Zet really had made straight for a gunnery station, back on the Imperial ship, but as soon as Santos got them clear she was more concerned with seeing for herself that he was okay than shooting anything. And then she buzzed off for a while when it became obvious to her that Callia wanted to discuss their next destination with him, taking some time to herself to take stock of their new ship.
Some time later, after Ingrid has patched everyone up, she reappears in the cockpit, slipping between the various ops chairs to drop quietly into the copilot seat beside him. She doesn’t say anything for a minute, instead just glancing over the readouts on the screens before her. “Why are we stopping in Jiroch? There’s nothing there.”
When Zet enters the cockpit, she finds Santos wide-eyed with a huge grin. Sure, he may be overstimulated due to the obscene amount of stims running through his system, but mostly, he’s excited to be flying again. His week on the Corellian Runner was a nice break, but it was a little too relaxed for his tastes, and he was getting desperate to feel the controls of a ship under his fingers again.
He doesn’t take his eyes off the stars fanning out in front of him as he responds to Zet. “Callia seems to think there’s some ancient Jedi temple down there.” He’s confident Zet knows what ancient temples mean. Treasure hunting!
“Oh.” Zet sounds maybe a fraction less excited than Santos might expect her to be, but she flashes a grin at him nonetheless. “Looks like a short trip… lucky for you we found so many stims.” Yeah, she knows a manic Chiss when she sees one. “There’s all kinds of stuff in the weapons lockers, so at least we’ll be prepared for just about anything down there. And I think Qurzer’s gonna do something real technical so we don’t flag as an Imperial vessel to anyone who scans us.” She slides down in her chair, bending one knee up so she can rest her heel on the edge of it. “Nice to be in control of our own ship again, huh.”
“Zet, this is where we are meant to be.” Santos effortlessly pulls off needless maneuvers as he manually pilots the vessel. Again, needlessly, as auto-pilot is more than enough right now. “We’re free again. We can go anywhere, and after Jiroch, we’ll head straight for Hutt space.” He chuckles at the thought of how many stims he’s taken today. “Five stims today. Must be a new record, huh?” He’s definitely going to crash, hard.
“Well this’s better than… since before Mos Shuuta, I think,” Zet agrees, looking up and around the ship. His fancy flying doesn’t faze her any. “It’s a sturdier ship than the Krayt Fang was, and it doesn’t reek like dead Trandoshan…” She gives him another glance. “For you? Probably… You better not pass out while we’re down there, because I don’t think I can carry you and all your souvenirs back to the shuttle.”
“I’ll be fine,” Santos shrugs off Zet’s concern as he begins the ship’s third consecutive barrel roll. “In an hour or two I’ll find someplace to stretch out and sleep it off. I think Qurzer knows enough to keep an eye on things for a few hours.”
Santos lets his left arm fall down over the armrest, and brings it back up, grasping the neck of a bottle of whiskey that somehow wasn’t tossed around at any point during Santos’ showboating. He’s got his priorities, and jury rigging a bottle holder to the side of the pilot’s seat was on the top of his list, after escaping the Imperials and subsequent pirates, of course.
“I can do it,” Zet replies insistently. “I’ve been riding around on starships since you were a tiny little Chiss baby. Show me.” She’s just turning her very best ‘pleeeeease’ pout on him when her eyes catch on the alcohol. Someone else might object, especially with the sheer amount of stims in his system. Zet, on the other hand… “I hope you’ve got enough to share.”
Santos smiles widely as his right hand produces two glass. “There’s always enough to share!”
He pours two drinks and passes one to Zet. He decides to wait until she’s takes a sip before tapping a few buttons. “Controls on with your console now. Let’s do this.”
The Twi’lek grins at him, lightly clinking her glass against his before she has a small swig. She untangles herself from her half-curled up position, balancing her drink on the seat between her knees.
“What- okay,” she says, taking hold of the controls on her side. There’s an uncertain slant to her head, like maybe she wasn’t expecting him to just throw it over to her, but she’s sure ready to try. “What do I do?” At least there’s nothing to crash into…
Santos begins to guide Zet around the console. This controls your movement, this increases or decreases velocity. Press this button to engage hyperdrive. Do not press this button under any circumstance. Just the basics.
“Don’t worry. We’re in a large void, so there’s no danger here. This boat will tell you if there’s anything to be concerned about.”
The Chiss then leans back, puts his feet up, and starts on his glass.
Zet pays close attention, particularly to the stuff she isn’t supposed to mess with. And then when Santos is done walking her through it, she cautiously experiments with the directional controls, getting a feel for how sensitive they are. Nothing like driving lessons while there are four other beings on board to get jerked around – then again it can’t be much worse than Santos’ deliberate barrel rolls.
After a few silent minutes of this, she feels she has enough of a handle on it in an obstacle-free place to return to making small talk. “You aren’t worried about stealing stuff from some old Jedi temple now that you know you could be one of them?”
“I don’t want to be one of them.” Santos watches as Zet explores the controls. “And is it really stealing, if the place has been abandoned?”
For all Santos et al. know, Callia is the only surviving Jedi. Wouldn’t they be protecting the Jedi history by bringing a few artifacts back and selling them to someone who can appreciate them?
“Anyway, there is something down there, calling Callia. I can feel it too. Something wants us to find it.”
“Callia would probably tell you it was stealing.” Zet’s tone is almost perfectly neutral. It’s a trick that he’s likely seen her use successfully on dozens of marks, but Santos should be able to tell when she’s fishing for something or building up to a point. It doesn’t help that her next little fiddle with their flight path is so twitchy it nearly spills her drink in her lap.
Steadying them with a wince, she reaches down to pick her glass up and takes another swallow. “I don’t mind stopping though, if you two think it’s important. It sounds interesting.”
Santos makes a slight correction so Zet’s flight path, almost without thinking. “Gently. There’s nothing for you to fly into here. Remember to adjust the stabilizers when necessary, and let the ship do the hard work.”
He sips the whiskey slowly, partially out of respect for the drink, and partially because he’s trying not to mix the depressant too much with the stimulants he’s already overloaded with.
“So what is it?” Santos is fairly blunt, and pretty much an open book. Zet can string people along to great effect, but he prefers a more direct approach, “what are you trying to get at?”
Zet nods agreeably enough to his advice, nestling her drink between her knees again as she returns both hands to the controls. She gives him a look out of the corner of her eye as he calls her out, though. “I dunno. I was just asking Callia about some stuff. Like, after what I saw her do today. I think you should probably talk to her.” The next time she glances over at him, there’s a flicker of worry on her face. “She made it sound like bad things could happen if you don’t at least kind of understand how it all works, even if you don’t want to do all kinds of training… I don’t really get it.”
“Yeah… ok, I’ll talk to her.” Damnit Zet, why do you have to go to a dark place? “I won’t mind learning how to do that mind control thing she does, I just don’t want to become what she is, always guarding herself. Can you really see me as a Jedi?” Santos slowly lets the last few gulps of whiskey slide down his throat. “Do you think you’re ready to fly solo?”
Once in a while, one of them has to worry about the big problems. That’s why. “No,” Zet admits bluntly. “I can’t. I just don’t want you to turn into some kinda baby-eating supervillain.” She flickers a smile at him. “Thanks.”
She eyes the controls warily. “Well, like you said, it’s not like there’s really anything to crash into… You ready for your nap?” Zet lets out a breath in a quiet huff. “I swear the second we weren’t on the same ship anymore I couldn’t do anything right. You better not go too far.”
“You’ll be fine,” Santos reassures her, “if anything goes wrong I’ll be back here faster than you can blink… I’ll ‘feel’ it.” He shoots Zet a mischievous glance before picking up what’s left of the whiskey bottle, and heading down to the speeders.
Zet tries so hard to shoot him a disapproving look, but she can’t keep the amused grin off her face. “I’m gonna hold you to that. Be back here before we actually have to land if you don’t want me to break your shiny new toy.”