"This belongs in a museum!" - Dr. Henry 'Indiana' Jones, PhD
Outside of the cramped and budget-friendly shuttle, Dr. Jones stretched. A plume of red dust rushed towards him in greeting, filling his mouth with grit.
“Aw hell,” Indy sputtered, waving a hand in front of his face. "Short Round! Get the masks!”
“Sure thing Dr. Jones,” Short Round managed, coughing. He turned and scurried back inside the shuttle, leaving Indy to wheeze on the ramp.
The air on the planet was cloying; Indy felt like he’d swallowed chalk, his throat as dry as sandpaper. Chest rumbling, he suppressed another cough, surveying the area critically - Protayin II looked nothing like he remembered, its lush jungle stripped down to barren clay, leaving the cracked earth to stretch on for miles. Dominating the landscape were several mining cranes, their long metal arms like the skeletons of ancient trees. It was a shame that such a beautiful planet had been reduced to nothing but its bare bones, though Indy was in no position to complain. He was grateful, albeit begrudgingly, that Mine Corp had even alerted him to the site they’d uncovered.
A low booming sound echoed deep within the earth, vibrating pebbles and clumps of dirt. Irritation rising, Indy frowned at the ground. The mining was supposed to be done by now – even small vibrations would disturb the site, potentially making it unstable. At this point he wasn’t even sure he trusted the cracked ground to take his weight, the shuttle creaking ominously behind him.
Swearing softly, Indy kept hold of the hatch, peering out to take another look around around. There didn’t seem to be anyone in sight - apart from Short Round, who reappeared at his side with a mask in hand.
“Thanks,” Indy coughed, pressing the mask to his face; the filtered air was stale, but at least it was better than a mouthful of dust.
“You sure picked a great vacation destination,” Short Round said, grinning into his own mask. He ducked as Indy swiped at him, vanishing back into the shuttle.
“We’re here to work! You’d better get camp set up, or I’ll drop your grades.”
Short Round only laughed – he was a good student, even if he didn’t always respect his superiors. Indy was used to his attitude; it reminded him a bit of himself, although he’d never say that where the kid could hear him.
Smiling crookedly, Indy scuffed his boot against the ramp. A sizable amount of dust had already gathered there, coating the metal like rust. It stuck to everything it touched – Indy’s skin was already itching with grit, his clothes dusty and red. It covered everything so well that he didn’t see the figure walking towards them, until the guy shouted over the rumbling of the earth.
“ Hey , hey man!”
Glancing up, Indy tipped his hat back and squinted into the distance. He couldn’t tell right away what species the man was - his face and overalls were caked in dust, blending seamlessly with the rusty landscape.
“Hey!” Indy shouted back. “I thought you guys were supposed to be done by now?”
“Nah man,” the miner said, mandibles twitching. Indy took a long look at them and mentally corrected himself - the miner was a woman. She carried a vague air of annoyance as she stopped in front of the shuttle, waving her hands as she spoke. “They always give us a tight schedule, you know? It’s like they don’t know how long this stuff takes to mine.”
Feeling like she was about to launch into a lengthy complaint, Indy cut in quickly. “Well, if you can take me to the site, I’ll keep out of your way.”
“Oh, sure man.” She said. Her mandibles clicked quickly, which Indy figured was her version of blinking. “Your old rocks are this way.”
A deep brown stretch of clay led them all the way to the edge of the jungle, where the ground was peppered with tree stumps. Indy frowned at them in passing; he wasn’t a fan of industrial mining - these rich forests were as much a part of the galaxies history as the artifacts they hid - but there weren’t any natives living on the planet to protest. A damn shame, but nothing he could do about it now.
Just before the jungle began, several sonic rods had been set up to keep animals out. As they approached the velvety darkness of the canopy, Indy stumbled, startled as the earth plunged down.
“ Damn it ,” he swore, grabbing a rod to keep his footing. It buzzed and vibrated under his hand, rattling his teeth.
“Careful man,” the miner said, her mandibles quivering. “The ground gave way when we were clearing the forest, we almost lost one of our cutters.”
“Thanks for warming me,” Indy grumbled, carefully letting go of the rod. He shook the pins and needles out of his hand before testing some of the ground with his boot. It seemed stable enough, but you could never be too careful. The pit he’d almost fallen in was as deep as he was tall, with steep sides. At the very bottom was what the miners had found – a pale stone structure that looked out of place in the bright red earth.
The miner shrugged, eyeing Indy and clicking her mandibles nervously. “Sorry. No one’s been down yet. You’re gonna need a rope or something.”
“Or something,” Indy muttered, his mind working quickly. The stone looked like white alabaster – which was exactly the kind of thing he’d hoped to find. “Short Round! Get over here.”
Short Round came running like a shot fired. Between the three of them it didn’t take long to rustle up some equipment - the miner turned out to be more interested in helping them than getting back to work, so Indy let her operate the winch. Clipping the rope to his belt, he began his slow decent down the steep slope, placing his feet carefully to prevent a landslide. It wasn’t far down, but he’d seen people break their legs from lesser heights.
“What do you see Dr. Jones?” Short Round asked, wringing his hands nervously at the edge of the pit.
“It’s Oran alabaster,” Indy said, grunting as he set his foot on the first large stone. Reaching out, he ran his fingers over it – the surface was smooth and unblemished, gleaming in the harsh sunlight. “Laser polished.” Indy murmured, marveling. “Stone like this hasn’t been mined for hundreds of years. It’s probably Pre-Old Republic…”
Taking some weight off the rope, Indy inspected the stones, his excitement mounting. Now he was level with them, he could see they formed part of an archway – most of it was buried, but there was a small gap that the collapsing earth had revealed. Licking his lip, Indy peered inside. The hole was just big enough for a man to crawl through, the end fading into inky blackness.
“Dr. Jones…” Short Round said, his voice wavering.
“What is it kid?” Indy replied, distracted. Curious, he reached into the hole to see how far it went - he stretched his hand out, and his fingers touched nothing but air. He could practically taste the anticipation as it coursed through him - if there was a space on the other side, he had to see it. “Throw me a flashlight, will you?”
“It probably isn’t safe to do that,” a new voice said, startling Indy out of his thoughts. Yanking his hand out, he whipped around to face the newcomer.
“And who the hell are you?” he demanded.
A man with sandy blond hair was standing between Short Round and the miner. He was dressed all in black, with a cloak draped around his shoulders; even his filter mask was black, only his eyes visible above it. Indy was not impressed – the man looked like he’d modeled himself on a starlet, straight out of a cheesy holovid from the Core planets.
“An interested party,” the man replied, calm. He approached the edge of the pit, peering down the steep side.
“You can be interested all you like, but you’re not getting down here without a permit.” Indy snapped, narrowing his eyes.
“I told you he’d say that!” Short Round added, crossing his arms.
The man quirked an eyebrow, ignoring Short Round. “Who says I don’t have one?”
Glaring up the steep sides of the pit, Indy planted his hands on his hips. This guy had some real nerve, thinking he could just waltz in here and disturb a legitimate survey. There were always people who were hacking into college communications these days, looking to make a quick credit. Treasure hunters were Indy’s worst nightmare; a lot of these greedy idiots didn’t know the first thing about excavating a potentially dangerous site. They were more likely to get themselves killed than actually find anything worth selling.
“I don’t know what the hell Mine Corp think they’re doing, handing out permits to anyone who asks,” Indy said, annoyance flashing through him. “Look, just stay there and I’ll-“
Indy was cut off as the man slid – slid! – into the pit, coming to a stop beside him. Pebbles and dirt tumbled down after him, starting a miniature landslide that threw up a cloud of dust. Indy turned his head away, swearing as grit stung his face. This guy was some kind of idiot alright - Indy had never seen something so stupid, and he took first year students on digs. Growling, he turned back, jerking in surprise as a datachip was shoved in his face.
“My permit,” the man said, holding out the chip with a gloved hand. Indy stared - the guy was short, and a lot younger than Indy had guessed; only half his face was visible, but he couldn’t have been much older than Short Round. Blue eyes sparkled at him in amusement, and Indy caught himself. He’d intended to give the man a piece of his mind, but now he was the one staring like an idiot. Scowling fiercely, he shook his head to clear it - now was not the time to get distracted by a pair of pretty eyes.
“What are you, some kind of idiot? Give me that,” Indy growled, snatching the chip.
“Hey! There’s no need to throw around insults,” the kid said, a faint whine in his voice.
Indy sneered. Even without his glasses, he could see that the code was correct. There was also a name beginning with L or I, but he couldn’t quite make that out. “Damn crazy kid, you could have broken your neck doing that.”
The kid laughed, the sound high and light. “Unlikely. My name is Luke,” he said, holding out his gloved hand. “You must be Dr. Henry Jones.”
“I prefer Indiana,” Indy said, grudgingly gripping the kid’s hand. Luke wasn’t a very common name - it prickled a memory at the back of his mind, but the thought slipped away before he could grasp it. That didn’t abate his suspicion – Luke looked too much like a city boy, too cocky for his own boots, and Indy avoided that type like the plague. “You can call me Dr. Jones,” he added, not feeling particularly generous.
“Sure,” Luke replied smoothly. He flipped his cloak over one shoulder, revealing a flashlight and a holster. Something familiar was hanging from his belt, but he turned before Indy could get a good look at it. Apprehension prickled along his back as the kid brushed past him, shining a light at the hole. He looked like he was about to crawl right inside, and Indy scrambled to stop him.
“Whoa kid, you can’t just go charging in there.” He said, blocking the entrance. “Listen, you might have permission to be here, but this is still my site. Until I say it’s safe, you stay put.”
“Oh, come on,” Luke said, putting a hand on his hip. “I gave you my chip, didn’t I?”
“What did I just say?” Indy ground out. This guy was worse than one of his students; at least they mostly listened. “I’m the expert here, I’m going in first.”
For a moment, Indy thought Luke might argue further. The kid tilted his head, then seemed to reconsider, regarding Indy with a thoughtful expression.
“Alright, Dr. Jones,” he said, flipping the handle of the flashlight towards him. “You lead the way. You can show me how the ‘experts’ do it.”
Feeling vaguely insulted, Indy frowned as he grabbed the flashlight. “You still haven’t told me why you’re here,” he said, keeping an eye on Luke as he turned towards the opening. “Who do you work for?”
Luke crossed his arms as Indy made a show of inspecting the hole, “General Leia Organa.”
There was definitely a chamber through the passage – just catching a glimpse of it brought Indy’s excitement back full force, and he was suddenly itching to get a closer look.
“‘General Leia Organa’, is that supposed to impress me?” Tucking the flashlight under his chin, Indy knelt at the entrance to the passage. The earth was solid and compact, but he still reached for the stabilizer in his pocket. “What does General Organa want with a bunch of old relics?”
Fixing the stabilizer into the ground, Indy pressed the release and watched as the metal extended, before a crisp, white light filled the tunnel. The tool was cheap but effective - his fingers tingled wherever he touched it, the force field keeping the packed earth from collapsing further. As long as there were no major disturbances, it was perfectly safe.
“To preserve our true history, now that the Empire is gone,” Luke replied, his voice muffled as Indy crawled into the tunnel.
Indy didn’t hold back his snort. It was the kind of line that students were always feeding him when they applied for his course, and he rejected those applications gleefully. He could smell a glory hunter a mile away; none of them understood what the true preservation of history really meant. Indy had it ingrained in his bones - he and his father had spent twenty years skirting around the Empire, documenting everything they couldn’t save. They’d pulled evacuees from their burning homes, only to watch in devastated silence as their entire culture was obliterated from history.
Indy had seen genocide for the sake of ‘unity’ as countless cultures had been squashed by the Empire instead of celebrated. He’d been forced to teach their watered down history in the University, all while cataloguing important artifacts in secret.
He’d never met Leia Organa himself, but his respect for her was limitless – she had taken the refugees he and his father had liberated, and had truly helped them where they couldn’t. If this kid was even half the person Leia Organa was, Indy would eat his own hat.
Grunting, he slid out of the hole and into a cool space. His flashlight pierced through the darkness, glancing off bright alabaster walls.
“Well, would you look at that,” he murmured. It was a narrow corridor, the walls just wide enough to fit two people shoulder to shoulder. The space was perfect, undisturbed save for the spill of red soil behind him. It was almost as if the people who lived here had just left, the air still shifting with their presence.
“Can I come in now?”
“Shit!” Indy jumped, almost banging his head as he whirled around. Luke slid out of the hole, unrepentant after almost giving him a heart attack.
“Wow, this is amazing,” Luke said, genuine awe in his voice as he reached out to slide his ungloved hand against the wall. Indy resisted the urge to roll his eyes – the Core planets had some really weird fashion trends.
“I thought I told you to stay put?” Indy snapped, shining the light right in Luke’s face. “This isn’t an expedition for tourists.”
Indy needed him gone – apart from this being extremely hazardous, he wasn’t sure he trusted that Luke was working for General Organa. It just didn’t add up; why would the former rebellion leader be interested in a bunch of relics? Leia had never shown any interest in Indy’s research before, so why now?
Luke narrowed his eyes as Indy kept the flashlight trained on him. “Will you cut that out? I have every right to be here- oh no.”
Luke froze, a moment before a deep boom shook the earth beneath their feet. Everything lurched sideways, and Indy cursed colorfully as Luke crashed into him, the world buckling under them. A sharp pain blossomed on his chin, the flashlight skittering out of his hand. They were plunged into darkness for an endless moment, as the earth settled back into place. Indy groaned, dust and grit clouding his vision - blinking hard to clear his eyes, he sucked in a breath through his mask.
Thankfully, it seemed none of the walls had caved in; they were still upright and smooth, but Indy knew something was wrong. A heavy weight pressed against his side; Luke had fallen on him like a sack of grains, his arms braced over Indy’s chest.
“Move,” Indy grunted, trying to sit up as Luke scrambled backwards. His ribs felt like a bruised piece of fruit – the kid was a lot heavier than he looked, and Indy groaned again as he sat up.
“Shit, the entrance,” Luke began, confirming Indy’s fears. The flightlight flickered back to life, but there was no longer any natural light spilling into the corridor. They were trapped.
Feeling his way to the flashlight, Indy rubbed his jaw. He suspected Luke’s head had connected with it as they’d fallen, leaving a sore, tender spot. Either one or both of them was going to have a nice shiner when this was over - if they managed to get out of here.
Luke’s own mask was making a clipped, wheezing noise, and he ripped it off his face with a gasp.
“What the hell are you doing?” Indy cried, alarmed. “You idiot, you’ll suffocate!”
Luke shook his head, his shaggy hair falling into his eyes. He took great gulps of air as the dust settled, and Indy finally got a good look at his face. “I’ll be fine,” Luke wheezed, struggling to stand.
Indy growled in annoyance, grabbing Luke’s flailing arm and hauling him upright. He really was heavy for someone so slight – up close Indy could see his pale lashes, and the way his cheeks dimpled as he grimaced. Hastily letting go of Luke’s arm, Indy stepped back, almost colliding with the wall.
“The air in here isn’t gonna last much longer if you keep that up,” he said, willing his own heart to calm down. The mask would help the air last a little longer, but not by much – it must have thinned out already, because Indy was suddenly dizzy.
“Wait,” Luke said, holding a hand up. He stood straight, his features smoothing out - he was infuriatingly calm for someone who’d just been trapped underground. “Can’t you feel that?”
Glaring at him, Indy concentrated for a moment. The dust had settled, leaving it very still inside the corridor. It was growing warmer by the second, but then Indy felt it – a slight breeze brushed his forehead, blessedly cool in the close space.
“Well, I’ll be damned,” Indy said, sharing a look with Luke. “There’s another way out.”
“Right,” Luke said, giving him a dazzling smile. Looking hastily away, Indy tightened his grip on the flashlight.
“You’re still a damn idiot.” He said, beginning to lead the way down the corridor. The floor grew smoother as they moved down, but Indy was still wary; there were parts that might have collapsed further ahead, or weakened. They weren’t out of the woods yet.
“Oh right, I’m the idiot.” Luke replied, rolling his eyes. “You’re the one who used a decades old stabilizer to keep the door open.”
“Yeah well, you wouldn’t be trapped if you’d stayed put like I told you to.” Indy shot back.
“And then you would have been stuck in here by yourself! Possibly injured,” Luke sighed heavily, running his hand along the smooth stone wall as they walked. “You don’t seem to worry much about your own safety, Doctor.”
“I can take care of myself kid,” Indy grumbled, finally taking off his mask. It was making the warm air too thin, and the dust wasn’t as cloying down here. In fact, most of it was back towards the entrance – the further they walked, the cleaner and more pristine the hallway became. The hairs on the back of Indy’s neck rose, making him acutely aware of how strange this place was.
“Right, I’ve heard that one before.” Luke muttered.
Indy chose to ignore him, although that was easier said than done - the kid had a strange presence about him, something in the calm and confident way he held himself. He was also frustratingly vague, which drove Indy insane - he couldn’t stand it when people wouldn't give him a straight answer. On top of that, if Luke really was working for General Organa, Indy would have expected her to contact him first. The fact that she hadn’t was very unusual, and it prickled a warning at the back of his mind. Indy slid his gaze sideways, eyeing Luke suspiciously.
“So why has the General sent you?” Indy asked again, watching Luke’s expression.
“I told you; I’m here in the interest of preserving history.”
“Yeah, I wasn’t born yesterday kid. If I had a credit for every time some sap said that to me, I’d be a rich man.”
“It’s true though,” Luke said, his expression lightening. “I’ve heard about your work, you know. I mean, you have an impressive record. I don’t think even the rebellion knows how much you really did, during the Empire.”
“It wasn’t just me,” Indy said, tearing his eyes away from Luke’s earnest expression. “And I don’t need your flattery kid.” The last thing Indy needed was some idiot groupie; no matter how attractive.
Annoyed with himself, Indy pushed that thought aside. He had more important things to be focusing on - Short Round was probably worried sick about them, and now Indy was responsible for making sure both of them got out alive. At least when he’d worked with his dad, they’d both been very aware of the dangers they were getting into – Luke was looking around with a kind of awed wonder on his face, blissfully unaware of the crawling sensation that was working its way up Indy’s back. Whatever this place was, it didn’t like intruders.
“It’s not flattery,” Luke said, looking up at Indy. His voice echoed slightly as he spoke. “It’s the truth.”
“Shh!” Indy stopped, holding up a hand. His own voice echoed, bouncing back towards them before fading into silence. There was definitely something ahead of them now.
A few short steps later, the hallway opened up into a chamber. The beam of the flashlight only just reached the other side, illuminating a glittering marble floor. At the center of the chamber was some kind of elegant fountain, the water long since dried up. It was made from another unusual stone; Indy started forward to inspect it when a hand on his arm stopped him, and he grunted in frustration.
“Wait a second,” Luke said, reaching inside his cloak. Indy crossed his arms and wait impatiently as Luke pulled out a couple of small metal spheres. He twisted the first one and it lit up with a soft blue light, illuminating the chamber far more than Indy’s flashlight could ever hope to. Luke tossed the metal sphere into the air, letting it hovered near the ceiling.
Indy’s gut coiled with a hot stab of envy. There was no way he could afford those with his salary – they were fancy toys from the Core planets, far outside the budget of the University. Luke threw several more into the air, using them as carelessly as candy.
The light spilled greedily into every corner of the room, revealing intricate reliefs on the chamber walls. They magnificent; Indy stepped into the room, his heart quickening as tried to take in all the details. It was some kind of entrance chamber, with a high domed ceiling – part of the roof had caved it, filling one corner with a pile of debris. Other than that, the exquisite carvings on the walls were perfectly preserved, the fountain curving upwards as if waiting for the water to flow once more.
Turning around, Indy backed away from the entrance to study the reliefs. They were mostly white alabaster, with enamels, jewels and metals inlaid to give color. A cloaked figure was depicted by the doorway - a blue sword in one hand, and a red sword in the other.
“Oh, I know who you are,” he murmured, his fingers itching to smooth over the enameled relief. “Look at that, blue and red oxidized steel inlayed in alabaster… I knew this was Pre-Old Republic.”
“Who is he?” Luke asked, moving to stand beside Indy.
“She,” Indy corrected, gesturing to the cloaked figure. “This is Ma Rion; she was an ancient Sith Lord, some time before the Old Republic. According to legend, she was turned to the light again by her own Padawan, Mutt. That’s why she has the two lightsabers.”
“According to legend? So you don’t think a Sith could turn back to the Light side of the Force?” Luke asked, studying the panel with interest.
“Only if you believe in that Force business,” Indy said dismissively, already moving on to the next relief. Luke was suspiciously silent beside him, and Indy rolled his eyes. “Please, don’t tell me you do.”
“I have reason to believe,” Luke said, ducking his head. He telegraphed naivety with every movement, and Indy would have felt sorry for him if he wasn’t so annoyed by his ignorance.
“Kid, I was thirteen when the Jedi Order fell, and the Empire began. No magical powers saved them then, or any of the rest of us.” Indy said, his tone slightly brittle. The Jedi were best left in the past where they belonged, when people still believed that something as simple as faith could save the Galaxy.
“Well, the Empire is gone now,” Luke said, glancing up to study the ceiling. Indy suspected he was avoiding eye contact, which only irritated him further. “Perhaps the Force was waiting for balance to be restored.”
“Well, whoop-di-doo, let’s all have a party,” Indy said, crossing his arms petulantly. He didn’t know what the hell was wrong with him. Normally he didn’t let these wacko theories get to him, but something about Luke was really getting under his skin - besides his naivety and suspiciously weak reasons for being here, that is. When Indy glanced back at him, Luke’s face and hair were outlined by the soft glowing orbs, making something other than annoyance squirm in his gut.
Furious with himself, Indy stomped across the room, shining his flashlight into the next archway. There was a short corridor which led to an even bigger space, his flashlight beam barely filling it. Beyond it, he could still see the huge cavernous chamber clearly – which meant there was light coming from somewhere!
“Luke, get over here!” he yelled, his annoyance draining away as he grinned in triumph.
Luke shot him a look, startled. “Oh!” he said, before whistling. The orbs shot back into his hand, and he raced alongside Indy through the archway. As they broke into the large chamber, Luke tossed his glowing spheres again, sending them whizzing into the air.
The last room was nothing compared to this one. It was a natural cave of red stone, which some ancient architect had adorned with white alabaster. The scale of it was dizzying; larger than life statues depicted the fight between the Light Side and the Dark Side, grappling all around the walls. Huge stalactites dripped down from the cavern ceiling, inlaid with glittering gems and gold. Mirroring them were stalagmites that rose up from the ground, each surrounded by white marble.
Indy had never seen anything like it. Whoever had built it had been a master crafter, someone with great vision and ingenuity. At the far end of the chamber where alternating red and white stairs, leading high up to a plinth of pure crystal. Whatever was displayed on it, Indy couldn’t see from here - but he could see the sunlight pouring down from above it.
Grinning still, he shared a look with Luke. “That’s our way out,” he said, already walking towards the steps.
“We should be careful,” Luke said softly, sticking close to Indy’s side as they ascended. There was something charged in the air here, and he wondered if Luke could feel it too – it made him walk with care, their footsteps echoing softly through the cavern.
“There’s something up there,” Indy muttered, legs aching as they drew closer. He wasn’t unfit, but both of them were slightly out of breath as they approached the top of the stairs. It was a long way up, and grew steeper the further they climbed. Typical ritual staircase, although Indy had never seen one underground like this before. Whatever this place was, it had been carefully hidden - if not for the mining, it might have stayed that way for hundreds of years more, keeping its secrets from prying eyes. As they approached the top, Indy knew, with a sudden certainty, that they were about see something very special.
A small, circular plateau opened up before them; the crystal plinth stood at the centre of it in a perfect circle of light, its transparent core refracting glittering rainbows. On the top was a small dip, housing something the shape and size of a small egg. It wasn’t like any egg Indy had ever seen before – it was stone, white like the alabaster used to make this place, but with dozens of colors shimmering under its surface. He'd been right about it being something special - a lump rose in his throat as he looked at it, the wonder of it taking his breath away.
“Opal,” he breathed, shoulder to shoulder with Luke as they gazed at it. “This… this is priceless. There’s hardly any of it left in the Galaxy.”
“How do you know for sure?” Luke whispered.
Indy glanced up; Luke’s cheeks were flushed from the climb, his eyes fiercely blue and alight with wonder. Throat suddenly dry, Indy tore his eyes away to inspect the dazzling stone, wetting his lips before he spoke. “See the play of colors under the surface? You only find that in opals. I’ve seen one before, in the Naboo National Museum. It belonged to a Queen.”
They both reached for it at the same time. Indy only realized he’d moved his hand when his fingers brushed against Luke’s - the contact sent a shock of hot and cold up his arm, making him shiver.
“I’m sorry Dr. Jones,” Luke said, swallowing. His eyes were apologetic. “I haven’t been entirely honest with you.”
Indy’s stomach plummeted. “Well, there’s a surprise,” Anger and frustration slammed into him full force. Wrapping his hand around the opal, he tried to yank it away, but Luke slipped it free with a quick curl of his fingers. “Hey! I can’t let you take that.” he growled, eyes fierce. “It belongs in a museum.”
“It belongs to the Jedi,” Luke insisted, taking a cautious step backwards. “I really am sorry Dr. Jones, but I don’t want to have to fight you over this.”
“Fight me? What the hell has gotten into you?” Indy demanded, close to shouting. “We’re still trapped down here!” Making an aborted noise of frustration, Indy wished he’d brought his blaster. He was such a fool – Luke had fed him the wide eyed, innocent rebel lackey story, and he’d fallen for it. Just his luck that he’d run into some Jedi nut, right when he’d found one of the most important discoveries of the century.
“I know!” Luke said, backing up further as Indy advanced on him. “Look, you don’t understand...”
“Oh, I understand plenty,” Indy muttered darkly, not giving an inch. “But you’re not getting out of here without my help, so just hold on one damn minute,” His words were halted by a grinding noise behind them, and Indy whipped around in alarm - the crystal plinth was beginning to descend, shuddering into the rock.
“What have you done?” Luke said, clutching the opal to his chest.
“What have I done?” Indy yelled, indignant. “You’re the one who took the damn opal!”
Gut clenching in dread, Indy could only watch as the plinth vanished into the ground, and something much larger rose up to take its place. The platform under their feet began to shrink, until he and Luke were forced to stumble back onto the steps. A huge boulder was rising slowly from the ground - whatever it was supposed to do, it wasn’t good.
“We… we should run,” Luke gasped, shoving the opal inside his cloak.
“Damn right we should run!” Indy grabbed Luke’s wrist and hauled him down the stairs, not daring to look back as the grinding noise came to a halt. He felt the vibrations as the huge boulder began to roll after them, crashing down the steps and carelessly destroying everything in its path.
Legs pumping, they flew down the steps in record time – Indy kept his hand around Luke’s wrist like a vice, running as fast as he could, but they still weren’t moving fast enough. “Jump!” he yelled, as they both threw themselves into the air.
Something pushed Indy, like a strong hand against his back, shoving him sharply through the air. He landed against a stalagmite with a crash, all the breath rushing out of him in a painful woosh. Struggling and gasping like a fish, Indy felt Luke slip from his grasp as he clawed against the smooth surface, the boulder smashing right past them. It bowled right through the doorway, destroying priceless architecture in its wake.
Groaning, Indy pressed his forehead against the cool stone.
“Dr. Jones, are you okay?” Luke said, genuine concern in his voice. Turning, Indy grabbed both Luke’s wrists this time, furious. They slid gracelessly down to the floor, landing in a heap.
“Was it worth it, stealing an opal for all this?” he spat. Luke yelped in surprise as Indy hauled up to his feet, so furious he could hardly see straight. Pinning Luke to the stalagmite, Indy glared down at him, steaming with resentment. “We’re trapped, you’ve destroyed priceless historical artefacts, and for what? Credits?”
Drawing in a sharp breath, Luke’s eyes widened as Indy held him in place. “You don’t understand-“
His words were cut off by another deep rumbling, and Indy let him go, his flash of anger draining out as dread filled him. The whole chamber was quaking, bits of rubble and debris beginning to fall from the ceiling.
“Oh hell,” Indy swore. The whole thing was collapsing – already Indy could see tree roots coming exposed above them, as the rock cracked and split. A hand grabbed his arm, and Indy almost jerked away, but Luke tugged at him determinedly.
“Come on! We need to be high, look,” Luke pointed back up the stairs, which were shattered from the passing of the bolder. The hole above the plinth had widened, daylight spilling down like liquid gold.
Indy didn’t need to be told twice – keeping hold of each other’s arms, they ran together, their feet scrambling to climb the ruined staircase.
“We’re not gonna make it,” Indy panted, his boots slipping on shards of stone.
“Yes we will,” Luke insisted, grabbing Indy’s hand and holding on tight. The last few steps were vanishing into a yawning hole, and Indy’s gut clenched as the ground underneath them fell away. He could see himself falling into the crumbling chasm, but Luke launched them into the air, his hand grabbing a tree root and holding fast.
Indy yelled as his shoulder almost yanked out of its socket, still clinging tightly to Luke's hand. He was taller and heavier than Luke by a long way, but the kid held fast, straining as he pulled Indy up.
Heart pounding, Indy grabbed at the roots and scrambled up, groaning as he hauling himself onto solid ground. Panting and exhausted, Indy could only watch as the earth in front of them caved in, great trees sailing into the hole as the cavern swallowed them up. It was like watching the Empire’s destruction all over again - a pristine archaeological find, undisturbed for hundreds of years, destroyed in mere moments. It was times like this that Indy really wished his father had taught him how to cry.
Luke lay panting next to him; hearing his soft sigh of relief brought Indy’s fury rushing back - with a snarl, he rolled over, pinning Luke to the ground.
“Who the hell are you?” he demanded, planting his legs on either side of Luke’s hips. “No human could have made that jump, and I’m a hell of a lot heavier than you are.”
A huff of laughter escaped Luke; he ducked his head and gave Indy a bashful look, his cheeks freckled with dust from their mad escape. How dare he look so charming, when Indy knew was anything but.
“I’m Luke Skywalker,” he said, his expression sheepish.
“Shit,” Indy said, the name suddenly clicking into place. He knew it had sounded familiar – Indy didn’t pay much attention to newscasts, but it was hard to ignore a name that was blasted on every holo stream from here to the Outer Rim! “Shit! You’re that damn kid who thinks he’s the last Jedi!”
“Hey, I don’t think I’m the last Jedi,” Luke said, frowning. “I am the last Jedi. You said so yourself – no human could have made that jump.”
Indy stared at him in disbelief. This was the man who’d supposedly seen the Emperor himself die, who had led the team that destroyed the Death Star. He was just a kid – as bright eyed and naive as any of Indy’s students. As usual, Indy’s instincts hadn’t let him down - he’d damn well known there was something off about this kid, and he could see it now, reflected in his eyes. Luke Skywalker might be young, but he wasn’t a kid anymore.
“So what the hell do you want with-”
“Dr. Jones!” Short Round’s voice carried through the jungle, cutting Indy off and flooding him with relief. It didn’t last long – he was suddenly flipped over, the air punched from his lungs for the second time that day. He moaned, his battered body protesting the rough treatment.
Luke was sitting over him now, a sad smile on his face.
“I really am sorry Dr. Jones. I didn’t mean for the temple to be destroyed,” Luke winced, ducking his head again. “If it’s any consolation, you’ve done a great service for the Jedi.”
“A great service- why you-“ Indy was so mad he couldn’t even finish. Luke flashed him one more apologetic smile before he leapt up, cloak flapping as he ran into the darkness of the jungle.
Dazed, Indy scrambled up after him, his ribs protesting the movement. Stumbling into the trees, he tried to follow Luke, but the foliage grew so close together that Indy could hardly move. Luke had vanished like a puff of smoke, not even leaving a trail behind. Something hissed next to Indy’s ear, and he backtracked hastily, smacking a tree in frustration. “Dammit!”
If he ever saw Luke Skywalker again, there was going to be hell to pay.