By the time Zet does a second round of errands, returning with a tote bag full of fruit that’s getting too wrinkly to sell, it’s getting dark out. In her opinion, that shouldn’t matter. The whole point of this target practice is to teach her friend to hit things with his brain, right?
She stops to fetch him from their room first, and then knocks very enthusiastically on Callia’s door to get the Jedi moving. From there, the Twi’lek leads both of them up a back stair to the roof access, where she sets her bag down to deftly jimmy it open without setting off an alarm. “I picked almost rotten fruit because it was free and soft,” she remarks in a conversational undertone. “Definitely not because it’ll make the biggest mess.” The lock pops open. Brushing her hands together in a satisfied way, Zet leads the way out onto the roof.
Santos is over the moon excited to leave the hotel room. The fact that they are losing sun makes it even better- there’s less of a chance of a Black Sun noticing a wandering Chiss. As soon as he sees Zet he grabs his vibroknife (it will have to do in place of a training saber) and is out the door.
“Soft is good. And try not to hit my face. We can’t have anything messing up my good looks.” Remembering the blindfold part of the whole affair that Callia suggested, he kneels down, resting on his knees and the ball of his feet so that Callia doesn’t need to stand on her toes, or have Zet lift her to put the blindfold on.
Callia smirks softly as Zet explains why she went for the closest to rotten possible. “Probably for the best. We wouldn’t want to be tempted to eat anything we could toss at Santos. And yes, I’m sure we don’t want to bruise our poor friend.” Not yet, anyway. She takes up the rear, her fingertips sliding against the walls up the stairwell and then falling to her side as they get outside. Her ’saber is clipped at her belt and a piece of soft cloth is woven between her fingers.
She stops abruptly when she realises Santos is bending down for her. “Ah, thank you.” She murmurs and pulls the cloth out to tie about his eyes. It takes her a moment to figure out she has it in the right spot and then tie it tight enough so he cannot see. “You will want to stand somewhere where you won’t fall off the side…” She murmurs. “Zet, if you would please be so kind as to guide him to an appropriate point.”
There’s something about the sight of her extremely tall best friend kneeling to let the miniscule Jedi tie a blindfold on his face that makes Zet crack a little grin. Not that either of them can see it! She sets her bag down, backtracking to make sure the door is secure. They don’t need anyone coming out onto the roof behind them. “Yeah.” Approaching Santos, she waits for him to stand up again and then loops her arm through his. “There’s actually tons of room. I’ll come back for you, Callia.”
She leads him over to an open area, far away from any of the edges. When she lets him go, he’ll hear the scrape and clatter of her kicking some junk away. “Wanna make sure you don’t trip,” Zet explains before her footsteps recede. She snags her bag of fruit and takes Callia by the wrist, leading her closer as well. “What do you want me to do? Throw them right at you? Or just kinda around you?”
Santos allows himself to be guided to a safe area, implicitly trusting his bestie. “Uh, both I guess.” He’s not entirely sure how this is supposed to work while blindfolded, at the very least this is going to be fun. “Callia, how exactly am I going to hit what I can’t see?”
He turns on his vibroknife and assumes a starting position, as Qel ’ Droma instructed.
“This is almost an exercise in moving meditation,” Callia explains. “The difference is that we’re going to be distracting you by pelting you with rotten fruit.” Santos can probably hear the smirk in her voice. She can’t help it, it’s exciting to finally be able to do this to someone else after all the years she did it as a Padawan.
“You need to open yourself to the Force. This is about
feeling. You need to anticipate the moment and prepare yourself. So before we start throwing this at you, you must center yourself. It is all about being focused.”
Zet already has a piece of fruit in her hand, tossing it up and down in her palm to get a feel for the weight of it. It’s not quite the same as throwing a little stun grenade.
Her eyes drift towards Santos. She doesn’t really wait, she just whips it right at him, aiming for his torso. “Are you focused yet?”
“Umphhh” Santos doubles over ever so slightly at the impact of the fruit. Not so much because of pain, he’s not sure Zet could cause him physical pain if she tried. It’s more a reaction to the surprise of the piece of fruit striking him before he’s ready. Also, the feeling of the overripe fruit effectively exploding upon contact with his torso, covering him in it’s juices. Guess tonight’s laundry night.
“No, Zet. Not yet.” He attempts to sound angry, but the ruse is immediately blown by the huge grin on his face, “How about you wait until I give the word. Remember, you still have flying lessons.”
He begins to move through the movements of Ataru, slowly as he gains his focus. He’s getting quicker at centering himself, an in just a few moments he finds himself back on that glacier, just outside of Csaplar, The Force has a twisted sense of humour. He’s no longer blindfolded, although there’s not much to see outside of the near endless fields of snow. He moves back into a ready position, hopefully facing the source of the impending fruit barrage. “Now.”
Callia covers her mouth as she coughs, trying to mask the laughter in her voice. “Yes, Zet, now is perfect.” She replies. Welcome to Initiate hell, Santos. She takes a moment to get her own bearings about her, summoning a piece of fruit to her hands with a small application of the Force and lobs it up and down a few times. She can sense Santos getting his focus and may even try to interrupt by sending another piece of fruit flying at him.
Zet’s answer for Santos is nothing but laughter. She stoops to take another projectile in hand, but this time she waits to give him a chance to at least START preparing.
Callia hovering one right into her hand gets a little pout. “That’s really unfair,” she says quietly, before turning to really put her back into the next throw. That piece is going to get Santos right in the shoulder if he doesn’t notice it coming. She’ll take it out on him.
Santos easily spins around with a flourish, gracefully sliding his vibroknife through the center of the airborne fruit. He allows one half to fall to the ground, and effortlessly catches the other half in his mouth.
At least, that’s how he imagined this all going down when Zet was out collecting the tasty projectiles. Instead, he gets a vague sensation that something it about to hit him somewhere in the upper left quarter of his body. A fraction of a second later his right shoulder is covered in peach fibres. Some of the splattered juice found its way onto the corner of his mouth, so there’s that.
His focus falters for a moment, as he’s struck not at all where he was expecting it. He doesn’t lose it, though, and is quickly ready for the next attack.
Zet will find that fruit are starting to float over for her to grab out of the air. Callia must’ve overhead her deeming what she’s doing unfair, right? She grabs another out of the air for herself. “Focus, Santos.” She offers. “Feel it through the Force.”
The she hurls the fruit in her hand at his midsection.
Zet’s amusement falters when she finds herself gently accosted by floating bits of fruit. Perhaps she isn’t sure how she feels about that, either. She’s tentative about grabbing her first piece out of the air, like she’s worried it might suddenly turn on her.
It doesn’t. Winding up, she lobs this one lower, intending for it to splatter on the ground right in front of Santos and spray fruit guts all over his feet. “Yeah Santos. I thought you had some kinda super-impressive Chiss brain.”
“Zet, my super-impressive Chiss brain can astronavigate the hell out of any course,” The blue giant isn’t able to finish his though before he feels another piece of fruit approaching. In his mind he starts to see the faintest distortion, heading for his torso. He twists to the side in time for the fruit to soar past him, right off the roof of the building.
Encouraged by this, he notices another distortion, much lower this time. He meets this distortion with the inside of his foot, splattering slightly, but sending the fruit back in the direction it came from. “This isn’t about the brain though,” he continues, glowing triumphantly, “it’s about… something else.” A poet, he is not.
Awww, Callia is just trying to be helpful. Don’t worry, the fruit won’t bite. “It’s about focusing on the projectiles and not your witty comebacks,” She deadpans, sending another two at him in quick succession. One for his head and one at his shoulder.
Emboldened by the fact that the first fruit behaved exactly as it was meant to, Zet snags three or four of them while she watches Santos successfully dodge two in a row. “That was pretty good,” she calls encouragingly. See, she can be nice sometimes. His rebounded fruit comes skittering back her way, but she backs up a step or two to keep her boots clean. “The footwork I mean, not whatever you were trying to say.”
She’s silent after that though, because she’s skirting around him. Zet can be very, very, very quiet when she wants to be, although the fact that she suddenly stops talking may be a clue that she’s changing position if the Force doesn’t tip Santos off first.
Aww, Callia thinks Santos is witty.
Santos listens to Callia’s advice with a sigh. She just won’t let him forget that being Force Sensitive means he’s not allowed to have fun. He focuses again as two more balls of goo come hurling at him. He’s seeing them more clearly in his mind now. Interestingly, they are coming from the same direction. Given the height they’re flying at, he’d have to guess that a certain diminutive human set them in motion. That, of course, means that Zet hasn’t fired again, although he has no doubt that she’s armed. What is she up to?
No time to worry about her now, as he swings his vibroknife, again following the movements he’s been studying from the holocron. He’s disappointed when he doesn’t feel his blade connect with the first piece, but he manages to bring it around quickly enough to hit the second piece with the flat of the knife, launching it to the side.
He brings the blade up into as defensive a position as he knows how, and listens for any movement coming from the twi’lek.
Callia, at least, senses the Twi’lek as she begins to move around Santos. The floating fruit seem to follow her, even as she throws more fruit at the Chiss.
“You are doing well, Santos,” She offers in encouragement. Keep him distracted from his friend. “Just keep your focus up.” Another three fruit come in quick succession for him.
The way Zet sees it, Santos is already getting too good at dodging or hitting things that come at him from the front, so it’s already time to up the ante. When she’s at about a 5 o’clock angle from where she started, she sends a fruit whizzing towards his right hip. Before she’s even had time to see whether or not it connects, she darts near-silently to another position, directly behind him, and she aims for the back of his head.
Santos tries to keep up with the rapid fire fruit coming from Callia’s direction. He’s not entirely successful with his mind divided, trying to locate Zet. He can see that Callia is trying to keep his mind off of Zet, but he also knows better than to forget about her. Distracted as he is, he manages to catch one of the projectiles, slicing off a quarter of the meat, and successfully deflecting the rest. He pivots sharply to avoid contact with a second piece of fruit. Unfortunately he turns right into the path of the third. At least that puts him in position to hear the subtle whistle of Zet’s piece coming towards him. Instinctively, he brings his blade down swiftly as the fruit meets it, dead center.
“I think I got one!” He shouts with excitement.
“It certainly sounds like it.” Callia replies. “Good job. Now work on hitting the rest.” There is a teasing note in her voice. See, she has emotions. She seems to sound amused at Santos’ enthusiasm.
He’ll find another three fruit flying at him from the front, plus one from the side Zet is no longer on by the power of the Force.
“I was hoping you’d hit that one with your face.” Blindfolded, Santos can still hear the playful pout in her voice. It’s uncanny, the way he can hit something so accurately with his eyes covered, but at the same time, his enthusiasm is infectious. Zet hardly thinks anything of it to pluck another fruit out of the air. She throws it just as Callia is flinging one with the Force on his other side.
“Sorry to ruin your day Zet.”. Santos might be getting a little cocky. In his mind he can now clearly see five spheres heading towards him. Three from one direction, and one from either side. There’s no chance that he’ll be able to deflect them all, so he focuses on other techniques he’s been studying. He crouches down slightly to create a spring action, and launches himself straight into the air, allowing the force to give him a slight boost. Just enough to avoid being caught in the centre as the five pieces of fruit collide into each other, spraying juice all over.
Unfortunately, he’s not so graceful on the landing, and slips on the newly lubricated surface. He soon finds himself lying on his back, covered in nectar.
“Did he just…” Callia thinks she is sensing the movements correctly, and the loud splat on the ground seems to indicate what she thinks happened. “Are you alright, Santos?” She asks, laughter touching her lilting tone. She must not be
too concerned about his well-being because more of that sticky fruit suddenly falls out of the air to drop on top of him.
Zet’s face flickers through an entire range of emotions all in the span of a few seconds – faint astonishment at how high Santos leaps, then alarm when he comes crashing down on his back (she even takes a small step forward, ready to rush over to him) … and then she just bursts out laughing and flings another fruit at him. “He looks fine to me. Just sticky.”
Santos joins his friends in laughter before sitting up. He grabs the remains of the fruit Callia so kindly dropped on him, and lobs it in the direction of her laughter. When Zet’s latest assault makes contact he does the same, throwing it towards the Twi’lek’s most recent position. No sense in him being the only one getting messy.
“I’m fine, Callia. This shirt might be a write-off though.”
Callia deflects the fruit so they squish to the ground at her feet. “Now now, Santos, you just need to scrub it out with some water, soap and good old elbow grease.” She steps gently over the fruit and toward the Chiss to offer him a hand up. “You did very well for your first time. Next time, hopefully you’ll be able to deflect more of the fruit. Then perhaps Zet’s blaster shots.”
Given she has full use of her senses, it’s little challenge for Zet to sidestep that final attack. She’s grinning crookedly as she approaches, letting Callia be the one to get her hands dirty by pulling Santos to his feet. (Also, it looks funnier.) “Don’t worry, I wouldn’t aim my blaster at your perfect face.”
“Be sure you don’t.” Santos welcomes the jedi’s assistance in getting to his feet, although she can only help him get half way up. “We may need to rely on my face one day.”
He feels around the back of his head until he finds the knot of the blindfold, and quickly unties it. He looks around at his work, and frowns slightly when he only sees two fruits with cuts in them. “Not my best showing.”
“Considering you’ve only begun controlling the Force about a week ago, you did well.” Callia replies. She dusts her hands off on her pants once Santos is on his way to his feet. “How many of them actually hit you?”
She smiles as the pair exchanges their usually witty banter.
Zet sticks her hands in her pockets and looks around at the fruity genocide on the rooftop. “Looks to me like most of them hit him. Full marks for effort, though.” She flickers a smile at Santos once he’s all the way upright. “Would it help if I started just randomly poking you when you aren’t expecting it?”
“Three.” Santos answers Callia, ignoring Zet’s slight. “Excluding the two you hit me with while I was on my ass.” In response to Zet’s suggesting, he simply grabs her in a tight bear hug, making sure to share the fruit juice as much as possible.
Callia smirks softly. “Only three? That is good.” She brushes some hairs from her face and crosses her arms over her chest. “How many did you hit with your vibrosword, total?” It’s hard to be all serious “you must focus!” Jedi around these two. Perhaps that’s a good thing.
Zet should have anticipated that when Santos had enough of her taunting he’d take action. She lets out of a shriek of laughter, trying to wiggle away from him before he can even set hands on her, but a second later she’s securely captured in his arms and covered in fruit entrails. “Gross! I’m gonna roll all over your bed!” The Twi’lek makes a show of trying to struggle to freedom, relying on her flexibility over her (lack of) strength as she tries to twist and contort herself loose.
The Chiss just laughs. “I’ll just take your bed then!”
He gently lets Zet go and looks at Callia. “Three. Well, two with the blade, and one with the side. I kicked one too!” He sounds defensive as he adds that last part.
“The rest you dodged? Hmm, yes Ataru is a good form for you.” Callia chuckles. “Of course, dodging blasts from a blaster gun may be a little more dangerous for any companions you are trying to teach. I can teach you some defensive moves sometime.” She offers.
She can only imagine what the two are doing that Zet is squealing about rolling in his bed. “Just keep your sticky selves over there.” She laughs.
Now Zet is holding her arms out awkwardly at either side, like she doesn’t want to stick to herself. She gives Santos a half-hearted and no doubt completely ineffective shove. “I’d keep my blaster on stun,” she insists. “And not fire so many at once.” She eyes Callia, then glances at Santos. Too bad the blind Jedi would see her coming if she tried to share the wealth a little.
Santos doesn’t miss Zet eyeing Callia. All they need is the right opportunity. “Alright. I’m starving now. And sticky. I need to clean myself up.” He heads towards Zet’s bag. “How about you help Callia to the stairs while I gather up our stuff?”
Both seem to forget that Callia may be able to sense their duplicitous motives. “Yes, Santos, it’s meant to just stun you, not scar you.” She agrees. “Though I may suggest still firing many at once. Distractions and lots of them is how you learn. And the desire to stay awake especially helps. It’s good to fight through that sort of distraction to find your calm center.”
“I want the refresher first,” Zet says immediately as she approaches Callia. “You signed up for getting splattered with fruit. I didn’t!” The Twi’lek lightly touches her hand to Callia’s back. Her fingers actually aren’t very messy. She uses that slight pressure to guide their friend along, trying to project as much innocence as possible.
“Whatever. You knew the risks.” Santos retorts light-heartedly as he follows behind his friends.
Callia allows herself to be led toward the stairs, hands clasped in front of her for the time being. “You can get him back Zet, don’t worry.” She lilts warmly. “Next time, I want to be able to see it happen.” Do your worst, kids.
Santos is the one with all the leftover fruit. Zet glances back at him under the pretense of continuing to argue, but her eyes flicker from the bag, which still carries a couple of them, and Callia. “I wasn’t expecting you to be /so/ grateful that I finally helped you with this stuff that you felt the need to immediately hug it out…”
As Zet is speaking Santos carefully, quietly takes a few pieces of fruit out of the bag. “Come on Zet. I’m always up for a good hug.” He lightly tosses them in quick succession, allowing gravity to do most of the work. They should land between the poor Jedi’s shoulder blades any second now.
The first piece goes wide, arcing up toward Zet’s face. The last piece flies back toward the Chiss as it hits it’s projectile arc. It’s the second piece that the Jedi didn’t seem to be expecting, that one hits right in the desired target, causing her to jump in surprise. “Aah…well, two out of three isn’t awful.” She says, trying to arch away from the feeling of the sticky juices running down her spine.
Zet snaps her hand away as Santos throws the fruit, so at least the one that does connect with Callia doesn’t really get her. But there’s just no time to react to a projectile that changes direction so quickly. She ducks, turning her face away to at least keep the stinging fruit juice out of her eyes, and instead it thwacks right into the side of her head, half-connecting with one of her lekku. The Twi’lek hisses quietly, sounding less amused and more legitimately pained by that, but she can hardly get angry with Callia for defending herself.
Unfortunately, Santos doesn’t have sufficient time to react, and prevent Zet from getting hit in the brain. The fruit coming back towards him has a longer trip to make, however, and is slowed down slightly after completely reversing direction completely. He fights Force with Force, and quickly freezes the fruit in the air, and then guiding it gently back into the bag. “Truce?” He calls to Callia. “I think Zet needs a stim now.”
The Jedi turns around to face the two smugglers. “Truce.” She agrees. “A stim, why on earth would she need a stim. I was aiming for her shoulder…” She trails off. “Are you alright Zet? I apologise if I hurt you.”
It’s not like their fragile Twi’lek friend is fainting away, but it takes her a moment to gather her thoughts again. “I don’t need a stim,” Zet replies threadily, wiping a few chunks of fruit away from her stinging lekku with the gentlest touch she can muster. “Guess that’s what I get for messing with a Jedi.”
“A nice water shower should get you back into shape.” Santos opens the door to their room for Zet. “I’ll let you get cleaned up while I walk Callia to her room. Qurzer must be wondering where everyone is.”
“I am truly sorry, Zet.” Callia offers sincerely. “No more half-rotted fruit will be projected at anyone, I promise. Or they will only be projected at Santos from now on.”
“It’s okay.” From the strain in Zet’s voice it’s not, like, /okay/ okay, but she’s not angry. “I mean, you jumped me ahead in line for a shower…” Flashing a grin at Santos, she heads into their room, already peeling off her vest as she heads towards the refresher.
Santos closes the door behind Zet before heading on to Callia’s room. “So how did I really do? Honestly, without being encouraging?” He asks as he leads Callia, linked arms. “How would I have compared with the 6 year olds at the temple?” He stops just in front of the room.
Callia nods her head and smiles to Zet as she disappears to the ‘fresher. Some of her quiet, closed-off demeanor is beginning to return as they walk the few steps back to her own room. “Santos, the six-year-olds in the Temple had been aware of and using the Force for their whole lives. You have been at it for a week.” She chides softly. "I can sense that you are Focusing, you need to keep that up. But you also will not be able to deflect a blaster shot with your foot unless you want it taken off. Your dodging is very good, but you need to focus less on getting out of the way and more on deflecting. Multiple projectiles from multiple locations doesn’t make that easy, I know."
She tilts her head up, eyes focused on his face. “Tomorrow morning, come with me. We can practice some simple katas together, to learn form and good deflection techniques. It will be good for your focus to learn moving meditation.”
“Tomorrow morning then.” He replies, somberly. He really doesn’t want his foot taken off. As soon as Callia is settled into her room, he heads back to his. Hopefully Zet’s finished with the refresher.
“Tomorrow morning.” Callia repeats once more. She opens the door and gives Santos’ arm a soft squeeze before pulling away. “You will improve, Santos. No one learns this all over night so do not be hard on yourself.” She tells him. “Now go make sure Zet is alright and wash all that fruit off of yourself. Good night.”