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The tendril was mostly shadow and air, still, as it crept along the desktop, but with every moment it grew more solid, gained mass and density and presence. Just a moment more, one more, and-


A shriek of rage echoed throughout the office and the tendril of Dark Side energy writhed back, then snapped forward.

Darth Makhaira smacked it back again with her datapad. Her lips curled into a sneer. “Sloppy,” she said.

A low, angry hiss filled the air, and the tendril retreated back to a glowing, sickly yellow holocron on top of the shelf on the far side of the office. As the last shadowy wisps vanished back into the Force, the holocron stopped glowing. It rocked back and forth for another moment, however, only stopping when a crackling bolt of Force lightning from Darth Makhaira’s fingertip literally whipped the artifact and its resident ghostly gatekeeper back into proper submission.

The Sith continued to glare at the holocron for a few moments longer. (That one had been troublesome for a while, now. Probably time to move it back down to the vaults.) She only stopped when a giggle caught her attention.

Xalla looked up at her from her lap, golden eyes gleaming as she smiled.

Phae bopped her daughter on the nose with her finger. “Review lesson: never be afraid to show ghosts or eldritch abominations who’s boss,” she said.

“Yes, Momma.”

“And if the entity isn’t fully corporeal?”

“Taze it!” Xalla took out a small device hidden up the sleeve of her blouse and flicked it on, the current sparking and jumping.

“Good girl! And if electricity doesn’t make it take a hint?”

“Sic it on a ‘prentice and run t’ other way!”

Very good! Now, where were we?” Phae looked down at her datapad.

“Um, ‘tenant Ruz ‘ccidentally married t’ chief’s son.”

“Ooooh, yes, let’s see, how did the survey team get out of that particular mess…”