Star Wars: Edge of the Empire

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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Roleplay log: The call to unity
an e-mail roleplay log

The med bay of the rebel ship is relatively peaceful compared to many other areas. There aren’t many who currently need tending to so those on staff bustle about their daily work quietly. There is the occasional beep or blip from equipment and the same med droid wandering back and forth checking on Rakine’s vitals. The only thing truly out of place in this scenario is the blond woman calmly situated at Rakine’s side.

Callia has a holobook in her lap, though she doesn’t seem to intent on reading it. Instead her eyes are focused elsewhere and her mind clearly drifting off to some other point in time. She looks as if she found a refresher in the time they arrived on Commander Nebula’s ship, cleaned up and clearly in better shape than the last time Rakine would have seen her. She’s clearly waiting for the Togruta to awaken.

It’s a reversal of roles compared to when they last spoke this way. She had pulled a battered Callia off of Jiroch (with a little help from her friends) — this time the rebel was the one who had to be lifted out on a stretcher. A jedi-gone-wrong had been the one to land the jedi in the med bay, while Rakine — ironically enough — was downed by a rogue bomber. The ratio of surface-skin to bandages is quite alarming, even just from her shoulders up to the tips of her ‘horns’ and headtails. Her arms, one at her side and the other draped limply atop the blanket over her midsection, are unequally swathed: it looks like she took the brunt of the explosive blast on her left side.

She’s been out for hours already. A stun grenade’s effects (as anyone who travels with Zet would know by now) are slow to wear off, but of course they aren’t typically fatal. Callia’s patience is rewarded, eventually, by the sound of a sudden deeper breath from the patient, followed by an agitated motion. The med droid, in its unhurried way, clanks back toward the bed to process the new development. Rakine’s return to consciousness is marked by some belligerent confusion: her eyes are tightly squinting as they dart around the room, and she has to be prevented from trying to sit up immediately.

Irony of the role reversal is not lost on the Jedi. She senses Rakine’s slow arrival to consciousness before the first change in breathing even occurs. It’s amazing how being attuned to the Force can make her seem almost psychic. She stays out of the way as the med droid works, only stepping in when Rakine attempts to sit up. Gentle hands try to ease her back down before she can get too far.

“It’s good to see you awake, Rakine,” Callia greets. “You are in the Med Bay on Commander Nebula’s ship. How do you feel?”

The human voice seems to attract Rakine’s attention more than the standard drone of the droid, which advises her to “please remain calm”. The way she stops and turns her head, it looks like it’s given her something to think about. Figuring out who’s there and how to get her foggy concentration focused on the woman’s face, probably.

“The jedi,” she speaks in a mumble at first, accepting a glass of water and taking a drink instead of answering the question that was addressed to her. “What happened? Qurzer said to stop the Trandoshan I shot at. I followed him to the ship…”

“Indeed,” Callia affirms. She sits back down once the Togruta seems to have settled, her holobook already knocked aside for the time being. “I believe you were caught in another of the explosions. He got away before we could catch up to get him. Zet took your radio and contacted Commander Nebula to pick us up. Now we’re here.”

Skimming over the part where no one should be able to access her secure comm contacts (that is DEFINITELY going to be an issue to consider later on), Rakine inclines her head in a slight nod, which brings with it a wince of pain. “There was most certainly an explosion before I reached the hangar.” In a pause for thought, she seems like she still has very many questions. “Why were any of us trying to stop him? Who was he working with?”

“It appears he was doing some work for the CEC executive we…ah, took into custody. They were causing explosions and careful sabotage to help the negotiations with Kuat Drive Yards along.” Callia explains. “He is also a former partner of Santos’. There is clearly some very bad blood between the two of them, possibly more now that this Trandoshan needlessly used a man who helped us as a bomb.”

Rakine’s tired, impassive expression doesn’t change while she accepts most of this information — except for the part where Santos’ name improbably comes up. What are the odds of that? The idea of someone being used as a live bomb doesn’t seem nearly as unexpected. “I see. If Nebula is in a useful mood again, maybe we can investigate some of this corporate ruthlessness. Selonia appeared to be needing all the help they can get.”

“I hope you can. I know it would mean a lot to Qurzer. This whole situation is outside of anything they’d ever expect to happen on their planet.” Callia brushes some hair from her face. “If the Rebellion can help at all, I’m sure they will find a powerful ally in the Selonian people.”

She wisely avoids nodding this time, but there’s a sound of quiet agreement that the Togruta makes to acknowledge Callia. “Your Selonian friend at least appears dependable — if stubborn.”

Callia chuckles softly. “Sometimes stubborn is a good thing. We need more stubborn beings in the galaxy. More people unwilling to submit to what has become normal.” Is she agreeing that maybe the Rebellion isn’t a bad thing? Gasp.

“That much is true.” More crucially, is Callia suggesting that someone else here is stubborn?? Of course, Rakine could be directing an inquisitional stare in her direction for any number of reasons. Still so many questions.

The Jedi lets out a soft sigh. “I was wrong to look down my nose at you, Rakine.” Callia admits. “I was so wrapped up in the past and what it meant to be a Jedi when the Republic still existed that I forgot that we don’t have the luxury to…well, fix the galaxy with our words anymore.”

Once again the look of surprise returns to the Togruta’s white-encircled eyes. The patterns of her face emphasize any slight change in her expression. “I only assumed you were afraid.”

“Fear was a part of it, it’s true.” Callia replies. “Still, now, I am afraid. I need to stop letting that control me, though. Fear leads to the Dark Side.” She smiles. “I think seeing the Selonian people rise up against their oppressors opened my eyes to just how desperate our galaxy currently is. I am glad there are people like you out there, fighting against the Empire.”

There’s a sudden awkwardness that comes to Rakine’s posture in the presence of Callia’s appreciation. She shifts in her bed, glancing in the other direction where Dr. Droid is standing by, sedately keeping watch over the medical monitors. “It’s not easy for any of us to face,” she speaks slowly, “The scale of everything we are up against.”

“I realise that.” Callia replies. “It is a large enemy we all face, whether from the shadows or in the front lines.” She takes a deep breath. “The galaxy has been in turmoil for far too long. Since long before the Clone Wars, even. It’s time we all started thinking about how we can fix that.”

“Yes.” As simple a response as it is, Rakine’s tone is weighted with her own perspective.

Callia swallows and studies her hands for some time. “I will not be working in the forefront yet. There is much I need to learn, still. But if you ever need help or if the Rebels need help, Rakine, please do not hesitate to call upon me.” She turns her head to the side, staring at the door to the medbay.

A hand lifts in Callia’s direction: calloused and marked-up from the tasks of a mechanic, and bare now without the leather gloves Rakine is in the habit of wearing. She’s looking for their eyes to meet, waiting for the Jedi to take up this offer of a handshake between allies. “Thank you. At the right time, it could mean a lot to us.”

Callia will not leave her hanging for long. There is a moment’s hesitation in her eyes as she realises the magnitude of what she’s promising but it doesn’t stop her. “I hope I live up to expectation, then.” She smiles as she finally grasps the offered hand and gives it a warm, reaffirming shake. Jedi don’t just say things, after all.

She gets to her feet afterward, picking up the holobook and lying it on the table next to Rakine’s bed. “Some light reading for later. I must be on my way, Zet and Santos are eager to take off. We will speak again soon.” She grins. “Try not to get into too much trouble in the interim, Rakine. It was good to see you again.” With that, she heads on her way with an air of confidence not previously noticeable in her steps.

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Vignette: Best Served Cold

“Ow! Watch it,” she exclaimed as the medical droid clumsily worked at her arm, if you could call it that. The woman watched as sparks flew each time the needle-like mechanism interacted with the metal that was now a part of her.

There was nothing to do in the hours of sitting in that chair while that ridiculous robot rebuilt a limb for the woman. Sure, there were moments of searing pain as the cybernetic appendage was fused with her shoulder, her flesh stretched and stapled and soldered to something foreign, something that didn’t belong. However it was the time in between, the long, drawn out aching of her body as it endured the stress of surgery and recovery that she had nothing but time to reflect on how this happened.

She grew up on Alderaan, to a noble family. Her Uncle was such an idealist and would regale their family with tales of the Jedi and their noble quest to maintain peace in the galaxy. The way he went on and on about their courage but then glossed over their betrayal, their failed coup, their annihilation made her sick. Even at a young age, she knew the Jedi were wrong. Their sterile outlook and dogmatic approach, their willingness to stand by and watch the galaxy suffer until their own survival was at stake disgusted her.

The black bantha among her family, she proudly joined the Imperial Navy and had a distinguished career. That was ruined by the Jedi her Uncle so revered.

So here she was, gritting her teeth and tearing at the eyes as her nervous system integrates with the cybernetic arm and pain signals a reminder that this was not right. This was so wrong.

She’ll never forget that woman’s face, the way the glow of her light saber reflected on her cheek before she cut down a good soldier, a proud woman, and left her broken aboard a pirate infested cruise ship.

Rising and flexing her cold metal fingers, she looks over at the figure cloaked in dark robes at the door and accepts the data pad with her new orders.

“Sir,” she accepts with a nod. A grin spreads across her face as she crushes the datapad in her cybernetic hand like it was a dry leaf from the forests of Alderaan.

“”/characters/major-katryn-organa" class=“wiki-content-link”>Major Katryn Organa, reporting for duty."

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Vignette: Familiar Surroundings
Cut-scene

Another dream of another place. It’s comforting and familiar, the warm sun filtering in through a large window while she sat in lotus position upon the smooth floor. There was the sound of running water from the refresher, then a door opening and closing. Delicate smells of clean soap and earthy tea filled the small living space. She lost herself in the nostalgic pangs of this life, of being young and ambitious once more.

“You still have so much to learn,” Her master had always told her. There was truth to that. Even now she felt the ignorance of her youth creeping up on her once more. She has spent so much time being afraid since Jiroch. It’s one thing to decide to return to a long-winding path, it’s another entirely to truly acknowledge and accept all that it means.

“I do have so much to learn still, Master,” Callia opens her eyes, staring at the woman who mentored her and raised her for so long. To see this place again, to look up into those familiar, smiling eyes was almost too much to bear. She blinkes rapidly. “So much. How do I continue on my own.”

“Callia, my child,” She replies as she sits down before her. Her smile has grown soft and gentle and she places a hand on her student’s shoulder. It’s warm, warmer and more full of life than she remembers. “You will continue. It will be a hard path, you knew that going in. The moment you decided to build the blade once more, you knew. Our brethren may be lost for now and the galaxy may seem in despair, but there is always hope.” She squeezes the girl’s shoulder. “You are one of a few who represent that.”

Callia swallows hard, feeling every bit the eighteen-year-old who abandoned her Master on Felucia so long ago. She’s lost and scared, feeling helpless and alone. “I watched the birth of a rebellion today.” She says. “Is this what the future of the galaxy holds? So much death and destruction.” Her Master chuckles softly while she voices her anxieties.

“You, my Padawan, know very well the history of the galaxy. Peace and balance can be brought about once more but it takes time. We cannot condemn the actions of those who wish to end years of tyranny and oppression.”

“I know Master, but—”

“There are no buts, Callia. Not anymore. The Order collapsed for many reasons. We were destroyed by more than just our own troops. We were destroyed by our ignorance and complacency. Act to the best of your judgement. Help those who cannot help themselves. Uphold the Jedi principles, of course, but do not begrudge those who don’t have the luxury of still having principles and morals.” She takes a deep breath. “Fight for those ones. Fight hard so they do not have to.”

She takes a deep breath and slowly releases it. “First, I need to be stronger. Mentally.”

Another chuckle. “Of course, child. And watch out for those you travel with. The time will come when your fight will change. In the meantime, prepare for that day.”

“I will.”

“No more being frightened of yourself or what the galaxy can do to you.”

“Of course, Master.”

“And you will let yourself live and feel and grow as not only a Jedi, but as a living being?”

Callia laughs. “I will try.”

“Good. Remember, whatever happens is the will of the Force. Allow it to guide you to where you need to be.”

“I will.”

“Good girl. Now, my Padawan, it’s time to open your eyes.”

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Roleplay log: Heavy conscience
an e-mail roleplay log

Callia is still laid up, waiting for the rebels to work their medical magic on her eyes. Zet slipped away for about half an hour, likely finding somewhere to pace in anxious silence within the larger ship, but she finally winds her way back to the hangar bay and lets herself inside the Void Crow.

She’s surprised, actually, by the pang of guilty emotion that prickles at the back of her throat as she passes through the cramped hangar bay. They hardly knew its former captain. They certainly didn’t part on the best of terms. But there’s a big difference between sucking a fellow smuggler into a big job and making him collateral damage in a personal vendetta.

Zet weaves through the ship, headed for the copilot’s seat in the cockpit. The rebels dealt with the worst of her wounds but she’s still moving stiffly after her close encounters with the front of a ship and the business end of a giant worm. She just needs to be somewhere quiet, to think.

If Zet wants some quiet, Santos certainly isn’t going to argue. She’ll find that he’s already taken up residence in the cock pit, pouring over every control, every contour of the dash. He’s careful not to disturb anything, this isn’t his ship. It’s still Palob’s. He’s just borrowing it. Part of him wants to find Nossk, hunt him down and end him. Palob’s death was senseless. He simply had the misfortune of knowing Santos. What if it’s Callia next, or Zet? Could he trust himself to fight off his darkside? Would he want to?

Yeah, quiet suits him just fine right now. Still, when he see’s that it’s Zet joining him in the cockpit, he offers her a weak smile.

She half-expected to find her best friend here anyway. If this is their temporary ride, of course the pilot is getting comfortable with the controls. Zet smiles back at him, lightly touching his shoulder as she pauses beside his seat. Her eyes rest on his face for a few seconds before they drift away to take in the rest of Palob’s former home away from home. “How’re you doing?”

“Well, Pablum is currently in several pieces because he happened to know me, Rakine had a lovely encounter with a bomb, and you were run over by a transport ship, again because some lizard wanted to hurt me. I’m not sure I’m doing so well right now.”

Santos begins accessing the computer, skimming through Palob’s files. “Maybe we can find something here that would lead us to his family. If he has any.” The Chiss hopes he doesn’t. Letting them know what happened is not something he’s looking forward to. “How about you?”

“Palob,” Zet corrects him quietly. Her fingers squeeze lightly into his shoulder before she leans away, swinging around to perch on the back of the copilot’s seat. “It’d be good to be able to tell someone what happened.” That sounds like she’s volunteering to do the deed if he can find the information.

She lifts one slender shoulder in a shrug as she watches him work. “Taking said transport ship and a giant subterranean worm into account, I’m doing okay. I guess I didn’t really realize how serious you were when you said Nossk was creepier than your average Trandoshan. Was he always like that?”

“Not initially.” Santos leans back in the chair and takes a deep breath. “He seemed cool when I met him, but as time went on he became less interested is your run of the mill smuggling jobs, and more interested in games, like the one back there.” He looks over at the Twi’lek worry written all over his face. “I was planning on leaving him, although I didn’t plan on giving him my ship. But he threw me out of my own ship and flew away. I really don’t understand why he’d do this now.”

“Well, consider this: he’s a sociopath.” Zet absently rubs her shoulder, the one that took the brunt of the blow from the ship. Good thing it’s not her gun arm. “I dunno, he saw the opportunity? I guess we know now not to beeline for him the next time we hear he’s in the neighborhood.” She musters up another faint smile for him. “Don’t worry, I’ve got your back.”

“The list of people we have to watch out for keeps growing.” Santos let’s out a deep sigh and gets back to the computer. “I think we should take the fastest route to Hutt space. I’d feel a hell of a lot safer in an actual ship.”

“Agreed. We’ll see what we can get for this old Jedi stuff on Duros and then hightail it home. I bet my mother’d like to see you again.” Zet winks at him. “You’re uh, feeling okay though?” She gestures vaguely. Is that supposed to mean the Force or something? “I was worried about you in the first place, knowing Nossk was there.”

“I won’t lie to you, I really wanted to kill him.” Part of him still does. “But I saw what Sora became after she lost control. Hell, even Callia’s reaction to Sora was enough to scare me shitless.”

He smiles at her again. More convincing this time. “So yeah, I’m feeling OK. I wanted him to pay for what he had done, in custody, though. Alive.”

“He will.” There’s the faint edge of steel in Zet’s voice. No one runs her over with a spaceship and gets away with it. “But next time we pick the time and place.”

Some of the tension leaves her as he confirms that he’s all right – her eyes light up and she leans back a little. “Good. Callia was saying all this stuff about how I might have to keep you grounded. I had about half a second to feel really, really scared about that before the ship hit me.” Can’t keep him grounded when she’s out cold…

Santos can’t help but smile at the thought of Zet going toe to toe with Nossk. He’s never been a warrior, but he’s still Trandoshan.

“You being hit by the ship kinda helped keep me grounded. I’d been thinking about what I’d do when I saw him for a while, and I’d already decided not to risk letting my dark side take hold.” He pauses briefly, never all that comfortable talking about what the Force could do to him. “It was harder than I thought to resist, but when I had to make a choice between chasing him and making sure you were ok, there really was no choice.”

The subject makes Zet uneasy too, but her non-response (verbally at least) is really an improvement over the way she was freaking out over the Force only a week ago. She’s trying hard to be comfortable with it. There’s no question it’s been useful. “Oh, is that the trick? I’ve just gotta put myself in harm’s way to keep you on the straight and narrow.” She shoots him a teasing grin. “I’m gonna need to invest in some body armor.”

“Yeah, it’s that simple.” He tries to maintain a straight face, but quickly breaks into a grin of his own. “I’m sure it will get easier the more I learn about the Force. But body armour is always good. We’ll see what we can do with our profits from Duros.”

“Mm.” Zet shifts, unfolding her arms and pushing off of the chair. She stretches her arms over her head, such as she can in the cramped space. “I was really hoping we’d be able to quietly sell this stuff on the side instead of making a special trip. I don’t know how we’re gonna do this right under Callia’s nose, especially now that she’ll be able to see again.”

“The simple answer is, we won’t.” Santos stands up as much as he can in the cramped cockpit, walks around the chair and rests his arms on its back, allowing the chair to support his weight. “We need to tell her what we have, and we need to respect her wishes if she doesn’t want us to sell it.” Being responsible is a new experience for him. He’s not sure it’s one he likes. “We put her far out of her comfort zone with the glitterstim, and I know we really didn’t have a choice in the matter, but still. We need to let her know her input is valued if we want to keep her around. And I get the feeling that we will need her around.” He’s actually nervous about Zet’s reaction. “And this is a part of her heritage. A heritage she wasn’t given the choice to give up on, like we did.”

Zet’s brow ticks on “we won’t.” But she bites her tongue, hearing Santos out, even though her expression grows more and more unreadable. She’s not sure what to make of his newly minted responsibility either. As he wraps up his pitch, her arms fold across her chest, the gesture less casual this time and more closed-off and frustrated. The Twi’lek looks aside, a flicker of sharp teeth visible as she chews her lip.

“We need that money, Santos.” At least she isn’t mad at him. She does sound a little exasperated. “Sure, we’ve got a ride back to Nar Shaddaa now if we hang onto this ship, but the Hutts are gonna pop our heads off if we show up without everything we owe them. I didn’t give up my entire heritage. I’ve got parents living there they can hurt if we keep messing around out here.”

“We do.” Zet is entirely correct, they need the money, but Santos is pretty confident this won’t be their only opportunity. “So what happens when Callia finds out what we’ve done? Maybe there’s something there that would be useful to us and we don’t know how to recognize it. Maybe she’d have no problem with it at all. I just think that if we do this and not tell her, it’s going to come back at us, biting.”

At what point does someone become more trouble than they’re worth?

The second the ugly thought crosses Zet’s mind she regrets it. That’s not fair. They’d probably still be stuck on Tatooine if not for their new friend, and Santos would probably be taking a nosedive to the dark side without her spiritual guidance, no matter how Zet feels about the Force. Once upon a time they were a crew of two, but now they’ve got other teammates to factor into the equation.

“She told me she was fine with a don’t ask, don’t tell policy,” the Twi’lek insists, but with less fervor now. “We talked about it before we left Corellia. That if something like glitterstim came up again she’d just rather not know about it. Couldn’t we just do this the same way?”

Santos cocks an eyebrow. “This isn’t glitterstim. This is something so profoundly personal to her. If we don’t let her have a say in this, we may as well spit on everything she is.”

The Chiss sits back down in his seat and reclines as much as possible, He closes his eyes and takes in a deep breathe. “Look, you know I wouldn’t make you do anything you didn’t want to. Just, please think about it. We’re far from Nar Shaddaa, and our track record for keeping ships isn’t that great at the moment. There will be more opportunities to pay off what we owe.”

“Rrrgh.” Zet pinches the bridge of her nose. That subtle twitch of her lekku is no doubt the equivalent of saying something very foul under her breath. “Fine. We’ll tell her.” Tipping her head back, she closes her eyes, shrugging her headtails over her shoulders to let them hang down her back.

“We need to figure this out. Are we business partners carrying a pair of refugees? Or are we a crew of four? We don’t have time for a huge moral debate every time we try to make some money, okay. If Callia wants a say she needs to know the time and place to pipe up isn’t after five crates of glitterstim are already on our ship, and we’re docking to make the delivery. And if she and Qurzer want in then they need to pitch in and help us get rid of this debt instead of shooting dirty looks at us when we pocket a few extra credits.” She hasn’t forgotten the way Callia got in a huff about holding onto half of Palob’s share. And now look what came of giving him hers.

“So let’s have a big family meeting.” There’s no passive aggressiveness in Santos’ tone. He understands Zet’s reluctance, but in his mind, they’ve already made their decision. Well, Callia has anyway. She’s put herself on the line for both of them numerous times. How much more does she have to prove? “We don’t know that she’ll be against selling these items. But even if she is, we all have things we won’t do, and if we respect each other’s boundaries, why wouldn’t we respect hers? Callia is one of us, and has been for a while. Qurzer too as long as it suits them and their Queen.”

It’s kind of a hypothetical question for Zet, too. She doesn’t need Callia and Qurzer to jump through hoops of fire to earn a place, but it sure would help if things were just a little bit formalized. And it’d probably end in fewer hurt feelings later if it was something slightly different than ‘when smuggling do as the smugglers do and shut up.’ “Okay.” She rubs at her arm and looks at Santos again. “Maybe we can just broach the topic with Callia when we show her what we have. All at once. I think Qurzer still needs a bit of time to process the part where they convinced their entire planet to rebel before they make any other big decisions.” At least that’s genuine sympathy in her voice.

“Sounds like a plan.” Santos suddenly grins, ear to ear. “She doesn’t have to be sober when we talk to her. I’m sure we can find some quenya someone on this boat.”

Zet barks a laugh. “Good luck. We could hardly get one glass in her the last time. Anyway if we’re trying to liquor her up she’ll know we’re planning something.”

She jerks her chin towards the controls. “What d’you think? Can you deal with walking around hunched over all the time all the way to Hutt space?”

Santos shrugs. “Don’t have much of a choice, do I? Unless I want to crawl out of the cockpit. Could be worse though. We could be stuck in a Selonian ship.” Unfortunately, the mention of the ship brings his mind back to Palob. “We should probably try and sell this thing anyway. I’m sure whatever family Palob had could use the money now.” Has he been drinking? This is far more charity than Santos is used to.

Yeah… Zet’s starting to look a little bit confounded. Not that it’s a bad sentiment. She’d want her family looked after if she met a bad end. “Okay, but do you think they’d mind if we borrowed it long enough to get where we’re going before we make our donation?”

Santos shakes his head emphatically. “No, I don’t suppose they would. Considering that he was kind enough to give us a ride to Selonia even after we stole his ship and put him in a box, I’m sure his family would even insist that we take a small cut.”

“That’s the Santos I know and love. I was starting to wonder if maybe you’d gone just a little bit wrong in the head after all,” Zet teases. “Okay, if you can find what we need in his computer I’ll reach out to them. Otherwise I guess we’re just waiting for Callia to get her clean bill of health.”

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