Previous Next

All the Wrong Places Pt.2

Posted on Sun May 23rd, 2021 @ 1:57pm by Spacer Talon Kolani & Jedi Knight Satara' Jalran & Jedi Knight Enchelei Dardana & Sage Hud Ubar & Mando'ade Zaf A'Toruk & Spacer Ariadne Azanni & Ver'alor Jiani Pava

Mission: Episode 1 - All Roads Lead to Nowhere
Location: The Rusty Rancor

Enchelei could see both sides of the argument, yet in her heart she knew that the word Jedi and all that they stood for would be the most hated and hunted things in the time to come, if anything that had happened in the last few days was any indication. The conversation in the back of her mind, Enchelei stepped down the hall and turned, her vision filled with a broad Beskar laden chest as she rebounded onto the deck.

They were up to something, obviously, and Zaf wanted - needed - more information. His hastily hidden surveillance devices didn't seem to be reporting back in, reason being probably down to the skillset of those Force users he and Jiani had rescued. That meant only one thing - he'd have to manually obtain what he needed. So, he'd just walk on in and....

... the pale yellow skinned Mirialan he'd literally dragged on board the Rancor bounced off his chest plate and skidded to the ground.

Zaf scoffed a mocking laugh as he extended a gloved hand to help the fallen Jedi back to her feet.

"Aren't you s'posed to be able to see into the future? Predict events and all that magical mojo?" His tone didn't hide his amusement.

Enchelei took the gloved hand firmly and hoisted herself back on her feet. "It doesn't quite work that way. Usually involves a bad headache and I don't decide when it happens." She replied. "I am Enchelei Dardana and I am grateful you saved my life." The Mirialan said with a nod.

"Huh," said the Zabrak, that small word infused with incredulty. He hadn't expected a show of what he considered to be weakness. Surprise coloured his face as he reached up and fussed a couple of his cranial horns. "Well, you're different," he admitted as he took more notice of the woman before him.

"Are you humble or just broken?" Zaf pushed, unable to resist a taunt, then returned her nod with a curt one of his own. "Zaf," he told her. "Zaf A'Toruk. You're welcome. But full disclosure - I was being paid to."

Enchelei shrugged, "it doesn't change what I said and I am probably a bit of both. What clan do you call your own?"

"Awaud," Zaf stated impassively. Home and family were complicated issues that he had zero intention or desire to speak off with others. He did offer a direct look and an acknowledging nod to the Mirialan though as she confirmed her gratitude a second time and dialled down his mood just a notch or two at the same time. "So," he asked outright. "You're with the Kel-Dor, right, Jedi?" He queried both the company and the vocation. "What's your plan now?"

"I....don't know." Enchelei replied in earnest as she looked over at Hud. "What is our plan?"

"The Force will reveal it," Hud said cryptically. "Too many moving pieces. Too much conflict. We need a safe place to go to ground, a refuge to shield us from the storm until we find its eye."

"No, you need to pay me," Zaf declared with fierce dissent coloured by denial. "I need to get out there, recover my ship, find out what's going on."

"What is going on is an extermination of the Light so that the Darkness may rule." Enchelei sighed, "if we paid you more, would you assist us?"

At this point, in the Mirialan's mind, anyone who wasn't an enemy was an ally. Paying them or not didn't really matter.

"How much more?" Jiani asked, sliding in, around, and finally in front of the Zabrak. Giving Zab an elbow to the chest plate she focused on the Mirialan. Jiani didn't actually know much about Jedi specifically, just what she'd learned growing up. But so far they didn't seem nosey or untrustworthy... and they were willing to pay. She could certainly use the funds.

Zaf grunted his displeasure with this development, but considered the options as Jiani did what Jiani always did - got in his way and pissed him off. He mulled the matter of his ship, stuck back at Nowhere, likely damaged in some way and in need of rescue/repair. He considered, very briefly, the offer granted him by the Jedi and then, as he responded to Enchelei, the Zabrak pushed his boot to the inside of Jiani's right ankle and kicked, hard, at the joint. Maybe she'd stumble, maybe not. "Yes," Zaf answered. "If you paid me enough, I might." He raised an eyebrow and jabbed a thumb in Hud's direction. "You have the funds to back this up? I'm - we're - still owed for the rescue."

Jiani did let out a little yep, Zaf's kick sending her falling to the deck with a loud echoing clang. IF she hadn't just been crumpled to a heap she actually would have appreciated that sweet ringing vibration of Beskar to Beskar contact.

Enchelei looked over at Hud again, "do we have their payments?"

"Yeah, we need out creds!" Jiani called from the floor, kicking her legs out to scissor Zaf's and with a twist of her hips brought him down with her. With a surprising amount of grace for someone in a near-full suit of armor Jiani rolled over the Zabrak's prostrate form; stopping only with her elbows resting on his backplate, her legs crossed up in the air. Jiani leaned forward to rest her chin on her upturned palms as she smiled sweetly at the pair of potential employers. "I'm gonna need to replenish the ordnance around here to be of use."

Despite the scowl facing the decking, Zaf didn't immediately move to strike back at the other Mandalorian. Slowly, manually, as he wasn't wearing his helmet right now, he worked a hand beneath him and silently worked a couple of pre-programmed commands with his chin.

Hud eyed each of them from behind his faceplate. "I do not have your payment at hand," he said. "There is a trader who holds credit in escrow. It is possible she still has contacts for beskar. If not, then my credit with her shall have to suffice." He paused for a moment. "Unless you wish to form a more long-term arrangement as Enchelei suggested."

Typical, thought Zaf. The classic IOU speech after their asses were saved.

Dardana nodded, "along with possible beskar and the Baran-Do's credits, you would also have a life long debt of two servants of the Force." The yellow skinned Mirialan pointed towards the blue skinned Twi'lek. "For whatever good that is now, we always repay our debts."

"A debt which would be far better than the alternative." Though Hud's tone had not changed, the gravitas certainly did. "Or the opposite."

Beneath Jiani, Zaf's armour started to warm just a little, probably not noticeable through her own beskar skin. The Zabrak noted the threat in the Kel-Dor's words and rolled his eyes.

At this point, having run some checks over on the Auxiliary Control Panel, Talon turned his seat around, hearing what he had feared he might here from both Hud and also the new arrivals. That the payment promised would be difficult to get and that there would be more work to obtain it.

"Please, and I'm really hoping you not confirm this... Please tell me that we'll get paid?" he asked, looking over at Zaf and feeling a bad feeling starting in the pit of his stomach.

Zaf's sigh was audible as his gaze met Talon's. It wasn't as if they hadn't both known this was coming, but it still stank like Rancor crap.

"We agreed on payment and for what we went through back at Port Nowhere...that's the least that could be provided...unless you're looking to hire the Rancor for a longer period of time?" Talon expressed his thoughts and was hoping that this wasn't going to be another job where he was left without currency and a ship to keep running on what seemed to be becoming a rapidly shrinking shoestring budget.

"Everyone gets what is coming to them," Hud said with authoritative conviction. "Such is the will of the Cosmic Force."

It was then that the air sparked to life with crackles, wizz-bangs and flashes of light, a whole variety of harmless but deeply unpleasant countermeasures firing off in a cloud of messy visuals and painful audio as Zaf launched his non-lethal revenge strike in a localised area around Jiani. He rolled, hard, taking her with him amidst the pretty chaos, arms wrapped about her as he twisted upwards to bounce upright and slam dunked her butt down hard on the ground.

"Well," he said, looking Hud in the eyes. "Your Cosmic Force better be finding us some ammo, some food and compensating me for whatever's left of my ship. Cos I ain't working for free, and I can't help you if I don't have anything to fight with cept your pretty words and meaningless promises."

"Ships and ammunition are insignificant when compared to the power of the Force," Hud said as if that explained everything.

Zaf's response descended into colourful and effusive cursing as he kicked the nearest bulkhead.

Talon shook his head as he saw the Mando's engaging in their own playfighting and then looked on in horror as he saw them launch what he understood to be countermeasures...inside the Rancor. "Kids, can we try to keep the firing of weapons and other various toys to being outside of the ship where possible?" he asked in a mock adult tone.

The Zabrak shot a pissed off look at Talon, but also offered the merest, tiniest hint of a confirmation nod.

After that, Talon turned to Hud after hearing his answer and decided to take a tactful approach in his answer. "Well, whilst you all believe in this all wonderful Cosmic Force...I suppose that being kept to a deal with a Jedi isn't such a bad thing, what with honour and all that being a part of the way of life, so my own studies years ago led me to understand," he said before taking a pause.

"So I'll take you up on that retainer idea you mentioned or as it was put a more long-term arrangement, but where possible, I'd also like to know who else I've picked up on my ship, seeing as we left Port Nowhere heavier with Passengers than those we arrived to make any introductions?" Talon asked.

"Yeah Zaf, what the frell?" Jiani said as she popped up from the ground her armor still smoking and hair more than a little frizzed from one of the more electrifying countermeasures. "Why are you acting so childish," She teased, laying a hard smack on an armored butt cheek. "especially in front of company."

"Just lost my ship and everything on it," Zaf threw back moodily. "Can't get back to even find out what's wrong with it. And now I'm being cheated out of my payment. And," he added as if this was the worst of it. "I'm stuck all the way out here with you." He grabbed Jiani's wrist as it moved away from his backside and held it steady. "You started it," Zaf said.

Enchelei blinked, observing the smaller, Human woman get tackled to the ground by the Iridonian before they got up. Then her focus shifted on the other Human, whom seemed to be in charge of this ship.

"I am Enchelei Dardana, and until Order 66, I was watching over the Sevastol Sector." Said the Mirialan with a small bow towards Talon.

"And I am Satara'Jalran, and I stood watch over the Sujimis Sector." The Twi'lek also bowed, her Lekku slipping gracefully over her shoulders before coiling comfortingly around her like a reassuring hug when she noticed the gaze of so many on her.

"Hud Ubar. You would not know from where I hail." Hud did not bow or so much as flinch. They were allies, but some things should not be revealed. "You may think of me as a Storm Warden among my people."

Talon took note of the names of all the new arrival and smiled. "Well, it's a pleasure to have you all aboard the Rusty Rancor in one piece," he began. "And to have... force users on board, well that's an honour." Talon took a breath.

"I'm Captain Talon Kolani and this is my ship, well at least one of my ships that I have dotted around the always helps to carry spare," he explained.

Taking a pause, Talon decided to probe a little further. "So, you all were in charge of sectors or protectors of your people before Order 66? I've heard plenty about that on the comm lines since we landed...and none of it pretty either... be glad that you three made it out alive," he added.

Hud stiffened at the remark. "I am the primary member of my order at risk. Neither the Jedi nor the Sith have regarded my people for so long that it is believed they have forgotten us. And such has been my cloak." He turned from just Talon in order to address them all. "It is neither my intention nor the will of the Force that we should merely survive. We are to use that survival to fight, to resist, to sow the seeds of rebellion against the new imperial order so that the Light may reassert itself against the tide of the Dark Side."

Not to prevail, but to reassert itself. The distinction was a curious one to the keen ear.

Enchelei looked between the two at the exchange, "Captain, where are we going?"

An honour? Zaf scoffed at that. Honour was being paid for the task they'd agreed to undertake. Honour was not using your 'powers' to avoid fulfilling a contract.

"Resistance," the Zabrak said. "Costs money. Reassertion. Costs money. Can't fight without supplies, and for that we need to trade. You gonna use those fancy skills of yours to resupply me," he jabbed a thumb at Talon. "And the Captain here? He can't refuel on promises."

Looking over at Enchelei, Talon smiled before activating a holographic map for all to see in the lounge. He typed in some co-ordinates and Polis Massa Starport lit up.

"Right now, we're currently at the Polis Massa Starport, within the Asteroid Field," Talon began. "I'm lucky enough to have several private landing bays dotted around the galaxy, care of some very generous previous customers. After the action we saw at Port Nowhere, My co-pilot and I decided we'd best lay low afterwards and headed out here on the Outer Rim."

"What I can say is, I'm also in here to make sure that everyone is ok, get any medical assistance to people where possible and also determine whats going on... I've heard a lot over private and open comm channels about this Order 66 and also this new Galactic Empire that seems to have replaced the Republic and I've gotta say... I'm not getting any good vibes from this new chain of events that seems to be having a galaxy-wide effect... So I'm open to suggestions as to where next... once retainers have been discussed and agreed upon".

Looking over at the Zabrak, Talon sighed. "As much as I hate to agree with our friend over here, he's right... I need to have fuel to keep flying and I suspect that won't come cheap now. But if you people have ideas and fuel/food credits... I'll fly where we need to go."

Enchelei had taken the moment to think as they spoke, "if you can get us a map, between Satara and I, we can come up with a few places we can borrow assets from." The Mirialan looked over at the Twi'lek. Stealing felt wrong, deep in her core, however, what surprised Enchelei the most was how easily she was coming to accept the necessity of it.

"If Master Satara'Jalran still has the coordinates provided to her on our first meeting," Hud cut in, "then I suggest we begin there."

"They are with my droid aboard the Nawar'aven, once we land we can retrieve the coordinates." Satara offered.

Talon nodded as he heard Enchelei ask for a map. He walked over to the controls and set the map from being based on the Outer Rim only to the full Galaxy wide map itself. Once it was settled, he looked over at her. "Feel free to start picking out locations, this is the most up to date map I have on board," Talon said to Enchelei.

Enchelei walked over to Satara, "do you remember Master Vinree talking about the depots her fleet needed to withdraw from after the failed Sermeria Campaign?"

"She had to leave several depots, last one I think was... Lartelu?" Tara's Lekku wrapped a little tighter around her shoulders as she tried to remember. "Along the Larte hyperlane. Master Vinree said it was their only way to retreat after losing Sermeria."

Talon stayed silent as he watched the two of them work out where the various locations were and also calculated in his own head what it would take to get the Rancor to where they wanted to go. He was certain that it wouldn't be an issue and also that there were more jobs ahead with these passengers.

"There is undoubtedly a fair bit of Ammunition and Fuel left behind." Satara offered. "Master Vinree's Fleet had to pull out very quickly, and the Sector was left abandoned. I could check my ship's records but I do not believe the Separatists showed any interest in the world either."

Enchelei nodded, "Alright, let's do the check-in and get us some viable coordinates." She felt a little better now that she had something else to focus on, felt calmer, more in control.

Talon nodded in agreement as the two of them finally found somewhere viable to locate where this depot was. "Once you have viable some viable coordinates, I'm happy to ferry anyone who needs to go there...don't worry, I'll run a tab for now until my fuel gauge started closing on the empty sign," he added.

Looking around the room, Talon decided to make his position clear. "Look, as far as I'm concerned, call me an ally whose got at least a few ships hidden around the galaxy and is has decided to stay on our side. I heard some bad things about Order 66 and also this new Republic becoming an Empire... I don't like that at all and no Jedi or familiar has ever done me wrong... so you gained a friend today."

"We appreciate your assistance and your candor Captain." Satara said with a slight bow. "It may not mean much but... but what remains of the Jedi Order is happy to call you a friend. All of you should you join us." She looked around at the others, hopeful that a few more would be willing to join on. She and Enche couldn't do this alone.

Enchelei nodded solemnly.

Jiani glanced at the others, running her hand through her short blue hair. "Well, who am I to turn down the friendship of a Jedi? I'm in." Not to mention the debt.

A small smile, but a smile none the less broke out on the Mirialan's face. "May the Force be with us all."

There followed a heavy, audible sigh from the sidelines. Zaf, from his position leant against the bulkhead, had taken all this in, debated internally and decided they were all under some shared illusion that definitely didn't match the reality he and the normal denizens of the universe had to exist within. Allies were a historically untrustworthy luxury that these changing times were likely to steal, test and divide and he was under no illusion that Jedis would stick around when they didn't need his, Jiani's or Talon's help. They'd be off, dealing with something bigger and more important soon enough, of that the Zabrak was sure.

"I ain't your friend," Zaf stated clearly and concisely. "And I've no use for your fancy free energy besides the assistance it gives the three of you. I'm in this for the money, and the tab's running." The Zabrak looked from one Jedi to the next and chose the Twi'lek for the focus of his final dissatisfied glare. "For now, let's say I'm good with a resupply," he added, waggling his gloved palm in the air between them, the air Talon was currently paying for. "But unlike our captain here, I only had the one ship and for all your pretty words, I'm betting you're not gonna be around for long. Friendship and the Force? They ain't gonna buy me a new ship when you ghost."

He folded his arms and bored an imaginary hole into those pretty lekku.

Jiani chuckled, Zaf at his finest, always going in horns first. Satara on the other hand simply sighed, shaking her head.

"If that is your belief then so be it. I can not promise that you're wrong." Glancing at Enche she shrugged, the Zabrak's gaze was challenging but nothing worse than she'd faced down before. "But we have no intention of... ghosting anyone."

"Intentions tend to go to hell when the Bantha crap hits the cooling fans," Zaf returned, glibly and with zero concern for the powerhouse of his current crowd. He wrapped a hand round a couple of his cranial horns and scratched his skull. "But I guess I'll stick around for now. See how this plays out." A grumbly muttering preceded the rather obviously spoken verbal finale of his moody rant. "Not like there's really any option." Not anything better than hanging out with this crowd right now. "We making a move or what?" He asked of Talon.

"Of course, happy to make a move, besides I think that once our new friends here have their co-ordinates ready, I'll be heading off with Alema and the Rancor to see what I can do to help them next," Talon said. "So, let's get you sorted out, shall we?"

"Keep it down, will ya?" Ariadne came limping out of her quarters with one arm wrapped around her ribs. "Raising a ruckus that could wake the dead."

Hud stiffened at the sight of her. "Ariadne! Go lie down! You are not well!"

"What I am," Ariadne said with a grunt, "is Echani. And if I'm going to die, it will be on my feet, not on my back." Her gaze swept over Satara and her lekku ever so briefly before taking in the rest of the room. "So, what's next?"

Talon observed the brief exchange and looked around the room, agreeing with the "what next?" sentiment.

Feeling Ari's gaze as if her eyes were somehow able to caress the twin lekku, Satara's cheeks turned a deep purple. It took her a moment to shake off the gaze and realize that it wasn't just the alluring Echani staring her down. "Ummmm..." She started, quickly clearing her throat to cover her uncertainty. She hated being the center of attention, this was one of the many reasons why she never became a General and refused to lead Clones for so long.

"We umm, we need to split up find a place to hide," She looked at Enche and Hud. " and more supplies, fuel, ammunition in case we are found. Captain Talon should take a team to the republic depot, I can give you access codes that should work..." Provided this new Empire hasn't beaten us to it... "The rest of us will search out a safe haven, somewhere we can really plan our next move and maybe... maybe even find others who escaped the purge. We'll signal you when we find safety. Agreed?"

Enchelei nodded, "Agreed. We will also need to gather intel, so we'll need to send a recon team too."

Talon nodded in agreement. "Sounds like we have a plan," he said. "Once the Rancor is all fuelled up and ready to go, we'll make our way to the republic depot and see if these codes work. the Rancor has a fair-sized cargo hold and if need be, some of the passenger quarters can be used for storage as well."

"Then we are agreed," Hud said with a nod punctuated by a hiss from his respirator. "May the Force reunite us."


Previous Next