gigantic in stature, we could not help but stand in awe of its presence, curious of its creators who had to be massive in their own right. 

 

Scans could not pierce the building’s exterior, and all attempts at carving off pieces of the material resulted in dulled equipment. I wondered if even a lightsaber could carve through the material, for even our plasma torches had no effect. 

 

Thankfully the entrances were open to us. Stationing droids to help mark our path back as well as to take detailed surveys of the rooms, we entered the building. I confess, I felt something was off on this world, but my excitement continued to drive me forward. Whatever beings that had created such a building were clearly advanced in both technological and architectural senses, and I hoped to find both the source and the means to harvest the material the building was made of. 

 

Our descent into the planet's tunnels revealed to us much about the residents of the planet. The design and structure of the doors seemed to indicate a possibly serpentoid species. Handles, levers and pedals suggested that the species had appendages that were as dexterous as any humanoid hand. The lack of any lighting sources underground suggested the species may have been capable of seeing in pitch darkness, or had some other means of sensing besides visual. Of the rooms we believed to be either bedrooms or pleasure rooms, little cosmetic thought was given. Our guesses led us to believe that the native species here practiced a frugal and austere lifestyle. 

 

The thing that confused and made me both worried and curious was the size of objects. Certain doorways and tunnels  could’ve had three men standing on top of each other, and the pedals that we occasionally had to press to go forwards required the combined effort of our droids and team. In one room, which we figured to be some kind of access hallway, had a central sphere made of the same material as the building above. To open the doors in the hallway, we had to spin the sphere, a task that required four of my strongest droids. But by the size of the hallway compared to previous halls, it seemed this task was meant for a singular member of the alien species. 

 

For all of our searches, we found neither technology nor remains of the species. The staleness of the Force became worse the further down we went. It was as if Life was here, but not reproducing like it did across the galaxy. The force felt, for the first time in my life, old and unrejuvenated.  

 

We eventually came across what I could only describe as some kind of library or historical record. Our faces could not hold back our expressions of wonder at this chamber. Scrolls of unknown material were pinned over walls of black stone, showing images of unrecognizable scenes on alien worlds. Paintings of landscapes and artworks covered empty spaces on the walls, ceiling and floors, each picture trailing into another as if it was a historical record of the species as a whole. The pictures, hieroglyphic in their simplest form, depicted forms of beings and plants and monsters of all manner.  It appeared the species here lacked any form of writing and communicated only with pictures, or even just color. We were able to confirm that the native species were serpentoid and muiti-armed, leading us to name them Serpenthe.

 

What we could decipher filled us with dread. While we had no way of determining an exact translation, the story we could decipher suggested something vile. The Serpenthe seemed to live in awe of the black hole above. All of their history seemed to begin with a stone of the same color as the planet and accumulate with the black hole, for at the base of their curved floors was the planet, and at the apex of their domed ceiling accumulated with the black hole. Several Serpenthe figures appeared to be worshiping both the planet and black hole, while others were offering gifts of stone and body parts. And from the black hole emerged several tendrils and eyes, like some form of deity emerging to its worshipers. 

 

In all of the data we gathered, we still found no sign of what happened to the native species. None of the artwork indicated space travel of any kind, nor did we find the remains of ship parts. Even if some catastrophe had struck down the species, the tunnel system indicated that remains of the Serpenthe would still exist somewhere. 

 

It was this curiosity that drove me to explore deeper, despite my crewmates hesitancy to do so. They all could feel the same sense of stale energy the Force carried here,  and believed it unwise to continue. I sent my youngest greenhorns back to the surface to update the ship, while I had the rest of us continue. Now I wish I had not done so, knowing what I know now. 

 

Our journey took us to the deeper bowels of the planet, far below than what I originally intended to explore. As we continued those dark, massive halls, we only found more empty chambers, libraries like the one above, and doors utilizing massive spheres and pedals. Our hope of finding new technology became less heartened, and I feared that this planet would remain a mystery for years to come. 

 

Our curiosity soon turned to dread. According to all of our scanners, we were approximately 20,750 kilometers inside the planet’s interior. However, we knew this to had be false, for our ship’s scanners measured the planet to be a size similar to Coruscant's diameter of 12,240 kilometers. The tunnels had become more and more spartan, with only doors, empty chambers and confusing locking mechanisms repeating over and over. And all the while, the Force felt more and more stale, like we were journeying away from life itself. 

Edited by Xar
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While initially curious how our scanners could make such a mistake, my dread won out and I ordered a return to the surface. We would explore these depths further another day. No sooner had the order left my lips did we then hear the thing. 

 

Down the hall we had come from came the noise. A low croaking sound, its call chilled all of our skins. The thing emerged from the darkness. Perhaps once a native, this thing, long since either devolved or mutated, bore little likeness to the Serpenthe we assumed were the native species, save its serpentine body. On each of its many splintered hands were singular black claws, and its singular eye on its chest glowed with the same color that the black hole above made with its accretion disk. 

 

Before we could communicate with the thing, it attacked us. It made short work of most of my men, as our blasters had little effect on its red, spongy body and its black claws sliced through our plastoid armor easily. It was only by the quick-thinking of one of my men that we detonated a grenade to kill the monster.

 

It spilled no blood. Its body, unique and disgusting, only pulsed and quivered with unwavering heat. While unsure if it was alive, I ordered a full autopsy, knowing I needed to bring back something to show for our adventure. To my horror, as we attempted to dissect the thing, we found that this creature’s flesh was not only similar to the soil of the planet’s surface, it was identical. Though my crew suspected the idea, I myself knew that the reason we hadn’t found any of the remains of the Serpenthe was because we had already trampled on their remains. 

 

Our retreat could not be swifter, as my own horrors were becoming more and more palpable. The noise that the thing had emitted called for others of its kind, and somewhere in the labyrinthine tunnels did noises of its mates call to us. More than once we came across a beast and had to break into a new direction to avoid a fight. But one by one, the monsters picked us off until I only remained. 

 

I had found myself before another locking mechanism when the floor gave way. How far down I fell I’m unsure, but I awoke to another library-like room. However, instead of intrinsic, artistic pictures, only one image was in this room: the black hole at the base of the floor, where protruded an obelisk, made of the same substance as the planet’s ‘skin’.  

Here the force was absent entirely. As impossible as it is, I know for certain that the Force did not exist there in that chamber. Whether it was because that place was older than the force itself, because I had somehow traveled into the very realm of the black hole, or because the midichlorians that made up the Force completely died there, I do not know, but the force was absent here. I felt the emptiness that the lack of the Force had on me. It is a feeling I never wish to experience again, for I believe if I died here, I would never be one with the Force. 

 

I pushed back my existential fears and investigated the obelisk. To my surprise, it bore tattoo-like writing all over its spongy exterior. In colors that swayed and altered with each second that passed by, i found the first writings i had seen on the planet: at first I found ancient Gree, but as i continued to look, i found old Bith, lost Taung, crude Huttese, and even bits of what i believed to be damnable Rakata. However, when I found modern and clear basic in the writings as well, I took a breath and read out the name spelled out on that primordial object. 

 

The entire system shuddered with the words I read, as I summoned forth a realm of death and madness to my very feet. By some miracle, I somehow escaped to the surface of the planet, and saw in the sky that thing I so foolishly summoned by words alone. My mind broke at that moment, and everything went black. 

 

When I came to, I found myself on a lifepod, escaping with the corpse of my close friend and all of my greenhorns. Babbling wildly, my greenhorns turned on themselves, and in the end, only I lived to escape that cursed system.

 

Do not think me mad, even if the doctors around me declare it so. What we had found was no disease, nor was it a discovery worth investigating. I have done my best to erase all records of that damned system, and implore you to never return to it. I myself will soon end my life before I accidentally reveal that source of evil.

 

I have seen what madness does to the force: the remains of the Serpenthe are proof of that. Should what we discovered there be released upon the galaxy, I fear that even the Force itself will succumb to madness as entire worlds crumble under its gaze. Do not pierce the shroud that blinds us from that horror. I implore you: Leave it be. 

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