Jaina felt her skin prickle with goose bumps. "Hmmmm," she said. "If I'm right, there should be a lot more to that artifact than what Lowie saw. Let's keep looking."
Tenel Ka dug into a small supply pouch she carried with her and withdrew a pack of carbo-protein biscuits. "Here. Nourishment as we search."
Jacen chomped hungrily on his biscuit. "Just what are we looking for, Jaina?" he asked, speaking around a mouthful of crumbs.
"Scrap metal, machinery, another solar panel." Jaina shaded her eyes, scanning deeper into the thick jungles around them. "Well keep widening the circle of our search until we find something. What we're looking for shouldn't be too far away."
Jacen retrieved a flask of water from the T-23, took a gulp, and handed it to his sister. Jaina took a few mouthfuls of water and passed the flask on to Lowbacca. Then she set off at a trot for the base of the big tree. Jaina didn't look back to see if the others were following, and bit her lip, feeling a brief pang of guilt.
At times like this Jaina always seemed to assume leadership, just like her mother. But how could she help it? Her parents had raised all three of their children to assess a situation, weigh the alternatives, and make decisions.
"Let's spread out," she said.
"Great!" Jacen said, walking around the massive trunk toward a clump of dense undergrowth.
Jaina smiled, knowing full well that her brother's excitement came not from a desire to find the mysterious artifact, but from the opportunity to explore the jungle and examine its creatures more closely.
She was about to head into the underbrush herself when Lowbacca stopped her with a questioning growl. Em Teedee translated. "Master Lowbacca says-and I personally am inclined to agree with him-that the jungle floor