Star Wars: Edge of the Empire

Episode IX: On second thought, let's not go there.
Santos' Journal

Any chance I can just go back in time and redo one or two things? That’s how the Force works, right?

Don‘t get me wrong, we won, we saved the day. GARBOL has some badass programing, and Medusa was great with a gun, but not so much with her mouth. Zet’s safe and sound with us again. Well, most of her. I wonder if she wants us to go after her eye. There are just a few added complications to my life now:

1. Medusa knows about me. It wasn’t my fault either. Sure she was an ally this time, but she’s a mercenary. Who knows who she’ll be working for next time we meet.

2. The Black Suns know about me. Ok, this one was my fault. It probably wasn’t the best idea to jump carelessly into melee combat with their leader, lightsaber humming. That may not have been avoidable, but it’s definitely not good. They won’t hesitate to sell me to the empire if they get the chance. On a related note…

3. I may have killed Nyssa in a hate-fueled rage. That was definitely a bad idea. I don’t know how I managed not to completely lose myself to the darkside, but that’s a small blessing. The lesson here, for everyone else, is don’t fuck with Zet. I don’t like it, and don’t really have great impulse control.

I’m sure that’ll all work itself out.

We did have a plan going this time, something kinda new for us. And it actually worked, despite Medusa’s inability to say words well. Callia gets a gold star! It was immediately clear to Nyssa, and hell, even to the grunt we talked to first, that this was all bullshit, but she committed to the role! And somehow, against all logic, Nyssa sent her exactly where we wanted her to be. Medusa, Garbol and I had to climb down the side of the building to a secondary entrance. Well, Medusa and I climbed down. Garbol just tumbled. Again, it miraculously was exactly what needed to happen, as it ended up shutting down the entire building, aside from the lifts. We made it back to the Dash with everyone alive and fighting. Of course there were some angry minions waiting for us, or they would be waiting for us if Garbol’s droid army wasn’t keeping them occupied. Nyssa was there too, until I threw her off the building. Again, probably a mistake.

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Talking Points
roleplay log

It isn’t clear how long Zetnu’ri has been left to rot in the prison cell of a Black Sun hideout. The cards come sporadically, never frequently to drop off a bowl of what nobody considers food and enough water to ensure the desert-developed Twi’lek remains alive.

The increasingly familiar scrape of metal signals the opening of the heavy, rusted metal door. Rather than food, this time her captors enter. A Zabrak steps in quickly and takes position in one corner. The Rodian who often delivers the food brings in a stool and a folding table. He sets it up at her bed and takes position in another corner.

A few moments later Nyssa walks in, clad in a fashionable white tailored suit and sporting her usual ruby red sunglasses. They must be for fashion’s sake, because her unnerving yellow eyes remain visible over the tops of the lenses.

“Wakey wakey, sweetheart,” she says with a slither. The Falleen crime lord takes a seat at the stool, her posture impeccable, much for the sake of the strong and plated spines that her people have.

The Twi’lek has done what she can to maintain some semblance of schedule and normalcy in a situation that has offered her neither, but it hasn’t been enough. She sleeps, she wakes, she ravenously eats and drinks whatever they give her, she uses the refresher, she sleeps again. Sometimes she paces, sometimes she sits on her cot and memorizes the imperfections in the wall opposite it. As time has dragged on, she has proven that she’s not above asking and then pleading with the Suns who bring her food for information – what’s going to happen to her? When will she be let out, or will she be let out at all? How long has she been in here?

It’s the not knowing that has begun to weigh on her.

Zet actually isn’t asleep this time when her door opens, although she is curled in a ball on her cot with her jacket draped over herself — it’s proven to be a more reliable and less musty blanket than the one they provided to her. Her eyes are half-closed as her hands worry at a loose thread on the cuff of the coat. She hardly lifts her head until she registers that something is different this time, and she’s already half-sitting up when Nyssa appears in the doorway.

Warily, the Twi’lek pushes herself upright, crossing her legs on the cot. She pulls her jacket up around her shoulders, sitting back against the wall to put as much space between them as she can. Zet is not looking so good — she’s skinnier than she was when she was brought in, dark circles evident under her eyes from her irregular sleep pattern. “Finally here to deliver my sentence?” she asks with a weak smile.

Nyssa tilts her head to the side and smiles slightly, sympathetically. “Oh honey, I’m not the Empire. I’m not here to have a trial and lock you away,” she says to the prisoner. But she’s right, isn’t she? Nyssa is most certainly not the Empire.

“I’m a business woman,” she begins anew, leaning forward and resting her elbows on her thighs. “I’m sure you can appreciate that when someone takes a job, makes me a promise, and then fails to deliver-” she pauses to let it sink in. That is what happened, isn’t it? Nyssa trusted and was burned. How would anyone else react? “Well some point needs to be made,” she finishes, gesturing with her arms to the Twi’lek’s current abode.

Shard put it accurately. Zet saw a line in the sand and she refused to cross it. She doesn’t feel bad about it, and if she was put in the same position again… well, she just might do the same thing.

But Zet is a businesswoman too, and she understands what Nyssa is saying, even if she finds the slave trade repugnant. It’s not like she didn’t know the Black Suns dealt in that kind of cargo before she got in with them. Sometimes these are the choices you make when you’re just trying to feed your family. “I couldn’t make that delivery for you. Sorry.” Her voice is uncharacteristically quiet, and she fidgets twitchily with the zipper of her coat. “But I understand what you’re saying.”

“I forgive you,” the reptile says with a smile. She nods her head sympathetically. “These things happen. Let’s work on our future together, don’t you agree?”

Nyssa doesn’t wait for the Twi’lek to reply. She reaches into her jacket pocket and withdraws something Zetnu’ri recognizes. “The Suns found this when you arrived,” she explains, placing the Pazaak deck on the small fold out table. “Why don’t we play a game?”

The smile Zet flashes back at her is brief and not even a little bit relieved. She doesn’t believe for one second that languishing in a cell for who knows how long and saying sorry is good enough for a vigo, and the word ‘together’ is setting off all kinds of alarms. She’d prefer to just cut ties, if it’s all the same…

Her eyes freeze on her cards. It’s more than just a deck — there is a main pazaak deck there, but there are also a small series of side decks she’s assembled over the past two decades, tweaking them, marking them, learning the way they feel in her hands and slide against each other any time she wants to stack her own side deck. “You want to play pazaak?” Zet shoots Nyssa a disbelieving look. “Uh, sure.”

Slender green fingers run across the cards. “Yes, certainly,” she slithers in reply. “It is obvious, as a fellow card player, that you care about these cards. They have meaning.”

She shuffles the cards with a few tricks, her guards looking on. Carefully she deals out the hand. “There’s a lot we can learn about each other playing Pazaak, don’t you agree, Zetnu’ri?”

“I’ve been playing since I was a kid,” Zet offers in return. She slides forward on the cot to be nearer to the table and picks up the side deck Nyssa has given her. Her eyes linger first on the ones Nyssa has taken for herself. At this point she knows every little nick and crease in her own pazaak cards, something the vigo must surely realize. That may prove advantageous but at the same time she feels a little strange about sharing them with Nyssa of all people.

Then her eyes lower to the ten cards she’s been handed, and after quickly identifying them she flips them over to shuffle them quickly. This round, she won’t cheat, but her hands snap and rifle her side deck together with the ease of a longtime gambler. Drawing her four side deck cards into her hand, she shrugs. “Yeah. Do you want to go first?”

Nyssa smiles and nods graciously accepting the offer to begin the game. “I grew up crawling around Pazaak tables myself,” she says. “First as a child, fascinated by the game and refusing to go to heat rock for the night. Later, the game played a role in helping elevate me to my current station.”

She draws her side cards, gives Zetnu’ri a wink, and ultimately frowns, maintaining her side cards and watching as a card is turned over, and another, and another still, leaving her bust.

“Heat rock?” Zet has met Falleen before, but she doesn’t know much about the way they live. She plays a quick, shrewd hand, standing at 16 when she sees Nyssa has already busted without playing a card from her hand either. Typically this is when she’d gloat, but all she does is sweep the main deck cards on the table back into a pile. Her hand pauses in the middle of what seems like an automatic gesture to pick up the deck, no doubt to shuffle it, and she glances uncertainly at her captor.

Nyssa nods and watches the victor’s hands as she shuffles the deck and deals. “Mhm. We enjoy sleeping on something hot,” she explains.

The Black Sun remain silent in the corners, almost falling into the background.

When Nyssa doesn’t object, Zet picks up the deck and shuffles quickly. No tricks. Setting the deck down, she nods noncommittally to Nyssa’s response and plays through another hand. The Twi’lek gets straight up unlucky when she reveals a ten that pushes her to 25. With a glance at her hand, she sticks her tongue out with a little frown. “No good.” As they’re setting up the next round she looks to Nyssa’s face. “What exactly are we playing for?”

Nyssa sits at 16 before Zet goes over. She decides to chance the draw and takes another card. The Falleen crime lord grins widely as she hits a perfect Pazaak without having used a card from her side hand. “Pazaak!” she exclaims the obvious with glee. Elegant scaled fingers collect the cards and set into a shuffle once more. Her attention turns to Zetnu’ri.

“I was touched that you carry such an old Pazaak deck. It was difficult to find – even the bounty hunter didn’t find it,” she explains. “I simply had to return it to you. Aren’t you happy?” Nyssa asks, staring at the prisoner.

Zet doesn’t correct Nyssa’s assumption. She would prefer not to inform someone who likely still intends to harm her that the bounty hunter who brought her in has a soft spot. “Yeah well. She didn’t find ten grenades, either, so…”

Settling in to the new hand, Zet nods. “I don’t have to tell /you/ how much time goes into constructing the perfect deck. I’d rather not start over again. Thank you.” She grimaces as she flips over a seven that puts her at 22, and plays a negative four from her hand. “I’m gonna stand.”

The Falleen tut tuts and lays plays a +5, landing her at 20. “Ah, lovely. I win again,” she says calmly. Then she pushes the cards to her opponent and arches her back, stretching with a sigh. “It takes time to build something important. Don’t I know it. I can tell you put time into this; care into this. I get the sense you think before you leap,” Nyssa says.

Exhausted and starving as she is, it’s comforting for Zet to sink into something as instinctive to her now as a game of pazaak, even though Nyssa only needs to take one more hand to win the game. She sweeps the cards back into her hands, just holding them for a moment as she listens to Nyssa. “Most of the time.” The deck flashes between her fingers again. “I dunno if I always leap the right way. It probably depends who you ask.” She punctuates that with a self-deprecating little smile, and right at that moment twitches the edge of her pinky out of the way of her shuffle to ensure she’s facing a stacked deck. It’s subtle: she’s a practiced cheater, and a less perceptive player might miss it.

The cards are dealt out and Nyssa’s yellow eyes narrow. The hand goes in Zetnu’ri’s favour, though not so much as to arouse suspicion. She truly is a practiced gambler.

“Oh dear, I almost had you,” the Black Sun Vigo slithers, her lips curling at a devilish smile as she gives her captive a once over. Nyssa leans back and crosses her leg, resting her elbows on what small amount of chair back is available. “You’re really quite good,” he continues with a snap of her fingers.

The darkness moves, Zabrak and Rodian lunging for Zetnu’ri to grapple her. The Zabrak is a brute, large and overpowering who uses his weight to strangle her at the throat from behind and bear himself down on top of her. The Rodian pulls a black bag over the Twi’lek’s head and draws it tight. No air, no light, no escape.

But there is something in the bag. A heavy scent that burns and tickles the Twi’lek in strange and unnerving ways.

It’s only a nineteen, and she has to use a card from her hand to do it. Zet knows better than to grant herself a pazaak on the basis of the main deck alone. She sits back, looking pleased as she slides the deck across to the vigo.

The Twi’lek looks up in alarm at the sound of feet scuffing against her cell floor. She’s not strong enough on her best day to physically fight off a being as imposing as a Zabrak; she just goes down on her face with a breathless squeal, tangled in limbs and her own loose jacket. Nonetheless she squirms, gasping and trying to drive an elbow back towards his ribs.

True panic sets in when the bag goes over her head. Zet bucks violently, coughing as she draws more of whatever that is into her lungs with each frantic inhalation. “Please! Please don’t-” At least she’s not above begging, but whatever else she was going to say is lost to another fit of coughing.

It feels like forever before the bag is pulled off and Zet is released. Or it feels like the elevator is dripping to the main floor. Wait – what?

As completely messed up as it is to be held down and strangled with a bag, the spice gets to the Twi’lek fairly soon after inhalation. When there’s nothing but spice for you to breathe, it hits you hard and fast. Zetnu’ri’s tingles turn to a straight up glow. She’s fucking glowing as the spice warms her in ways she likely hasn’t experienced before.

The blast of air once she’s released probably feels amazing. Everything is pretty much amazing. Soft. Vibrating. Numb. Hard to focus on.

“Hey,” a voice drips to get her attention. Nyssa is sitting there patiently waiting. She’s dealt out the cards for their next hand. “Congratulations! You won.”

It doesn’t take long for the small smuggler to stop flailing around. She recognizes a wasted effort when she sees one, and besides, her brain and limbs don’t seem to be communicating as quickly as they should.

Zet drags in a harsh breath when she feels relatively fresh air on her face again. She blinks once, twice, her bright green fingers digging into the rough weave of the blanket, then twitching away at the intensity of the sensation. It’s not the first time she’s sampled spice, although she has likely never taken so much so fast, nor used any of particular quality. Academically, she’s aware that she’s high as a kite, but every time she tries to focus in on that knowledge, she can’t seem to feel nervous or angry or anything at all about it,

“Huh?” She looks up at Nyssa, then warily glances around for the thugs before she tries to sit up again. “Only that hand, I thought…” Zet picks up her remaining side deck card from where it fell beside her, but her zeal for the game has left her. Shivering, she slides her arms back into the sleeves of her heavy jacket before really attempting to return her attention to the table. Although she does obediently flip over her first main deck card, her eyes keep darting between the others in the room. Her shoulders are hunched up tight, like she’s expecting to be leaped on again at any moment. “Umm. Sometimes I buy a round if I’m worried I’m gonna lose but that was kind of extreme…” She was a fast talker before, but her words come more slowly now, like she’s putting real effort in to form coherent sentences.

“I bet, " Nyssa says with a little chuckle. “You must practice a lot. Who do you play with while you’re in between systems?” She asks as she lays down a +- 3 to adjust her 21 to an 18.

“Business partner,” Zet replies vaguely. She hits 17 and spends significantly longer than before studying the last card in her hand and staring at the numbers on the table. “He’s not very good at it.” Finally she decides to take her chances with the main deck. It’s a ten. “Ugh. I’m out.”

“Let’s play again,” Nyssa says sheepishly as she draws the cards to her and deals them out once more.

“I don’t remember you having a business partner when you were in my employ,” Nyssa says. There’s a playfulness to her voice and between the spice and her presence, it’s dizzying. “How’s that going? Who is this new business partner? Do tell.”

The Falleen deals a face up 10, then a 4, and then a ten. She pouts and glances at the Twi’lek.

Zet shrugs amicably, gathering up her side deck cards and giving them a shuffle. She does not try to cheat again. Apparently it just takes one black bag to teach her a lesson. Dealing herself a new hand, she sways slightly in place while she looks them over.

“I didn’t.” She takes turns flipping cards with Nyssa, chewing on her bottom lip. She’s only up to 12 when the Falleen busts, and she stops there, taking the easy win. “I met him on Nar Shaddaa… he’d been living on the street.” Zet’s brain feels like it’s buzzing. She doesn’t particularly want to tell the Black Suns anything about her companions at all, let alone Santos. They don’t need to get their hooks in him too. But it’s like the spice is smoothing the peaks and valleys of her emotions out; the tingly-numb feeling is kind of nice after the immeasurable amount of time she has now spent in a constant state of low-level fear. And it’s just so easy to talk to Nyssa.

She shuffles the main deck for the next hand. “He’s the best. We’ve got our own ship now ’n everything.”

Nyssa turns over 25 and when all things seem lost, she drops a +-5 and hits a wonderful 20. “Pazaak,” she says with a grin, collecting the cards and shuffling them.

“So just the two of you among the stars?” the Falleen asks with a slither of her forked-tongue. “Or have you hit the big time and got yourselves employees?”

This hand, Zet makes it to eighteen and takes a chance with the main deck. She busts, and apparently can’t be bothered to play a card from her hand to correct it. She’s starting to look obviously unfocused on the game; there’s a short delay between the hand ending and the moment when she remembers that it’s her turn to shuffle the main deck. “It was just us. We’ve got some friends travelling with us for now, but who knows if they’ll stick around for the long haul.”

Nyssa’s yellow eyes glimmer as she watches the Twilek’s response time slow. She makes no movement to shuffle the cards. “Perhaps if the business opportunity was right they’d make a fine crew,” the Falleen says.

Zet catches up eventually. She picks up the cards, shuffling as nimbly as before, and begins the next hand. “Well the bounty hunter took 19 thousand credits out of my pocket. It’s been good,” she confirms.

“Oh that’s a shame,” Nyssa patronizes. “How ever will you pay me back for the trouble you caused, Zetnu’ri?”

A tension fills the air. The Black Sun Vigo stares at her captive and doesn’t motion for her cards.

The smuggler’s eyes are on the cards as she waits for Nyssa to flip over the first one in her tableau. She slowly lifts them as the mood in the room becomes palpable even to her. Somewhere inside, sharp-witted, quick-tongued Zet is in full-blown panic mode, railing at her own brain to function quickly enough to get her through this alive.

Outwardly, her gaze flickers fearfully, and she swallows against the sudden sensation that her mouth is full of cotton balls. “I thought y-you said you forgave me,” she murmurs uncertainly. “If you gave me a chance, maybe I could- I’ve got a ship and a partner, we could probably find a, a job to make it up to you…”

“You will,” Nyssa replies flatly. “I do forgive you, honey,” she continues, warmth returning. She smiles and shifts, crossing a leg over the other.

“I understand and accept what was done. You must also accept and understand that your trespass cannot go without punishment. We are business women, you and I,” she says, gesturing towards the Twi’lek and back to herself. “You will make it up to me, we will continue business. First-” Nyssa says, pausing for dramatic effect. “I’m going to make an example of you.”

The thugs from the darkness return, advancing on the prisoner.

“Haha, I thought I was already being punished,” Zet jokes weakly, gesturing around at her little cell. They may both be businesswomen, but Nyssa buys and sells things the Twi’lek would never touch. No doubt she has special clauses for those who breach their contracts.

She pales visibly, her grey eyes darting to the approaching men. Briefly, she thinks of the holdout blaster – but in her state, starved and exhausted with her reaction time slowed by whatever she inhaled, it would never be enough. “Wh… what…” She scoots backwards on her cot, futilely trying to put an additional foot or two between her and them. “I uh, don’t think you really… really have to do that…”

The Falleen watches as her security close in and grab the frightened Twi’lek. “Yes you do,” she replies casually, standing and withdrawing a small device from her pocket. It sparks to life before Zet’s eyes, an electric prod of some kind. “You understand I need to hurt you. I can’t have people thinking they can get away with crossing me. I can’t have people thinking their employment status is up to them. It is up to me.”

Nyssa steps closer as the Zabrak and Rodian pin Zetnu’ri down on the cot on her back, forced to look up at the Black Sun Vigo looming over her. She touches the sparking electric rod to her captive’s forearm. Zet feels the vibrations but it is little more than a tickle. There is no pain. “How was that, honey? You’re going to want to be clear with me on how you’re feeling,” Nyssa says. She taps her prisoner’s abdomen with the prod and raises her brow, scanning the Twi’lek’s face for result.

Zet kicks at the Zabrak’s hands when he comes close, for all the good it does. She swallows this choked, terrified sound as her back hits the bed, squirming against the grip of her captors.

The Twi’lek takes one look at that electric thing and goes absolutely still, staring between it and Nyssa’s face. “Please don’t,” she whispers, just before it touches her arm.

She flinches automatically, but then her brow furrows with confusion. Evidently that’s not what she was expecting. Rolling this information over in her mind, she has already failed to really respond to the second tap of the prod before she can work out whether she’s better off lying in this situation or not. “It- it doesn’t really feel like anything,” she mumbles.

Nyssa smiles and leans forward to brush her scaled fingers across the Twi’lek’s forehead, very gently considering the proximity to her Lekku. “That’s good. Try to relax. The Ryll will make this easier,” she says, leaning closer.

Zetnu’ri can feel the weight of the thugs on her arms, they are holding her firmly as the Falleen straddles her. She brings the little rod higher up, towards the prisoner’s face. The current is purple and vibrant.

All too familiar with Nyssa’s willingness to grab her by the headtail, Zet trembles when her hand comes near her face. “Make- make what-” Her breath escapes her with a soft grunt, and she wriggles unhappily now that she’s fully pinned to her bed.

That turns into another full-blown struggle when the crackling rod comes near her face. She arches her back and rolls her shoulders, her eyes screwed shut as she tries to turn away from whatever the crimelord has in mind. Zet isn’t strong at all, but she’s squirmy.

“Shhh,” the soothing comes with a slither. “Open your eyes. Look at me Zetnu’ri. Look. At. Me,” the Black Sun Vigo softly but firmly demands. “I need to collect my payment. Then everything will be settled.”

“Nnh.” She protests, and she certainly doesn’t stop shivering. But Nyssa’s words get in her head and coil around her brain, and with a shudder she turns her face towards the Falleen again. Peeking her eyes open, Zet bites her bottom lip as she waits for something very bad to happen.

“That’s it,” she says with a devilish grin. “Now. Just. Hold. Still.”

The sparking of purple current draws nearer to the Twi’lek’s eye, filling her vision. Inches from her face, the sharp pointed tip suddenly opens up like a flower, blooming after the Falleen must have pressed a button. Soon the dark center of the metal flower is all that can be seen. The metal petals push their way between eye lid and ball, into the socket all around Zetnu’ri’s eye. The purple current sends vibrations through her body that would certainly paralyze her with pain if not for the numbness the Ryll bestows.

The experience is altogether unpleasant. There is a sucking sound and this pull as her eye is detached from her. Her perspective changes and she sees her own eyeball and dangling guts in the grasp of that dreaded wand. Nyssa’s yellow eyes are lit up, a look of delight on her face as she leans back and marvels at her treasure. “Ah! It’s just what I’ve always wanted,” she says.

Turning her attention towards the injured Twi’lek, she continues her smile. “Thank you Zetnu’ri. I believe this concludes our transaction. You’ll be sure to explain why you’re missing an eye when people ask, won’t you dear?”

In that moment, as the device pushes its way into her eye socket, Zet’s mind runs blank. She can hear her own soft, sick moan at the bizarre sensation but it seems to come from someone else’s lips. Her other eyelid flutters and her remaining eye rolls back as if she’s about to faint, pain or no pain. But the mind- and body-numbing effect of the Ryll is just enough to keep her there by a thread, amplifying the disorienting sensation of losing all peripheral vision on the left side of her head.

She doesn’t even register Nyssa’s words initially. Her good eye is fixed on the one in the wand, and she’s trying not to focus on the weird pins-and-needles sensation of the blood pooling in the empty socket. Dreamily, she replies, “I’m gonna throw up.”

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Vignette: Tools of the Trade
Cut scene

Santos looks out over the Nar Shaddaa city scape. The sun’s just set for the night, although you wouldn’t know it from the permanent golden haze of lights and pollution. The Chiss had to find his way on to the roof of the highest build in the sector simply to escape some of the neon and noise below. For this task, he wanted solitude. He’s comforted by the soft sound of a vorpak purring, softly and steadily. He certainly received a few unwelcome looks while walking through the city with Lirj on his shoulder, but not many people would dare make a comment to someone of his size.

Laid out in front of him on a rolled out rectangle of leather are all the components he had collected, and a list, each item accompanied by two rushed check marks. Santos reaches into a concealed pocket in his coat and removes a small pouch. He tips the pouch over, just above his free hand, allowing a small, orange crystal to tumble out. He quickly takes inventory of everything, and once satisfied that he has everything, it’s time to begin.

Callia had explained to him in great detail what needed to go where, although she embellished the process greatly with her Jedi rituals. His Holocron also provided him with a great deal of insight into the process of building a lightsaber, and Qel-Droma too included his fair share of ritual. The numerous differences between his two instructors were a testament to how much the Jedi order had changed over the millennia, and yet the core of what they were and worked towards remained consistent.

Personally, Santos never had much use for such ritual and structure, so he freely ignored that aspect of the task at hand, and focused entirely on the technical lessons. Although entirely convinced that he could construct the entire weapon with his hands, in this moment he chooses to follow tradition and exclusively use the Force. It’s a chance to practice using his abilities with precision. One by one his components begin floating, moving gracefully through the air until they find their place in the whole. He works quickly, every minute he spends on other endeavours is a minute not spent on rescuing Zet.

With the internal components in place, Santos begins to begins to encapsulate it in the outer casing. Soon, all the remains is a smooth, reflective hilt, floating in the air. Santos is fairly certain he did not follow Callia’s instructions perfectly. His creation appears to be nearly twice the length of the hilt she carries. The hilt itself displays no indication of switches, buttons or toggles. Instead, the polished, silvery finish is broken up by etched lines, cutting through the metal in a way that reminds him of the glaciers he grew up surrounded by. In the centre of the hilt, the seven pointed sun of the Chiss Expansionary Defense Force draws attention to a single round button. As Santos takes the item in his hand and applies slight pressure to the button, a beam of vibrant orange light bursts out of either end of the hilt. Each blade is guided out of the hilt by four small, curved blades inspired by the Clawcraft, the first starship he had ever piloted, back when he served in the military of his people. The blades themselves pulse with an energy barely contained within the force fields giving them shape. He feels a startled Lirj press her eight tiny feet firmly into his shoulder as a small burst of energy extends out of a blade like a solar flare before quickly being absorbed one more.

Santos observes his work for a few minutes, and then calls the blades back into the hilt. He hides the device in one of the hidden compartments of his coat and makes his way back to the Rainbow Dash. There’s still work to be done.

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Incoming Transmission
A roleplay log

It’s been a few weeks since Randall Nebula saw Callia and the rest of the merry band of misfits. His life is probably running so much smoother when he doesn’t have to rescue their sorry asses, especially when one of his operatives isn’t getting nearly dead with them.

It’s sometime in the middle of one of those weeks when his rebel cell will receive an incoming transmission. Transmissions are all part of any day, though this comes with no call signs or on a frequency that identifies this individual as a fellow rebel.

If and when he chooses to answer it, he will see the 3D head of one Callia Colmill.

“Callia,” Randall says in surprise. “You missed me already?” The rebel commander was wearing a smile and seemed relieved to hear from the Jedi. Though the prisoner they left in his charge after their last encounter had been more trouble than he was worth, Randall Nebula generally felt the experiences with Callia had been positive, even lucrative. The rebels have made good use of the Imperial shuttle the Jedi and her friends had hijacked.

Nebula closed the door to his office for privacy and sat with a sigh at his desk. His knee was acting up again. Doc told him it would never be the same.

Callia offers a subdued smile in return. “Commander, it is good to see you. I hope things are faring well with the rebellion.” She replies. “I wish I could say this was a leisurely call, but I cannot.” Callia and her friends always pay lucratively to the rebels, it would seem. “We need your and possibly the rebellion’s help. I’m attempting to track down the location of a Bounty Hunter. Mandalorian armor, female I believe.”

Straight to the point, it seems. Her friend’s life is on the line, here.

The rebel leader turns in his chair a bit as he thinks. “I can think of a few women who fit that description,” he confesses. “The Mandalorian people seem particularly well suited to hunting. If only they felt as inclined to join the rebellion,” Nebula says.

He studies the flickering holo before him. Mandalorians are not the only people Randall Nebula feels would greatly help in the struggle against tyranny.

“Can you narrow it down? Where has she been? Does she have a ship? Heck, what colour is her armour?”

“Hunting has been one part of their history for a long time,” Callia agrees. “I’m sure there may be a few out there who would, but considering the upheavel Mandalore has been in for the past twenty years…”

She shakes her head softly. “Those who need to join the Rebellion will when they are truly ready.” She sees that look Randall. “Her last known location was Nar Shaddaa. I’m not sure what type of ship she has, but I know she has one. Her armour colour is a dark chrome, not with the usual blue or red you would see on Mandalorian armour. It’s all solid.”

Randall Nebula thinks on this, tapping his fingertips against his lips. He turns and reaches for a data pad, flipping through the pages until he finds the section he is searching for, and reviewing. “I see one here that matches that description. Dark chrome with marking of blue that are partially scraped off. Goes by the name Shard,” he says, eyes glancing up at the holo of Callia every few moments.

“She’s been busy,” he continues, sounding impressed. “Her activity has greatly increased in the past four months. She has been bringing in contracts for Black Sun, Zaan Consortium, the Hutt Cartel, and even what’s left of the Exchange. A brazen attack on a casino on Cloud City, as well. Does this sound like her?”

“Shard.” Callia repeats, her lips pursing into a thin line. Well, it’s nice to have a name to associate with the helmet. She lets out a soft sigh, indicated by the way her nostrils flare in the holo. “The attack on the casino was on us, specifically. She was after Zet. You wouldn’t happen to know where she has been in the past week, would you?”

A soft, dark grin crosses her features. “Thinking about trying to recruit her?”

That draws a chuckle from the weary soldier, “The Empire wouldn’t see her coming.”

“I’ll have my team look into it. We monitor some reports of bounty hunters and criminal organizations but we are generally more focused on the Empire,” he says. It isn’t meant to be dismissive but that is surely little condolence to someone seeking their friend.

Randall’s expression changes and he looks back at Callia. “She got Zet, didn’t she?”

“That is true. If she ever changes her tune, perhaps she can be directed that way.” Callia smiles.

There is an edge to that smile, though. “With good reason, I assume. Those organizations could be consorting with the Empire or trying their own methods to thwart them. I understand wanting to keep your fingers in all the pies.” She is good at keeping her emotions in check.

That is, until Randall asks the direct question. “She did, yes. For all I know, she may have already collected her bounty as well.”

Nebula’s expression becomes more serious. “These reports suggest Shard is a businesswoman. She’s efficient and clearly keeps busy. Depending on the destination, it’s entirely likely she’s collected on the bounty and moved on,” he explains.

His hands work at the data pad once more, then he shifts his attention to a console built into his desk. “Who posted the bounty would be more important,” he says.

Callia is silent for a long time. Her mind is getting away with her, the onslaught of worry and ‘what-ifs’ taking over. She cannot be in this mind space. She must be strong for her friends, especially for Santos. “Of course she would have…” She mutters offhand, a deeper sigh escaping her lips. “The Black Sun is who posted the bounty. They operate out of everywhere, though. I am not sure which chapter in particular was looking for Zet.” Though if we can match her flight logs from Nar Shaddaa to where-ever she landed next, it might help."

“I can’t tell from this either, but we aren’t exactly card carrying members of criminal organizations,” he confesses with a shrug. For all the shadiness Zetnu’ri attributed the rebel commander, Randall Nebula and many other rebels are fairly benign and lack the stomach for criminal enterprise.

“I don’t even have data on her being on Nar Shaddaa in the timeline you gave,” he continues with a shake of his head. “I will keep digging but we are stretched pretty thing. Do you want us to look for Shard or Black Sun locations?”

“Hmm.” Callia murmurs softly. “No, of course. It was a longshot, but I thought I would give you a try.” Callia replies. She rubs her temples. “She must be going well under the radar, then. I’m not surprised. If you don’t mind and have the resources to spare, we would appreciate it. In the meantime, I should allow you to get back to your work.”

“I’ll do what I can for you, Callia” Randall says in earnest. "But with my resources tied up in the war, I can only afford to look for one or the other. Do you want us to focus on finding the bounty hunter who took Zet or finding Black Sun hideouts Zet might be at? "

The Jedi can feel the weight of the force in this decision.

Callia swallows, weighing her options carefully. Either option isn’t the most promising way of getting things done and there are good sides and bad sides to most decisions. She stares away from the holo for a moment, eyes darting to one side.

“The Black Sun hideouts.” She finally replies. Whatever happens is the will of the Force. All she can do is follow it’s guidance and do what needs to be done. This isn’t truly her Trial, but she can help guide the path as best she can.

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Roleplay log: Sad Santos
an email roleplay log

Nar Shaddaa is a city of constant life. Constant energy. Under normal circumstances, Santos would be out enjoying the city. Tonight; however, there isn’t much to enjoy. It’s been close to a week since Shard’s attack, and every attempt to locate her has proved useless. More and more he’s been withdrawing from his crew, spending his nights alone, on top of the Rainbow Dash, back resting in-between the blasters of the upper turret, staring out into a starless sky.

Callia has been pushing herself to help find Zet in every way she knows, as well. There has been everything from meditation to actually travelling the city-planet in order to find information on their friend. No stone goes unturned, but they’ve also provided no real intel to her, yet.

Tonight she finds herself unable to sleep. She can feel the unease in the Force, not that it’s in-evident without it. Santos may feel her signature like a dimly lit, soothing light as she finds her way along the top of the Rainbow Dash and to her friend. “I thought I might find you here.”

Santos doesn’t respond for what might seem like an eternity. He simply stares out into the vast nothingness of Nar Shaddaa space in silence. Eventually, he lowers his head and makes a nearly inaudible confession. “I’m scared, Callia.”

Callia lets Santos take his time to even acknowledge her. He knows he needs his space. The woman does, however, move in to sit near him. The vast nothingness of space can be soothing, but sometimes it can be incredibly daunting. Callia is feeling conflicted about that feeling right now.

She releases a soft sigh at Santos’ confession. “I know.” She offers. “I’m scared, too.” Sometimes small confessions in return will help open another up. That’s what she’s hoping for here.

“There was nothing I could to. I could barely move. I couldn’t see her. There was nothing I could do.” Hi red eyes glisten as he struggles to keep tears from rolling down his greyish blue cheeks. If it sounds as though he’s trying to convince himself that Zet’s capture was not his fault, he’s failing.

He takes a deep breath, trying to regain his composure. “We have to find her now. What if they aren’t feeding her?”

Callia takes a deep, calming breath. Her focus turns to her friend beside her, full of empathy. “I know.” She breaths. A hand reaches up to tentatively rest on his shoulder. “I do know. I won’t tell you not to blame yourself, I know that fighting with that sense of grief and helplessness takes time. Know that we don’t blame you, though. It wasn’t your fault. I’m sure even Zet believes you did what you could.”

“We will find her.” Callia agrees. “All of us will pool our resources to do so.”

“I’ve reached out to all of my contacts here. Even some on Toydaria, Nimban and Zisia. No one knows anything.” Santos goes quiet again. He reaches into a pocket and takes out the orange crystal he found on the asteroid. He rolls it around in his fingers as he looks up to the sky. “What happens if Teemo’s people can’t find anything? What else can we do?”

“We know who took her and where she would have been taken to. We know the Black Sun had a bounty on her.” Callia pauses, eyes focusing on the orange crystal in his hands. “I’d say we start there. We have enough sway with smugglers in the Corellian system that they may be able to help. We also have our own contacts that we’ve helped along the way. I can reach out to the rebels. We could try reaching out to Aris on Bespin.” Her words trail off. “Where did you find that?”

“This?” Santos fails to see why some stupid crystal is more important than Zet. “I found it near the landing pad just before the robots attacked the Dash.” It doesn’t occur to him that nothing about that sentence is reasonable.

Distractions can be good. “You found it? In the middle of a droid uprising and the storm generators failing?” Callia asks, gently trying to make him realise the absurdity of that statement. “How did you find it? May I see it?”

Santos tosses it to her. While sitting on top of the Dash. You better catch it Callia! “Well, it kinda spoke to me, and then the dust conveniently cleared away.”

Thankfully Callia is quick enough to catch it. She rolls it over in her fingers, “listening” to the soft hum the crystal seems to emit. “I’m not surprised it called to you. It’s full of a fiery energy…” She murmurs. After reverent examination, she offers it back over to Santos. “It’s a kyber crystal.” She unclips her lightsaber and uses the Force to open it and remove her very similar yellow crystal for him to see.

“You mean this little thing can power a lightsaber?” Santos could certainly make use of a lightsaber when he frees Zet. If they haven’t killed. “Is there anything else I would need?”

“Yes, that crystal can power a lightsaber,” Callia replies. She hesitates as Santos jumps right on board of building one. This could lead somewhere dangerous. “You’d need a power supply, for one. Something to house it is. You would need the proper components to focus the energy from the crystal and create a safe blade. I’ve found all of them before from spare parts and scraps, that’s not the hard part. The hard part is that it is built entirely using the Force. It’s an incredibly personal experience, from the design to construction. I can guide you, but you are the one who must do the work.”

Santos thinks about that for a minute. “Our new robo-fixer has been creating a rather large pile of spare parts out of those powered down droids. Would those work?” He’s about to question why he needs to use the Force to build this thing, as he’s a decent mechanic in his own right, but decides against it. Sometimes it’s just better to honour the Jedi’s super spiritual wizard traditions.

“They may. I will give you a list of supplies and see what you can find in there. More than likely you’ll be able to find all the parts.” Callia replies. “In the meantime, you may want to start thinking about a comfortable hilt for yourself. Something that will fit in your hands, one or both, wide enough that you can hold it without your fingers cramping and long enough so you won’t lose any. You can embellish it as you wish, as well. Like I said, it’s a personal experience. I remember lighting my ‘saber for the first time…it’s much more than just a weapon or a tool. It’s a part of you, of who you are. The crystal is the heart of the blade and it is connected to you.”

Clearly Santos is going to embellish the shit out of his saber. After hours of hiding on top the Dash he finally stands up, offering a hand to Callia. “Why don’t we just do it now?” At the very least, Santos will feel like he’s doing something more than simply waiting for a lead. “We can also take a look at my repair kit. I’m sure we have what I need.”

Callia watches Santos get to his feet, her eyes subdued and expression hesitant as he offers out his hand. On the one hand, it will help distract him but on the other…

This isn’t her Trial. She continues to say that to herself, over and over, as she takes the Chiss’ hand and gets to her feet. “We can start, of course. It may take you some time to design your hilt. We can lie out the components and I can show you designs I remember.” She smiles. “I’m sure we do have everything you need. It’s just a matter of applying it the right way.”

A small smile actually appears on Santos’ face as he helps his human friend up. He quickly opens the top hatch into the ship and jumps in, using the Force to soften his landing. He waits patiently for Callia to join him, while going over a design in his head. It won’t take as long as Callia believes to come up with something personal. He’s drawing on history he once left far behind him.

GARBOL gathered up all the droids in our animal suite. There must be piles of spare parts and broken droids by now.” Santos tried to refer to the robot by the full ‘Ord Lantern’ purpose/designation, but quickly gave up and abbreviated it all.

Santos smiling gives her hope. To see the Chiss go from depression to even the smallest of smiles is a good sign. She clips her lightsaber back onto her belt and follows Santos down the top hatch. Her feet land softly beside him.

GARBOL? Is that what we’ve decided what his designation is, now? I like it.” There is a wry grin on her face as she follows after Santos. “How many droids did we collect, exactly?”

“They all kind of powered down as soon as Shard left with… I guess 10 or so.” He leads the way to the home of their future menagerie with a little more enthusiasm than he’s shown lately. “It’s easier to say than whatever it said its purpose was. It’s still hard to believe that it wasn’t given a name 300 years ago. How did they give it directions?”

“Possibly something along the lines of snapping their fingers and saying “you, droid”." Callia offers. “Somehow they managed without one for as long as they have.” Clearly she will need to come up with more distractions for the Chiss when they aren’t searching for Zet. This is going to keep his mind well off of it. “Ah yes. Well I’m sure there will be a lot of good material to work with.”

“Hmm.” Santos grunts as he makes his way up to a pile of spare parts. He falls to his knees and begins sorting out the pile, separating the bit he believes (without any real reason to) will be helpful. “This could be useful… oh, how about this one? What do you think Callia?” He certainly is distracted for the moment, although he’s focus on this for it’s potential use in protecting Zet from the Black Suns. It’s not like Callia not to respond when spoken to, so Santos stops his directionless search long enough to look over his shoulder to see that his human friend is no where to be seen. He does notice that a document appeared somehow, a list of components he would need to find. How long has he been talking to himself?

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Arrival
A roleplay log

Movement. The Twilek slowly rouses to the feeling of hands pulling her from her bindings and laying her on something flat, binding her once more.

The world shakes to life with a rhythm of bumps as Zet’nuri is taken by stretcher on wheels down the loading ramp of Shard’s ship and into an unknown facility. When her eyes focus, the captive is able to see the predator who caught her, walking along side the stretcher. There are others, as well.

An Aqualesh standing ahead of Shard, pulling the stretcher. If it doesn’t cause nausea to turn her head, she would see a Rodian and a Zabrak to her right, pulling the stretcher along.

The lights above are overly bright but do little to illuminate the dark corridors they take her through. Sounds of machinery can be heard for a few minutes after the typical hangar soundtrack fades away. As she is taken deeper still into the facility she hears laughter and argument, the opus of large groups of people going about their daily lives. Wherever the Twilek is, she is not alone in this place.

Heavy metal doors scrape open and Zet’nuri finds herself hauled up from the stretcher to stand, whether she is ready or not. Shard holds her by the arm and moves her forward with the Twilek, fingers squeezing a little at the woman’s bicep in an attempt to reassure her.

She isn’t really sure whether she’s been asleep or not. Shard really hit her with the good stuff. Zet hardly stirs when she’s moved, although her eyes flutter sightlessly. It’s not until she’s rattling down the hall that she slurs something that sounds a little like Ryl, blinking to try to clear her vision. Shard swims in and out of view, and after a moment she just closes her eyes again to wait for the vertigo to pass. The bright lights are doing painful things to her frazzled brain anyway.

Zet makes this funny sound in her throat when her feet hit the ground — she barely remembers sitting up. Swaying into Shard as she overcompensates for her lack of balance, she gives her head a slow shake. She needs to be sharp, and it’s not happening. She doesn’t really have the clarity of thought to put up any kind of front right now; she just waits, squeezing her eyes shut and opening them repeatedly to make the room hold still in front of her. Her feet move to keep pace with the bounty hunter as best they can, but they are only now beginning to feel attached to her body again.

“What?” a gravely voice says from ahead. The buzz of voices ceases and a stillness fills the air.

“I found something you have been looking for,” Shard says through her helmet, the high range of the frequency through the powered vocoder carry her voice and make a stark contrast to the deep gravel of the reply. The huntress ushers her captive forward, standing alongside her.

“Am I looking for this one?” the gravel in the darkness says. A series of chuckles can be heard all around them. It is a den of Narglash, and the Twilek is in the center of it all.

The darkness shifts as someone stands and approaches. Behind them is visible a softly glowing orange rock, throbbing with heat. Stepping into the light of the room, a tall Falleen woman steps into view. She closes the distance between the she and the huntress very quickly, tilting her head slightly foward to look at her past red quartz sunglasses. “I’m not always certain you understand what I’m looking for, bounty hunter,” she says with a slither and grind in her deep voice.

A moment of staring into her own reflection through Shard’s helmet and the Faleen turns her head to inspect the catch, a hand already up and gripping Zet’s jaw. “I am Nyssa,” she hisses. Her voice is unsettling and her proximity to the Twilek- unnerving. “What is my present for today? What are you?” she asks, amused, turning the Twilek’s head side to side and looking her over like chattle.

This is really not the time to make a scene, and Zet isn’t sure her bound limbs would cooperate with her anyway. She shuffles forward with Shard, shrugging one shoulder to correct the uncomfortable way one of her headtails was draped over it.

Squinting into the gloom, Zet warily lifts her eyes to Nyssa’s face, saying absolutely nothing until she is addressed. She cringes when the woman takes her face but makes no move to pull away. Swallowing against the suddenly dry feeling in her mouth, it takes her a moment or two to remember how to use her tongue — that’s more unnerving to her than all the rest. “Zetnu’ri,” she replies quietly. Her eyes flick to the side briefly, towards Shard, the arguably friendliest being in the room, but just about anyone would be inscrutable under that helment.

The reptilian hmms thoughtfully, yellow eyes dilating and blinking sideways as she scrutinizes the prisoner. “Zetnu’ri? Hmm. Ah yes, the girl who doesn’t like slaves,” she says with a slither, bearing a predator’s set of teeth in a wide grin.

Long, scaled fingers climb from jaw to side of head and up to threaten squeezes to Lekku. “Do I recall correctly? Well? Speak up, dear,” she teases, clearly enjoying the captive response.

For her part, Shard looks on silently, the angle of her helmet indicating she is returning Zet’s look.

All it takes is the lightest touch of her headtail to snap Zet’s attention back to Nyssa’s face. Her pupils have dilated with fear already, even if she seems to have the rest of her expression under control again. Nothing like adrenaline to clean the drugs out of your system.

“Yes.” She speaks at a normal volume this time, though it comes out as a bit of a croak. “That was me.” A thready, self-depracating smile tugs at her lips. “Were those yours?”

The Falleen nods, mockingly nodding her prisoners head by the Lekku in sync. "Yes,they were. Oh yes they were, weren’t they? " she says in a time of voice better suited to addressing a Voorpak.“You cost me dearly, Zetnu’ri. I will repay you in kind.”

“Enough,” the Mandalorian interrupts. “My credits. Now,” she says abruptly. There is no patience in the huntress for behaviour such as this.

Nyssa straightens up, markedly taller than the bounty hunter, though not nearly as well equipped or historied in acts of violence. “Very well. I do believe this little liar fetches fifteen thousand credits. I’m happy to oblige,” the Vigo offers with a smile and a show of grace.

“Thirty thousand,” Shard retorts. The woman is hardly in the mood for negotiations. “I want my credits you shuuta,” she adds for good measure, palm on her side arm, the other raising.

Nyssa laughs in a way that chills the room. The Suns lounging in the area have their weapons trained on the center of the room.

Though that’s really the problem, isn’t it? Scum like the Black Suns are rife with ambitious, dim-witted thugs clamouring to the top of the food chain. A gun fight with Nyssa in the middle would surely result in a tragic accident, a case of unavoidable friendly fire.

Nyssa realizes it after a moment and runs her forked tongue across her lips as she surveys the huntress before her. “I do so love a woman in charge,” she flirts and waves her hand in consent. “Twenty-five thousand and a free refuel for that so of yours,” the Vigo offers.

Wincing, Zet is forced to move her head as directed or suffer the painful consequences. She hasn’t said a thing in response when Shard cuts off the proceedings.

Suffice to say being the subject of a tense negotiation is not her typical experience. When she hears the rattle and hum of blasters, her eyes dart from side to side. Wow, that is not what she needs today. Thank goodness Nyssa is here to play meatshield.

“I’m not even worth thirty K anymore?” Her voice is soft again, coloured with a vain attempt to inject a little levity. “She fell out a fifty story window for this paycheck.”

Shard tilts her head to the side looking quizzically at the sudden comedian. The humour breaks the tension in the room. Nyssa let’s out a hearty laugh and the room relaxes.

“Thirty. She’s funny, " Nyssa capitulates.

The Rodian from earlier shuffles over and gives the bounty hunter her payment. The exchange is complete.

The Black Sun Vigo snaps her fingers and thugs grab Zetnu’ri and haul her away to her new life. Shard begins to walk away. She stops, looks back at Zet.

Then she leaves.

Zet flashes a slightly manic smile at Shard. Yes. Ha ha. So funny. Her breath escapes her in a sharp gasp as she changes hands, and she, too, twists to glance back over her shoulder at the bounty hunter, who may well be the last not-unfriendly face she sees.

She has to turn back around quickly to keep pace though, giving her head another small shake as the last of the drug cobwebs leave it. Her eyes dart from one spot to another, taking in whatever features of this place she can as she tries to make herself as small and compliant as possible. If they’re planning to hurt her she doesn’t really want to give them any extra reason to be angry with her this early on.

The Black Sun walk her through a few corridors. Had the Twilek likely has not discovered the facility is in an artic location, she would be pleasantly surprised to find the temperature and humidity in within the facility was downright tropical. It is a blast of cold mist that comes as an unwelcome surprise and further wakes the prisoner once they enter a damp, dark room with flickering hallogen lighting overhead.

“Get naked,” goes the rough translation from a Gand standing at a table. He points his finger at the table leaving one with the assumption he either wishes Zet to lay down on the table or to place her clothing on the table. In the corner she sees a Quarren with a hose standing in an enormous puddle, watching the water trickle down the grating floor.

Shockingly enough, this is the first time Zet has been taken into custody in her entire criminal career. But she’s seen and heard enough about how it works. The Quarren gets this bland look as she’s waiting to have her hands unbound so she can strip down as ordered.

She shrugs out of her new jacket first, taking a subtle opportunity to feel over the hidden pockets. Zet is downright startled to feel the small shape of a holdout blaster still tucked away in there. Was Shard half-asleep when she searched her? With her hands up to show she’s not going to try anything funny, she approaches the table to lay her jacket down on it. Her vest and belt follow, then boots, shirt, pants, underthings. Beneath all the bravado and straps and pockets, Zetnu’ri is just another skinny green Twi’lek. She folds her slender arms over her chest, awaiting further instruction in silence.

A guffaw or a chuckle comes from the Quarren once the Twilek is nude and embarrassed. He looks on as the Gand begins to search the items. Having several eyes if of apparent value while searching, because where Shard was unable to find Zet’s secret compartments, the Black Sun have no such difficulty. “What!?” the Gand yells in his native language, surprised as he pulls out a grenade! One, then two, then three, then four, and on and on it goes. His large set of flat teeth chatter as he continues his shock.

The Quarren actually steps closer, water drizzling from the hose at his side as he looks on from behind Zet, sharing the Gand’s bewilderment.

Zet flickers one more glance at the Quarren, her headtails giving an irritated little twitch where they hang down her bare back. Her current unease has more to do with the audience than her state of undress. She’s run with beings like this before and heard the way they talk to each other.

A faint smile starts to pull at her lips as the depth of Shard’s complete failure to search her comes to light. Granted, Zet was hoping to make use of those, but this is the second best outcome. “I guess you get what you pay for, huh boys?”

The Quarren moves behind Zetnu’ri, towards the doorway. He bangs on the heavy metal door and it slides open with a scrape. The Quarren’s tendrils dance and flicker as it relays in a casual amused way what happened. A rumor mill begins regarding the Twilek prisoner and all her grenades.

The door slides shut again once more and suddenly Zetnu’ri is bombarded with torrents of icy cold water. The Black Sun laugh as she is hosed down from head to toe for what seems like an hour to the Twilek but it likely fewer than five minutes.

Most of Zet’s attention is fixed on the Gand, curious to see what else it will find in her jacket. When the holdout blaster never materializes, she carefully schools her features. If she doesn’t get the trenchcoat back it won’t matter anyway.

She lets out a startled squeal as the water hits the small of her back. Twisting to protect her sensitive lekku from the water pressure, she lifts her arms to guard her face as well. Her fingers and toes are beginning to feel numb from cold by the time the hose shuts off, and she’s shivering from head to toe. Swiping water away from her eyes, she flicks it off the ends of her fingers, her shoulders slumped miserably.

The barrage of water continues for some time, well beyond what would be necessary to clean someone. Once the experience becomes boring for the pair, the Quarren turns off the water, leaving the prisoner to shiver.

“You not so tricky now,” the Gand says in its native tongue. Zet can hear the tendrils of the Quarren move as it laughs at her. Another bang on the door, louder this time, and it screeches open. The Aqualesh and Rodian from step inside and grab their prisoner at the arms, pulling her.

The Gand shines his large mouth of teeth at Zet. He picks up her clothes and throws it at her. The pazaak deck remains with the grenades on the table.

Whatever fight Zet had left in her is temporarily washed away by the blast of the hose. Her eyes fix on her cards, then lift to the Gand’s face, but she says nothing. In the end, it’s better to bide her time and stay alive.

She tenses as strong hands close on her biceps, then lets out a soft grunt as she captures her balled-up clothes against her chest. The jacket is particularly bulky and heavy, but she manages. “Now what?” she asks in Huttese, glancing at her two escorts.

The Aqualesh ignores the Huttese but the Rodian turns to address the Twilek. “We put you in box,” it replies in broken Huttese. Rodians have difficulty with languages outside their native tongue. While Huttese is not entirely dissimilar from their own language, the challenge Rodians face in becoming polyglots mean many do not usually bother learning at all.

The facility is like a catacomb. Zet is dragged through multiple corridors before they stop in front of a cell and throw her roughly inside, slamming the heavy metal door.

Then she is alone.

The cell is similar in dimension to the container in Shard’s ship. 8 × 8 but instead of clear plastoid, it seems to be made of concrete. It is cold to the touch, dirty, and shows signs of claw marks; a Trandoshan or similarly equipped captive was held here at some point. There is a simple bed that must have been salvaged from a starship, a rough knitted blanket that has more in common with a sac than something you’d snuggle up with for rest. There is also a small refresher. There is no privacy and no plumbing.

Zet has to fumble several times to keep her grip on all of her things. She’s silent and cooperative, but her head turns from side to side as they walk. Maybe if she pays attention she can memorize the way out, or spot a good hiding place or two, like a trusty vent.

Her bare feet scrabble for purchase when they thrust her into her new living quarters. She spins in place to watch the door close, then backs away to drop her clothes on the bed. Quickly, she dresses — and, finally given the chance, inventories her pockets herself. A dose of ryll and a holdout blaster. Could be worse.

Sitting, she pulls the ‘blanket’ over her lap to try to warm back up after the icewater combined with a long, nude walk. Zet presses the heels of her hands into her eyes and takes in a slow breath. Her shoulders tremble as this quiet moment allows the gravity of the situation to sink in: she’s alone. Her friends have no idea where she is, and she has no clue what the Suns have in store for her.

They leave her there for three days.

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What to do?
Log Entry 120086

At first I was confused about what to do with the money given to me by Zetnu’ri and Santos. It was quite a lot and I have never been paid before. There was nothing to repair on the ship but it had a lot of extra room in the cargo sections.

The market was also very boring. Everywhere I looked there were brand new goods and nothing needed repairing. I was quite upset and started wandering. I realized that I missed Zetnu’ri and her ability to break things. I should do something to help other people in the group not get kidnapped.

I remembered a time when my first master took me to a place where there was nothing but broken parts. I had only to ask one person and I was told about a dozen different locations. I chose the nearest one and when I arrived I saw that it was better than I remembered. The owner of this pile of broken parts was very curious about my presence since he usually only deals with organic life forms. He seemed very eager to help me once he found out that I had credits.

I was going to pick up only items I could carry until the helpful organic told me about delivery. I think I spent almost all of the credits that I was given but I’m sure I can get more because these came so easily.

I’m so eager to get at this pile of parts. I bought so many spare parts for the Rainbow Dash and for the new freighter that we have as well. I’m sure I’ll be able to repair them for a long time. I also bough many upgrade parts. I’m glad that I didn’t have to buy weapons since we have plenty of those lying around. I know they will come in handy when modifying the droids.

View
Bringing Home the Bacon
an e-mail roleplay log

Explosions. Blaster fire. Screams. Falling. Darkness.

The thrum of an active hyper drive is usually how a spacer wakes. It becomes a comforting, familiar friend you can wrap around yourself and snuggle like a blanket. For many spacers, it is the ambient sound of home.

So it is disappointing, then, that this comforting sound rouses a dazed Twi’lek only to make her aware, after a minute to focus her eyes, that she is most certainly not at home. The Rainbow Dash is not here, Lirj is not here, Santos is not here.

Zetnu’ri is alone.

The scoundrel is strapped down, spread eagle, to a flat upright surface. From where she is, she can see space. Seriously. Referring to the ship she is aboard as ‘spartan’ would be an understatement. The super structure has gaps that reveal the void of space. Machinery and ship systems are armored but otherwise clearly visible from her position.

It appears she is in a clear plastoid room (or is it a container?) around 8 × 8, but it is difficult to really tell given her current situation. Ahead of her is a plastoid door, through which a metal walkway is visible. Beyond that, another clear but closed doorway. It is unclear what lies beyond that.

The makeup of the ship is unusual, but Zet remembers the profile – she’s aboard an Aggressor-class assault fighter. There’s little doubt considering the unique design of the rare but notorious Trilon Inc. vessel.

It’s probably a blessing that the combined stress of a concussive missile, being dragged and dropped on a platform hundreds of feet in the air, and then ultimately being kicked right off the side of the thing was enough to make Zet black out. Because she might have squirmed a little on the flight to wherever this is, and when all that’s keeping you in the air is a damaged jetpack attached to a bounty hunter you probably should hold still.

Her breathing changes first as she comes around, and then her head lifts. It takes her a minute to really make sense of what she’s seeing, to try to draw a reasonable connection between it and the last thing she remembers. Her breath catches in the back of her throat as she registers the sensation of shackles on her limbs. She gives the one on her right hand a half-hearted tug, but she doesn’t really expect to find any give.

Trying to swallow a queasy wave of panic, she stays quiet, scanning her environment for any useful details. It’s not like she’s never had to pull an escape artist before, but what’s the good of getting loose if she doesn’t have a follow-through? Especially on a relatively small ship like this.

The smuggler is left to wonder for a half hour before she detects movement at the other end of the ship. A shape comes into view beyond the far, clear doors. A woman with dark hair steps out from beyond view. Turning to the side, she reaches for something and lifts her arms to place a familiar helmet on. Shard.

The Mandalorian turns to face the doors, palms at what must be a console, and with a hiss the clear door opens, the huntress stepping through. Zet notices that almost invisible ‘whoosh’ of atmosphere emptying into space. The interior of the ship really is exposed to the void of space. Shard makes her way across the metal grating. She seems to be labouring in her movements, her feet heavy.

Once she reaches the pod in which her prisoner is held, the bounty hunter presses another console. Red lights flash inside the room with Zet and the screams of sirens signal alert.

Zet spends some of that time with her eyes closed, trying to channel a little bit of Callia’s freaky Jedi serenity. That is, until thinking about Callia and Santos and Qurzer gets her brain caught in some kind of crazy rat wheel of wondering whether Teemo was involved in what sure felt like a setup — maybe they’re all dead now.

She also looks down at herself, trying to gauge without the use of her hands how much of her stuff is gone. Neither of her blaster pistols hang at her hips anymore, which is hardly a surprise. But her vest feels a bit too heavy to be empty. Does she still have a few grenades in her pockets?

After half an hour she’s seriously getting bored, and she’s started to fidget with the binder on her right hand in earnest. Sometimes she can twist her wrist just the right way to get loose… But then she catches movement out of the corner of her eye and goes still, turning her head to watch Shard’s approach. The part where the back of the ship is utterly separate from the cockpit will prove to be another issue entirely even if she does get down from this table. The Twi’lek flinches as the sirens go off, her grey eyes fixed on the bounty hunter. She’d be worried about the klaxons if she really believed Shard would go to all this trouble just to space her.

It had not been visible at first, but as the first set of clear plastoid doors open and the armour-clad huntress steps forward it becomes apparent there is a small airlock section. The doors close behind the Mandalorian, a hiss of atmosphere being filled in the airlock to pressurize can be heard, and after a minute of the huntress staring directly ahead, eyes invisible through the ‘T’ of her dark visor, the inner clear doors open and Shard steps closer to Zetnu’ri.

“Good morning,” she says with a smile, her voice missing the low end frequencies as it comes through the vocoder. “I was beginning to think you wouldn’t wake until we arrive,” she goes on.

Zet smiles thinly in response, though it doesn’t quite reach her eyes. “Well it’s not the feather bed I’m used to, so…” She wiggles her fingers, in the off-chance Shard doesn’t take her meaning. “Look, I know the Suns put a pretty big price tag on my head, but me and my friends can outbid them. I’m not gonna insult your intelligence by asking if you know what they do to the beings who screw them over.” Keeping cool in the heat of the moment is one of her specialties, but this time her voice cracks a little with nerves.

Shard listens, though she moves behind the slate that Zet is held face forward on, a shuffling sound ensuing. “If I had a credit for each time I heard a counter-offer like that,” she muses, the tin of her voice carrying with it a chuckle. “Not that I don’t believe you. I’m counting your credits right now. You can afford me,” she says, laying out on table the belongings she confiscated from her prisoner while she was unconscious.

“From what I hear, you’ve been crafty little kretches, having all sorts of galaxy-hopping fun and striking it rich,” the huntress teases, bagging the items and sealing them off, gently laid on the table before she comes around before the Twi’lek once more.

So her money is gone. In spite of everything, Zet feels a flicker of frustration at that. She draws in a slow breath. It doesn’t matter, they can make it back.

Shard will have found quite a bit tucked away in the smuggler’s various pockets. Two blaster pistols and her shock gloves — but she missed all of the grenades stashed away in her vest, and the holdout blaster she pulled off the Sullustan back at the mine. Both her comms, her scanner goggles, her breath mask. Sabacc deck, chance cubes, an assortment of pazaak cards, nine stim packs, her climbing gear and a pair of glow rods.

“Yeah, you might have heard we ran the Corellian Shuffle in record time. I can’t believe you wanna waste all this talent on a measly thirty thousand. We just came back from the Barab system with almost twice that. I’m only asking you to think about what makes good business sense.”

“You’re right, of course,” Shard agrees, standing in front of her captive. “It is a terrible waste of your talents. Certainly a notorious nogoodnik such as yourself would have many fine job opportunities to keep my pockets lined with credits.”

There isn’t any dishonesty in the Mandalorian’s voice, but Zet can tell the woman is smiling widely. “Hey, maybe if they let you go we can do some business?” she asks with mock enthusiasm. “I don’t really know what’s in store for you. I don’t know what you did to piss off the Black Suns in the first place.”

“They aren’t gonna let me go.” All the warmth and charm dissipates from Zet’s voice, just like that. “I tipped off the authorities when I found out I was delivering a cargo hold full of slaves, and then I ran. The ship was seized when it docked. All that product,” she says the word with no lack of irony, “was probably worth way more than thirty thousand to them. I guess what I’m trying to say is so am I, and you know I’ve got the money. So what’s the big deal?”

The huntress stands there motionless, Zet seeing her reflection in the gloss of the Mandalorian helmet. She says nothing for a long moment.

“Admirable,” the crackle of broadcast returns. Shard raises her hands up and removes her helmet, shifting her weight as she holds it at her hip. Her free hand tousles her long dark hair. It had been held in a tight braid two days ago, but the situation has deteriorated into a frizzed mess. The human’s eyes narrow as she scrutinizes the Twi’lek, a known liar.

“Okay, so you saw a line in the sand and you decided you wouldn’t cross it,” Shard says in a warmer tone, the low range of her voice present where it was lacking through the helmet. “I get it. I do.”

“It cost you though. You made a choice to break a code and now you’re on my ship,” she continues, raising her brow. “You’re asking me to break a code. I think that’s ironic but I can never keep straight what the definition really is.”

Zet has nothing to lose and everything to gain if she can get Shard on her side here. She knows it, and she knows Shard knows it. But for once she isn’t lying, and her somber expression doesn’t waver. “Umm. I guess it might be?” She tries to summon up a faint smile. “This can’t be the first time you’ve been in this position — you pick someone up and it’s not like they killed someone’s kid or something, they actually did something surprisingly not awful… You’ve never made an exception?”

Shard’s expression sours suddenly. She straightens up and shakes her head vigorously. “You talk pretty but you’ve got no clue,” she says, looking down through the ship and into the patterns of light caused by hyperspace travel.

“Making exceptions gets people you care about hurt,” the huntress mutters, looking beyond the cosmic phenomenon.

She takes a moment before returning her attention to Zet. “Your job was to move cargo and not ask questions. Mine is much the same. You are the cargo and if I start second-guessing things the way you did, people-” she stammers, “People get hurt.”

Shard blinks and runs her gloved fingers along her cheek where she bears a scar running vertically from her lower cheek to above her eye. Her green eyes themselves are undamaged.

“This is the system. This is how things are done. Besides,” she says, returning to a more casual, albeit still tense tone, “If the bounty specified dead I’d have killed you with your friends at that greasy Hutt’s palace.”

Zet blinks, immediately realizing she’s said exactly the wrong thing. Her brow furrows as she observes Shard’s reaction in silence. No one tweaks out like that unless there’s some kind of story. Money can’t be the only thing making her tick. If she can just pry it out of her…

That train of thought comes screeching to a halt. Zet draws in an audible breath, suddenly hearing her pulse pounding in her ears. “Did you?” she presses softly. “Kill them.”

“I actually don’t know,” she says in a neutral tone. “I didn’t intend to, is my point,” she explains, though it is a semantic point Zet likely does not prioritize. “After you et al handled yourselves so well on Bespin, I knew I had to step up my game. A fixer hooked me up with some networked security droids and it turns out they worked like a charm.” She pats at her bracer. “I really don’t know what they did after we left. I only needed them around to get you to me.”

After her monologue she looks up at Zetnu’ri once more. “I think it went quite well, actually. Don’t you?” she grins and gives the Twi’lek’s ribs a very light jab.

Zet swallows. There weren’t that many droids, right? After how they cut through a ton of them back in the Barab system, how much of a challenge could it have been?

She twitches at the touch, refocusing her eyes on Shard’s face. “Only because Teemo doesn’t keep office chairs on his front step.”

Shard snorts, “Why do you think I picked a landing pad?” She offers a little laugh and shrugs. “I didn’t see any chairs this time, but I did see something new and glowing.” The huntress raises her brow to make sure Zet takes her meaning.

“I found that interesting.”

Zet smiles again, but her eyes are hard. “Then I guess you better hope your droids didn’t turn her into a splatter on the pavement, because the Empire won’t pay as much for a dead Jedi.” A beat. “On the other hand, it might be better for you if they did.”

The human purses her lips and thinks for a moment, examining the Twi’lek and her sudden arrogant posture. “Oh maybe. The Jedi are tough as dewback leather,” she replies in earnest. “Then again, you seemed so uncertain the Jedi even survived the droids a moment ago.”

Shard flashes her own casual grin and raps her gloved fingertips off her helmet like a drum. “I don’t care either way. Not yet. Getting caught up in ambition and the prospect of all those credits would only distract me from the current bounty. You, Zetnu’ri.”

On the surface it might look like arrogance, but underneath it all it’s just the same old fear. Zet and Callia might butt heads all the time, but when it comes down to it, the Jedi exile is a friend and a comrade. She doesn’t want to find out that the droids killed Callia, and she doesn’t want a bounty hunter of this skill trying to hunt her down. Nevermind what will happen if and when Shard discovers that she’s not the only Force-sensitive in the party.

“Yay,” Zet replies unenthusiastically. “When do we get there? I know I’m dying to find out what the Suns have planned.”

“Not long now,” Shard states matter-of-factly, looking down at her bracer and calling up a brilliant blue 3D image of their position in relation to a series of star systems. The huntress glances at her captive and pouts. “For what it’s worth, 30k isn’t that much and they want you alive, not dead. They must have something planned for you that doesn’t involve an airlock. Talented lady like you, they’ll probably leave a mark and put you to work or something. I dunno.”

From the nervous pull of Zet’s lips, leaving a mark and putting her to work is not actually anything she wants from the Suns, at all. Look at the job that got her into this mess in the first place — and she knows all too well the kind of ‘work’ Twi’leks tend to get.

She looks at the holographic map anyway, trying to spot anything that looks familiar. Astrogation is hardly her forte, but she’s spent half her life on ships. “How do people even get into your line of work? Turning good beings over to really, really bad ones for a mediocre paycheck…” If she has an ulterior motive for the question, it doesn’t show. Zet just sounds resigned.

The huntress chuckles. “Mediocre pay is only when mediocre smugglers don’t keep their word,” she jokes.

“I’ve got no warm fuzzies collecting on your bounty, lady. I know you meant well, " she goes on, returning her attention to Zet and smiling as she gives the Twi’lek a longer view of the astrogation readout. Their destination seems to be a binary star system with several planets. It’s not possible to tell much more than that. Oh, and there’s a nebula.

“You’re scared. I can tell. The others I hunt usually aren’t. That might give you an idea about how well I sleep at night,” Shard says with a grin. “We agree on what bad guys are, trust me. The part we disagree on is how good you are. You, honey, are no Jedi.”

That elicits Zet’s first genuine laugh since waking up. “Uh, who would want to be? All they get to do is sit around staring at the wall and feel bad whenever they draw a weapon to protect themselves. And act all pious or whatever.” That’s not really how she feels about Callia, who certainly has done more interesting things than that, but it’s the impression she has of the Jedi order. “And then when they go bad, it’s just like, what??” She doesn’t deny that she’s scared; she just shrugs.

“Go bad?” Shard asks, curiosity piqued as a Narglatch. “Did your Jedi go bad, or another?”

For her part, the Mandalorian agrees with Zet. The Jedi code seemed overly heartless, even for a bounty hunter. “I thought they swallowed their feelings or something like lobotimized waitresses.”

“No, not her. She’s on the straight and narrow. We met one who did a few weeks ago. The Force is messed up.” Zet can’t help but crack another faint grin. "That’s definitely what they want you to think, anyway. Have you known any?’

The Mandalorian caresses her helmet at her side idly. “Not really. No. Well. I guess yes,” she decides.

“My people have been in a civil struggle, similar to the rest of the galaxy. A microcosm, I guess,” she says as she paces a little during the recollection. “Old ways and the new. I was one of many who insisted we return to our roots, embrace our heritage. The Jedi- he helped resist us. Later, he was important in liberating us.”

Zet is vaguely aware of the fact that Mandalorians always seem to be attacking one thing or another, but she’s hardly a history buff. “That must’ve been a long time ago if a Jedi was involved. Unless you know where to find another one in hiding. Or maybe you sold that one too?”

Shard straightens up and shakes her head. “I did not. I was young, it was during the war. There were many wars, I suppose,” she explains. “I was impressed by his ability. I understand what it means to confront a Jedi.”

The huntress turns to address Zet again. "I understand their limits. I’m surprised you’ve got a Jedi running with you scoundrels. Is this how they go, uh, wrong? "

The smuggler remembers, suddenly, her conversation with Santos as they fled Selonia. How her presence there while Nossk taunted him was the thing that kept him grounded in spite of everything his former partner was doing; even though all she really did was fail to get out of the way of an incoming ship and fall unconscious.

Worry flashes across her face, furrowing her brow and erasing her sardonic smile. “I sure hope not.”

Human eyes narrow, carefully examining the Twi’lek’s reaction. A mirror.

Astrogation chimes and Shard steps back, replacing her helmet. “Bury this deep, Zetnu’ri,” she says through the chilled sound of the vocoder. “They will pull the truth about your friends from you if there’s even a hint of it in your pretty grey eyes.”

“Like I don’t know,” Zet mutters. She rolls her shoulders, twisting slightly against the binders – not trying to escape, just trying to loosen her numb limbs. “Hey, uh, before you go will you do me a favour?”

“Yes,” Shard states. “What do you need?”

“I’ve been building pazaak decks since I was like ten years old.” Zet doesn’t look even a little bit embarrassed to be sentimental about one of the least valuable items Shard just pulled out of her jacket. “I don’t suppose you’d tuck those back in my pocket for me. I’m not exactly gonna papercut you to death through all that armor.” The Suns might take them anyway, not to mention what little Shard wasn’t able to find, but it’s worth a shot.

The Mandalorian tilts her head to the side. Zet cannot see her face but her body language suggests the huntress is amused.

Shard takes a moment behind the slab the Twi’lek is stuck on. Returning into view, she sidles up to the prone woman, holding the cards up. “If this is a weapon,” she speaks firmly, “use it on the Suns. Not me. Where do you want it?”

Genuinely, Zet sees no value in turning this into some kind of trick. She holds still when Shard approaches to try to make that point absolutely clear. “Thanks. Same place you found my credits.” That would be one of the cleverly sewn inner pockets of her jacket. “The only thing I usually hurt with those is someone’s wallet. I’m gonna have to make that nineteen thou back somehow.” She winks rogueishly.

Shard laughs through her helmet. “I have faith you’ll find many suckers to play with where you’re going,” she says, though it was meant in a jovial way.

“Your credits make up for defenestrating me with office furniture on Cloud City,” the huntress muses without shame. The Mandalorian respects a challenge.

Once she has finished running her hands up the Twi’lek’s sides, feeling at her for the place to slip the cards away, Shard steps back and begins to leave.

“Oh, and Zet?” She calls. Once the Twi’lek’s attention is on her, the huntress raises her arm and fires a pressure loaded dart into her captive’s neck. “Good luck.”

The world sizzles and glows like the Nar Shaddaa skyline. The world bends to sound and sparkle and time loses meaning.

View
Roleplay Log: The Visit
an email roleplay log

Santos isn’t really sure what time it is. No doubt it’s unreasonably late, but at this point in time, he doesn’t really care. He has no concept of how long they “fight” with Shard lasted, or how much time he spent making demands with Teemo. At least he had the presence of mind to wash off the dried blood clinging to him. His own blood. He didn’t even get a chance to fight back. A chance to protect her like he promised. He dressed himself in his uniform, instead of his usual fashion. It just seemed more appropriate, given where he was going, what he was going to do.

He stands at the door, trying to muster the strength to knock. Tears are already streaming down his face, regardless of how hard he tries to stay collected. At last, he manages to rap softly on the door of the cramped apartment that had become another home to him.

Usually one of Zet’s parents answers quickly, but Santos has never showed up here with his friend at this hour, and both of them tend to work early. The door opens a crack after a few minutes. For anyone who couldn’t see in the dark it would be hard to tell which Twi’lek it was, but he can see the flash of green that would indicate it’s Zet’s father.

After a moment he pulls it open the rest of the way, blinking sleepily. There’s a small holdout blaster in his right hand, which should come as no surprise in this neighborhood. At least it’s pointed at the floor. “What’s going on?” Yune asks immediately, ushering the Chiss inside so he can get the door closed.

Santos doesn’t even register the holdout blast. Between the heavy blaster pistol and vibroknife he carries at all times, he completely understands the need for protection. He does enter, however, almost as soon as he’s given the chance. He’s relieved that Yune opened the door. Somehow it seems like it would be easier to break the news to him first. Easier, but still a daunting task. He takes a deep breath, sniffling slightly, and tries to find the words to explain how he let their only child get captured and sold to the Black Suns. “I’m sorry,” is the best he could do, “I broke my promise.”

Yune shuts the door and locks it, then reaches to the light panel beside it, turning it on low. He gives a glance towards the back of the small apartment, but his wife hasn’t yet appeared. The elderly Twi’lek can put two and two together. Maybe Santos has dropped in once or twice on his own, but never in uniform and certainly never in tears.

He steps nearer, his face drawn with worry, and touches Santos’ elbow. “Sit down… please. Tell me what happened. Is she…?” He can’t quite bring himself to ask if Zet is still alive or not. Maybe Santos doesn’t even know.

“No.” Santos blurts it out so quickly, so forcefully, it would be clear to anyone that’s he’s trying to convince himself as much as reassure Zet’s father. “I don’t think they would… we’ve had a hunter following us for a few weeks now. Likely longer, at least we’ve known about her for a few weeks.” Seeing the worry on the Twi’lek’s face, Santos pulls him in for a hug. “I’m going to find her, Yune. Whatever it takes I’m going to find her.”

After that small touch, Yune has held himself apart somewhat, closing his eyes and pinching the bridge of his nose as he processes what Santos is telling him. He’s not really expecting the hug, startling, but he puts an arm around the taller man’s shoulders and tightly embraces him in return. “I know.” It sounds like he’s getting choked up now, and after a moment he pulls away to rub at his eyes with the heel of his hand. “She told us it was a big cartel… all we could figure was that it couldn’t be the Hutts.” Zet always only told her parents what she felt they needed to know.

Jirgu appears in the doorway to the bedroom, wrapped in a robe. When she takes in Santos’ appearance she pales immediately, raising her hand to her mouth.

“She didn’t want to worry you.” Santos can understand her not wanting to tell them everything. Her parent’s have fought their own battles in their life.

As Yune pulls away Santos notices Jirgu. He knows enough about non-Chiss by now to know that she hasn’t become pale because of the poor air quality on the moon. He approaches her slowly, stalling, perhaps, hoping he’ll figure out what to say to bring colour back to her skin. He doesn’t, and simply stands in front of her, eyes on the floor like a child who knows they’ve let a parent down.

Jirgu doesn’t even know how to respond. Has she ever even seen Santos without a shit-eating grin plastered across his face? She looks past him at her husband, who meets her eyes and shakes his head.

“I always knew this would happen,” she whispers. “I told her.”

“Jirgu’ri,” Yune begins, but she makes a dismissive gesture to silence him.

“It’s not your fault, Santos. Look at me.” Visibly holding back tears, Jirgu dips her head to try to look into his face. “She did this to herself.”

Santos struggles to meet Jirgu’s gaze, himself holding back tears. “I’m going to find her,” he repeats with a quiet, shaky voice. “They won’t kill her right away… and I know people who can help. I’m going to find her.” He’s a little more resolute that time. A little more sure of himself. There’s nothing else he can do really. He has to find her, even if it means losing himself. He has to.

She was trying not to think too hard about her daughter being killed at all, actually. Jirgu makes a soft sound, covering her mouth, and Yune quickly moves to her side. When he pulls her close to him, she hides her face in his shoulder.
“If anyone can, you will.” Yune tries to take Santos’ hand and give it a reassuring squeeze. “We don’t have much, but our small resources are at your disposal. Do you have somewhere to stay?”

Santos nods his head slightly. “We earned enough while we were away to get back our ship, and made a few friends along the way.” He hates seeing Zet’s parents in anguish. He’s got the support of Callia and Qurzer, but do they have anyone else? “It might be a bit cramped, but you’re welcome to stay there if you want to be around people.”

“Believe me, this is the first place she’ll want to be.” Yune doesn’t need to worry, Zet always heads straight to her parents when they get to Nar Shaddaa.

Santos slowly makes his way to the door. Yune and Jirgu may need some time together to truly process this, and they both need to start work in a few short hours. He stops before exiting, and looks back at Jirgu. “She’ll be hungry, when this is over. We have a have a small kitchen on the Dash, but no one cooks like you. She’ll appreciate having something waiting for her.”

Jirgu pulls free of Yune, crossing to the refrigeration unit. She pulls out a tightly sealed canister – no doubt last night’s leftovers. She carries this over to Santos before he can excuse himself. “Just hang onto this until you find her,” she says softly, then quickly leans in to give him a tight hug. “Thank you for looking out for her, Santos. Be careful.”

Santos accepts the canister and hug with a weak smile. “Thank you. I know she’ll be grateful for a home cooked meal.” As he pulls away from the hug he places 2000 credits in her hand and folds her fingers around them. “This should help you out until Zet and I can get back to ‘honest’ work.” Before she can object he’s exited the apartment and closed the door behind him.

View
Episode VIII
Log Entry 120085

Met some new humanoids this cycle. The interaction went well but I was unable to repair the damaged gun of the one designated Zet. She seems to not want to allow me to repair other things. I am not concerned since there are always other items to repair.

The others did not provide me with their designation. This does not trouble me since maybe they do not have a designation like me. I hope that they might provide me with a designation after finding out that I do not have one but they simply asked about me default designation. The one designated Qurzer was inquiring about my designation but did not give me one.

I went with them on their journey and we had to navigate the hyperspace lanes. I was able to assist the one who’s designation I learned was Santos. We successfully managed to navigate to the desired star system. On the journey I was able to repair the gun I was not able to fix during my first encounter with Zet. She seemed to like the fact that I gave her a functioning gun. I was glad to be able to fix something since it had been several hours since I attempted a repair and I was not able to fix it then.

We arrived at a mining facility and could not contact the facility in any way. After we landed I had to fix the doors to allow us to enter. This was especially good since I had not repaired anything earlier that day. After we got in I was able to do some minor repairs of blaster fire scorch marks. There was a little bit of blood but that is more cleaning and not repair so I left it alone.

The rest of the crew proceeded to look through the remaining rooms and take any valuables. I was able to repair the vid screen of one of the entertainment machines, it was a good feeling.

We reached the administrators office. There was a restraining bolt in a droid there that I removed. We waited till he restarted and I helped Qurzer hack into the computer. It showed me that there were several shield generators that had failed and needed to be repaired. I was excited by the opportunity.

After we had questioned the droid about the facility it appeared that he did not know much about what had been going on. We moved on and found that there was another ship docked so we decided to investigate.

The ship was empty save for the corpse of the original captain. The logs were wiped so we did not know where the freighter came from. It was otherwise in good shape which was disappointing since I could not repair an undamaged ship. We move out to the damaged storm shield generators but altered course since they seemed to be failing one by one. I was not sure if we were trying to do preventative maintenance or something else but we altered course to the undamaged generator and found a cloud car approaching it. Zet though it would be a good idea to blast it and took the cloud car out. I was very glad she did because the cloud car then impacted to shield generator and broke it. I was able to get to the generator. I made the repair simple by harvesting some spare components from the freighters shield systems.

We returned to the mining facility after that. I stayed in the freighter and hovered while the rest of the crew went to save the miners. They kept talking about the other droids in the facility and saying that they were fighting the miners and the crew. I saw one of the loader droid approach the YT-1300 and thought that I should help so I blasted it with the freighters guns. After that we quickly disabled the other droid in the way and left with the remaining miners who were alive.

We did take the freighter with us since the captain is now dead and does not need it nor the several crates of weapons on it. I had to pilot it back to Nar Shaddaa so I did not have to opportunity to repair during that time.

Once we made it back to Teemo the Hut’s palace the party told him that his mine was in ruins. I hope I get the chance to go back since there are many things that need repairing at the mine. He let us go and we left to head back to the ship.

We were attacked on our way to the ship. There was a bounty hunter that appeared and captured Zet. I tried to shoot the line securing Zet to the bounty hunter and broke the connection but then she was pushed off the ledge by some combat droids and the bounty hunter flew off with her. There was sadly no damage to the ship and I did not get to repair anything.

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