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The "Abandoned" Republic Depot Pt. 2

Posted on Tue Aug 24th, 2021 @ 7:33am by Ver'alor Jiani Pava

Mission: Episode 2 - The Empire Rises!
Location: Lartelu Depot

Keeping his blaster holstered as he walked down the landing ramp, Talon saw what looked like a Republic soldier and immediately slowed his pace as he walked off the landing ramp and onto the platform. The last thing he expected was to see one of those here and then Talon remembered that he was being followed down the ramp by two Mandalorians...

"Hi there, we come in peace," Talon started as he tried to make a friendly introduction.

In Zaf's left hand was a casually held EE-3 Carbine, at his side rested a holstered T-6 blaster. He raised neither directly at the helmeted soldier, but his ready stance promised it wouldn't take him long if the need arose. "You on your own?" He demanded, fronting up with an overt confidence and an upright demonstrative posture.

“Depends on what you mean by alone” Coda replied, allowing his armour’s systems to scan over the ship and its crew. While he had his DC-17m in hand, he wasn’t pointing it at the new arrivals but it was at the ready just in case, “so what can the Republic do for a group of bounty hunters? You’re a little bit away from Hutt space”

"Is... there... anyone... else... here?" said Zaf with a slow, determined pace in case this clone was a moron after taking a particularly hard hit to the head or some such. The Zabrak didn't really expect a civil answer to that question, but it was giving him time to scan the surrounding area as his obviously Mandalorian helmet visage faced off that of the Republic trooper's.

Coda stared down the Mandolorian, keeping a little tense just in case, “yes, there are others here. How many others are on your ship Mandolorian?”

Atrus was just about to tell Coda he was always in need of a gunner on his ship. The words had nearly slipped out before he had given the offer for Coda to remain with him the thought it had deserved, but he was granted the reprieve of such a welcoming gesture by the landing of the ship. He glanced at Coda and watched him assume a leadership position, which was (if he could be honest) something else he could have used perhaps more than a gunner.

It was actually kind of a relief to have someone else put themselves between him and an armed posse of bounty hunters, and Atrus remained by his ship as the greetings were tensely exchanged. He pretended to be hunkered conveniently down and entirely busied with the refueling process, though his ears and eyes strained to hear the conversation on the two that converged in this desolate place.

If they started shooting, he'd could probably cover Coda from here. Probably. At least long enough to enter his bitter after-life saying he'd done one last good deed, and had died by the hands of the Mandos. He doubted whatever waited for him on the other side would chagrin him for that.

"Couldn't possibly comment, Clone," returned Zaf inelegantly. He nudged his head upwards in Coda's direction, his eyes beneath that cover scouring the incoming data, then added, as he clocked the lightsaber hilt. "Whose dead body did ya tear that from?"

“That’s none of your business. Now, how about you tell me what you want here so we can resolve this without blaster fire” Coda replied, not liking where this was going. The last thing he needed right now was a fight but this Mandolorian didn’t seem the diplomatic type and with Atrus occupied with preparing his own ship to leave, Coda might not get any backup if things do suddenly go south.

"True," Zaf threw back. Didn't really matter, not from his point of view. Not right now anyways. His hidden face sported a smirk that carried through in his words. "Supplies," he stated. "After munitions for the next fight." The blaster raised ever so slightly in his casually tense arm, helmet scan picking up the position of the other human life-sign over by the ship. Heat signatures told him said the ship was being refueled. "Fuel, too, which I can see you have spare," added the Mandalorian with the utmost confidence in his ability to obtain it.

Talon could see that this was going in a direction that he was pretty certain could end up in blaster fire being traded when what was needed was some peaceful talking to see what was going on here and what they could liberate from the depot.

"Now, gentlemen, let's keep this civil, we're here in peace and we're not bounty hunters, on that I can give you my assurances," he said, noticing Zaf staring off with the Clone. He hoped this was not going to go badly, but had a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach.

"Speak for yourself," muttered the Zabrak under his breath.

“You are free to take what fuel is left after the other ship is finished refueling. As for supplies and munition, there isn’t a great deal left but I am sure we could come to an arrangement that benefits both parties” Coda answered, picking up on the idea that Atrus, or at least his ship, had been detected. “Mind if I ask your name?”

Atrus continued to re-fuel, but as the tension between the two parties waned; he did so less inconspicuously. The fueling process had been acknowledged, and he figured that was a pretty tactful way of illustrating the remaining elephant in the room. He stood beside his ship and the fuel hose, unarmed, though a massive portion of his ship still concealed most of him.

It seemed prudent to keep some steel between him, no matter how useless it was, given that blasters were still in hand. He gestured a dismissive wave at TD who peeked around the corner of the ship, his presence exceptionally visible around the landing gear as the group exchanged conversational introductions. There was no reason to interrupt Coda, not when he was doing so well.

Seeing that there could be a chance to save the situation, Talon stepped forward, no blaster in hand as the Clone began asking for names. "I'm Captain Talon Kolani, this YT-1300 you see behind me is my ship, the Rusty Rancor," he began.

"I'm here with my colleagues as part of a mission to see what supplies and fuel we can sounds like that we could do a deal amicably here? We're not here to cause harm or raise any issues...especially with the Empire now doing plenty of that after the recent shift," Talon added.

At the mention of the Empire, Coda froze for a moment before thinking that he might as well drop the charade. It sounded like these people would know enough that continuing to claim to be the republic wouldn’t get him very far. Lowering his guard along with his rifle, Coda removed his helmet and put it under his arm, “it’s good to meet you, Captain, I’m Captain Coda, trooper number RC-3910, former leader of Kappa squad and current lone survivor of the Republic”

Talon nodded. "Good to meet you too, Captain. I'm here with a crew to see what we can salvage or liberate from the depot. I give you my word that we are all here in peace," Talon implored. "To be honest, with the sudden shift from the Republic to this new Galactic Empire, supplies and places to stay for those who aren't willing to join them or work for them are already becoming, so you can understand why we're here."

"I ain't your crew," Zaf noted, voice normal volume, but making no particular effort to be heard across the space to the two troopers. He didn't work for Talon, he wanted that to be clear. Right now? He was working with. And that particular vocabulary made a huge difference.

"Question is, what can we agree on? You see we're working for employers who are relying on us locating supplies and fuel so that we can keep on the move until we find a safe place to stay out of the Empire's reach or gaze," Talon explained, hoping that they could find a common ground.

"We take what fuel's left," said the Zabrak, voice loud and clear and enhanced by the helmet mic to ensure that diction had clarity and volume. "As for supplies - if they're refueling," he looked to Coda, assuming him to be the one in charge of the two visible troopers. "Then they're already loaded up to leave. So, we can help ourselves. Right, RC-3910?" His unseen gaze clearly aimed itself at the former leader of Kappa squad.

Listening to their words carefully, Coda thought something was a little odd. Who would hire people to find resources for a fleet without a home. Being on the run from the empire didn't tell him a great deal as they could be either Republic refugees or CIS survivors. "So you're on the run from the Empire. May I assume you don't work for either the Hutts or one of the crime syndicates?"

"Does it matter if we do?" Jiani had stayed silent while the boys 'asserted' their dominance. This Clone was more cunning than the grunts she'd come across in the past. He was shrewd, not letting anything too much slip, even claimed to have still been Republic. What was his angle here?

Looking to the ‘new’ arrival, Coda shook his head, “No I suppose it doesn’t. I guess I’m just trying to get to know who I’m trading with or rather who’s going to be using this fuel. The Republic may have fallen to the Empire, but I’m not going to help anyone harm innocent civilians, even through the simple act of supplying fuel”

"I'm gonna shoot him now," Zaf declared simply and took aim. "This is taking too long."

“No, no. Don’t shoot,” Atrus said quickly at last, his words coming along on the heels of his droid, who made a series of clicking noises at his Master’s appearance from the side of the ship. Atrus made sure his hands were in sight, and empty; raised well above his waist as he implored his firm plea to the Mandalorian. They said they weren't bounty hunters, they said they hadn’t been Empire. At this point, it didn’t matter. What did matter was that they were outgunned and outnumbered.

Zaf held the position but didn't immediately escalate it. He didn't shrug or nod or give any overt indication of standing down, nothing besides temporary inaction.

“I just scraped this one out of space and a low-oxygen situation,” Atrus said with a quick gesture of his wrist to point to Coda, though it was brief. “That can do things to a person’s common sense, alright? So don’t shoot him. Supplies here aren’t worth killing off what’s left of the Republic, and..” He continued, trying to keep his tone easy with whatever calmness he could instill in these people.

The Zabrak tapped a boot impatiently, but let this monologue continue otherwise uninterrupted. His gaze tracked between Coda and Artus in case this was a distraction play.

“...It might be the last time I get to recruit a war-hero as a gunner. Don’t want to kill this guy first day on the job, right? Besides, I’m done refueling, if I take anymore the ship’s likely to be a fire hazard. Just leave enough for him to fuel one of those beastly ships, maybe.” He said, gesturing once more off in the direction of where he thought Coda’s new ship was. No sense in making sure, he could have been pointing to a scrap heap for all he cared--he didn’t want to take his eyes off the group that he couldn’t quite make heads or tails out of.

“Guy lost a squad and a ship. Take what else you want, but leave him that.” He said, falling into silence as he swallowed hard against a dry throat.

They'd all lost something, thought Zaf, but he didn't say that out loud. There was an overt shrug, a brief sideways glance to Jiani and Talon and heavy silence.

Looking to Atrus, Coda gave a sigh of resignation before throwing his rifle onto the ground, “fine, take whatever you want. I’m done with this war” he said before turning around and heading for the hanger. He’d lost his brother, his lover and now his will to keep going was faltering. This base was all that was left of the Republic he served and now it was little more then a pile of scrap for criminals to riffle through for spare parts.

Jiani glanced over at Zaf and then Talon. When the other pilot had come around from his ship she'd turned to face him, rifle at the ready in case the man was foolish to attack. She hadn't expected for the Clone to not just surrender but actively give up. That very much hadn't been her experience. Lowering her rifle, she gave the others a shrug as she strode toward the discarded weapon to inspect it.

Inside his helmet, Zaf grinned. Easy. Hell, it was tempting to take further advantage, but there was no point and no need. They had access to what they needed now. Maybe he could grab one of these spare ships too, head off on his own again, see if his was still remotely salvageable. To Jiani and Talon, he simply gave a thumbs up, didn't lower his blaster just yet either. "I'm good with taking whatever we want," he stated, voice clear in that heavy outdoor silence, but he still half-expected an attack or some sort of play.

Atrus looked after Coda ruefully, his jaw firming a little in sympathy. He made no motion to go after him, despite shifting his feet a little in his direction as if he had a mind too attempt to comfort him. He knew Coda wanted a fight, knew he wanted to see justice, knew how much the base meant to him--but he also wanted to see the trooper alive at the end of all this.

His fight was out there, deep in the black of space. Not here, among the deserted rubble of what might be the last standing vesitages of the Republic he had known. It would have been poetic, but wrong. He kept his hands still away from his belt and his blaster, the motion of Jiani as she went to inspect the rifle a gesture he didn't interrupt. They said they'd come in peace, but the weapon still trained on them made that promise a strenuous one at best.

"We've got a deal then?" Atrus asked, his eyes finding Talon, who seemed to have been the one leading the negotiations as peacefully as they could. They didn't stay there long, as his gaze flicked between the group to tick them off one by one. "A peaceful one? Seeming we're both here for the same reasons. To keep on the move and out of the gaze of the Empire for as long as we can. If a fight is coming here over these supplies, it won't be from me. Well, us." He said, sparing a glance towards where Coda had retreated too. He'd taken charge of the base for as best and as long as he could, and the quick delegation and removal of that command had left the spacer feeling a touch of the same loss Coda had felt with the changing of the galaxy before him.

"Who else is here?" Zaf wanted to know, pushing his turn before Talon's. "You have any other working ships?"

"Sir, I'd have to look at the ships to know if they're working," Atrus said, his eyes darting to Zaf as he took in a breath, knowing he just had to wait for this nightmare out until the party in question was satisfied or he was dead. "When I landed the ship, the only things that moved were the droids. According to them--and I say this damn near aware I'm betting my life on it---they are the only other ones here beside us."

Once the exchanges had taken place, Talon looked at both Zaf and Jiana and felt glad that this hadn't turned into a shootout, as that would have more than likely seen the depot go out and nobody make it out alive. He knew that there Mando's but also knew that in the current climate, supplies were important for the group as well.

Stepping forward to Atrus, Talon extended his hand. "We have a deal, once you are done refueling, we'll pick up what's left and make our way out of here," he confirmed. "We don't want a fight either, despite my eager colleagues here. However, with the Empire gathering pace, I suggest we all get on with our jobs as soon as we can... if they turn up in one of the republic cruisers, we're on the losing side numbers speaking."

The last thing Talon wanted was to have a run-in with the Empire, although it seemed that there was a ticking clock to that day and he wanted to be ahead of the countdown as much as possible, in the best way possible. "So, shall we get on with..." he started before noticing a protocol droid walk up to them.

Slowly waddling his way out, the bases protocol droid was making his way to meet the new arrivals who seemed friendly enough as they hadn’t started shooting, “hello, I am TC-326, can I be of assistance?”

Talon looked at the droid. "That you may well be, how long have you been assigned here and do you carry an inventory of the ships and supplies held at this base?" he asked.

“I have been assigned to this station for three years and yes I do have an inventory of our current supplies and equipment, though I believe Captain Coda and Captain Abraxis have already claimed them”

Zaf exhaled and re-checked his blaster. "Well," he said. "They're gonna need to share."

Talon shot Zaf a look as he heard his comment, feeling it wasn't needed after they had just come to an agreement with both of the Republic soldiers in regards to what they could take that the pair hadn't already claimed. "Ok, how about you go take a look at what support vessels are still here and see if any are operational? In the meantime, I'll start loading the ship with what's been left that's salvageable," he said, nodding to both Coda and Abraxis.

"oh I can give you that information" CT piped up, "there are currently 15 ARC-170 starfighters, 6 LAAT Gunships, 2 Nu-Class Attack and Transport Shuttles and one old BT-7 Thunderclap currently undergoing restoration for a private client"

"I'll go check 'em out," Zaf said, simply. Kolani's look bothered him not even a little bit and he turned to leave.

"And I'll go return this!" Jiani called, holding the rifle above her head before turning to follow the Clone. He might not be a friend but he was a Warrior, one trained like a Mandalorian, and no Mandalorian should be without his weapon.



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