Star Wars: Edge of the Empire

Episode VIII part 2: The Darkest Timeline
Santos' Journal

Callia needs to worry now.

All I can think about right now is how Shard needs to die.

She thinks she can just come on down to Teemo’s place, set up an ambush by the Rainbow Dash, almost kill me AND abduct Zet? She needs to die. I’m going to make her tell me exactly where she took Zet, and then I’m going to have to end her.

And then the Black Suns will need to be dealt with. There are a lot of Black Suns out there. They need to be dealt with. Callia needs to worry.

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Episode VIII part 1: Everything is Awesome!
Santos' Journal

Things could not have gone better!

As predicted, Teemo made some last minute changes to the terms of our agreement. Suddenly 50 000 credits wasn’t quite enough, so he added a few errands. Effectively, he sends us on whatever busy work he wants, but we still get paid, so whatever. Right off the bat he sent us to a mine he’d acquired in the Barab system, and kindly pawned off an eccentric repair droid on us at the same time.

Barab III is a shit hole. No real atmosphere to speak of, and a dead Trandoshan in the washroom. Ok, so the Trandoshan probably wasn’t always dead or in the washroom, so we had a mystery on our hands. But first, we had to collect 100 000 credits for Teemo, which would have proved difficult since the mine only had 95 000 credits on the books. Turns out the books lied as Zet found a safe with a cool 165 000 in it. Seems like the mine Overlord was pocketing the difference.

With that mystery solved we had to address the fact that the shield generators protecting the mine from destruction due to some kind of space storm. Zet, Garbol and I jumped into a conveniently placed freighter, occupied by a few conveniently placed crates of weapons and one inconveniently placed dead Sullustan, and set out to save the day. The generators seemed like they were being systematically destroyed, so I brilliantly headed straight for the next most logical target, and we were able to intercept a vehicle intent on bringing down one of the two functioning generators. Zet took control of the weapon system, and immediately annihilated the vehicle, because she’s awesome. Unfortunately, the wreckage still managed to damage the generator, and Garbol had to repair it. I guess it was fortunate for it, robot seems to get off on fixing things for some reason. Must be a programming flaw.

We headed back to the mining facilities and were soon greeted by a host of rebellious droids. Zet scurried off into the ventilation system as Zets do, and I felt the need to dig up pretty crystals in the sand. When I finished playing archeologist, I went back to the Rainbow Dash and opened fire on the droids exiting the building. All the fleshy people made it on to the ship, including the surviving mine workers, and we set off, back to Nar Shaddaa and glory.

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Episode VIII: New employment
zet's journal

I always forget how much I love Nar Shaddaa until I touch down there. It’s a dangerous, dirty place to live, but it’s home. Santos and I even had time to stop in and see my parents before Teemo would grant us an audience, and misha was really happy to hear that we’ll be sticking around in Hutt space for a while. Plus, we got to pick up Lirj.

Teemo was his typical charming self. He tried to insist that 50 thousand credits wasn’t our original agreement, and then informed us that we had to do some work for him just to begin paying off our debt. Which, whatever… it was all worth it when we walked into the hangar bay to see the Rainbow Dash in all her glory again. We got saddled with this weird droid too, who promptly broke one of my blasters to fix the one that was all dinged up after our foray into close combat with Stormtroopers. Ugh.

We were sent to the Barab system, to check on some old mine for Teemo. In my opinion he should’ve sent someone out BEFORE he bought the place. It was falling apart and the droids there were having some kind of political uprising. The shields holding the atmospheric storm at bay were being slowly turned off. I’m not really sure what Callia and Qurzer got themselves into inside the factory, but Santos, the droid and I took off to keep the shields from failing and I blew some stuff up because I’m the best. We had a brief firefight right in front of the Dash as well, but all things considered this was one of the least disastrous adventures we’ve been on since forming up this crew. The droid even redeemed itself by bringing a shield generator back online.

We’re gonna make out like bandits. Teemo wanted 100,000 credits, and I found a safe with 165,000 inside. The books say the mine only had 95,000. Even after paying off the surviving workers to make sure they can get back to their families, we’re all getting a huge payout from this one. And now we can make out like we chipped in 5,000 to meet the demands Teemo made as an act of good faith. After that the sky’s the limit now that we have the Dash back again.

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Galactic News Bulletin - BlasTech Loses a Legend
Correspondent Trace Stardust

The lead designer responsible for some of the most iconic blaster pistols and rifles has formally resigned from BlasTech Industries to explore his own new business venture, Raider Arms.

Joran Raider is credited for much of BlasTech’s success during the turbulent Clone Wars and has helped ensure the company’s prosperity during the dawn of the Galactic Empire.

BlasTech Industries has declined to comment.

I’m Trace Stardust with the Galactic News Network.

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Episode VII: Heading Home
zet's journal

We’re so richhhh I almost can’t even bemad at Gorn for not telling us he was sending us to an intir inturde empire ship or warning us hiss sidekick was gonna run off and hack computers and get us in trouble. We sold a bunch of Jedi stuff to the admiral whose been blackmailing Callia and he gloated about having her old master’s lightsaber which we’re gonna steal back for her. We got 75 thousand credits! Then we helped Cassie hack into some computers and shot a bunch of stormtroopers to get back onto the Void Crow. While there was no gravity. Santos crashed a tie fighter.

We’ll be home soon!!! I haven’t seen my parentsin months and wee can pay off the Hutts and get our ship back and be home everywhere we go!!!! Also people don’t treat nonhumans so bad in the outer rim. i’m glad santos always has whiskey for some reason.

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Galactic News Bulletin - Unrest on Selonia!
Correspondent Trace Stardust

We are beginning to get reports of civilian unrest on the ocean world of Selonia.
It is not yet clear what sparked the violent uprising. However, we do know that recent changes in the organizational structure of the Selonian government and their new contract with Corellian Engineering Corporation had mixed reviews among Selonian engineers working aboard the ship yards.

CEC authorities are attempting to get the situation under control but for their safety, many have retreated to the shipyards. As it stands right now, we can only tell you that the few access points to the Selonian dens are barricaded by the Selonians.

Stay tuned for coverage as it happens.

En route to Selonia, I’m Trace Stardust with the Galactic News Network.

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Roleplay log: Chiss culture lessons
an e-mail roleplay log

It’s going to be a several-day journey to their destination and day and night kind of become meaningless in hyperspace, especially when one of the two smugglers always needs to be awake to keep an eye on the ship. An hour or so ago Zet announced it was her turn to nap, curled into an improbably small ball in her copilot chair, and zonked out.

Now she stretches as she comes to, leaning her head from one side to the other to work a kink out of her neck. “Mm. Did I miss anything?” she asks with a yawn, rubbing at her eyes.

“Well, we passed some stars on the left,” Santos gestures to the left with his hand, although with the co-pilot’s chair actually in front of the pilot’s she Zet doesn’t really see it. “To the right we had some more stars, and about 20 minutes ago we we’re headed for a large fleet of Imperial Star Destroyers, which on closer inspection turned out to me more stars.” Flying through space isn’t always that exciting.

“Sleep well?”

Given the amount of excitement they seem to encounter every time they make a stopover, Zet doesn’t mind that space is relatively boring.

“About as well as you’d figure. I miss having a ship with real beds.” She worms around in her seat so she’s kind of sitting sideways, her legs draped over one of the arms. Now she can see him! “I can fly for a bit if you’re tired. Otherwise I guess we’ll have to find another way to pass the time. It sounds like I Spy is out of the question.”

“I’m good for now.” Santos isn’t letting go of the controls a minute longer than he has to. He’s not worried about Zet driving them into a nearby star or anything, he just doesn’t want to be slowed down. He’s close to getting his ship back, and faster than light isn’t fast enough. “Anyway, I thought we could talk business for a while. That grift we pulled on Bhel was brilliant. We could use it again, with a few kinks worked out.”

Really, Zet’s still more comfortable flying with Santos awake and around anyway, so she’s not going to complain. Propping her arms behind her head, she peers curiously over at him. “Yeah, might as well use the fact that no one knows or cares about the Chiss out here to our advantage. We pulled it together pretty fast last time. What were you thinking?”

“It needs to be tighter, more practiced.” The Chiss meets Zet’s eyes as she peeks. "For one, a Chiss delegate or their aide probably wouldn’t refer to the Expansionary Defense Force as " lots of stuff." He probably wouldn’t either. As much as he’s tried to distance himself from Csilla, he was part of the EDF for a time.

Zet can’t help but grin crookedly. “I was improvising. You don’t like to talk about Csilla very much so I don’t pry into it. You’re right, if we try that again I’m gonna need to know more about what we’re talking about in case we run into something who knows just a little more about the Chiss than that they think they’re better than everyone else.”

“You were right though,” Santos decides to just jump right into a history lesson. “The Ascendancy has a lot of stuff. We are old. While the Republic has crumbled and rebuilt itself a few times, the Ascendancy has for all intents and purposes, always been.” That Zet’s chair can’t turn to face him reminds Santos of how much the Void Crow is a piece of junk. He’d much rather be having a face to face conversation, at the very least, side to side. Who designed this ship? “So most of the technology here is redundant to us. The Chiss would need something truly innovative to make associating with aliens worthwhile.”

Zet nods, idly swinging one of her feet in the air where it dangles off her chair. This isn’t going to stay comfortable for very long. “Yeah, you’ve given me that impression. Do you guys spell that out to anyone who’s tried to broker a contract with you in the past? Like, would someone in Bel’s position know that, usually? Or do you just forget to send a reply?”

“To be honest, I have no idea.” Santos shrugs his shoulders, not that anyone could see. “I heard of maybe one contact with this part of the galaxy while growing up.” He thinks about the question for a moment, trying to work out an approach they could use. “We’re not the only people in our corner of the universe though. There are some pretty hostile worlds in the Unknown Region. It’s not entirely implausible that we would be at war and in need of an edge.”

“Well Bel said that every time the CEC has reached out to the Ascendency they got nothing but radio static back, so…” Zet shrugs. “It sounds like usually you guys just can’t be bothered. But we should have a more specific angle the next time we try to run this in case we find someone who got a lucky answer. Something better than tourism,” she adds with a crooked smile.

“So let’s go for war.” Santos offers as that angle. “No one over here really knows whats going on over there, and war is unpredictable enough that it could conveniently break out after any contact has been made.” He passes control of the crow over to Zet, testing her perception. There isn’t much to do at the moment, bit it will be good practice anyway.

“New topic. Chiss speak Basic. We speak it well. In many cases we speak it better than the people here.” As much as Santos wants to distance himself from Csillan society, it’s still a small part of him. “So you do the talking because the Chiss Delegate chooses not to use such an ‘uncultured tongue.’”

She doesn’t initially realize, particularly because she isn’t even sitting properly in her chair to watch her own display. “I guess we just have to spin it so it sounds like the Chiss have a good reason to want all this antiquated Known Region technology.” That part, she can improvise.

Zet laughs quietly. “With that accent you think you speak it well?” She’s probably teasing given how horrendous some other species’ accents tend to be. “Uncultured tongue, got it. Although I can also see the benefit of leading someone to believe that they’re able to speak freely without worrying that they’re going to offend you… there’s a lot to be said for honesty. Given how many humans especially are ready to treat other beings’ Twi’lek employees like furniture. Maybe we should play that one by ear.”

Santos shrugs. “Who needs honesty? The goal is to fool people into giving us stuff. Let them worry about what they are going to say, worry that they’re about to lose a lucrative contract.” He sits up enough to access the console, to continue his search for Palob’s family. “And I wouldn’t necessarily say that your technology is antiquated, it’s simply not very innovative. We use similar technology, but it just looks better when we do it. Anyway, all we need to do is convince the target that they have something the Chiss don’t, that will give them an upper hand.”

“Well sometimes we aren’t going to be going into places to steal stuff,” Zet explains patiently. “Maybe we’ll be there to find stuff out. Callia was only able to move around unnoticed on Bel’s ship because people thought they could ignore her. Trust me on this one.”

She stretches her legs out, half glancing at her own monitor. “What kind of- hey.” His copilot twists around gracefully in her chair to sit up and face the controls properly. “When did you do this?” There’s nothing to really worry about but so long as she’s meant to be practicing she’ll pay attention. “I was gonna ask what kind of things are out there in Chiss space that you have to fight. My best lies are wrapped in something true.” Such as, I’m not going to let my friends kill you.

“Well, Nagai pirates are always a threat.” Santos starts counting off on his fingers as he goes down the list. He started with the only one Zet is likely to have heard off. “And the Croke. They’re a bit of angry force-sensitive squids. Then there are the Mngall-Mngall. Stay away from them.”

Santos pauses for a moment as he thinks about other threats. “I heard some rumors of something from a different galaxy all together picking of solitary ships on the edge of space’ but that’s probably just a myth.”

“You have force-sensitive squids?” Zet could not sound less happy. She slouches down in her chair, experimenting a bit with the ship’s steering. All the better to not go scraping up against the other ship if she has to help dock it again, right? “Hey, how would you even hear about a rumour like that anyway. Do they leave witnesses?”

“We have a branch of our military that we like to call ‘Intelligence.’ Is that not done here?” Zet should be able to pick up on Santos’ mocking tone. They certainly know people involved in espionage.

“I’ve never lived in a culture where people who can’t find work get forced into military service so what would I know,” Zet returns. “Nar Shaddaa sure doesn’t have anything organized like that. Maybe you could expand on the topic.” Meanwhile, she sounds like she’s being deliberately obtuse.

The Chiss blinks his big, red eyes a few times. He’s fully aware of her sarcasm, but decides to play along. “You see, people are in general, assholes. Governments even more so. The like to send people to other governments to steal their secrets. To help them kill each other.”

“I don’t think we do that in the Known Region at all.” Zet drums her fingers on her console. “We leave that kind of barbarism to the fringes of space. So this is good to know in case I have to explain it to someone else.”

“Yes, we’re the barbarians.” Santos laughs softly. A great deal of what he’s seen going on in the ‘Known Region’ simply would not occur on Csilla. “So how do we use this to get information, instead of things?”

Goodness knows Zet doesn’t think highly of most of the Known Region either. She’s grinning when she glances back at him. “Well with Bel before we didn’t even actually want to talk to him. That whole thing was a pretense to get on his ship and take this piece of crap.” She kicks a foot against the control panel in front of her. “But sometimes it’s the conversation you want in the first place. I can talk us into a meeting with people like us, but people like Bel won’t meet with a couple of nobody nonhuman smugglers. They might meet with a representative of the Chiss Ascendency though.”

“True. A contact within the Ascendancy would certainly confer some bragging rights.”

Santos quickly takes back control after Zet’s little kick knocks them off course a few degrees to the left. “We’re going to have to work on that discipline,” he smirks, “if you are going to work for the Ascendancy.”

“What’s discipline?” Zet fires back. As soon as she realizes she’s not in charge anymore, she curls her legs under herself and turns sideways, hanging out over the arm of the chair. It’s easier to have conversations this way. More seriously, she adds, “Am I supposed to behave a certain way if I’m working for you?”

“Of course.” Santos sits up stiff and straight to demonstrate. “You must have perfect posture and poise. Every word must be carefully planned, and you must show just the right amount of disdain for those lower in status than you.” He pauses for a moment, think of the easiest way to describe who that would be. “So, everyone but me.”

Posture, Zet has on lock, when she bothers to put in the effort. And she’s good at talking. It’s the disdain that makes her hesitate. “I can’t think of anyone who’d tolerate a Twi’lek treating them with that attitude.” She smiles self-deprecatingly as she flips her lekku back over her shoulders. “We’re the bottom of the food chain, most places. Especially places where people want to talk to some pompous Chiss. But I’ll try.”

“But you have power in this role. If they want to set any kind of arrangement with the Chiss, they have to go through you.” After adjusting their heading, Santos carefully rests his feet on the edge of the console, and reclines as much as possible.

“Okay, but maybe you better back me up by looking super pissed and disinterested if they don’t like the way I’m talking to them.” Zet watches him try to get comfortable in the cramped space with a smirk. “And also be ready to describe the whole scene to my parents the next time we’re on Nar Shaddaa. They’d get a kick out of it.”

“Don’t worry, I think I can manage to look pissed.” Santos doesn’t sound too convincing, anger isn’t something he’s felt much. “I’ll tell your parents anything as long as your mom makes that soup!” Zet might notice a twinkle in he’s eyes. They are actually getting close to going back to Nar Shaddaa. Back to the Rainbow Dash.

“You know she’ll cook anything you ask her to,” Zet replies with a roll of her eyes. Her parents have been treating Santos like the favourite son they never had for a long time now, in spite of the fact that he wasn’t wearing pants the first time they met him.

“I’m looking forward to it.” Santos sends the controls back to Zet and stretches out as much as the chair will allow. “It’s my turn to nap. If you feel like flying into something, wake me up first.”

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Episode VII: Payload
Santos' Journal

We’re on our way back to Nar Shaddaa now. Back to my baby.

So about a week ago we took the Void Crow to Duro, to see an old contact by the name of Gorn. He gave us the location of an interested party for the items we collected from the temple at Jiroch. After getting the OK from Callia to sell pieces of her heritage, we headed out with Gorn’s assistant or associate or something, Cassiopeia Wong, to the specified coordinates.

Unfortunately, those coordinates led directly to an Imperial Interdictor. Even more unfortunately, it was commanded by the same Admiral who contacted Callia on Tatooine. Callia filled Zet and I in on this- he knows what she is, and has been blackmailing her. He wants her to do something, but she ran before being told what that is.

So everything seems to be going well once the Void Crow is tractor-beamed and pulled onto the Imperial ship. We were led to the Admiral, and started bargaining. For a while it looked like Callia was going to get away unrecognized, but no. The Admiral seemed to have recognized her immediately, even though we gave her a kickass makeover. We ended up selling the pieces for more than enough to buy our ship, and make sure the rest of the crew gets some pay. We almost got off the ship without issue, until Cassiopeia started wandering around in places she shouldn’t have. Apparently Gorn’s daughter got in with the Rebellion, and was being held by the Empire. He sent Cassiopeia with us not to facilitate negotiations, but to hack into the ship’s computers and uncover her location, as well as the location of an Imperial fleet for a prospective buyer.

Cassiopeia, Qurzer and Callia worked on getting that information, while Zet and I hid in a closet. I’m still not entirely sure why that was necessary. Anyway, the Admiral obviously noticed that we didn’t go straight back to the Void Crow, and set up a few units of Stormtroopers in the hangar to surprise us when we attempted to leave. Stupid man. Qurzer and Cassiopeia managed to disable the tractor beam and hyperdrive disruptor thingy, while Zet and Callia started taking out the storm troopers. Naturally I jumped into one of the Tie Fighters sharing a hangar with the Crow, and started doing as much damage as possible. At one point, a Stormtrooper with an orange shoulder pad engaged Callia, and ended up hugging her with a frag grenade. Somehow I knew that would happen days before it actually did. Maybe I should follow up with her about that.

Qurzer and Cassiopeia made it back to the hangar, and Qurzer decided just to go ahead and open up the launch doors, shutting off the artificial gravity in the room. Every had to race to get into the Crow while the remaining Imperial troops floated helplessly about. I managed to put the tie fighter on a collision course with the side of the hangar before falling out of the fighter, right into the top hatch of the Crow. We took off just before impact, and hit the hyperdrive just as we were exiting the Interdictor.

All in all, not a bad showing. We have the money we need for the Rainbow Dash’s repairs, and now we have two lucrative pieces of information for select clients. Cassiopeia is staying with us until we get to Nar Shaddaa and can secure her passage back to Duro- without the information she was sent to collect. Gorn can have it, for the right fee. That’s not important right now though. Zet’s going to set up a meeting with the Hutts to complete the transaction, and we’ll be home at last. Nothing could possibly go wrong.

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Feelings
Selonia in Rubble

Qurzer is very angry. Anger is the best emotion to get things done. The other options were despair and confusion. What had happened on Selonia?! They had been so proud to show off their culture and the first impression the group got was tickets! No one needs tickets to board Qurzer’s proud home. It seemed every thing was backwards. The details are too horrific to go into.

Brainwashing could be the only cause. The useful crew had reasonable intuition and many good suggestions. Using their ultra hacker skills Qurzer sent out a mass message to their race, “RISE UP!” Qurzer was ready to fight for death was the only alternate choice. No Selonian should live like what they’d seen below. It must have been a good message because their was indeed an uproar as the protagonists exited to the belt.

An old enemy appeared. There was no time for thinking, only beating bodies bloody. Unfortunately the team also suffered trauma. Nossk seemed to have answers to the atrocity the Selonian people were made to suffer. There will be a reunion. Until then Qurzer’s mind needs to stay focused for one could not make things right on their own. The sisters would be notified in the outer rim.

Rakine seemed to rejoin her old group. Most likely to stock up on more bombs. She will make a good allie in future. Good things that happened: Callia’s sight is restored. Excellent, there is much training to do.

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Roleplay log: Confessions
an e-mail roleplay log

Zet and Santos had ample time to make sure the Void Crow would be ready for departure while Callia was laid up in the Rebel infirmary. When a helpful Rebel aide sees her into the hangar bay, the cargo door on the back is open, and Zet is sitting on the lowered ramp, eating a piece of fruit and scanning over some papers in her other hand.

She glances up at the sound of footsteps and flashes Callia an uncertain smile. “She’s back,” she calls into the open ship before rising to her feet to meet their Jedi friend halfway. “How’re you feeling?” Zet wiggles her fingers a few inches from Callia’s face, testing her vision.

Callia looks as alert as ever as she walks through the hanger with her ever-so-helpful aide. Her hair has been let loose to cascade over her shoulders and her lightsaber bounces off of her hip as she walks toward the void crow and her friends. This is the only place in the world she can wear the weapon openly without fear of retribution, so of course she does. There is a certain straightness to her back and a confidence in her every step that has been absent for the past while, perhaps something she’s gained back with the return of her eyesight.

She stops short as Zet meets them halfway, a soft grin touching her pale features. She playfully swats the fingers away. “I’m doing well,” she answers. One might get the sense she means in more than just her eyesight. “How about you, Santos and Qurzer?”

“Santos seems to have made it out in one piece,” the Chiss answers as he half-crawls his way out of the tiny cockpit. He doesn’t bother testing the Jedi’s vision. She’s been useful enough with or without sight. Instead, he pulls her in for a tight hug, lifting her a foot or two off the ground. “I’m glad to see you… Seeing again.”

Zet leaves all the physical affection up to Santos. Things have always been a little less warm between her and Callia. She just stands back, her smile taking on a more sincere quirk as she watches the pair of them and their comical hug. “I’m kind of stiff, but alive. Qurzer’s been pretty quiet, but they’re all right. They’re gonna stay with us for now, and maybe we can help them make contact with some of the other Selonians who’ve been offworld for a while.”

She fidgets with her papers, exchanging a look with Santos, and then folds them away into one of the many pockets of her vest. “Me’n Santos have been working out our next move. We’re hoping to borrow the Void Crow long enough to get the money we need and get back to Nar Shaddaa… but we’ve been searching the ship’s computers for information about Palob’s family. We want to tell them what happened to him. And if we sell off the ship we’re going to send them money.” Seems like there’s some modicum of honour among thieves.

The Jedi looks a little alarmed when she’s picked up and squeezed, her face turning pink. “It’s good to be seeing again.” She laughs softly and hugs Santos back. “Good. Glad to hear it. I can’t imagine what Qurzer is feeling. It’s horrible, seeing your people being reduced into something theyre not. I’m worried about what those Force uaers amongst the queens means.”

“I think Palob’s family would appreciate that. It’s the least we can do, right? What sort of move do you have in mind?”

Santos shoots a glance at Zet. Is she dining this, or him? “Right now, we’re looking at Duro. For a quick stop over. We know a guy there.” Santos walks over to the container Palob was stored in when they first met, hopping up on it to use as a seat. Palob currently resides in a smaller, refrigerated box until they can give him a proper send off.

There’s something a little bit too composed about Zet’s face when Santos looks her way. But she gives her shoulders a shrug as she gestures for Callia to step inside the ship with them, and once everyone is in she hits the button to close their cargo bay door.

“Santos wanted to run this by you first.” The Twi’lek stays on her feet, leaning back on the door with one hand on the frame near the release. It’s like she’s making sure there’s an escape route! “We want to meet up with this buyer on Duro, he’s into all kinds of rare and expensive stuff. The speeders aren’t all we found on Jiroch.” Zet digs her hand into one of the many small pouches on her belt and withdraws something very, very small, which she tosses over to Callia. It’s a clear crystal. “We’ve got some of these, and this.” From another pouch she withdraws a small, ornate, egg-shaped artifact. This, she doesn’t toss.

“We need the money. We’ve gotta get our ship back and pay off the Hutts before they get more violent about collecting.” She sounds defensive already, a tension in her shoulders like she’s bracing herself for an outburst. “But Santos thought that we should make sure you’re okay with it. Even though it’s not like it’s from your own temple or anything and it’s probably a zillion years old.” Perhaps this was one instance where the besties weren’t of one mind.

Callia can sense the tension in the air before it’s even visible. Ruh roh, what wily shenanigans are these kids pulling her into now? The Jedi follows on up the ramp into the ship while she brushes some of her long hair off of one shoulder. It can’t be that bad.

Can it?

Her face changes from mildly curious to serious when Zet tosses her one of the small crystals. The Force seems to flow easily through it, which makes her swallow. The small egg-shaped artifact makes her frown in thought. “Jedi artifacts.” She states simply.

“You realise the danger you are in, trying to trade these? If the Empire found out…” She shakes her head softly. “Especially considering one of the many applications these crystals may be for. I understand wanting to pay off the Hutts…” She sighs. “And no, they are not of my own Temple, but you will have to excuse me if a small part of me feels…offended that anyone would even consider taking and fencing old Jedi artifacts. Nothing is sacred anymore…”

“You don’t need to be excused for feeling that way,” Santos speaks softly, if the faintest bit smug, knowing that’s exactly how Callia was going to react, “that’s why I felt the need to tell you first. I understand that you and Zet have an agreement about our line of work, but this is different because it relates to your line of work.” He gets up and walks towards the pair, gently taking the egg in hand and turning it about to get a good look at it. “This is a bauble from the Jedi Order, true, but it’s from an order that you have as much connection to as I do to the Chiss Ascendancy that allied with the Sith thousands of years ago. I understand that you may have a historic attachment to it, and I respect that. So if you are absolutely opposed to selling it, we wont.” Callia might pick up on the slightest emphasis on the word, ‘attachment.’

He hands the egg back to Zet. “We know the risks of the Empire, so does our Duros contact. We’ll do this with complete discretion. The revenue from this could potential keep us away from the Core for very long time.”

Wow Santos! Like Zet didn’t know this was how Callia would feel. Which is why she didn’t want to tell her at all and then she wouldn’t have to feel bad. Zet is all about preserving her feelings!

She makes this little ‘huff’ sound as Santos plucks her treasure right from her fingers, but she lets him check it out. But when he gives it back she smoothly tucks it inside her vest, like, you’re gonna have to loot that from her corpse. (Probably not.) “The Empire doesn’t like it when you cut the arm off the major commanding a customs corvette either, but sometimes we’ve all gotta do things that tick them off.”

Callia snorts softly. “Especially when you do it with a lightsaber. I’m sure that will eventually come back to bite me in the behind. I don’t say this with me in mind, though. I am only concerned about you both.”

Santos is clever. Callia knows Santos is clever, Santos knows Santos is clever. It’s the emphasis of ‘attachment’ that has her exhaling deeply through her nose. “I’m not opposed to selling it, no. Not the egg. I would be a little more concerned about the crystals. Just make sure they’re not going to end up in the wrong hands.” She turns the one in her fingers over and over. “Do you mind if I keep this one?”

“We appreciate your concern for us,” Santos isn’t actually sure Zet does, but that doesn’t need saying. “But this isn’t exactly our first dance with an expansive, terrifying organization.”

He’s fully ready to jump into his next argument when the Jedi gives the OK to sell the items. “Oh, great.” He doesn’t attempt to hide his surprise. “Yeah, it’s cool if you keep that one. And don’t worry. Our contact deals with collectors mainly. They’ll likely end up in a private museum.”

Actually, Zet does appreciate Callia’s concern. Callia’s concern kept Shard from snagging her on a rope and flying her away over Cloud City. She just has a funny way of showing it. Let it not be forgotten that Shard, also, was working on the behalf of an expansive, terrifying organization.

“Of course you can keep one,” Zet says overtop of Santos, all ready to look super-generous in the face of Callia’s agreement. “Honestly with some of the stuff this guy moves, I doubt he wants to attract the kind of attention you get when you sell Jedi artifacts to the Empire. It’ll be okay. And we’ve dealt with him before and we’re not on bad terms with him so it should go pretty smoothly.”

The Twi’lek edges around the pair of them to find one of the foldout chairs to perch on instead. “Well now that we’ve dealt with that, there was something else, too. We were talking,” she glances at Santos, “and I guess I’ve been imagining this situation, like, Santos and me are partners, and we had you and Qurzer along like refugees who were occ- er, often helpful. But with the amount of trouble we’ve stirred up together lately…” Zet shrugs. “If we’re in this together, we really need to be in this together. Which means our little business, but also your own problems. I don’t know what that means for our whole don’t ask don’t tell policy…”

“I am aware of that…” Callia lifts her head from the crystal, eyes on both smugglers. “Alright. I will place my trust in the faith you have for this to go well, then.” She rolls the crystal through her fingers once more before tucking it into a pouch on her belt.

Callia cannot help but smile as Zet stumbles over her words. “Often helpful?” She asks playfully. “Mmm. I agree. We do need to be in this as a, dare I say it, team.”

“Right, especially since there’s a new, scaly player in the game.” Santos toys with the idea of pulling them in for a group hug, but holds back. That’s something to be saved for when the whole team’s present. “As for the don’t ask policy, I don’t think it needs to change. Part of the social contract of traveling with a pair of smugglers that we will by nature do things Callia won’t agree with. Just accepting that is a pre-requisite. The other side of that is when our work intersects with jedistuff, we ALL need to be in the know. Seem reasonable?”

His eyes dart back and forth between the two women, waiting for reactions.

“Okay, usually helpful,” Zet replies charitably, but with a flash of good humour in her eyes. “Anyway. I meant what I said before, about how usually Santos and I don’t move stuff like glitterstim anyway. So whenever we can avoid taking contracts for really bad stuff, we will. If something’s sensitive enough that you really need to know about it, I hope you can trust us to tell you.” She folds her arms as she leans back against her chair. “But yeah, when it comes to the Force… if we’re all gonna crew this ship together it means that if you want to check something like that out again, we’d go with you – but we’ve gotta all be aware of the potential risks.”

Callia’s head bobs. “I can trust you enough with that, yes.” She breaths a sigh through her nose again.

“Of course we all need to be aware of the risks…but I need all of you to understand that I am not…that I was still only a Padawan when the Order fell in the first place.” She brushes more hair back over her shoulder. “I am still learning the risks myself. I will be more thorough in recognizing them, though.”

“So what you’re saying is that you’re making stuff as we go?” Santos interjects in an attempt to lighten things up. “You’re in good company then.”

“That’s kind of what we figured.” Zet swings a foot beneath her chair. She’s coming off as far more relaxed than she was when this all began. It’s so nice when everyone gets along. “So if we get enough on Duros we can head straight back to Nar Shaddaa, pick up our ship, and then it’s finally back to business for us. That’s the plan.”

“I suppose I am.” Callia laughs. “We’re a group of idiots just figuring things out as we go along, hmm?” She crosses her arms over her chest. “That sounds like a good plan. Perhaps we can make a stop-over. I think…” She flicks more of her blond hair gently. “I think it will be easier to blend in with the outer rim if I look more like the part.”

“Nah, no need to stop for that. We have all we need here.” Santos heads over to the cargo, looking for his disguise kit. “What were you thinking? Zeltron? OH! How about Mirialan? I could do some stunning face tattoos.”

“Umm.” Zet casually rearranges her headtails, draping the right one across her chest and over her left shoulder. “I don’t think she’d fool any real Zeltron or Mirialan if we met one. Probably we should just leave her human. But do something with her hair.”

There’s a pause, as the Twi’lek scratches her noticeably hairless head. She doesn’t even bother to pencil in eyebrows like so many other women of her species most of the time. “I have no idea what to do with hair.”

“Yes, sticking as human would be best. Well, is there anywhere on Duros we could go for clothing and that sort of thing?” Callia runs her fingers through her hair… “I could cut this all off. Or dye it…” She frowns at the idea of dying her beautiful hair.

“Oh.” Santos is slightly disappointed. “Yeah, the Duros often wear clothing. They won’t have much to help with the hair though. We’ll figure something out for that.”

“I think they more or less always wear clothing,” Zet says slowly. “Hey, I can help you pick that stuff out. Maybe we can look at pictures of human hairstyles and pick one out for you. Something super cool that makes you look like a scary criminal. Some of the Black Sun women used to shave some of their hair off.” She swipes along the side of her head (such as she can, with headtails and those little cone ears Twi’leks have) to show what she means.

“Nothing says terrifying than someone who looks like a scary criminal waving about a lightsaber.” The Jedi laughs. “I’ve seen the look you are talking about before, though. It could work. I would appreciate the help in picking out clothing.”

Punk Rock Rebel Jedi Princess.

“No worries,” Santos reassures their human friend, “we have you covered. How do you feel about sleeves?”

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