Star Wars: Edge of the Empire

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."

Vignette: Familiar Surroundings

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.”

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.”

Episode VI: Starships Are Melee Weapons
zet's journal

I think I need to get Santos to teach me how to lift or something. I can’t keep getting the shit kicked out of me like this.

Palob got us to Selonia and buzzed off to deliver his package to Nossk. It quickly became clear that things weren’t how Qurzer remembered them, but they weren’t willing to admit it outright, so we were all kind of stuck just going along with it. And before we even managed to get onto a transport to take us down to the planet, a Star Destroyer under construction blew up, and by crazy random happenstance, Rakine Bokete was hanging out waiting for a ride. That’s not suspicious at all.

Apparently it’s highly unusual for the ride between the shipyards to the surface to be ticketed. Or for tunnels to end in dead ends. Or for male Selonians to be in charge of anything, let alone Force-sensitive ones. But that’s what we found! Along with some kind of huge subterranean worm that I fed a frag grenade after it tried to rip my arm off. Also, Callia almost drowned, and there were a few times that I thought we were gonna lose Santos to a particularly narrow passage. I guess we better start carrying engine oil for those situations.

After a very strange encounter with Qurzer’s queen, we met up with this other one who was very concerned about all the local changes. I don’t know much about Selonians but I think politics and business kind of fly above their heads. CEC has been working on a merger with Kuat Drive Yards, which in turn is part owner of the Selonian shipyards. So somehow they were behind all these changes, like they were coming in and changing the business model or whatever. Selonians were losing their jobs and their homes, which, by the way, it’s pretty messed up that no one on that planet seems to understand what homelessness is.

I don’t feel the connection to Ryloth that my parents do. I’ve never lived there, and I’ve only visited once or twice. But I feel for them when they talk about it.

We decided to help by reestablishing communication between the Selonian septs. We managed to steal a CEC food supply ship (with minimal casualties, just for Callia) and head up towards the shipyards. En route, we overheard radio chatter that suggested the CEC was about to get crazy violent down below, so Qurzer hopped on the comm and convinced them all to rise up and rebel. But what they really wanted to do was get into the CEC area and find our old friend Rikkard Bel.

Rakine and I managed to talk and/or threaten our way through the guards when we docked, and we got all the way into a boardroom where Bel was going to meet us so Qurzer could tell him all about the rebels. That was the story we fed them, anyway. We knew he’d recognize us as soon as he walked in – a Chiss who travels with a Twi’lek isn’t exactly something you forget. The minute he saw us it turned into a firefight, but those guys weren’t much of a challenge. The problem was Qurzer just went for Bel right away and the two of them disappeared down a hallway before the rest of us had dealt with his guards.

This is where things started to go really badly for us. We hit a fork, and Rakine went one way while the rest of us went another. We found this hangar bay, with a transport ship right in the middle, and then someone with a super creepy voice got on the ship’s comm to say hello to Santos. He’s told me a lot of things about Nossk, but I don’t think I was even a little bit prepared for the real thing. Nossk had put a bomb on Qurzer – and also on Palob, who’d had the shit kicked out of him on the other side of the hangar. Before we could even begin to try to negotiate through the situation he just blew Palob up…

It’s kind of a confusing blur after that. I sort of remember Qurzer running onboard the ship to try to take Nossk on himself, and Santos doing something cool with the Force. But Nossk decided to just drive his ship right at us, and I was the only one who couldn’t get out of the way in time.

By the time Santos managed to stim me, Nossk was pretty much long gone. We found Rakine – she’d already been blown up by ANOTHER bomb he planted, and then hit with a stun grenade. We used her comm to call the rebels for a pickup and turned Bel over to them to deal with – maybe they can help the Selonians somehow.

I’m so relieved that Santos didn’t do anything really awful… I was supposed to be there for him, to make sure nothing bad happened. And I can’t even begin to imagine what Qurzer is feeling right now. They’re sticking with us, they want to find some of the other Selonians who’ve been away from their homeworld, but they aren’t saying much about what just happened. And then there’s Palob… I know we barely knew the guy, and we didn’t even know he was working for Nossk before it was already too late. But I keep wondering if we could’ve done something. If we’d followed him in the first place, maybe we could have saved him, but then we wouldn’t have been in the right place at the right time on Selonia to help all those beings on that planet. Or maybe if I could’ve just thought of something faster, when we came into that hangar bay and saw him there, he’d still be alive right now. We’re gonna track down his family and tell them what happened, and we’re gonna make sure we send them some money, but money can’t replace a person you cared about.

Even the thought of finally unloading these old Jedi artifacts for a chunk of change can’t quite cheer me up. Things were supposed to go back to normal after Jiroch. We were in our groove on Corellia, and then the second forces bigger than us get involved it all gets out of hand quickly. I hope Duros is quiet.

Episode VI: Starships Are Not Melee Weapons
Santos' Journal

Shit! Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!

This nightmare began with some boring journey through some tunnels on Selonia. Truthfully, I wasn’t paying much attention to what was happening. Who in their right minds builds a city underground? Not the best vacation spot for most people.

Anyway, I was distracted I guess by what I was learning from the holocron. I felt like I was reaching some kind of break through. I snapped out of it just in time to see a large, angry worm burrowing its way through the tunnel system, seemingly looking to dine on raw twi’lek. I guess that’s a delicacy among large, angry worms. It doesn’t get its meal though, and the team follows me down through an underground pond into a submerged tunnel, giving us access to oxygen again. Callia seemed to be hiding underwater a bit too long though, by the time we were safe her lungs were filled with water. I was able to draw the water out with the Force, and allowed it to dance in the air for a bit before dropping it on her face. That woke her up.

Qurzer led us to their Queen, who was pretty obviously under the control of some devious sort of Otter. It was clear to me that this Selonian, Hinger, was using the Force to do something to the Queen.

Selonia is a very strange place. Everyone goes on and on about Protocol, and judging by how Qurzer was interacting with everyone, Protocol is constantly changing! So it turned out that the CEC was sorta involved in the subjugation of the Selonian people, so Qurzer started a civil war. Remind me never to get on their bad side. We all escaped to the ring orbiting the planet, where we had planned to disrupt whatever was jamming communications on the surface. There, we ran into our old friend the Executive. He’s not in the custody of the Rebellion. Hope they put that little gift to good use.

Oh, yeah, and Nossk. We went to Selonia looking for Nossk, but we didn’t want him to find us first. He had rigged the hangar with bombs, attached one to Palob and somehow got one on Qurzer. Nossk was all to happy to set off the one attached to Palob, and destroy one of the hangars, but that gave time for Qurzer to board the ship he was about to take off in. Naturally I saved Qurzer’s life by pulling the glass shield off of the cockpit, making it impossible for Nossk to escape into space. He adapted though, driving the ship into Zet. He then ran through the hole in the cockpit. I wanted to go after him, but Zet was just hit with a FRACKING SPACESHIP. I needed to know that she would survive, and he got away. Next time he won’t.

Roleplay log: Pablum
an e-mail roleplay log

It’s up to the boys to battle it out over who gets to be the real pilot en route to Selonia. Zet just stays out of it, remaining aft during the initial takeoff and probably doing something real nosy, like touching all of Palob’s stuff. Anyway, once they’re free of the docks and out into open space the Twi’lek appears at the rear of the cockpot, wandering right in to lean off the back of the copilot seat.

“I can’t believe we’ve never used that one before,” she says to Santos like Palob isn’t even there. “It’s a good thing you never took the sleeves off your old uniform, huh.”

“Could you imagine if I did? Csilla would be knocked off orbit due to the tension of all the jaws and asses clenched in indignation.” There wasn’t much of a fight. The ship technically is Palob’s and he did spend an hour or so in a box.

Santos does make himself comfortable in the co-pilot’s chair. He’s reclined as far as it will go, feet up on the console. He’s also found a way to change back into his ne’er-do-well clothing.

“We definitely need to use that trick again. Only the Chiss wouldn’t sent a delegate who can’t speak Basic. The Chiss just wouldn’t deign to speak to a lesser species.”

“What were you after back there, anyway?” Palob asks from the pilot seat behind them. His posture is relaxed, one leg drooped off the edge of the slightly raised platform. “You were trying to pull the wool over the eyes of CEC or something? You’re bonkers.”

“Yeah, okay, we can definitely get the details straighter the next time…” When Palob speaks up, Zet turns around, leaning back against Santos’ chair to face him with arms crossed. Her grin is just a little sheepish. “Uh, no. Just your ship, actually. We probably weren’t gonna keep it though?” She pokes him in the foot with the toe of her boot. “You can take it up with Catrinna if you want.”

“Yeah. We were just borrowing it. You got some glory out if it any way.” Santos takes advantage of the space his reclined position affords him, stretching his arms straight out behind him. He’s certainly missing the spaciousness of the Rainbow Dash. “What’s going down in Selonia? Figure there might be something we can do to help you make up for lost time.”

Palob is genuinely surprised by the offer. “Uh, well that’s downright neighbourly of you. Not altogether similar to the circumstances under which we met,” he says, giving Zet a look. “What with the locker stuffing and all.”

“As far as what’s the word on Selonia, I’d figure you ought to ask the Selonian you hang out with,” he teases and gets quiet, looking out the window at the nothingness of space surrounding them.

After a moment, his boredom sets in. “Yeah lots going on down in Selonia- beneath the waves and above,” he says, addressing his attention to the pair of smugglers once more. “Lots of ships to be built, and I hear some major contracts are up. Selonia’s about to become the most popular aquatic vacation destination for high ranking shipwright executives, if you take my meaning,” he says without a hint of any idea of what he is talking about.

“It was just a little knockout gas,” Zet fires back. “You should see what we did to the last guy whose ship we ‘borrowed.’”

She shifts away from Santos’ chair to give him room to stretch, edging around to perch on the arm of it instead. The weird silence just kind of stretches on, and she shoots a puzzled look at Santos, like, what, that’s all he’s got to say? If we wanted to ask the Selonian we’d ask them…

“…..” The Twi’lek just blinks at Palob. “Unless that’s some kinda double entendre I… guess we do take your meaning…” She fiddles with the zipper on her vest. “But why are you in such a rush to get there?”

Santos returns Zet’s look. Rich people want to vacation on an ocean planet. Pretty straight forward. “Sounded like you had to meet with someone.” Someone Santos is eager to meet with too.

Palob grins and shrugs. “I have no idea if that’s true about the executives. Just something Bel said. He says a lot of course. Real info dump, that one,” he explains.

The smuggler follows Santos in a stretch out of arms and crosses them like a pillow, really leaning back in his home, the Void Crow. “Yeah, I’ve been retained by Bel for a few months now. Pretty boring but the pay is stellar! I’m just liasion between he and this Trandoshan. They’ve got some business and I just move the box back and forth. No biggie,” he says nonchalantly, clearly unaffected by Santos’ piqued curiosity and unaware of what bubbles beneath the surface of his query.

It occurs to Zet that she literally did not ask that executive’s name. Well, whatever, the Chiss Ascendency probably wouldn’t care about it either. “Wow. Wish we could get an easy contract like that. What’re they shipping back and forth?” She, for one, is good at making it sound like the kind of perfectly innocent question a fellow smuggler might ask, and there’s nothing in her relaxed body language to give away that she’s especially interested in the Trandoshan.

“You’d give up the regular brushes with death?” Santos gently nudges the Twi’lek with his elbow. “My friend, you’re going soft.”

“I’ll have you know I’m quite partial to that. The only regular brushing I participate in is the those related to personal hygiene,” Palob says with a wink to the Twilek.

“I’m quite happy to courier information from A to B. I don’t know what Nossk is up to on behalf of the old man, but he’s made a lot of stops around the galaxy lately. I deliver the same thing I always do, a briefcase,” he explains to the pair, gesturing towards the back of the ship with his thumb. “I don’t make a habit of asking questions or opening cargo – do you?” he says rhetorically, fully aware that any smuggler who wants to get work in their lifetime wouldn’t dream of looking in on their cargo. They might learn things about their employers- about themselves that they have a hard time living with, right Zet?

Zet smirks at Palob even as she playfully swats Santos’ elbow away. “Not forever, but it’d be nice to collect a few easy paycheques in a row.” She follows the man’s gesture with her eyes, then glances back at his face, feeling her stomach give a funny little flip. As a matter of fact, she likes to make it her business now to have some idea of exactly what she’s carrying. Then again, you can’t hide literal slaves in a briefcase. “Not if the job’s that cushy,” she agrees easily. “But I sure would get curious if I was making the same run over and over again, and Bel talks a lot. I guess Nossk doesn’t?”

“He talks a lot and trusts too easily. Not a great combination for a man in his position.” Santos sits up and looks for some new shinies to play with. He settles on fiddling with a few harmless knobs like rear lighting control. If Callia could see the flicker of the lights she might expect the dubstep to start soon.

Palob looks uncomfortable. “Nossk talks plenty. I just don’t always like what he has to say,” he says, shifting in his seat and straightening up.

A sympathetic frown tugs at the corners of Zet’s lips. She shifts off Santos’ chair to her feet, almost like she’s about to pace restlessly, but of course there’s no room to pace in here so she just kind of ends up standing closer to Palob’s seat before stopping again. “I’ve worked for guys like that. You almost wanna start charging a premium for the amount of time you spend biting your tongue.”

“At least you’re getting steady pay.” Santos gives his full attention to the group now. “Can’t be that unpleasant if you’re still working with him, right?”

Palob swallows and gives a weak smile. “Hey, I’m not backing out of a cushy contract just because some Trandoshan gives me the willies,” he says in a transparent attempt to re-introduce levity.

“Whatever Bel’s got going on with this Nossk guy, it is not a good thing.”

She’s facing Palob, not Santos, so the Chiss won’t see Zet’s little eye roll as he seems to coolly dismiss Palob’s misgivings. Not that she doesn’t share his sentiment, to a degree, but she’s living proof that suddenly backing out of a contract is easier said than done when you’re dealing with powerful people.

Of course, on the other other hand, her every gesture right now is carefully calculated to try to convince Palob she’s on his side here. Put the whole knockout gas-box stuffing thing in the past! “Well… watch your back. I’ve known a good smuggler or two who had a real unpleasant surprise when their bad-news employers decided they didn’t need them anymore.” She flickers a smile at him. “You let us know if we can do anything to help you out. I probably wouldn’t have shoved you in a box and borrowed your ship without asking if I’d realized we were gonna get a good person in hot water with a creepy lizard.” That’s about as close to an apology as he’s going to get.

“Yeah. We’re pretty good at stuff. I’m sure there’s a way we can help you out of a rough spot.” Santos recognizes Palob’s reaction well. Nossk has always had a creepy vibe. More so than most Trandoshans.

“It won’t be a long stop at the shipyards,” Palob explains. “I don’t imagine Nossk would take kindly to an entourage so I’ll make the drop alone. You’re free to head to wherever you like from the station. Depending on the pay, I might tag along.”

The smuggler twists until he is sitting sideways, and peers back to the narrow passage where the others are stuffed. “What’s with the blind chick, anyways?” he asks.

They actually have no next destination whatsoever at this point, although it sure is handy to be heading to Qurzer’s home planet. Zet replies with a confident smile nevertheless. “Sure. We’ll swap comm frequencies.” Gimme your number to be gassed and boxed again.

“Oh, Miranda?” Zet shrugs, returning to sharing Santos’ chair arm. “Well sometimes things don’t go as smoothly as they did with you.” She winks. “Blaster fire a little too close to her face. She’ll getting better.”

“Miranda will be fine in no time.” Santos nods in agreement, “she’s tougher than she looks.”

Roleplay log: DADT
an e-mail roleplay log

While Palob is presumably doing a few pre-flight checks on Corellia and/or making more sad noises about the damage Zet’nuri did to his ship, the Twi’lek gestures Callia aside.

“Hey, um, are we cool?” She’s absently checking through her pockets as she asks the question, making sure her gear is where it belongs and reattaching her blaster pistol at her hip – she’d hidden it away while she was making fake business proposals for the Chiss Ascendency. “It got a little heated there for a minute, with the glitterstim spice.”

Callia follows after the Twi’lek, having remained quietly judgmental since they have landed the ship again.

“We will be fine. I am out of my element, clearly, but glitterstim is not something anyone in the galaxy should be ferrying about.” She tells Zet. “I am willing to make concessions but just remember what you are doing doesn’t affect only you.”

“Sorry.” Now that Zet isn’t right in the moment, buzzing with a combination of adrenaline and nerves, she’s able to muster up a sincere apology. “I didn’t forget. I don’t like to touch that stuff usually. I know it’s bad — it’s literally produced by slave labour.” She looks up at Callia’s face, satisfied with the state of all her hidden pockets. “But me and Santos also can’t really afford to be in debt to anyone else. Now we’re clear with Catrinna, and if we wanna work with her again, we did that so fast that we’ll have enough pull to say no next time to cargo we don’t want to move. I think we just broke a record!” In spite of the gravity of the situation, the thrill-seeking smuggler can’t keep the excitement out of her voice. Isn’t it cool Callia? ISN’T IT??

“Yes it is,” Callia agrees softly. “Most illegal spices are. Glitterstim just seems to be the worst of them.” It’s hard to stay judgemental and quiet around the excited Twi’lek. “Yes, I believe we did. Didn’t they say a uneventful run usually takes longer than that? I suppose now you will have a lot of clout amongst the smugglers on Corellia.”

“That’s right. We’ll practically be famous once word gets out. Santos and I can start making our money back and then we can all get to Nar Shaddaa and pay off our repairs and stop scrambling for any old job. Which means no more glitterstim. See?” It’s really probably not the first time Zet’s helped to smuggle drugs, given that she used to work for the Black Suns. That doesn’t mean she had to like it. “It’s not that I wasn’t hearing what you were saying. We just didn’t have time to argue by that point. You know, sometimes we smuggle for the powers of good. Like refugees or whatever. So it can all balance out in the end.”

There is always a justification for the next job. Callia doesn’t say a word as she studies Zet quietly. There is that silent judgement again. “I’m not positive that is how the balance of the universe works, Zet.” She wryly replies.

“Well you’d know more about that than me,” Zet says flippantly, not even squirming under the way Callia’s looking at her. It’s hardly the first time in her life some human has given her a dirty look and it won’t be the last. “If we’ve got to move cargo like that again is it better if you just don’t know about it?” Believe it or not, that sounds like a sincere question. This is Zet trying to figure out the best way to keep the peace.

Callia chuckles softly and shakes her head. “You want to apply a don’t ask, don’t tell policy?” She considers it thoughfully. “If you wish that is how we go about these things, then alright. I will try to remain purposefully ignorant.”

“But I mean, like I said, it’s not like we’re usually moving stuff like glitterstim.” Zet laughs a bit. “Uh, what about Santos? We’re sort of business partners so typically he needs to know what cargo he’s moving…”

“That will be up to you two, I suppose,” Callia replies. “It will be up to you and him what line you want to walk. There is always going to be a chance in this lifestyle leads down a dark path so just continue to be aware of that. Don’t let him go off on any revenge-based escapades or murderous rampages…though he doesn’t seem the sort.”

“Ha ha! Funny you should mention that…” Zet shifts her weight from foot to foot.

Callia tilts her head to the side, one eyebrow arching up. “Mention what? Murderous rampages?”

“Revenge-based escapades.” Some of the good humour leaves Zet’s eyes now. “Palob said he’s got something to deliver to a Nossk on Selonia. It’s a great big galaxy out there, so it’s totally possible that there’s more than one Nossk who just happens to do business with smugglers. But Santos’ ex-partner was named Nossk too.”

“Ex-partner…I assume it didn’t end well, then,” Callia murmurs. She tries to appear not too troubled by this new bit of information.

“That’s the guy he told you about on the Corellian Runner, who left him stranded on Nar Shaddaa.” Zet folds her arms, chewing on her lip. “Nossk beat the crap out of him and took all of his stuff. When I met Santos he was living on the street.” She doesn’t add that it was sort of by choice because he was hoarding every credit he could lay hands on to buy their new ship. “I kinda want to ask Palob about it once we get going, but I don’t know what’ll happen if Santos and Nossk are face to face again.”

Callia mulls it over quietly. “Well…you are there to ground him. I can step in if I need to. Hopefully it will not come to that, though. We may have to let Santos figure this out on his own, with as much guidance as we can.” The Jedi sounds like she’s viewing this as some sort of trial for the Chiss. “I will let you handle talking to Palob about it. I’m here if you need any assistance.”

Zet nods. Apparently her best friend’s mental health is one topic that will curb her exuberance. “I’ll try and get a word alone with Santos if I can. I’m not really sure if he knows what he’ll do. But it’s hard to predict that kind of thing until you’re face to face…”

“Yes, it is,” Callia muses. “You expect yourself to be strong and rely on the skills and knowledge you have, but sometimes emotion guides us in a way we cannot control.” She speaks, of course, from recent experience. “We will all be there to guide him in any way we can.”

“I’ll just stun him if he’s getting out of hand,” Zet replies without so much as batting an eye.

Callia cannot help but laugh. Its a slightly nervous laugh, aware that Zet is speaking somewhat seriously. “Hopefully it wont come to that.”

“Yeah… I think I’d have to hit him more than once to knock him down.” Zet winces. “And I don’t want to literally get between him and a Trandoshan.”

“Yes, that would be a dangerous place to be.” Callia agrees. “I will help, if it does come to that.”

Now Zet grins, flashing her pointy teeth. “I thought the point was to keep you two out of that kind of trouble. Didn’t you like my trick with the smoke bomb? That was dedicated to you.” She tosses her headtails with a feigned arrogance.

“I meant restraining them both, not hurting anyone,” The Jedi smirks. “It was a clever trick. I’m glad we also returned his spaceship to him. Palob does not seem like an awful fellow. A bit clueless and clearly a little too friendly, but not awful.”

“Yeah… it would’ve been hard to sell another stolen vehicle after all that anyway.” Zet… is … probably joking. “He’s being such a good sport about all this.” She glances back towards the ship. “I guess we should get on board soon, huh.”

Probably being the key word there. Callia just gives her a half-smirk. “I suppose we should.” She agrees. “I am going to check to see how Qurzer is doing. I will see you in a bit.”

Episode V: Back in the cockpit
zet's journal

Working Corellia was a bit tricky with the Black Suns in charge, but in spite of that it was real nice that things felt kind of normal for a while. Seedy hotels, backroom deals, drinking in crappy cantinas, griefing tourists at the pazaak table… I can even ignore this nagging feeling that it’s all gonna go to shit again on Selonia because we’re all just so awesome.

It all started with Catrinna. I got her name from a friend of a friend of a friend, who told me she could help me move our Imperial speeders. We showed up at what looked like her dive bar, but she lead us right into the back to this super classy sabacc table. Now, sabacc really isn’t my favourite game. I gambled my good skifter away ages ago after a few too many glasses of quenya, and when you’re playing the game on someone else’s turf with their friends it’s almost always rigged. But it wouldn’t have been polite to refuse. Even though the buy-in was really, really high. I’ve been trying to teach Santos how to be a better card player and I guess he thought that was as good a time as any to try his luck.

We actually weren’t doing too bad, but it became clear really fast that Catrinna was determined to completely empty our pockets before she’d do any business with us. In the end we walked out with four thousand credits each for the speeders, but she’d taken everything else we came in with AND put Santos and I at a pretty big deficit to her. Instead of letting us just pay her off, she asked us to go do a job for her. We can’t afford to be in even more debt and it’s not like we had any other good way to get off Corellia, so we took it.

Catrinna wanted us to “borrow” some junky old freighter from an “acquaintance.” It was docked with this huge CEC transport ship and one of the executives was on board. This would have been a problem for lesser beings, but luckily we’ve got a really tall blue guy with a military uniform on our side. And he hasn’t put on too much weight to wear it. With Callia and Qurzer pretending to be his aides, I told the guys working at the CEC ship’s loading bay that I was there with a representative of the Chiss Ascendency and they were finally interested in making a deal with the CEC. That got their attention real fast, and we were lead in to meet with the guy in charge. That conversation was mostly boring, but it covered for Callia while she slipped off to “get Santos a drink” in order to scope the place out.

That guy took off to oversee the takeoff, which left us free to follow Callia’s lead to a docking tube. At the bottom of a ladder we found this shifty-looking human just kind of … hanging out. Santos was still playing “too good to speak Basic,” so I talked the guy up. His name was Palob and he was there to do something or other for the CEC boss upstairs.

Palob invited Callia and I aboard his ship, probably thinking he was just gonna get to have fun killing time. I’ve been inside a HWK-290 once or twice before so I got this idea to ask him to show me how to fly it. The thing with the 290 is the copilot seat is in front of the pilot instead of beside him, which means your hands are hidden. So while he was flirting and bragging and whatever I just popped my breather into my mouth and triggered a knockout grenade. A few minutes later we had Palob locked safely in a box in the cargo bay and we disengaged from the CEC ship just before it made the jump into hyperspace.

Our next stop was Centerpoint Station, where we were supposed to meet Catrinna’s contact Draal. Turns out the job was the Corellian Shuffle! I only know a handful of beings who’ve pulled it off successfully, like, seriously the prestige alone would’ve made me interested in the job, even if we had to do it in some loser’s junky old ship. We had a convict, two shipments of spice and an expat to deliver through this carefully-plotted series of microjumps. It’s a good thing Santos has been teaching me a bit of piloting because he had his hands full calculating the jumps for us, although Palob woke up when I repeatedly didn’t do so great at docking with one of the ships we had to meet.

Things went pretty smoothly up until Callia announced that she wasn’t okay with delivering glitterstim spice. Honestly neither am I. Like I’ve done it before. I’d do it again if I had to. But I don’t like to touch that stuff – slaves usually have to mine it and glitterstim is REALLY bad. But we had a deal, right. When it’s creepy Force stuff, she’s in charge. When it’s smuggling stuff, I’m in charge. Well, me and Santos. Anyway our reputations were on the line – we’d said we were going to do it, we needed to wipe the slate clean with Catrinna, and also we were well on our way to having bragging rights throughout the whole sector at least. So I might’ve snapped at her to sit down and shut up and then let Palob out of his box to carry crates with us… whatever.

It ended up being the right call anyway, because some stupid pirates had dropped an asteroid right on our jump path as we made the final microjump. It helped a lot to have two legitimate pilots in the cockpit as we made our escape. There was no way we were going to stand and fight with our one little gun against three ships.

We made it to the final drop point so fast we actually set a brand new record in the sector! That’s gonna be worth something the next time I have to deal with someone like Catrinna… Palob was surprisingly reasonable about the whole thing and even offered to let us all tag along to Selonia with him. We kind of wanted to head there with Qurzer anyway. The thing is, he mentioned he has a briefcase to deliver to a Trandoshan named Nossk.

Maybe that’s just a really common Trandoshan name but I have a bad feeling about this. Especially with what I know now, about how easy it is for someone who’s Force sensitive to go bad… part of me just wants to avoid him, but if Santos wants to chase him down of course I’ll back him up. And keep him from doing anything too awful. I need more specific information from Callia. Obviously it’s bad if he kills Nossk in cold blood but what if he just hurts him a little?

Episode V: Fifteen Minutes
Santos' Journal

Finally, a night out on Corellia! That hotel room was starting to wear thing, and even sneaking out on to the roof to play jedi warrior was getting old. The bar itself was nothing spectacular, but Catrinna’s private room completely made up for it. A few rounds of Sabac saw Zet and I get heavily in debt to Catrinna, but also opened up an opportunity to sell those imperial speeders, so that’s sort of a win.

The debt didn’t really matter anyway. Catrinna simply asked us to do a simple job that needed us to borrow the ship of an associate of hers. Easy, right? Well, this acquaintance didn’t exactly know we were coming, and he happened to be aboard the transport of one of the executives of the Corellian Engineering Corporation. We needed a solid plan to get onto that ship.

So gussied myself up in my old EDF uniform and had Zet pretend to be my spokesperson while Callia played my personal aide. Rikkard Bel was completely willing to believe that the Chiss Ascendancy was finally ready to sign a contract with the CEC, and we were completely willing to take advantage of him. Callia went off to fix me a drink with Bel’s servants, and was able get a sense of what he was involved in, and where we needed to be to get to that ship. Once Bel left the office we made our way down to the hangar and met Pablum. Or Palob. It’s a hard name. Anyway, he made the mistake of inviting Zet and Callia on to his piece of just, the ‘Void Crow’ and a few minutes later he was unconscious and in a box. Probably not what he was hoping for.

We disembark just as the CEC ship went into hyperspace, and we rendezvoused with an affluent Draal, who sent us on the Correllian Shuffle. Fame was the prize, and we were not going to let it slip away. It was going pretty smoothly until the glitterstim. Apparently Jedi are against that sort of thing. As a rule, Zet and I are too, but rules are meant to be broken. Callia didn’t try to stop us, but we all decided it would be best for her not to participate. Palob was more than willing to help out though. The chance to claim the fame of the Corellian Shuffle apparently trumped any hard feelings he had being stuffed into a box. With his help we easily completed the run, with no more hiccups. Ok, so Kath Scarlet and her pirates were a bit of a hiccup, as was Zet’s cringe-worthy attempt at docking with another ship, but we came out on top, and still managed to break records. We got the money and the fame, and actually gave Palob his ship back. He even gave us a ride to Selonia where he was scheduled to meet with my old friend, Nossk. I can’t even express how much I’m looking forward to getting even with that lizard, although I guess that’s not the greatest idea right now, if I want to avoid becoming a monster myself. That Palob guy though, I hope we see more of him. He’s good people.

Roleplay log: Target Practice
an e-mail roleplay log

By the time Zet does a second round of errands, returning with a tote bag full of fruit that’s getting too wrinkly to sell, it’s getting dark out. In her opinion, that shouldn’t matter. The whole point of this target practice is to teach her friend to hit things with his brain, right?

She stops to fetch him from their room first, and then knocks very enthusiastically on Callia’s door to get the Jedi moving. From there, the Twi’lek leads both of them up a back stair to the roof access, where she sets her bag down to deftly jimmy it open without setting off an alarm. “I picked almost rotten fruit because it was free and soft,” she remarks in a conversational undertone. “Definitely not because it’ll make the biggest mess.” The lock pops open. Brushing her hands together in a satisfied way, Zet leads the way out onto the roof.

Santos is over the moon excited to leave the hotel room. The fact that they are losing sun makes it even better- there’s less of a chance of a Black Sun noticing a wandering Chiss. As soon as he sees Zet he grabs his vibroknife (it will have to do in place of a training saber) and is out the door.

“Soft is good. And try not to hit my face. We can’t have anything messing up my good looks.” Remembering the blindfold part of the whole affair that Callia suggested, he kneels down, resting on his knees and the ball of his feet so that Callia doesn’t need to stand on her toes, or have Zet lift her to put the blindfold on.

Callia smirks softly as Zet explains why she went for the closest to rotten possible. “Probably for the best. We wouldn’t want to be tempted to eat anything we could toss at Santos. And yes, I’m sure we don’t want to bruise our poor friend.” Not yet, anyway. She takes up the rear, her fingertips sliding against the walls up the stairwell and then falling to her side as they get outside. Her ’saber is clipped at her belt and a piece of soft cloth is woven between her fingers.

She stops abruptly when she realises Santos is bending down for her. “Ah, thank you.” She murmurs and pulls the cloth out to tie about his eyes. It takes her a moment to figure out she has it in the right spot and then tie it tight enough so he cannot see. “You will want to stand somewhere where you won’t fall off the side…” She murmurs. “Zet, if you would please be so kind as to guide him to an appropriate point.”

There’s something about the sight of her extremely tall best friend kneeling to let the miniscule Jedi tie a blindfold on his face that makes Zet crack a little grin. Not that either of them can see it! She sets her bag down, backtracking to make sure the door is secure. They don’t need anyone coming out onto the roof behind them. “Yeah.” Approaching Santos, she waits for him to stand up again and then loops her arm through his. “There’s actually tons of room. I’ll come back for you, Callia.”

She leads him over to an open area, far away from any of the edges. When she lets him go, he’ll hear the scrape and clatter of her kicking some junk away. “Wanna make sure you don’t trip,” Zet explains before her footsteps recede. She snags her bag of fruit and takes Callia by the wrist, leading her closer as well. “What do you want me to do? Throw them right at you? Or just kinda around you?”

Santos allows himself to be guided to a safe area, implicitly trusting his bestie. “Uh, both I guess.” He’s not entirely sure how this is supposed to work while blindfolded, at the very least this is going to be fun. “Callia, how exactly am I going to hit what I can’t see?”

He turns on his vibroknife and assumes a starting position, as Qel ’ Droma instructed.

“This is almost an exercise in moving meditation,” Callia explains. “The difference is that we’re going to be distracting you by pelting you with rotten fruit.” Santos can probably hear the smirk in her voice. She can’t help it, it’s exciting to finally be able to do this to someone else after all the years she did it as a Padawan.

“You need to open yourself to the Force. This is about feeling. You need to anticipate the moment and prepare yourself. So before we start throwing this at you, you must center yourself. It is all about being focused.”

Zet already has a piece of fruit in her hand, tossing it up and down in her palm to get a feel for the weight of it. It’s not quite the same as throwing a little stun grenade.

Her eyes drift towards Santos. She doesn’t really wait, she just whips it right at him, aiming for his torso. “Are you focused yet?”

“Umphhh” Santos doubles over ever so slightly at the impact of the fruit. Not so much because of pain, he’s not sure Zet could cause him physical pain if she tried. It’s more a reaction to the surprise of the piece of fruit striking him before he’s ready. Also, the feeling of the overripe fruit effectively exploding upon contact with his torso, covering him in it’s juices. Guess tonight’s laundry night.

“No, Zet. Not yet.” He attempts to sound angry, but the ruse is immediately blown by the huge grin on his face, “How about you wait until I give the word. Remember, you still have flying lessons.”

He begins to move through the movements of Ataru, slowly as he gains his focus. He’s getting quicker at centering himself, an in just a few moments he finds himself back on that glacier, just outside of Csaplar, The Force has a twisted sense of humour. He’s no longer blindfolded, although there’s not much to see outside of the near endless fields of snow. He moves back into a ready position, hopefully facing the source of the impending fruit barrage. “Now.”

Callia covers her mouth as she coughs, trying to mask the laughter in her voice. “Yes, Zet, now is perfect.” She replies. Welcome to Initiate hell, Santos. She takes a moment to get her own bearings about her, summoning a piece of fruit to her hands with a small application of the Force and lobs it up and down a few times. She can sense Santos getting his focus and may even try to interrupt by sending another piece of fruit flying at him.

Zet’s answer for Santos is nothing but laughter. She stoops to take another projectile in hand, but this time she waits to give him a chance to at least START preparing.

Callia hovering one right into her hand gets a little pout. “That’s really unfair,” she says quietly, before turning to really put her back into the next throw. That piece is going to get Santos right in the shoulder if he doesn’t notice it coming. She’ll take it out on him.

Santos easily spins around with a flourish, gracefully sliding his vibroknife through the center of the airborne fruit. He allows one half to fall to the ground, and effortlessly catches the other half in his mouth.

At least, that’s how he imagined this all going down when Zet was out collecting the tasty projectiles. Instead, he gets a vague sensation that something it about to hit him somewhere in the upper left quarter of his body. A fraction of a second later his right shoulder is covered in peach fibres. Some of the splattered juice found its way onto the corner of his mouth, so there’s that.

His focus falters for a moment, as he’s struck not at all where he was expecting it. He doesn’t lose it, though, and is quickly ready for the next attack.

Zet will find that fruit are starting to float over for her to grab out of the air. Callia must’ve overhead her deeming what she’s doing unfair, right? She grabs another out of the air for herself. “Focus, Santos.” She offers. “Feel it through the Force.”

The she hurls the fruit in her hand at his midsection.

Zet’s amusement falters when she finds herself gently accosted by floating bits of fruit. Perhaps she isn’t sure how she feels about that, either. She’s tentative about grabbing her first piece out of the air, like she’s worried it might suddenly turn on her.

It doesn’t. Winding up, she lobs this one lower, intending for it to splatter on the ground right in front of Santos and spray fruit guts all over his feet. “Yeah Santos. I thought you had some kinda super-impressive Chiss brain.”

“Zet, my super-impressive Chiss brain can astronavigate the hell out of any course,” The blue giant isn’t able to finish his though before he feels another piece of fruit approaching. In his mind he starts to see the faintest distortion, heading for his torso. He twists to the side in time for the fruit to soar past him, right off the roof of the building.

Encouraged by this, he notices another distortion, much lower this time. He meets this distortion with the inside of his foot, splattering slightly, but sending the fruit back in the direction it came from. “This isn’t about the brain though,” he continues, glowing triumphantly, “it’s about… something else.” A poet, he is not.

Awww, Callia is just trying to be helpful. Don’t worry, the fruit won’t bite. “It’s about focusing on the projectiles and not your witty comebacks,” She deadpans, sending another two at him in quick succession. One for his head and one at his shoulder.

Emboldened by the fact that the first fruit behaved exactly as it was meant to, Zet snags three or four of them while she watches Santos successfully dodge two in a row. “That was pretty good,” she calls encouragingly. See, she can be nice sometimes. His rebounded fruit comes skittering back her way, but she backs up a step or two to keep her boots clean. “The footwork I mean, not whatever you were trying to say.”

She’s silent after that though, because she’s skirting around him. Zet can be very, very, very quiet when she wants to be, although the fact that she suddenly stops talking may be a clue that she’s changing position if the Force doesn’t tip Santos off first.

Aww, Callia thinks Santos is witty.

Santos listens to Callia’s advice with a sigh. She just won’t let him forget that being Force Sensitive means he’s not allowed to have fun. He focuses again as two more balls of goo come hurling at him. He’s seeing them more clearly in his mind now. Interestingly, they are coming from the same direction. Given the height they’re flying at, he’d have to guess that a certain diminutive human set them in motion. That, of course, means that Zet hasn’t fired again, although he has no doubt that she’s armed. What is she up to?

No time to worry about her now, as he swings his vibroknife, again following the movements he’s been studying from the holocron. He’s disappointed when he doesn’t feel his blade connect with the first piece, but he manages to bring it around quickly enough to hit the second piece with the flat of the knife, launching it to the side.

He brings the blade up into as defensive a position as he knows how, and listens for any movement coming from the twi’lek.

Callia, at least, senses the Twi’lek as she begins to move around Santos. The floating fruit seem to follow her, even as she throws more fruit at the Chiss.

“You are doing well, Santos,” She offers in encouragement. Keep him distracted from his friend. “Just keep your focus up.” Another three fruit come in quick succession for him.

The way Zet sees it, Santos is already getting too good at dodging or hitting things that come at him from the front, so it’s already time to up the ante. When she’s at about a 5 o’clock angle from where she started, she sends a fruit whizzing towards his right hip. Before she’s even had time to see whether or not it connects, she darts near-silently to another position, directly behind him, and she aims for the back of his head.

Santos tries to keep up with the rapid fire fruit coming from Callia’s direction. He’s not entirely successful with his mind divided, trying to locate Zet. He can see that Callia is trying to keep his mind off of Zet, but he also knows better than to forget about her. Distracted as he is, he manages to catch one of the projectiles, slicing off a quarter of the meat, and successfully deflecting the rest. He pivots sharply to avoid contact with a second piece of fruit. Unfortunately he turns right into the path of the third. At least that puts him in position to hear the subtle whistle of Zet’s piece coming towards him. Instinctively, he brings his blade down swiftly as the fruit meets it, dead center.

“I think I got one!” He shouts with excitement.

“It certainly sounds like it.” Callia replies. “Good job. Now work on hitting the rest.” There is a teasing note in her voice. See, she has emotions. She seems to sound amused at Santos’ enthusiasm.

He’ll find another three fruit flying at him from the front, plus one from the side Zet is no longer on by the power of the Force.

“I was hoping you’d hit that one with your face.” Blindfolded, Santos can still hear the playful pout in her voice. It’s uncanny, the way he can hit something so accurately with his eyes covered, but at the same time, his enthusiasm is infectious. Zet hardly thinks anything of it to pluck another fruit out of the air. She throws it just as Callia is flinging one with the Force on his other side.

“Sorry to ruin your day Zet.”. Santos might be getting a little cocky. In his mind he can now clearly see five spheres heading towards him. Three from one direction, and one from either side. There’s no chance that he’ll be able to deflect them all, so he focuses on other techniques he’s been studying. He crouches down slightly to create a spring action, and launches himself straight into the air, allowing the force to give him a slight boost. Just enough to avoid being caught in the centre as the five pieces of fruit collide into each other, spraying juice all over.

Unfortunately, he’s not so graceful on the landing, and slips on the newly lubricated surface. He soon finds himself lying on his back, covered in nectar.

“Did he just…” Callia thinks she is sensing the movements correctly, and the loud splat on the ground seems to indicate what she thinks happened. “Are you alright, Santos?” She asks, laughter touching her lilting tone. She must not be too concerned about his well-being because more of that sticky fruit suddenly falls out of the air to drop on top of him.

Zet’s face flickers through an entire range of emotions all in the span of a few seconds – faint astonishment at how high Santos leaps, then alarm when he comes crashing down on his back (she even takes a small step forward, ready to rush over to him) … and then she just bursts out laughing and flings another fruit at him. “He looks fine to me. Just sticky.”

Santos joins his friends in laughter before sitting up. He grabs the remains of the fruit Callia so kindly dropped on him, and lobs it in the direction of her laughter. When Zet’s latest assault makes contact he does the same, throwing it towards the Twi’lek’s most recent position. No sense in him being the only one getting messy.

“I’m fine, Callia. This shirt might be a write-off though.”

Callia deflects the fruit so they squish to the ground at her feet. “Now now, Santos, you just need to scrub it out with some water, soap and good old elbow grease.” She steps gently over the fruit and toward the Chiss to offer him a hand up. “You did very well for your first time. Next time, hopefully you’ll be able to deflect more of the fruit. Then perhaps Zet’s blaster shots.”

Given she has full use of her senses, it’s little challenge for Zet to sidestep that final attack. She’s grinning crookedly as she approaches, letting Callia be the one to get her hands dirty by pulling Santos to his feet. (Also, it looks funnier.) “Don’t worry, I wouldn’t aim my blaster at your perfect face.”

“Be sure you don’t.” Santos welcomes the jedi’s assistance in getting to his feet, although she can only help him get half way up. “We may need to rely on my face one day.”

He feels around the back of his head until he finds the knot of the blindfold, and quickly unties it. He looks around at his work, and frowns slightly when he only sees two fruits with cuts in them. “Not my best showing.”

“Considering you’ve only begun controlling the Force about a week ago, you did well.” Callia replies. She dusts her hands off on her pants once Santos is on his way to his feet. “How many of them actually hit you?”

She smiles as the pair exchanges their usually witty banter.

Zet sticks her hands in her pockets and looks around at the fruity genocide on the rooftop. “Looks to me like most of them hit him. Full marks for effort, though.” She flickers a smile at Santos once he’s all the way upright. “Would it help if I started just randomly poking you when you aren’t expecting it?”

“Three.” Santos answers Callia, ignoring Zet’s slight. “Excluding the two you hit me with while I was on my ass.” In response to Zet’s suggesting, he simply grabs her in a tight bear hug, making sure to share the fruit juice as much as possible.

Callia smirks softly. “Only three? That is good.” She brushes some hairs from her face and crosses her arms over her chest. “How many did you hit with your vibrosword, total?” It’s hard to be all serious “you must focus!” Jedi around these two. Perhaps that’s a good thing.

Zet should have anticipated that when Santos had enough of her taunting he’d take action. She lets out of a shriek of laughter, trying to wiggle away from him before he can even set hands on her, but a second later she’s securely captured in his arms and covered in fruit entrails. “Gross! I’m gonna roll all over your bed!” The Twi’lek makes a show of trying to struggle to freedom, relying on her flexibility over her (lack of) strength as she tries to twist and contort herself loose.

The Chiss just laughs. “I’ll just take your bed then!”

He gently lets Zet go and looks at Callia. “Three. Well, two with the blade, and one with the side. I kicked one too!” He sounds defensive as he adds that last part.

“The rest you dodged? Hmm, yes Ataru is a good form for you.” Callia chuckles. “Of course, dodging blasts from a blaster gun may be a little more dangerous for any companions you are trying to teach. I can teach you some defensive moves sometime.” She offers.

She can only imagine what the two are doing that Zet is squealing about rolling in his bed. “Just keep your sticky selves over there.” She laughs.

Now Zet is holding her arms out awkwardly at either side, like she doesn’t want to stick to herself. She gives Santos a half-hearted and no doubt completely ineffective shove. “I’d keep my blaster on stun,” she insists. “And not fire so many at once.” She eyes Callia, then glances at Santos. Too bad the blind Jedi would see her coming if she tried to share the wealth a little.

Santos doesn’t miss Zet eyeing Callia. All they need is the right opportunity. “Alright. I’m starving now. And sticky. I need to clean myself up.” He heads towards Zet’s bag. “How about you help Callia to the stairs while I gather up our stuff?”

Both seem to forget that Callia may be able to sense their duplicitous motives. “Yes, Santos, it’s meant to just stun you, not scar you.” She agrees. “Though I may suggest still firing many at once. Distractions and lots of them is how you learn. And the desire to stay awake especially helps. It’s good to fight through that sort of distraction to find your calm center.”

“I want the refresher first,” Zet says immediately as she approaches Callia. “You signed up for getting splattered with fruit. I didn’t!” The Twi’lek lightly touches her hand to Callia’s back. Her fingers actually aren’t very messy. She uses that slight pressure to guide their friend along, trying to project as much innocence as possible.

“Whatever. You knew the risks.” Santos retorts light-heartedly as he follows behind his friends.

Callia allows herself to be led toward the stairs, hands clasped in front of her for the time being. “You can get him back Zet, don’t worry.” She lilts warmly. “Next time, I want to be able to see it happen.” Do your worst, kids.

Santos is the one with all the leftover fruit. Zet glances back at him under the pretense of continuing to argue, but her eyes flicker from the bag, which still carries a couple of them, and Callia. “I wasn’t expecting you to be /so/ grateful that I finally helped you with this stuff that you felt the need to immediately hug it out…”

As Zet is speaking Santos carefully, quietly takes a few pieces of fruit out of the bag. “Come on Zet. I’m always up for a good hug.” He lightly tosses them in quick succession, allowing gravity to do most of the work. They should land between the poor Jedi’s shoulder blades any second now.

The first piece goes wide, arcing up toward Zet’s face. The last piece flies back toward the Chiss as it hits it’s projectile arc. It’s the second piece that the Jedi didn’t seem to be expecting, that one hits right in the desired target, causing her to jump in surprise. “Aah…well, two out of three isn’t awful.” She says, trying to arch away from the feeling of the sticky juices running down her spine.

Zet snaps her hand away as Santos throws the fruit, so at least the one that does connect with Callia doesn’t really get her. But there’s just no time to react to a projectile that changes direction so quickly. She ducks, turning her face away to at least keep the stinging fruit juice out of her eyes, and instead it thwacks right into the side of her head, half-connecting with one of her lekku. The Twi’lek hisses quietly, sounding less amused and more legitimately pained by that, but she can hardly get angry with Callia for defending herself.

Unfortunately, Santos doesn’t have sufficient time to react, and prevent Zet from getting hit in the brain. The fruit coming back towards him has a longer trip to make, however, and is slowed down slightly after completely reversing direction completely. He fights Force with Force, and quickly freezes the fruit in the air, and then guiding it gently back into the bag. “Truce?” He calls to Callia. “I think Zet needs a stim now.”

The Jedi turns around to face the two smugglers. “Truce.” She agrees. “A stim, why on earth would she need a stim. I was aiming for her shoulder…” She trails off. “Are you alright Zet? I apologise if I hurt you.”

It’s not like their fragile Twi’lek friend is fainting away, but it takes her a moment to gather her thoughts again. “I don’t need a stim,” Zet replies threadily, wiping a few chunks of fruit away from her stinging lekku with the gentlest touch she can muster. “Guess that’s what I get for messing with a Jedi.”

“A nice water shower should get you back into shape.” Santos opens the door to their room for Zet. “I’ll let you get cleaned up while I walk Callia to her room. Qurzer must be wondering where everyone is.”

“I am truly sorry, Zet.” Callia offers sincerely. “No more half-rotted fruit will be projected at anyone, I promise. Or they will only be projected at Santos from now on.”

“It’s okay.” From the strain in Zet’s voice it’s not, like, /okay/ okay, but she’s not angry. “I mean, you jumped me ahead in line for a shower…” Flashing a grin at Santos, she heads into their room, already peeling off her vest as she heads towards the refresher.

Santos closes the door behind Zet before heading on to Callia’s room. “So how did I really do? Honestly, without being encouraging?” He asks as he leads Callia, linked arms. “How would I have compared with the 6 year olds at the temple?” He stops just in front of the room.

Callia nods her head and smiles to Zet as she disappears to the ‘fresher. Some of her quiet, closed-off demeanor is beginning to return as they walk the few steps back to her own room. “Santos, the six-year-olds in the Temple had been aware of and using the Force for their whole lives. You have been at it for a week.” She chides softly. "I can sense that you are Focusing, you need to keep that up. But you also will not be able to deflect a blaster shot with your foot unless you want it taken off. Your dodging is very good, but you need to focus less on getting out of the way and more on deflecting. Multiple projectiles from multiple locations doesn’t make that easy, I know."

She tilts her head up, eyes focused on his face. “Tomorrow morning, come with me. We can practice some simple katas together, to learn form and good deflection techniques. It will be good for your focus to learn moving meditation.”

“Tomorrow morning then.” He replies, somberly. He really doesn’t want his foot taken off. As soon as Callia is settled into her room, he heads back to his. Hopefully Zet’s finished with the refresher.

“Tomorrow morning.” Callia repeats once more. She opens the door and gives Santos’ arm a soft squeeze before pulling away. “You will improve, Santos. No one learns this all over night so do not be hard on yourself.” She tells him. “Now go make sure Zet is alright and wash all that fruit off of yourself. Good night.”