The Rebels delivered Callia and company to Corellia nearly two cycles ago, and Zetnu’ri hasn’t come by the hospital to see her at all. She didn’t return to the infirmary on the Rebel ship to speak to her after she was discharged, either. After what Callia overheard, she might be right to suspect it’s not an accidental oversight brought on by her close encounter with her own stun grenade.
The door hisses open and shut, and someone softly steps inside. They linger on the threshold for a long moment, silent safe for the quiet sound of breathing. Luckily, Callia is Force-sensitive, so being able to sense that it’s just the Twi’lek makes this a bit less creepy than it might have been otherwise. Zet’s emotions are a tangled mess, if Callia is trying to gauge them: she’s still angry about what happened in the Jiroch system, and she’s afraid – not for herself so much anymore, although there’s a low-level anxiety to Zet’s emotional profile most of the time, but for the woman laying in bed, and for Santos. She’s frustrated with herself for letting Callia pick their destination based on a gut instinct and no actual information.
“I brought you something to do,” Zet says finally, her footsteps coming closer to the bed. She drops a holobook on the mattress. That’s not passive-aggressive at all. She flops down in the chair at Callia’s bedside, waiting to see how she responds.
Callia has tried to enjoy the downtime as best she can, her mind focused elsewhere for the most part. Too bad the dreams she’s been having are full of frightening visions of the past and potential future. She’s thankful, though, for the private time. Her friends are understandably upset with her and that is just the way it needs to be.
Her head pivots and unseeing eyes study the Twi’lek as she moves into the hospital room. Callia utters not a word as Zet decides whether she truly wants to be there or not. “How kind of you,” She says softly, a ghost of a smirk crossing her lips as her fingers close in on the holobook. “Of course, I will not be able to use it for some time yet.” She takes a soft breath, readying herself for the minefield of a simple question. “How are you faring, Zet?”
“Well it’ll still be there when you can see again,” Zet mutters. She actually exercises some restraint when Callia asks the inevitable question and does not loudly explode in the middle of a hospital. “Better now that we’re back in a normal place with normal problems that normal people can confront with their normal problem-solving skills. I’ve had some time to think really hard about what went wrong in that temple and how we can avoid getting in so deep like that in the future.”
Zet’s passive-aggression skillz are top-notch. “Ah, so you weren’t planning to at least read some to me.” There is a hint of bitter amusement in her tone as she turns to ‘look’ out a window. “Yes. Normal is good.” She agrees as her head stays fixed away from Zet. It’s easier to hide anything that may give her away. “What is your solution to that?”
“I’m plotting a course back to Nar Shaddaa.” Zet’s eyes remain fixed on Callia, even if she isn’t looking her way. “And we aren’t making any more detours unless I think it’s a good idea, no matter what the Force is telling you to do. You wanna make another pit stop like that, you can go by yourself. We’re even now.” She stretches her legs out in front of her and slouches down in her chair. “Santos and I have a business to run, Callia. We’ve got to make money and get our ship airborne again. And I don’t want him to suddenly have the urge to reach out and pull me across the room by the throat if it’s all the same to you. Lost Jedi temples aren’t just unprofitable, they’re a bad influence.”
“Of course.” Callia responds to Zet. She’s definitely not about to tell the Twi’lek girl that whatever happens is the will of the Force. That won’t go over well, at all. “I don’t believe any of us want to see Santos fall to the dark side.” She agrees. “Or anyone, for that matter.” The woman is closed off, keeping her head turned to “stare” outside. She hugs her arms briefly. “I am truly sorry for what happened.”
“I hope so.” Zet’s voice turns chilly. Underneath the façade, fear rises to the surface of her roiling emotions. “Even that bounty hunter on Bespin would’ve taken me in alive. When your old friend had me dangling there from her hand I knew I was gonna die. Santos too. And you, and everyone. For nothing. We’ve all gotta die sometime, but I don’t want it to be stupid when it happens to me. So I’m gonna call the shots for a while, and if you don’t like it, you can take your cut and find something else to do. I’m sure the rebels would take you with open arms.”
Callia’s fingers dig into the flimsy hospital sheet. It’s the only real sign that she’s feeling just as or more conflicted than she lets on. “I know that, Zet.” She replies, turning her head back toward the voice of the Twi’lek. “I can accept that. I’m sure the rebels would, but I’m not sure I’m a good fit for them right now.” Too much violence.
The thing is, it’s hard to keep chewing someone out when they’re basically just laying down and taking it. Zet feels a flutter of renewed irritation that Callia isn’t even arguing with her. She kind of came in here spoiling for a fight. But her companion – her friend – just looks so tired, so prepared to accept the consequences of her actions, that the Twi’lek’s sails are quickly deflating.
She’s just silent again, staring belligerently at Callia’s sightless face, until she mutters, “Good.” Another long, awkward pause. “Are they feeding you okay in here?”
Oh there is probably some fight in the Jedi, somewhere, but jeopardizing this new friendship doesn’t sound like fun to her right now. Attachments are tricky things. Zet will notice the way her skin puckers around her eyes and her thinned lips giving away whatever conflict currently broils through that blond head of hers.
“Yes, as well as can be expected for a hospital. I will be glad when I’m well enough to get out of here. I remember a few hospital visits from my youth, all of them in some sort of extreme situation like this one.” Aah, to be a child thrust into the precipice of danger. “Though that hospital was much nicer, I will have to give it credit.” She smirks.
“How is Santos doing? And Qurzer? Is everyone staying out of or getting into trouble?”
Zet doesn’t really know what to say to that. Of course Callia’s been in hospitals before. Her old life just came back to hit her full force in the face. She glances away, swallowing a small lump of guilt. Callia took the worst beating of all of them, and she discovered an old friend has fallen to the dark side. For Zet, the fear that it might happen to Santos remains abstract, but for Callia it’s become a reality. Much of her lingering anger with the Jedi fizzles away.
“Qurzer’s just opaque to me.” Zet shrugs. “I’m not sure what they want to do next. I wanna talk to them about it. And Santos and I are just getting our affairs in order. Figuring out how we’ll travel, raising some funds for that and to pay off our debt. I’ve gotta be careful on Corellia. The Black Suns took this place over a few years ago where everything illegal’s concerned. But I’ll try not to panic and shoot anyone in the head.”
“Qurzer seems to be content as long as we’re doing whatever they believe is good. Selonians, by nature, care about the whole rather than just themselves.” Callia murmurs. “Their homeworld is close by, though.” She smooths her covers gently, fingers relaxed once more. “I’m sure you’ll be as discreet as you can.” She murmurs. “I’d be more worried about Santos sticking out. If our bounty hunter friend back on Bespin has been in touch with the Black Sun, they might know what to look for. There aren’t a lot of Chiss in this part of the galaxy.”
“Well then hopefully Santos is smart enough to keep his head down.” Zet stores away this information about Selonians for future use. She really does need to get into Qurzer’s head a little. Their fuzzy friend is just a wee bit too unpredictable. “Corellia’s a big place, though. I’ve been trying to find Hutt places instead. We owe the cartel, but we’re not on bad terms with them.” Well, none of them but Teemo. “Um, how are your…” She gestures at her eyes, sort of pointlessly, before concluding, “Your eyes, and stuff…”
“Hutts are slippery but not as bad as the Black Sun…relatively, anyway.” Callia murmurs. She laughs softly. “I think Santos is smart enough to keep his head down when you are there to ground him.”
“Healing. I believe I hit my head too hard when Sora engaged with me.” She takes a deep breath, releasing it slowly. “It has been a long time since I’ve had any formal training in that sort of situation. Our saviors showed up at a convenient moment.”
“The rebels.” Zet is still a little fuzzy on exactly what happened after her grenade. Santos was the most clear regarding one detail: those dicks stole their ship. “I don’t really wanna work with anyone who thinks it’s cool to just take my stuff, so I’m glad you aren’t that interested in looking them up…” She sighs, watching Callia. “…Are you okay? After meeting someone you used to know, who turned out that bad? She kind of… said a lot of stuff about you…”
“Yes, the rebels.” Callia replies. “They’re still forming, right now. The violent acts are well and good, but I’m concerned they’re so caught up in destroying the Empire that they might hurt the innocents that are among them. Like the cruise ship. I realise Rakine was trying to make sure they had no means to chase us, but those passengers were stranded.” She takes a deep breath. “They need time to figure out that violence begets more violence.”
The breath is slowly exhaled. “Truthfully? I am not. I was shaken to my core by this experience, Zet. It’s not something I admit easily. It’s truly brought into perspective that one, I am still just a padawan with much to learn and two, I truly am twenty years out of practice.” She swallows. “The things she said were not true. They were exaggerations and they dragged a very painful wound to the surface.” But everything happens for a reason, right?
Zet leans forward, her elbows on her knees, and rubs her fingers into her eyes. “You said to keep an eye on you,” she says quietly. “I almost didn’t recognize you back there, when you freaked out. And if you’re all messed up, but you’re the one who’s supposed to be making sure Santos doesn’t get messed up, then…” Peeking past her fingers, she just lets that hang between them. She doesn’t need to complete that thought. It’s not that she isn’t also worried for Callia, but the Chiss is always her first concern. “Should we do something, next time? Like excuse me for not wanting to jump between an angry lady with a lightsaber and a creepy masked nightmare ghost, but I dunno, should we be knocking you out before YOU turn into a creepy masked nightmare ghost?”
“I did.” Callia replies. “I didn’t recongize myself, looking back on it. I know I am the one who is supposed to make sure Santos doesn’t get messed up.” She smooths the blankets again, head turning to “look” at them. It’s a comforting gesture for her. “I don’t expect you to jump between my lightsaber and anything. If you think you can knock me out, please do. Otherwise I would advise either running or killing me.” Beware the dark side, Jedi. “I will not make that mistake again, though. We learn from our mistakes, or we hope we do.”
Zet has now seen what a lightsaber is capable of one too many times to want to be anywhere near one that’s lit up. “Ummm…” Has Callia ever seen a Twi’lek go pale? If not, she’s missing her chance. “I’ll … keep that in mind…” Note to self: discuss Jedi takedown plans with Santos at the earliest opportunity.
She rises from her chair, moving over to perch at the edge of Callia’s bed. Uncertainly, she touches the woman’s arm, the prelude to trying to give her a gentle hug. “I’m sorry about your friend. And that I was mean. That was scary for everyone.”
Callia grew up with lots of Twi’leks, of course she’s seen them go pale. She does recognize the tone of voice. “Alright. I would prefer not to fall to the Dark Side, though.” Her voice is soft as she says this. The Twi’lek moving closer catches her slightly off-guard.
“Thank you. You have every right to be upset, it’s alright. But thank you.” she sighs. “I would like to think there is still hope for Sora, but the girl I knew is gone. I’m sorry I reacted the way I did. With a clearer head…” She trails off. “It will not happen again.”
“We won’t let it happen again,” Zet replies quietly. “It can’t.” She sits there a moment longer, her arm slipping away from the half-hug. Then she reaches for Callia’s hand, touching it gently first so as not to startle her before guiding it to the edge of the holobook. “There’s an audio setting,” she admits, the faint grin in her voice audible. Zet runs Callia’s finger along the book, showing her where to find the switch.
“Aaah. So it was only passive agressive until you got the answers you wanted,” Callia is teasing, of course. She feels for the switch then the rest of the book. Yes, she’s sure she can find it again now with even a little help from the Force. Yes. “Thank you again, Zet.”
“Diversity of tactics.” Zet gives her friend a reproving tap on the back of her hand before she withdraws completely, rising to her feet. “I needed to do something passive-aggressive and something aggressive-aggressive to make sure it stuck.” She glances towards the door, once. She has a lot to do still, and they don’t want to stay put on Corella indefinitely. The sooner they make their preparations, the sooner they can all move on. “I should go. But we’re checking in often. When they’re ready to release you one of us’ll meet you to take us back where we’re staying. It’s not far from here.”