Zet and Santos had ample time to make sure the Void Crow would be ready for departure while Callia was laid up in the Rebel infirmary. When a helpful Rebel aide sees her into the hangar bay, the cargo door on the back is open, and Zet is sitting on the lowered ramp, eating a piece of fruit and scanning over some papers in her other hand.
She glances up at the sound of footsteps and flashes Callia an uncertain smile. “She’s back,” she calls into the open ship before rising to her feet to meet their Jedi friend halfway. “How’re you feeling?” Zet wiggles her fingers a few inches from Callia’s face, testing her vision.
Callia looks as alert as ever as she walks through the hanger with her ever-so-helpful aide. Her hair has been let loose to cascade over her shoulders and her lightsaber bounces off of her hip as she walks toward the void crow and her friends. This is the only place in the world she can wear the weapon openly without fear of retribution, so of course she does. There is a certain straightness to her back and a confidence in her every step that has been absent for the past while, perhaps something she’s gained back with the return of her eyesight.
She stops short as Zet meets them halfway, a soft grin touching her pale features. She playfully swats the fingers away. “I’m doing well,” she answers. One might get the sense she means in more than just her eyesight. “How about you, Santos and Qurzer?”
“Santos seems to have made it out in one piece,” the Chiss answers as he half-crawls his way out of the tiny cockpit. He doesn’t bother testing the Jedi’s vision. She’s been useful enough with or without sight. Instead, he pulls her in for a tight hug, lifting her a foot or two off the ground. “I’m glad to see you… Seeing again.”
Zet leaves all the physical affection up to Santos. Things have always been a little less warm between her and Callia. She just stands back, her smile taking on a more sincere quirk as she watches the pair of them and their comical hug. “I’m kind of stiff, but alive. Qurzer’s been pretty quiet, but they’re all right. They’re gonna stay with us for now, and maybe we can help them make contact with some of the other Selonians who’ve been offworld for a while.”
She fidgets with her papers, exchanging a look with Santos, and then folds them away into one of the many pockets of her vest. “Me’n Santos have been working out our next move. We’re hoping to borrow the Void Crow long enough to get the money we need and get back to Nar Shaddaa… but we’ve been searching the ship’s computers for information about Palob’s family. We want to tell them what happened to him. And if we sell off the ship we’re going to send them money.” Seems like there’s some modicum of honour among thieves.
The Jedi looks a little alarmed when she’s picked up and squeezed, her face turning pink. “It’s good to be seeing again.” She laughs softly and hugs Santos back. “Good. Glad to hear it. I can’t imagine what Qurzer is feeling. It’s horrible, seeing your people being reduced into something theyre not. I’m worried about what those Force uaers amongst the queens means.”
“I think Palob’s family would appreciate that. It’s the least we can do, right? What sort of move do you have in mind?”
Santos shoots a glance at Zet. Is she dining this, or him? “Right now, we’re looking at Duro. For a quick stop over. We know a guy there.” Santos walks over to the container Palob was stored in when they first met, hopping up on it to use as a seat. Palob currently resides in a smaller, refrigerated box until they can give him a proper send off.
There’s something a little bit too composed about Zet’s face when Santos looks her way. But she gives her shoulders a shrug as she gestures for Callia to step inside the ship with them, and once everyone is in she hits the button to close their cargo bay door.
“Santos wanted to run this by you first.” The Twi’lek stays on her feet, leaning back on the door with one hand on the frame near the release. It’s like she’s making sure there’s an escape route! “We want to meet up with this buyer on Duro, he’s into all kinds of rare and expensive stuff. The speeders aren’t all we found on Jiroch.” Zet digs her hand into one of the many small pouches on her belt and withdraws something very, very small, which she tosses over to Callia. It’s a clear crystal. “We’ve got some of these, and this.” From another pouch she withdraws a small, ornate, egg-shaped artifact. This, she doesn’t toss.
“We need the money. We’ve gotta get our ship back and pay off the Hutts before they get more violent about collecting.” She sounds defensive already, a tension in her shoulders like she’s bracing herself for an outburst. “But Santos thought that we should make sure you’re okay with it. Even though it’s not like it’s from your own temple or anything and it’s probably a zillion years old.” Perhaps this was one instance where the besties weren’t of one mind.
Callia can sense the tension in the air before it’s even visible. Ruh roh, what wily shenanigans are these kids pulling her into now? The Jedi follows on up the ramp into the ship while she brushes some of her long hair off of one shoulder. It can’t be that bad.
Her face changes from mildly curious to serious when Zet tosses her one of the small crystals. The Force seems to flow easily through it, which makes her swallow. The small egg-shaped artifact makes her frown in thought. “Jedi artifacts.” She states simply.
“You realise the danger you are in, trying to trade these? If the Empire found out…” She shakes her head softly. “Especially considering one of the many applications these crystals may be for. I understand wanting to pay off the Hutts…” She sighs. “And no, they are not of my own Temple, but you will have to excuse me if a small part of me feels…offended that anyone would even consider taking and fencing old Jedi artifacts. Nothing is sacred anymore…”
“You don’t need to be excused for feeling that way,” Santos speaks softly, if the faintest bit smug, knowing that’s exactly how Callia was going to react, “that’s why I felt the need to tell you first. I understand that you and Zet have an agreement about our line of work, but this is different because it relates to your line of work.” He gets up and walks towards the pair, gently taking the egg in hand and turning it about to get a good look at it. “This is a bauble from the Jedi Order, true, but it’s from an order that you have as much connection to as I do to the Chiss Ascendancy that allied with the Sith thousands of years ago. I understand that you may have a historic attachment to it, and I respect that. So if you are absolutely opposed to selling it, we wont.” Callia might pick up on the slightest emphasis on the word, ‘attachment.’
He hands the egg back to Zet. “We know the risks of the Empire, so does our Duros contact. We’ll do this with complete discretion. The revenue from this could potential keep us away from the Core for very long time.”
Wow Santos! Like Zet didn’t know this was how Callia would feel. Which is why she didn’t want to tell her at all and then she wouldn’t have to feel bad. Zet is all about preserving her feelings!
She makes this little ‘huff’ sound as Santos plucks her treasure right from her fingers, but she lets him check it out. But when he gives it back she smoothly tucks it inside her vest, like, you’re gonna have to loot that from her corpse. (Probably not.) “The Empire doesn’t like it when you cut the arm off the major commanding a customs corvette either, but sometimes we’ve all gotta do things that tick them off.”
Callia snorts softly. “Especially when you do it with a lightsaber. I’m sure that will eventually come back to bite me in the behind. I don’t say this with me in mind, though. I am only concerned about you both.”
Santos is clever. Callia knows Santos is clever, Santos knows Santos is clever. It’s the emphasis of ‘attachment’ that has her exhaling deeply through her nose. “I’m not opposed to selling it, no. Not the egg. I would be a little more concerned about the crystals. Just make sure they’re not going to end up in the wrong hands.” She turns the one in her fingers over and over. “Do you mind if I keep this one?”
“We appreciate your concern for us,” Santos isn’t actually sure Zet does, but that doesn’t need saying. “But this isn’t exactly our first dance with an expansive, terrifying organization.”
He’s fully ready to jump into his next argument when the Jedi gives the OK to sell the items. “Oh, great.” He doesn’t attempt to hide his surprise. “Yeah, it’s cool if you keep that one. And don’t worry. Our contact deals with collectors mainly. They’ll likely end up in a private museum.”
Actually, Zet does appreciate Callia’s concern. Callia’s concern kept Shard from snagging her on a rope and flying her away over Cloud City. She just has a funny way of showing it. Let it not be forgotten that Shard, also, was working on the behalf of an expansive, terrifying organization.
“Of course you can keep one,” Zet says overtop of Santos, all ready to look super-generous in the face of Callia’s agreement. “Honestly with some of the stuff this guy moves, I doubt he wants to attract the kind of attention you get when you sell Jedi artifacts to the Empire. It’ll be okay. And we’ve dealt with him before and we’re not on bad terms with him so it should go pretty smoothly.”
The Twi’lek edges around the pair of them to find one of the foldout chairs to perch on instead. “Well now that we’ve dealt with that, there was something else, too. We were talking,” she glances at Santos, “and I guess I’ve been imagining this situation, like, Santos and me are partners, and we had you and Qurzer along like refugees who were occ- er, often helpful. But with the amount of trouble we’ve stirred up together lately…” Zet shrugs. “If we’re in this together, we really need to be in this together. Which means our little business, but also your own problems. I don’t know what that means for our whole don’t ask don’t tell policy…”
“I am aware of that…” Callia lifts her head from the crystal, eyes on both smugglers. “Alright. I will place my trust in the faith you have for this to go well, then.” She rolls the crystal through her fingers once more before tucking it into a pouch on her belt.
Callia cannot help but smile as Zet stumbles over her words. “Often helpful?” She asks playfully. “Mmm. I agree. We do need to be in this as a, dare I say it, team.”
“Right, especially since there’s a new, scaly player in the game.” Santos toys with the idea of pulling them in for a group hug, but holds back. That’s something to be saved for when the whole team’s present. “As for the don’t ask policy, I don’t think it needs to change. Part of the social contract of traveling with a pair of smugglers that we will by nature do things Callia won’t agree with. Just accepting that is a pre-requisite. The other side of that is when our work intersects with jedistuff, we ALL need to be in the know. Seem reasonable?”
His eyes dart back and forth between the two women, waiting for reactions.
“Okay, usually helpful,” Zet replies charitably, but with a flash of good humour in her eyes. “Anyway. I meant what I said before, about how usually Santos and I don’t move stuff like glitterstim anyway. So whenever we can avoid taking contracts for really bad stuff, we will. If something’s sensitive enough that you really need to know about it, I hope you can trust us to tell you.” She folds her arms as she leans back against her chair. “But yeah, when it comes to the Force… if we’re all gonna crew this ship together it means that if you want to check something like that out again, we’d go with you – but we’ve gotta all be aware of the potential risks.”
Callia’s head bobs. “I can trust you enough with that, yes.” She breaths a sigh through her nose again.
“Of course we all need to be aware of the risks…but I need all of you to understand that I am not…that I was still only a Padawan when the Order fell in the first place.” She brushes more hair back over her shoulder. “I am still learning the risks myself. I will be more thorough in recognizing them, though.”
“So what you’re saying is that you’re making stuff as we go?” Santos interjects in an attempt to lighten things up. “You’re in good company then.”
“That’s kind of what we figured.” Zet swings a foot beneath her chair. She’s coming off as far more relaxed than she was when this all began. It’s so nice when everyone gets along. “So if we get enough on Duros we can head straight back to Nar Shaddaa, pick up our ship, and then it’s finally back to business for us. That’s the plan.”
“I suppose I am.” Callia laughs. “We’re a group of idiots just figuring things out as we go along, hmm?” She crosses her arms over her chest. “That sounds like a good plan. Perhaps we can make a stop-over. I think…” She flicks more of her blond hair gently. “I think it will be easier to blend in with the outer rim if I look more like the part.”
“Nah, no need to stop for that. We have all we need here.” Santos heads over to the cargo, looking for his disguise kit. “What were you thinking? Zeltron? OH! How about Mirialan? I could do some stunning face tattoos.”
“Umm.” Zet casually rearranges her headtails, draping the right one across her chest and over her left shoulder. “I don’t think she’d fool any real Zeltron or Mirialan if we met one. Probably we should just leave her human. But do something with her hair.”
There’s a pause, as the Twi’lek scratches her noticeably hairless head. She doesn’t even bother to pencil in eyebrows like so many other women of her species most of the time. “I have no idea what to do with hair.”
“Yes, sticking as human would be best. Well, is there anywhere on Duros we could go for clothing and that sort of thing?” Callia runs her fingers through her hair… “I could cut this all off. Or dye it…” She frowns at the idea of dying her beautiful hair.
“Oh.” Santos is slightly disappointed. “Yeah, the Duros often wear clothing. They won’t have much to help with the hair though. We’ll figure something out for that.”
“I think they more or less always wear clothing,” Zet says slowly. “Hey, I can help you pick that stuff out. Maybe we can look at pictures of human hairstyles and pick one out for you. Something super cool that makes you look like a scary criminal. Some of the Black Sun women used to shave some of their hair off.” She swipes along the side of her head (such as she can, with headtails and those little cone ears Twi’leks have) to show what she means.
“Nothing says terrifying than someone who looks like a scary criminal waving about a lightsaber.” The Jedi laughs. “I’ve seen the look you are talking about before, though. It could work. I would appreciate the help in picking out clothing.”
Punk Rock Rebel Jedi Princess.
“No worries,” Santos reassures their human friend, “we have you covered. How do you feel about sleeves?”