Altered Legacies

2 years prior to The Force Awakens...
A persistent and interactive galaxy set shortly before the events of Episode VII

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Halomek
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Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Sat Oct 22, 2016 11:01 pm

“It's true what they say, isn't it? You never see the one that gets you coming.”

Clara Molariou could only clench her fists into tight balls of restrained anger and grief at that statement. She looked at the man on the other side of the transparisteel divider that had said it. He was a man with a face that had seen many hardships; seen a lot of death; however, under that unkempt auburn hair were eyes that had nothing but kindness in them for her. Clara knew he was trying to make this easier for her, but in fact it only made it harder.

She bowed her head to stifle the outburst she wanted to release; momentarily overcome with too much emotion. “I'll find a way to get you out of this, Uncle.” She looked back up at him, determined. “I won't let you die on this backwater dump.”

Habas Molariou shook his head. “No. I don't want that. I don't want you throwing away your career and everything you worked towards on my account. We both know it was only a matter of time before I ended up in a place like this. I have a lot to account for.”

Clara pounded the small overhang in front of her hard, startling the guards behind Habas. “You never killed anyone who didn't have it coming! You're a good man! I know it! The galaxy is a better place with you in it. I refuse to let this be where you die! I won't allow it!”

Habas was silent for a moment as he let Clara calm down. He tactfully tried to change the topic. “You came to see me alone? Rajir still refuses to acknowledge we're related, I suppose.”

Clara grimaced at the mention of her father. “He doesn't understand you like I do, Basmo,” she said, using the nickname she often used for her uncle. “Nobody does. You know it's because of you that I left Taanab at all. I owe all the accolades the New Republic gives me to you. If it were up to my parents, I would be some kriffing housewife pumping out kids by now. I can't even imagine who they would have wanted me to marry.”

Habas grinned. “I must admit, I have a hard time seeing you settle for anyone, Clara. You left the boys back home in bacta.”

She couldn't help but grin back. “It was just that one time. Louris Jadak decided to get grabby so I made it real clear why that was a bad idea.”

Her uncle chuckled. “Ah yes. A name that will live in infamy. What was the story he came up with? A speeder accident?”

She nodded. “Anything to save face. The little toady works for a law firm now, if you can believe it. The folks caught me up on my last trip home. I think it's the one time I hear pride in their voices when they talk about my days before I left for Beruss Academy.”

Habas gave her a reproachful look. “Clara... that's not true. I know they're very proud of you, even if they can't understand your choices. My brother has never been able to see past Taanab, but I'll be the first to say he's a good man. He's proud of all of his children; there's not a doubt in my mind about that.”

Clara slumped in her chair as she crossed her arms. “Too bad he can't manage to say the same about his brother,” she grumbled. Then she sighed and cleared her throat. “Listen, I know what you're trying to do and isn't going to work. We can catch up on old times plenty once I get you out of here. My mind is made up.”

“The last thing I want is to see you end up in here with me.”

“I won't,” she promised. “I've got experience and training these backwater cops couldn't begin to imagine. This is why I joined SpecForce in the first place: to fight injustice. Even if the New Republic has no jurisdiction here, I'll find another way.”

“Don't underestimate these people, Clara,” Habas warned her, apparently seeing the futility in trying to dissuade her any further. “That's what happened to me. The Sovereignty of Juoi might be off the beaten path, but they're no slouches when it comes to security. That was my mistake. I've got thirty days until my trial, but my arbiter has made it abundantly clear that the judicial system on this planet is fairly expedient in cases like mine. It's more realistic to say thirty days until my execution.”

Clara stood as the guards moved to escort her uncle back to his cell. “It's never going to come to that. You'll see! Nothing on this wretched planet is going to stop me! I swear it!”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Sun Oct 23, 2016 1:37 pm

Three days after meeting with her uncle, Clara still had no idea what she was going to do to set him free. She hadn't been idle in that time. She'd cased the detainment facility with the expert eye of a veteran SpecForce member. She had applied all of her considerable experience in trying to formulate a plan to break Habas out of that building, but every scenario she could come up with seemed doomed to failure.

And it frustrated her to no end! She had busted into facilities with more security than the Juoi Security and Inquiry detainment facility. Of course here she had three things working against her...

For one, she was on her own. She didn't have the rest of Flare Platoon backing her on this. As far as they knew, she was simply using up some long overdue R&R. She had no interest in dragging them into this even if she thought her platoon would back her on springing her uncle. Clara was under no illusions about what the consequences of her actions could be.

Two, despite Juoi's relative closeness to Hutt Space, the underworld on this planet was almost non-existent. Usually on a mission to some unfriendly planet, Clara could count on getting in touch with a crimelord or two for information or perhaps even some assistance. Here, the worst she could find were a bunch of independent operators. Juoi seemed to have a strict policy when it came to organized crime and didn't let New Republic concepts like evidence or due process get in the way of arresting known criminals. That helped to explain why Habas had been arrested so quickly once he arrived.

It had come as even more of a shock to her to learn that a Hutt was even running this planet! Apparently a Hutt by the name of Jaska was the so-called Director of Juoi – a title akin to a president. All that told Clara was that this Jaska the Hutt was likely using his position as leader of the planet to edge out any competition. She was sure that if she dug around long enough, she'd find evidence of mass governmental corruption.

Lastly, and this was a point Clara didn't like admitting to herself, she was scared of losing Habas if her attempt to break him out went sour. She had done things more reckless and crazy than some of the plans she had concocted to break out her uncle, but in those cases it had just been her risking her own life. Clara didn't think she could live with herself if a plan of hers got Habas killed.

So in a dank little bar she sat, back to the wall in a booth, and downing Corellian whiskey to try and drown out her fears and failures. However, she wasn't too far gone to notice a certain anomaly in the bar... Clara was used to getting stares from other people, usually males, due to her somewhat ample endowments, but in most cases those stares weren't subtle. There was one bar patron that was doing a very good job of looking without being obvious though, and that was much more unnerving.

That usually meant trouble.

He was an older man, Human - from what Clara could tell in the poor lighting – and seemed to be a class above the regulars of this place. His graying hair was neatly cut as was his facial hair; a goatee that framed his mouth. The few nonchalant glances Clara tossed his way confirmed that he was doing a good job of appearing to mind his own business – if not for the fact that he was still working on the same drink he had ordered when he walked in. Clara was on her third and she knew that he had come in shortly after her.

That didn't bode right for a dive like this. Anyone who came in here and wasn't drinking a few was either after a bounty or something worse...

She was about to get up, either to leave or confront the man, Clara wasn't sure which, when three males stopped in front of her booth. Two of them were Human. One was handsome in the conventional sense, the other looked like he had fallen out of the ugly tree face-first. Behind them was a massive alien - a Houk – if Clara recalled correctly. The two Humans Clara was fairly certain she could deal with quickly, but the Houk could be an issue. Their kind were known to be strong and resilient.

Although a point in her favor was that they all appeared to be quite drunk.

The attractive one leered at her chest before making eye contact. “Hey, beautiful, you looked lonely so my friends and I decided to fix that.”

Clara raised an eyebrow, already weary of this man, but the last thing she wanted to do was draw more attention to herself from the JSI. Her little display in the detainment facility had probably raised a few red flags as it was. The last thing she needed was to be arrested for smashing in the face of this loser and his friends.

Instead, she opted to try and humor him. “Really? What makes you think I want company?”

The man chuckled as if Clara had told him a joke. “Well, look at you, sweetheart. Why else would a woman who looks like you be in a bar like this unless you were trying to pick up some business? Lucky for you, I'm really into redheads.”

Her eyes widened in shock in anger. “You think I'm a-”

The man burped and cut her off. “It's cool, darling. I won't tell the JSI and we've got plenty of money.”

“We?” Clara asked between gritted teeth, even though she already knew the answer. Really, she was just trying to stall the trio as she mapped out her escape plan. There was no way she was going to let this stand without violence, but it would mean a quick getaway before the JSI arrived on the scene.

“Excuse me,” a voice piped up behind the three, startling not just them but also Clara as well. While it was true that the three were doing a good job of blocking her view of the rest of the bar, Clara was sure that she would have noticed anyone else approaching.

The three males turned and made room to reveal the old man Clara had noticed from before. Now that he was closer, Clara could see that he used a cane to get around.

“I couldn't notice an old man with a cane walking towards me?!” she thought to herself incredulously. “Maybe these drinks are stronger than I thought. Funny, I don't feel drunk...”

The apparent leader of the trio sneered at him. “Mind your own business, old man. She's ours tonight.”

“Now look-” Clara started to object, but was rather nonplussed to have the old man wave her down calmly.

“You're drunk,” he pointed out to the trio, “and the young lady isn't interested. Do yourselves a favor and leave now before you start something you can't possibly follow up on.”

“Gorib!” the leader snarled to the Houk. “Break this fool!”

The Houk grinned an ugly smile and started to raise his arms to tear the old man apart, but before Clara could make a move to stop Gorib, the old man struck first. Faster than she would have thought capable, the old man jammed a knuckle-punch into the side of Gorib's neck. The Houk stayed on his feet with a surprised expression on his face for about five seconds before toppling over to the floor.

Clara was speechless, but she was far from the only one. Gorib's two companions were struggling to understand what just happened. “How did... What...”

The old man smiled confidently. “I strongly suggest you take your friend and leave this planet now before the JSI catches up to you. You don't want to test me on this.”

For a moment, Clara was sure that the other two would take exception with the old man and try to fight him as well, but that moment passed as the two apologized weakly and then struggled to drag their unconscious associate out the door with them.

Once they were gone, the old man looked at Clara. “May I join you?”

Clara's mind was still reeling from what she saw. Even striking the neck like that, it shouldn't have been that easy to take down a Houk. “Uh... yeah.... yeah, sure.”

He smiled as he sat across from her. “I'm sure my help was probably unneeded, but I figured I'd try to end it as peacefully as possible first before things got ugly.”

“Thank... you?” Clara replied, still confused as to what was going on. “Sorry, I've never seen anything like that. Who are you? How did you drop that guy so easily?”

The old man chuckled. “That's my secret, young lady, but as for my name: call me Tulsar.”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Sun Oct 23, 2016 6:06 pm

"You really need to work on that landing," Hirai complained as Isis set her father's yacht down in docking bay sixty four of the biggest spaceport on the planet Juoi. The landing had been a bit rougher than Hirai had anticipated.

Isis made a face. "You asked me to fly you here and I did. Are you really going to complain?"

"No," Hirai told her, then she made her way back to her room in the rear cabins.

Isis powered down the ship's engines and started the vessel's lockdown sequence before following her. When she got to the back of the ship she caught Hirai rummaging through her baggage looking for something when her twin swords fell out and onto the bed. "You brought those with you," Isis asked, giving her friend an odd look.

Hirai feigned embarrassment. "I always bring those with me, I feel naked without them."

"Mmhmm," Isis answered absently as she moved over to a case Hirai had set down atop her dresser. She popped it open and much as she expected the case contained Hirai's bow. "Hirai, I thought you said we were just coming here to visit your father in jail. You didn't tell me you were bringing an arsenal."

"Just like you didn't tell me you were leaving for six months," she shot back as she found her pistols and holstered them to her hips.

"This is different. If you try to break Habas out of jail you'll just end up right there with him, or worse. I can't follow you down this path, you know. I'm supposed to hunt people like him."

"My father didn't do anything wrong," Hirai shot back with a surprising amount of anger in her voice.

Isis looked at her in surprise, but she wasn't done making her point yet. "He kills people, Hirai."

"People who deserve it," she snapped.

Isis stared at her then shook her head. "Fine, I don't want to argue about this. Let's just go visit your dad and go from there, okay? Just, um... Do me a favor and leave the swords behind. They don't exactly blend in a crowd."

Hirai looked at her friend then down at the pair of swords laying next to her duffle. Finally she picked up the two blades and stuffed them back into her bag, but she insisted on at least wearing her blasters. "Satisfied," she asked.

Isis smiled, "Good enough. Now come on, let's go."

Hirai followed Isis to the boarding ramp and down onto the tarmac. The weather was fairly mild, with a nice cool breeze and the sun hanging high in the sky. Together they walked through the terminal and right through customs. It took them a little while to get past the lines but then they were in the spaceport proper. As they stopped to look around Isis half turned to her friend.

"So," she said, "Have you thought about what you're going to say to him?"

Hirai's cheeks immediately turned red and she looked away. "I--I wasn't going to tell him anything."

Isis gave her a look. "Wait, you were going to break him out of jail and then not tell him your his daughter? Don't you think he'd get curious?"

"Shut up, Isis. Can we talk about something else, please? Like how do we get to this place?"

Isis blinked twice. "I thought you knew how to get there."

"I've never been here before," she replied and Isis was incredulous.

"Well, neither have I."

Hirai let out a long sigh. "Fine, let's just ask for directions," she said and then she led the way through the crowd towards the information booth...

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Sun Oct 23, 2016 9:46 pm

The dive bar

Clara looked at Tulsar for a second, trying to figure the old guy out, before deciding to play a hunch. “I'm Clara,” she introduced herself. “I'm sure you already know that though. Just as I'm sure there's a lot you know about me that I haven't told you. Banthas to bank notes, you're a tail that the JSI sent to keep an eye on me after that scene I made in the detainment facility. I know you've been watching me ever since you walked in here.”

“You're right about two things,” Tulsar admitted. “I was watching you and I do know more about you than just your name, but I don't work for the JSI. No JSI agent sent to tail you would compromise themselves by helping you like I did.”

Clara took a drink of her whiskey in frustration. Things just weren't adding up. “For the sake of argument, let's say I believe you... If you're not JSI, then who are you and what is your interest in me?”

Tulsar demurred for a moment. “You could say I'm a concerned citizen who just so happens to be well informed. You see, I practically grew up on Juoi. I want to see it and its citizens stay safe. Your very loud pronouncement that you were going to free your uncle would potentially put all of that in jeopardy.” He looked at her closely. “I hate to state the obvious, but you are aware of what your uncle does for a living...”

“He's an assassin,” Clara told him bluntly. “I've known that since I was five.”

Tulsat shook his head in disbelief. “And yet you, a decorated New Republic officer, would risk an intergalactic incident by trying to free him. Habas Molariou's confirmed kill count is, well, it's scarily impressive. Nobody knows what the actual number is.”

“He does.”

“Excuse me?”

Clara leveled a look directly at Tulsar's eyes. “My uncle remembers the name of every scum-sucking dirtbag he's put down. He's a better person than me in that regard. You look at any of his confirmed kills and I'll bet you it was a person who deserved to die. He doesn't kill those that don't have it coming and he never goes after women or children.”

“Be that as it may-”

“I'm not done!” Clara interrupted him angrily. “Whenever someone hears that my uncle is an assassin, they just automatically assume he's a bad guy. He's not! Do you know what he does with the money he makes from his contracts? He donates most of it anonymously to charity!” She tapped the table a few times for emphasis. “I learned how to fight and shoot because of my uncle. If your beloved homeworld had just let him be, you'd be one less criminal and he would have left in peace.” She shook her head ruefully. “Even now, he's not bitter about being sentenced to death. If I don't save him, he'll die without any ill-will towards any of you.”

Clara finished the last of her drink and pointed at Tulsar accusingly. “Does that sound like a man who needs to die? Does it?!”

She expected Tulsar to give her some lame reason as to why it was morally just and required by law that her uncle should die, but instead he appeared thoughtful. “I have to admit, you've given me a lot to think about, Clara. I don't suppose he told you who his target was?”

“Of course not,” she answered with a sigh. “Even if I asked, he wouldn't tell me - not with his every move being recorded in that detainment facility. He'll take it to his death rather than breach client confidentiality.”

Tulsar stroked his goatee. “Hmm... unfortunate. That might've helped. One thing you have to understand about Juoi... It was founded by beings of business, which is why its justice system can come across as rather harsh at times. They were more interested in keeping the populace safe than worrying about fair representation for everyone when the government was established. If your uncle's target was someone who was a clear threat to public safety, it was possible I could convince the right people to look the other way.”

Clara shook her head. “It's a dead end, trust me. Look, if that's the best you've got, this is just eating up valuable time I could spend finding a way to spring him.”

Tulsar looked at her empty whiskey glasses pointedly and then back at her with a raised eyebrow. “Clearly. You really should try to be a little more patient. Given what you've told me about him, I might be able to get his execution changed to an actual trial that ends in extradition to the New Republic. It may not be ideal, but...”

The possibilities were not lost on Clara. Freeing her uncle while he was in transit would be much easier than trying to break into the detainment facility. She eyed Tulsar in a new light. “You have that kind of influence?”

Tulsar chuckled. “I can't make any promises, but yes, I do have a certain amount of pull around here.”

Clara bit her lower lip indecisively. She hated the idea of trusting a man she barely knew, but it wasn't as if any of her other ideas were bearing fruit right now. Finally she nodded. “Okay, let's try it your way first, but I'm warning you... if you cross me on this... I'll make you suffer all nine Corellian hells before I'm done with you.”

“Duly noted.”

Clara started to stand. “Then what are we waiting for? Let's go see these contacts of yours!”

Tulsar waved her back down. “As I said: patience. These things take time. Nothing is going to happen right now, it's too late in the day for starters.” He paused for a moment, seeming to come to a decision. “Where are you staying?”

Clara jerked a thumb behind her. “One of the low rent hotels down the way. You can forget about me telling you which one. We can meet up at this bar again once you've made contact with your government friends.”

Tulsar made a show of disgust. “I can do better than that. Why not stay at my place? There's plenty of room and it'll be a damn sight more sanitary.”

“I just met you!” Clara objected. “Not on your life.”

“I know it seems odd to offer such a thing, but I made a promise a long time ago that I'm trying to honor,” he explained, before flashing a playful wink. “Besides, if you come with me, I'll show you the secret to that punch I used.”

It was that last offer that gave Clara pause. She couldn't figure out what kind of game Tulsar was playing, but the idea of learning how to use such an effective combat move had her intrigued beyond common sense. Despite her better judgment, Clara came to a decision. “The funny thing is I know you're manipulating me, but I'm also sufficiently intrigued to play along for now.”

“Glad to hear it,” Tulsar replied with what seemed like a genuine smile. “If you'll follow me, I think we can get back to my place just as my wife is setting the table for dinner. I'll let her know to expect one more.”

Clara did a doubletake at the comment. For some reason she had been expecting Tulsar to be some odd loner. “What am I getting myself into?” she silently wondered to herself.

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Sun Oct 23, 2016 11:12 pm

Isis visibly winced as she listened to her father rant into her ear. As soon as she found an opening she responded in a monotone voice, "Yes, Dad, we took the yacht. No, Dad, I didn't crash it." Much, she thought to herself, remembering the rough landing back at the spaceport. The suspension might have had to work over time on the landing but she didn't think she did too much damage to it if any, really.

Her father said something else and Isis resisted the urge to roll her eyes. "No, we're not joyriding. Hirai just found out her father's in jail on some backwater named Joo-ee? Joe-eh? Joy? I don't know. Anyway, she wanted to come see him, that's all. I swear we're not out here hunting. Hirai's not even a registered bounty hunter, that'd be illegal."

There was some more concerned dialogue from her father that ended with him telling her to be careful and to call him if she gets in trouble. "We'll be fine, Dad. You don't have to mother hen me to death... No, clearly I didn't mean that," she retracted herself with another cringe at his reaction, "Alright, Dad. I'll call you later, bye!"

She cut the com as she turned to look at where Hirai was standing while talking with a local shop clerk. She was trying to get directions to the JSI detainment center where Habas was being kept and so far they hadn't been very successful. The city was pretty big and most people here seemed to go out of their way to stay out of trouble so it made sense that not many of them knew where it was. There's no point in knowing the address to a place you're hoping never to have to visit, after all.

After awhile their conversation seemed to come to a close and Hirai thanked the man before walking back over to meet Isis. "How'd it go," Isis asked her.

"I think I know where it is now," she replied, "How'd your father take the news?"

Isis' ears burned slightly as a small part of her mind remembered the admonishment he had given her. "Better after he found out we weren't here hunting or joyriding," she said, "He'd probably insist on coming to get us if his new position didn't keep him so busy."

Shortly after outing Senator Aarik's smuggling ring the Senator was placed under arrest and his office left wide open. An emergency election was held to fill it and Isis' father ran for the position and actually won the race, though Isis suspected a lot of that had to do with the good will she stirred up by outing the Senator in the first place. Really her father owed his success to her and all she got in return as a paycheck with a few lousy zeros on it and the biggest bust of her life was quietly swept under the rug. According to the Republic Aarik wasn't selling weapons to the First Order, he was embezzling funds and running an intergalactic smuggling ring that sold to various pirate gangs and organized crime syndicates across the galaxy. Can't have the general populous thinking there's a threat.

It was because of how that situation was handled that Hirai, one of Beruss Academy's most promising students, ultimately decided to dropout rather than serve in the Republic military. She had wanted to serve the Republic and to make a difference in people's lives, but she had seen the difference Republic politicians had chosen to make and decided she didn't like it. Afterwards she really had no place to go and nothing to do so she went to work for Isis' father in the government building as a simple file clerk. She also came to live with Isis and her father since dropping out of Beruss meant no longer having a dorm.

"He gets a shiny new office and you're still chasing bail jumpers," Hirai said with a wry smile, somehow zeroing in on exactly what Isis was thinking, "Hardly seems fair, does it."

"Yeah, well at least I'm not filing his paperwork," Isis shot back as the two of them headed down the street in the direction the shop keep had given them. "There may not be much danger in chasing bail jumpers but it's a little bit more exciting than the constant threat of paper cuts."

"I don't know about that. Have you ever had a paper cut? They hurt," Hirai said and as she walked she noticed the two of them were getting odd looks. After about a block Hirai finally leaned in to whisper in Isis' ear. "These people seem a little off to you?"

Isis glanced around then shrugged. "We're a couple of tourists and we're armed. I'd be wary of us too."

"Really," Hirai asked, giving her a look.

Isis nervously bit her lip. "Okay, maybe not. Point is we probably should have checked to make sure Juoi has open carry laws before wearing blasters into the streets."

"The customs guy didn't stop us, so that can't be it," Hirai mused, "But maybe you're right. Maybe we just look like we don't belong."

"Try not to worry about it. Let's just get to this detainment thingy and see what we can do to help your Dad," Isis told her, "Oh, and you better work out how you're going to tell him cause I'm not letting you leave until you do."

Hirai felt the butterflies in her stomach come back in full force as Isis finished talking. She hadn't had time to think about it since landing because they were preoccupied with trying to find the place. Now that they knew where they were going the time for her meeting with Habas was growing ever closer. Just what exactly was she going to tell him?

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Tue Oct 25, 2016 11:34 pm

As it turned out, Tulsar's home was located far on the outskirts of the capital city of Chiarm. For all of Clara's earlier critiques of the planet, she had to admit that Chiarm was every inch the modern city it wanted to be. While it lacked the grandeur of some cities in the Core Worlds, that seemed to be more of a matter of time rather than resources and planning. The cities in the Core Worlds had millennia to get where they were. From what Clara had come to learn of Juoi, it had been established shortly before the infamous invasion of Naboo by the Trade Federation. That was roughly 60 years ago. It was impressive how much they had built in that time.

“What's the deal with the names?” Clara abruptly asked.

Tulsar took his eyes off the road briefly to glance at her. “Excuse me?”

“The names,” she repeated. “Juoi, Chiarm, Mersi Station, Kol'ani... I could go on. It's like you guys were trying to spell Joy, Charm, Mercy, etcetera but someone failed spelling in Basic. It can't be a coincidence.”

Tulsar smiled. “That's because it's not. Juoi was ultimately the brainchild of an Ishi Tib named Talrim Mirlak. I'm told he was quite fluent in Tibranese, but not so much in Basic. When he registered the deed for the new colony with the Galactic Republic, he spelled out 'Joy' phonetically according to how he perceived the word. When the colonists found out about it, rather than correct it, they embraced it. It's sort of a local tradition now to come up with new spellings for major points of interest.”

“Isn't that a little embarrassing? It kind of gives outsiders the impression that your planet is filled with illiterates.”

Tulsar chuckled. “We like it. Besides, we Juoians have never been concerned about what the rest of the galaxy thinks about us. All it tends to do is make others underestimate the people here - like your uncle did. Like you did.”

Clara's eyes widened at the not so subtle dig and she felt her cheeks redden because she knew Tulsar was right. It stung, to say the least. “Point taken.”

Clara was silent for the rest of the drive and Tulsar didn't appear to have any inclination of starting a new conversation on his own, so it was with a bit of relief to her when he finally indicated that they had arrived. It was an enormous piece of property with rolling hills and what Clara thought was a forest in the distant evening dusk. It seemed as though the more she got to know about this man, the more questions she had. What was a man with a piece of property like this doing by shadowing dangerous individuals in dive bars?

Tulsar seemed to sense her curiosity and explained a bit as they drove towards the house. “My father was one of the original founders of the colony. He was well-liked and respected, but had no interest in running Juoi. All he cared about was finding a quiet place to raise his family away from the unrest and wars that were ravaging the galaxy. He claimed this plot of land in exchange for giving up any financial stake in the colony.”

He nodded towards a light in the distance. “He used his remaining wealth to build the house we're headed towards and basically chose to live off the land as a farmer.” Tulsar shrugged. “I was never much of a farmer though; my aspirations took me in a different direction; so I bought some agridroids to continue his legacy after he died. After my wife and I were married, she took charge of overseeing the crops.”

Clara stared distantly out of the window as Tulsar brought the speeder into the garage. “It would have been easier just to let the fields go back to nature,” she pointed out. “Family means that much to you?”

He was silent for a moment before answering her. “Family means everything to me.”

***

As they entered the house, they were greeted by Tulsar's wife, Falanis. She appeared to be around the same age as Tulsar, old, with wrinkles, white hair, and all the rest, but somehow unaccountably in fantastic shape. Clara realized that she didn't really know how old Tulsar was, but assuming the story about his father was true, he had to have been much older than he looked.

“There's far too much going on here that I don't know about...” she thought to herself.

At the insistence of Falanis, Clara was convinced to wash up before they ate – and even she had to admit that three days of desperate planning hadn't done her any favors in the grooming department. Much to her chagrin, she found clean clothes waiting for her when she got out. It wasn't so much that Falanis had taken her clothes to wash them that rankled her, it was the clothes she left in their place. Clara preferred functional clothing, like jumpsuits or a shirt and combat pants. Instead, Falanis had left a dress in their place.

Clara held it before her in distaste; a million childhood memories flashed through her mind of arguments with her parents about how she needed to act like a proper lady. Eventually she had come to an understanding with them about that, but it hadn't been easy, and even today that understanding wasn't exactly mutual. She sighed as she focused back on the present and got dressed. Nothing to be done about it now. Whatever misgivings she might have about coming here, Clara wasn't about to throw their kindness back at them without a good reason.

As she descended to the first level and entered the dining room, the smell of the meal Falanis had prepared hit her full force and more childhood memories came unbidden to her. These were pleasant ones though, of the evening meal and her mother's delicious cooking. Despite herself, Clara felt a pang of homesickness as she sat down in front of a positively savory meal of roast bantha and kibla greens. One bite confirmed that it tasted as good as it smelled. She was halfway through the meal on her plate before Clara remembered her manners.

“Um, this is delicious,” she said sheepishly. “Thank you.”

Falanis smiled back. “I'm glad you like it. Have as much as you like. When was the last time you had a good meal?”

Clara hurried to swallow her next bite. “Apparently longer than I thought,” she replied sardonically. “Usually I just settle for rations and a stiff drink. I'm not really the type to go out of the way to treat myself.”

“It's been long overdue then. The only other person I've seen put away my cooking that quickly is my son.”

Clara looked back up from her meal, glancing first at Tulsar, who was watching the conversation with silent amusement, and then back to Falanis. “You have kids?”

“Just two,” Tulsar answered, breaking his silence. “Our son, Sysen, works for the JSI and lives in the capital. Our daughter, Kalja, left Juoi shortly after the end of the Galactic Civil War.”

Clara raised an eyebrow. This odd man who could take out a Houk with one punch was not only married, but had children as well. He was moving further and further from Clara's initial impression of him. “Oh yeah? What does she do?”

For the first time since Clara had met him, Tulsar seemed visibly uncomfortable. Falanis reached out and gripped his hand. “Kalja has always been something of an idealist,” she answered. “She left to try and improve things in the Old Empire after learning about the state it had been left in.”

Clara nearly choked on her food at the answer. “The Old Empire?! Why? Is she okay? There are some nasty rumors about that part of space these days.”

Falanis was downcast. “The truth is we haven't heard from her since this 'First Order' started making headlines. We're not sure what has become of her or her family.”

“You don't think she...” Clara started, but trailed off, not quite sure how she was going to finish her question.

Falanis shook her head. “No. Kalja is... resourceful. Besides, I know her husband would sooner die than allow any harm to come to her or their kids.”

Tulsar grunted in disapproval, but nodded in agreement. “That much is true.”

Clara looked at him for an explanation, but it was Falanis that gave her an answer. “Tulsar has never approved of Kalja's choice for a husband. He used to be an Imperial agent of some kind.” She smiled in amusement as the topic turned to somewhat lighter fare. “He's actually a very sweet man once you get to know him. He and Tulsar would get along great if either of them could see past their pride and history.”

Although she shared Tulsar's dislike of Imperials in any form, Clara couldn't help grinning. So there was a chink in the armor of this inscrutable man. “Sounds like Pop and every relationship I've ever had.”

Falanis raised an eyebrow. “Oh? Where are you from, dear? I know it's not Juoi.”

She shook her head. “No, I grew up on Taanab, although much of my schooling was on Corellia. I've got citizenship there and a modest flat, but I hardly ever see it. My work keeps me offworld quite a bit.”

A little to Clara's surprise, Falanis didn't ask about her schooling or what her job entailed. Instead, the other woman seemed more interested in her childhood. “Taanab? You grew up on a farm too?”

“Yes and no,” she corrected Falanis. “Pop is a bureaucrat for Arcon Multinode Agricorp, but he's no farmer. He's got a place in the suburbs. Ma's never had a job. She's a full-time mother. My brothers are basically following the same path as my father. It's a very traditional family and you could say I fit in with them about as well as a rogue roba.”

Clara belatedly realized that she was giving out far more information about herself than she had ever intended. There was something about these people that set her at ease and she didn't know why. She tried to take the focus off of her by asking a question of her own: “I'm curious about something. It's not that I don't appreciate the kindness you've shown me, but I have to ask why. You two barely know me and yet you're allowing me to stay the night. I could be dangerous. You shouldn't trust me.” She pointed at Tulsar. “And you really shouldn't trust me. You know why I'm on this planet.”

Tulsar grabbed his cane and slowly stood from the table. “I have no doubt you're dangerous, Clara, but I'm also certain you mean us no harm. I trust that much at least. I took an interest in you because of a promise I made and I will honor that above all else.”

“This makes no sense!” Clara groused. “What is this promise you keep talking about?! To who?!”

“I'm sure my husband will explain it all in due time,” Falanis interjected as she took Clara's plate. “Right now, it's late. I've prepared the guest room for you. I'll have your clothes waiting for you in the morning. I hope the dress was to your liking. We didn't have anything in your size and it was the only thing I could think of that might fit you on such short notice.”

“Oh, it.. uh... it was fine, thank you.” Clara stammered back, suddenly feeling embarrassed about her disgusted reaction to it earlier. “I really was not prepared for today,” she added to herself silently. After everything that had transpired so far, a good night's rest suddenly seemed like the best thing in the galaxy to her.

Maybe tomorrow would be a little less strange.

Maybe...

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Wed Oct 26, 2016 1:00 pm

"Wait, whaddya mean no," Isis demanded as she argued with the guard.

"Visiting hours are over. If you wanted to visit Habas you should have come two hours ago," the man told her firmly. From what Isis could tell he wasn't much of an impressive figure, but he must have felt pretty powerful sitting on his raised platform behind a desk that almost came up to Isis' chin.

"But she's Habas' daughter, can't you make an exception for family? We flew all the way here from Corellia for crying out loud!"

Hirai looked uncomfortably at her friend. "Isis," she said quietly, hoping against hope that the other girl wouldn't blab about that little tidbit.

"I'm sorry, but no exceptions. Now if there's nothing else have a nice day," the guard replied and afterwards he went back to tapping at his keyboard. It was clear at that point that the conversation was over.

Isis glared at the man for a moment then spun on her heel and stormed out of the facility with Hirai in two. Once they were outside Hirai looked over at Isis. "Did you really have to tell him that Habas is my father," she asked, "and so loudly too? We don't know who else was listening."

"You're being paranoid, Hirai," Isis said simply, "This whole planet's about as backwards as their spelling. I doubt anyone here would care about whom you're related to."

Hirai remained unconvinced but decided not to press the issue. Instead she looked up at the sun as it was inching behind the city's skyline. "It's getting late," she said, "What should we do now?"

Isis just shrugged, "Find a place to stay? It'll be dark before we get back to the spaceport and I don't really want to make that trek again tomorrow."

"I guess I'll find someplace in the city's registry," Hirai said as she started pulling out her comlink.

"Don't bother," Isis told her, "I saw a place back a few blocks that looks perfect."

Hirai made a face. "Isis, that hotel looks super expensive. We should probably just stay somewhere--," she stopped suddenly when she noticed the look Isis was giving her. The other girl stood there with her hands on her hips and an expression that said she wasn't budging. Hirai just sighed. "Spoiled rich kid," she muttered.

Isis' expression shifted to one of satisfaction. "Don't worry about it," she assured Hirai, "I'll foot the bill for everything. I'll even get you a change of clothes."

"Isis, that's--," Hirai started then she changed her mind, not willing to fight with Isis on this point, "Fine, alright. Just nothing frilly."

"I wouldn't even consider it," Isis said, "Scouts honor!"

Not that that phrase actually meant anything when Isis said it. The only time she ever used it was when she had some sort of mischief planned. So it went without saying her assurance did little to assuage Hirai's concerns. Still, the other girl said nothing as Isis led her back the way they came.

The hotel they were staying out was certainly a fancy one. There were valets for parking and for luggage and there were no single rooms available, only suites. It seemed a waste to rent a suite just for one night but Isis did so anyway and with glee. On top of that she ordered room service and a masseuse for the both of them. Hirai just cringed when she heard the final tally but Isis didn't seem phased at all. Hirai had always known that Isis had grown up in a wealthy family but this was perhaps the first time she had truly experienced just how wealthy they were. For a moment she couldn't help but feel a tinge of jealousy. Hirai could never possibly imagine having that much money.

The suite they rented was lavishly furnished with a full sized lavatory complete with a Jacuzzi. There was a small kitchenette that was fully stocked, a living room with a nice plush couch sitting in front of the holovid that hung on the wall. Their bedrooms were similarly decorated with feather-down pillows and sheets. Hirai just stared at the place with a dumbfounded expression on her face.

"Try not to look so surprised," Isis told her, "Eventually you get used to stuff like this."

Hirai shook her head. "I don't think I want to get used to this. I could never afford it."

"That's alright," Isis assured her, "Just stick with me!"

I'm not sure which is worse. The threat of being spoiled or the possibility of death by dismemberment from following her around, Hirai thought to herself. "One night, Isis," she said, "I don't really want you to spend this much money on me."

"Stop being such worry wort," Isis said as she tossed Hirai a towel, "Now go take your clothes off and wrap that around yourself. Trust me, you're going to feel a whole lot better in the morning."

Hirai just stared at her a moment then looked down at the towel. With a sigh she turned and headed out of the room to strip out of her clothes. As uncomfortable as this hotel made her it paled in comparison to the butterflies she felt standing outside of the detainment facility. She was only too relieved when the guard had turned them away, but tomorrow she wouldn't have that luxury. Every minute that passed brought her that much closer to meeting the man she had only heard about in stories told by her mother. A man she wanted to meet her whole life but was cruelly denied the opportunity. Now here she was just hours away from seeing him face to face and she had absolutely no idea what she was going to say...

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:15 pm

Clara woke up to a growling stomach and the smell of something delicious wafting under the door. She rather groggily sat up and yawned as it took her sleep-addled brain a moment or two to remember where she was. As soon as she did she snapped wide awake and searched for her clothes. True to Falanis's word, her clothes were waiting for her, cleaned and pressed.

Clara quickly got dressed; combat boots, black combat pants, an athletic top, and fingerless gloves; and immediately felt a little more in control of her situation. She started to strap her blaster to her hip, but thought better of it and bundled it with her jacket instead as she opened the door. If Tulsar or his wife truly meant to harm her, they were certainly taking their time doing it. She didn't entirely trust them, but she didn't exactly mistrust them either.

Clara entered the dining room to see another feast laid out on the table that reminded her a little too much of home: eggs, fried roba strips, and hotcakes – all freshly made. Tulsar and Falanis were, of course, already there. Tulsar was in the middle of his meal, as was Falanis.

“You're going to spoil me,” Clara said, a little overwhelmed as she sat down at the place that had been set for her and started to fill her plate. A thought occurred to her halfway through it as she cast a suspicious look at the couple. “That's not what's going on is it? You're not trying to put me in a gilded cage are you? Make me lose track of time here and forget about my uncle?”

Tulsar rolled his eyes. “I'm sure I can dig up some old rations for you to eat instead, if you want to punish yourself, Clara.”

Clara's stomach growled again and she shook her head before resuming what she was doing. “No, no... This will be fine. Just wanted to check.”

He smiled. “Good. You'll want to be at full strength today as we're going back to Chiarm. I've arranged a meeting with Qan Kisa for you to plead your case to him. He's First Seat on the Council of Honored Citizens, which also guarantees him a spot on the Council of Section Leaders.”

“Um...”

Tulsar laughed. “Sorry, I won't go too deep into Juoian politics, but suffice it to say that Qan has an enormous amount of leverage within the government. The only one with more power would probably be Director Jaska himself.”

“Color me impressed,” Clara replied, and meant it. “You really don't mess around when you say you're going to help, do you?”

Tulsar nodded his head in acknowledgment and smiled.

“Although that does lead me to something else I've been curious about,” she said between bites of a roba strip. “This Jaska... how much do you know about him? I mean, I learned enough to know that you're not big fans of being within spitting distance of Hutt Space, yet you have one leading the planet. It doesn't add up.”

“A lot of people were very skeptical of Jaska when he first arrived,” Falanis said to her. “You can count myself and Tulsar among them, but over the years he's proven to be a boon for Juoi. When he was elected to be Director he helped Juoi thrive like never before and he's kept Juoi safe from the kajidics.”

“What makes you think this isn't all part of some scheme of his?” Clara asked. “He wouldn't be the first Hutt to play the long game.”

“I've looked into Jaska personally,” Tulsar said to her, “and if he is corrupt, he's doing a really good job of hiding it. Jaska has been the Director of Juoi for about twenty years now, which is no easy feat. Directors must meet rigorous standards to stay in power. The Council of Section Leaders can vote him out at any time. Additionally, if his approval rating ever falls under 40%, the citizens can vote him out at the end of the year. A corrupt Director might possibly put the Council of Section Leaders in their pocket, but the same can't be said for a vast majority of the population. Not to mention that the JSI regularly keeps tabs on all of our leaders.”

Clara shook her head. “I'm sorry, my association with Hutts has never been pleasant and I've encountered quite a few of them. I still find it hard to believe he isn't crooked somehow.”

“Maybe you can ask Qan about it when you meet him?” Tulsar suggested. “He's worked with Jaska longer than anyone else in the government.”

Clara finished her meal with one last bite of syrupy hotcake. “What can you tell me about Qan Kisa?”

Tulsar stroked his goatee thoughtfully. “Hard to say. Qan doesn't stand out that much. He's very quiet, very unassuming. You probably wouldn't even give him a second glance if you passed him on the street, but, just like Jaska, there's a reason he's been in politics so long. He has a knack for knowing what people need and getting it to them. One does not get First Seat on the Council of Honored Citizens without being exceptional in some way.”

“And you think he'll be sympathetic to Habas's case?”

Tulsar nodded. “I think so. It was Qan who first argued for giving Jaska a chance and that's far from the only underdog that Qan has championed.”

Clara drummed the table excitedly before standing up and throwing on her jacket. “Then what are we waiting for?” she asked as she clipped on her blaster. “Let's get moving.”

Tulsar grabbed his cane and stood as well, but frowned at Clara. “Your weapon; you won't need it.”

“Maybe so,” she relented, “but I'd rather check it at the door than leave it behind entirely.”

He shook his head in resignation before moving towards the door. “As you wish. I don't want to keep Qan waiting.”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:45 am

When Hirai woke the next morning the light from the sun was already wafting into her bedroom. She had spent most of the night tossing and turning and she couldn't remember when exactly she fell asleep. Looking at her chrono now she assumed it must have been late because she had slept well past the time she usually got up. She silently berated herself as she threw the sheets off herself and slid off the bed onto her feet. There were voices in the other room and she curiously moved to the door and opened it.

Isis was sitting on the couch in the living room with the remote in hand flipping through various news channels. As Hirai entered the room Isis turned to look at her. "Morning sleepy head," she said.

"It's like eleven," Hirai told her, "Why didn't you wake me earlier?"

Isis just shrugged. "I heard you tossing in your sleep last night. Just figured you needed the rest."

Hirai walked past her into the kitchenette where a fresh pot of caf had been brewed and poured herself a cup. She added a couple spoonfuls of sugar and some cream before she took a sip and turned back to Isis. "How long have you been up?"

"Only a couple of hours," she said, then she pointed the remote at the holovid again and turned it off. "Hirai, you said your father was an assassin, right?"

Hirai gave her a look, wondering what exactly brought this up. "Yeah, and?"

"What was he doing here? Sightseeing?"

Again another irritation, Isis already knew all of this so why was she bringing it up again? "You already know why he was here. What he was caught trying to do."

"Exactly," Isis said, "A famous assassin is hired to kill someone, gets caught in the act and thrown in jail and where's all the news? He barely even got a headline. If this were Corellia they'd be talking about it for weeks, but here... There's something off about this place. Lower crime rates than any other planet in the galaxy and their primary punishment for grand larceny on down to murder seems to be execution. Also, did you know this planet's run by a Hutt?"

Was that what she had been doing all morning? Had she been researching Juoi? Hirai had to admit Isis was a very different person than the girl who had left six months ago. That girl would never have even dreamed about voluntarily studying anything, but now... It was just like with the mystery she had unraveled on Corellia. Isis was like a dog with a bone, picking at one string and then another until finally something fell out. It was the most focused Hirai had ever seen her.

"I see you've been busy," Hirai said, taking another sip of her caf.

Isis just shook her head and crossed her arms over her chest. "I just don't like this place. It's too clean, and it doesn't feel like it should be. You dig deep enough in some places and you'll find a highly active criminal underground, even on the Core planets. It's just not natural for a planet not to have one."

"Wait, so let me get this straight. You're uncomfortable because there's not enough crime here," Hirai asked incredulously.

"No, I'm just afraid they're better at hiding it," Isis said as she pushed off from the couch and stood. She tossed the remote back onto one of the cushions then walked over to the kitchenette to pour herself another cup of caf. "So," she continued, changing the subject, "have you thought about what you're going to tell him yet?"

Hirai immediately felt the butterflies return to her stomach. For a brief moment Isis' concerns had given her something else to think about, but now that they were talking about Habas again her jitters had come back in full force. "Um, can we talk about that later, like maybe never? Right now all I want is some breakfast."

Isis gave her a look. "Hirai, you dragged me all the way out here because you wanted to meet him and now you have a chance, probably your last chance. Don't tell me you're getting cold feet now."

"Look, I just--I need some time, okay. This isn't easy for me, you know."

Isis' expression softened. "Alright, I get it. It's too big to think about. Just hurry up and get over that lump in your throat. In case you forgot my father wasn't exactly pleased that we took his yacht and we've already been here longer than we should have been."

"Let's just get some breakfast and a change of clothes," Hirai said, grabbing her jacket and heading for the door.

Isis took one last sip of her caf then poured the rest of it down the drain before following her friend out into the hallway. "The restaurant downstairs should still be serving breakfast," she said, "Or we could go someplace else if you think it's too pricey."

Hirai appreciated the gesture. Of course Isis would rather sit in a fancy restaurant eating fancy food but she knew how that made Hirai uncomfortable and she already had enough of that on her plate right now with her imminent meeting with her estranged father. Someplace cheap and familiar was definitely more preferable to the alien environment of high society. "Let's get something on the way to the spaceport," she said and Isis just shrugged.

"You're the boss, Boss."

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Thu Oct 27, 2016 11:19 pm

According to Tulsar, the Grand Council Building in central Chiarm was were Qan Kisa's offices were located. It was apparently the central point from which Juoi was governed, housing the offices for the Council of Honored Citizens and the Council of Section Leaders. Clara had been expecting some typical ostentatious architecture to set the building apart from the rest of the city. What she saw instead was more like a fortress. It was fenced off from the rest of the city and built low to the ground – which to Clara's experienced eye seemed to have been designed to withstand everything up to a bombardment from orbit.

After they cleared the gate and were granted access to approach, Clara looked over at Tulsar expectantly.

He nodded, as if expecting her unspoken question. “Back when it was first founded, Juoi was the target of repeated pirate raids. Juoi Security & Inquiry was eventually formed to repel these attacks and it was continuously promised by the founders that Juoi would not be victimized ever again. As such, all important government structures were built to mirror this line of thinking. If you think this is overkill, you should see JSI headquarters.”

“I'm not sure I want to,” Clara replied back to him; impressed and a little intimidated at the same time. “This is far more security than I saw at the detainment facility, and I thought that was excessive.”

“Detainment and imprisonment aren't as high a priority around here as keeping the government safe and functioning,” Tulsar explained to her. “I know how it looks, but none of this was done without a reason. There are countless examples of other planets out there that have been ravaged by the galaxy at large. I'll gladly take scary buildings like this if it means Juoi is never attacked again.”

Something about the way Tulsar said that last sentence seemed to resonate a little more than the rest, but Clara didn't have time to ruminate on it as they reached a second security checkpoint and had to exit the vehicle. One of the guards at the checkpoint took the keys from Tulsar (and Clara's blaster) and drove the speeder towards a secured parking garage. Meanwhile a militarized open-air skiff was waiting to take them the short distance left to the entrance.

And throughout all the ridiculous security procedures Clara noticed a lot of people saluting Tulsar. There was clearly still more to this man that he wasn't telling her, but for now she just made a mental note to bring it up later.

They were escorted to Qan Kisa's office. Again, Clara's preconceptions were dashed when they entered the office. Large as the room may have been – as benefiting the man's status – it was exceedingly simple. No obvious signs of power and wealth. Just a desk, some chairs, and a few paintings to break up the monotony.

Qan stood to greet them as they walked over to his desk. Tulsar hadn't been downplaying Qan at all. He was Human, of average build and appearance, with fine black hair that was formally styled, and calm gray eyes. He wore a tailored business suit that matched current galactic fashion, but it was clear at first glance that he didn't wear it to flaunt his position – instead because it was expected of a politician of his stature. The only thing about him that seemed to stand out to Clara was that he looked younger than she had been expecting.

“Tulsar,” he greeted with a smile and a handshake. “It's been awhile.” He looked over to her and extended a friendly hand. “And you must be Clara.”

After a moment's hesitation, she took his hand and was surprised at how firm and strong it was. Clearly Qan was a man who had a lot of practice greeting people. “Thank you for taking the time to meet with me,” she said to him.

Qan sat back down at his desk and gestured for them to do the same. “Well, you have quite the powerful advocate here for your uncle. If Tulsar vouches for him, then that's reason enough right there to give this some serious thought.”

Clara sat down and tried to suppress how nervous she felt. She needed this to go well. “What can you do for him?”

“On my own, nothing,” Qan replied, “but I'm prepared to make the argument to both councils that releasing Habas into New Republic custody is in the best interest of Juoi. The only major sticking point I can see will be Jaska.”

Tulsar stroked his goatee thoughtfully. “How so? What is Jaska's take on this?”

Qan frowned as he rested his hands on his desk. “You must understand what a rare opportunity this is for Juoi. In Jaska's eyes, we caught one of the most deadly assassins in the galaxy – a feat which neither the New Republic or the Galactic Empire could do in their heyday. He's being very careful with how he wants to present that to the galaxy at large.”

He looked over at Clara. “Tulsar has filled me in on your uncle's practices, and I agree with him that Habas Molariou poses no threat to Juoi, but the public won't see him in the same light. To them he's a dangerous criminal and should be brought to justice.”

Clara narrowed her eyes. “Get to the point.”

If Qan was intimidated at all, he didn't show it. “The point is that Jaska is exploring his options right now. Juoi could appear quite strong by publicly executing such a notorious criminal. It would send a clear warning to anyone else who would dare think of committing a crime here. On the other hand, turning Habas over to the New Republic could be perceived as a sign of weakness – as though he was ultimately too much for us to handle. Personally, I think turning Habas over to the Republic authorities could open up a number of diplomatic possibilities.”

“There is a third option,” Tulsar suggested before Clara could say anything. “What about the clemency provision in the Juoi Charter?”

Clara looked from one man to the other. “The clemency provision?”

Qan nodded. “Our founding document has a provision in it that will forgive anyone's criminal history if they become a citizen. Whatever they did before coming to Juoi is no longer of consequence – with some safeguards of course. A percentage of our citizens are reformed criminals from offworld that were caught by the JSI and given a chance to contribute to Juoi instead. Not all of them make good on the clemency given to them, but by and large it's something of a success. Jaska himself likely would never have become Director if not for that provision.”

Tulsar looked over at Clara. “Do you think your uncle would take such an offer?”

“I don't know,” she answered honestly, “but I'd like to ask him.”

“Jaska has already beat you to it,” Qan informed them. “The possibilities of having such a skilled marksman working for Juoi is not lost on him. He decided to go the detainment facility and ask your uncle in person.”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Fri Oct 28, 2016 2:17 am

In frustration Isis pounded on the refresher door one more time. "Come on, Hirai! We were supposed to be at the detainment center an hour ago," Isis called to her. "Hurry up," she added, knocking on the door again. When no response came she leaned her ear against the door and could have sworn she heard hacking and wheezing on the other side. When the door finally did open Hirai came out wiping her mouth with one hand. Isis gave her a concerned look.

"Are you alright?"

Hirai nodded. "I'm fine, just--you know... Nervous."

Isis had little sympathy. "You survived a dressing down from Sergeant Ohara, you'll survive this. Now come on," she said, grabbing her friend by the arm and urging her towards the exit.

They were back on her father's yacht now with a new change of clothes and a quick shower. Isis had thought a slight delay would help build up Hirai's courage but she couldn't have been more wrong. She'd never seen her friend like this. Hirai had been nervous before, usually before an inspection or a major test but not like this. The prospect of meeting her father was hitting her harder than Isis had expected.

"I don't think I can do this. What if he doesn't like me," Hirai asked, trying meekly to resist Isis' attempts to move her.

"What's not to like? You're great with a sword, wonderful personality and you're a pretty good shot. Now stop worrying and let's go!"

Hirai looked at her friend, surprised at Isis' eagerness. A part of her wondered if perhaps Isis was being so pushy because she too wanted to meet Habas. "Alright, alright, fine," Hirai said, "but this time let's call a cab. That walk is too far."

"Already done," Isis told her, "Faster we get you to your father faster you can get over these nerves and the faster we can get back to Corellia."

Hirai's expression hardened. "Wait, is that all you care about?"

Isis just looked at her, her hands on her hips. "Look, Hirai, meeting Habas that's your thing, not mine. I'm just here for moral support and you've been kicking your heels for far too long. It's just a short little visit. You don't even have to tell him who you are, but you should at least go and say hi to the man."

That was an odd thing to hear coming from Isis considering the rocky relationship she had with her own father. Of course Hirai knew that Isis cared for him, after all he was her father, but she couldn't help but wonder if Isis would feel that way were their roles reversed. Silently she nodded then followed Isis down the boarding ramp onto the tarmac.

The ride to the detainment facility was much faster than their trip the day before. That walk took most of the day, but by hovercraft it didn't seem very long. This time, though, they weren't the only ones trying to visit people at the prison. There were others there before them, various aliens and humans trying to visit other people who were detained. Isis and Hirai had to stand in line as they waited for their turn to ask for Habas. Much to their chagrin, however, the guard informed them he was busy.

"Busy? What do you mean 'busy'," Isis asked the man behind the desk.

"I mean he has another visitor and you'll have to wait your turn," the guard told them.

"And how long will that take?"

"I don't know, why don't you go have a seat and find out?"

He gestured to some chairs that were off to one side of the main lobby and then went back to his work, completely ignoring their presence. Isis glared at the man but said nothing. Finally she turned to Hirai and shrugged. "Well, guess we have to wait."

Hirai would have thought that waiting more should feel like a boon, but it did not. By now she just wanted to get this meeting over with and then decide what to do from there. Having to sit around even longer just made the waiting worse. She let out a slow breath to try and calm her nerves as Isis led her over to a couple of chairs. As they waited she tried her best not to think about her meeting with Habas, but she couldn't stop feeling the sensation that her cheeks were on fire. What was she going to say to him? She still hadn't worked it out.

"Don't worry, you'll be fine," Isis said as she reached for a nearby datapad and started reading through various news articles.

Hirai just looked at her friend then down towards the floor at her feet. I hope you're right, she thought quietly to herself...

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Sat Oct 29, 2016 6:05 pm

As Isis and Hirai were waiting, another JSI officer walked through the door and headed towards the reception desk. He was young and looked to be around the same age as the two girls – if perhaps a bit older. He was relatively fresh-faced, with slicked back hair and wore a soul patch from his bottom lip to his chin. The officer glanced their way briefly before he waved to the guard in a friendly manner. “Evening, Jank.”

The guard sighed and rolled his eyes. “It's morning, Korzen.”

“Maybe for you it is. I just got off my shift,” he answered as he stopped at the desk and casually leaned against it with one hand. “Anyway, you know why I'm here, but I can see the place got pretty popular all of the sudden. What's going on?”

“Director Jaska decided to make a surprise visit to one of the prisoners,” Jank told him. “All visiting hours have been suspended until after Jaska is finished. That includes JSI officers who aren't part of his security detail.” Jank looked at him pointedly, as if anticipating what Korzen was going to say next. “No exceptions. I don't care who your grandfather is.”

Korzen made a disgusted noise. “Oh come on, Jank! Be a pal. You know I'm trustworthy. I just need to talk with him again.”

Jank pointed towards Isis and Hirai. “I'm sure it can wait. Get some caf, take a seat with the rest, and tough it out. You don't like it, you can come back tomorrow.”

Korzen righted himself and shrugged. “Be that way then. Don't come crying to me the next time you need to take care of some speeding tickets.”

“I use public transportation,” Jank commented dryly.

“Of course you do,” Korzen mumbled as he walked away.

After helping himself to some of the complimentary caf, and wincing at it after taking a sip, Korzen took a seat across from the two girls. He smiled charmingly. “Well, I guess we're stuck waiting, huh? What brings two lovelies such as yourselves here?” Then he laughed as if just remembering something. “Sorry, where are my manners?”

He held out his hand. “I'm Korzen. Korzen Leidias. And you two are?”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Sun Oct 30, 2016 12:10 am

As they waited Isis kept impatiently checking her chrono. She had been going through a rather convoluted ceremony of reading various news articles, checking the time, and pacing. All within the span of fifteen minutes. Hirai half expected that Isis was skimming the articles rather than reading them and searching desperately for anything to keep her mind occupied. Were it her she would have suspected nerves, but with Isis it was just pure impatience.

Finally, Isis sat down again and picked up the datapad for the third time. Hirai was about to tell her to relax. As nervous as she was Isis' constant fidgeting was not helping. Just as she opened her mouth to speak, though, a young man walked in wearing the uniform of a JSI officer. He spoke briefly with the man at the desk and though Hirai watched the whole thing she couldn't hear what was being said. After a few moments the new arrival stepped away from the desk and helped himself to some of the complimentary caf set aside for visitors. After tasting the bitter concoction he sat down across from Hirai and Isis and looked right at them.

“Well, I guess we're stuck waiting, huh," he asked by way of conversation, "What brings two lovelies such as yourselves here?” Then a thought occurred to him and he laughed as if he just remembered something. “Sorry, where are my manners?”

He held out his hand. “I'm Korzen. Korzen Leidias. And you two are?”

"Not interested," Isis said firmly. She had not taken kindly to the unwanted compliment and was immediately on the defensive.

"Isis," Hirai whispered, "He's just saying hi."

"You talk to him then," Isis shot back, speaking in low undertones that Korzen could just barely make out.

Hirai gave her a look and Isis sighed. "Fine," she said, then she turned to Korzen and shook his hand, "My name's Isis Sinclair. This is Hirai," she added with a gesture in Hirai's direction.

Hirai reached out and also shook the man's hand and Korzen looked at her curiously. "Just 'Hirai'," he asked.

Hirai's cheeks burned slightly and she averted her gaze. "Hirai Molariou," she told him, "That's my name."

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Sun Oct 30, 2016 1:01 am

The announcement of Hirai's last name happened right as Korzen had been taking another sip of caf, and it caused him to cough and sputter in response. After tapping his chest with his fist a few times to calm down the sudden coughing fit, he looked back at Hirai. “I'm sorry, could you repeat that?”

Although a little apprehensive, Hirai told him again: “I'm Hirai Molariou.”

Korzen was about to take another sip of caf, suddenly thought better of it, and effortlessly chucked it into a trash can 10 feet away from them with barely a glance. “I don't believe this...” he said, more to himself than to the two girls. “Xorpex wouldn't make that kind of mistake on a dossier... It's exactly like my father said...”

He looked back at Hirai with a much more serious expression. “Have you told anyone else here who you are?”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Sun Oct 30, 2016 1:30 am

Both Isis and Hirai were taken aback by the man's reaction. As he coughed and sputtered from the caf that caught in his throat the two girls shared a glance with each other. Maybe I should have given my mother's name, Hirai thought, believing the man had a poor reaction to learning she was related to an assassin. That is, if she had ever told it to me, I suppose.

The young man looked at the both of them with a more serious expression. “Have you told anyone else here who you are," he asked.

Again Isis and Hirai looked at each other then finally Hirai pointed to the man behind the desk. "I guess just him," she said, although that was more Isis' fault than hers. "Anyway, what's the big deal? Who's Xorpex? And what dossier?"

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Sun Oct 30, 2016 12:37 pm

Korzen seemingly ignored their questions as he pretended to casually look back over at Jank. It was probably fine... Jank was neither ambitious nor particularly concerned with anyone but himself. It was a close call, but it looked like the Force was with them for now. Of course, if these two were still around when Jaska finished his meeting with the prisoner – likely Habas Molariou himself, now that Korzen thought about it – the situation could get dicey really quick.

He looked back at Hirai. “Those are all very good questions, and I'll be happy to answer them later, but right now we need to get out of here. Pronto.”

“We're not going anywhere,” Isis rebuked him. “Hirai came a very long way to see her fa-”

“And how does she know about Habas?” Korzen interrupted her. “Juoi hasn't issued any official statement about it yet and we know the only two people Habas tried to contact after he was captured were his brother and his niece. Did either of them tell you?”

Hirai seemed to struggle with the answer. “They don't... I...”

Korzen nodded, as if expecting the answer all along. “So who sent you a message about it, Hirai? I'm betting it was either anonymous or faked to look like an official statement from Juoi. Think about it: someone wanted to lure you here. That's why we need to go; now.”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Sun Oct 30, 2016 4:21 pm

"But I...," Hirai started, unsure of what she should believe. She found that message quite by accident while working in the capital building on Corellia. She was running errands for Isis' father. There's no way he could have planted it, could he? And if not him then who?

"I think we do what he says," Isis told her and Hirai just stared at her.

It was not common for Isis to suddenly trust someone she didn't know, which made this an extremely rare occasion. "You can't possibly believe this," Hirai answered.

Isis shook her head. "Didn't say I believe--at least not entirely, but you have to admit there's something a little strange about this."

Hirai sighed then turned back to Korzen. "Alright fine, we'll go with you, but we need to stop by the spaceport first. I, um... I left something behind."

"You don't think whomever brought you to this world will look for you there when they don't find you here," Korzen asked.

"I'll go," Isis said suddenly and Korzen and Hirai both looked at her. Isis simply shrugged her shoulders. "It's her swords, they were a gift from her mother. Besides, the message wasn't addressed to me, right? No one will care if I go."

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:04 pm

“We should all go,” Korzen decided. When Isis looked ready to object, he beat her to it. “If you haven't already caught the attention of the JSI, carrying swords around will guarantee that they'll notice you. However, if you have a JSI officer with you, that will allay a lot of suspicions. Plus I know my way around this city a lot better than you two do.”

“Not to mention...” he added as he tossed a code cylinder in the air before deftly catching it, “...a patrol speeder is a lot faster than walking.”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:24 pm

"Getting into a car with a stranger," Isis muttered to herself, "I seem to remember my mother saying something about that."

Then she stood and Hirai followed suit. "Alright, the sooner we get out of here the sooner we get an explanation, right?"

Korzen stood also and led them outside to his patrol car. The ride back to the spaceport didn't take very long and the entire trip Isis never once took her eyes off of Korzen. She and Hirai were taking a huge risk trusting someone they didn't know, but there was something about him. An earnestness in his eyes, his face and even his voice. Isis wasn't sure if they could believe him but as much as she hated to admit it there was a small part of her that wanted to.

When they arrived at the spaceport Isis kept her eyes open for any possible threats or tails but found none. Their ship was still where she left it and if anyone was watching them then they were doing a very good job of keeping a low profile. Once they were back on board the yacht Hirai turned to them. "I'll be just a moment," she said and then she headed back into her room to gather her swords leaving Isis alone with Korzen in the ship's lounge.

After Hirai had left Isis caught Korzen looking around with a slight expression of surprise on his face. "It's my father's," she explained, "Big CEO back on Corellia. Now he's a senator, if you can believe that."

She leaned against a nearby table and watched him carefully. "Hirai isn't just my friend," she told him, "She's family and I will do anything to keep my family safe. So if you're playing us...," she left the rest hanging in the air but her meaning was pretty clear.

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:54 pm

“I understand,” Korzen said to her. “Family is important to me too. In fact that was the whole reason I was at the detainment facility this morning. My father is locked up in there. He was caught breaking into Jaska's office and charged with conspiracy about two weeks ago.”

Isis almost did a doubletake. “Conspiracy?!”

He nodded sadly. “It was all over the local news: 'Special Agent Sysen Leidias of the JSI a traitor!'” Korzen shook his head and paced back and forth. “The only thing that's kept the case going to trial is my grandfather's influence. He's been trying to stall and get my father diagnosed as insane; cracked under the pressure of keeping the peace for too long and all that.”

“Do you believe that?”

Korzen sighed in frustration. “I don't... I don't know. I was beginning to think it. I was visiting him daily, like a good son, but all of his stories that he was telling me sounded too farfetched to be true.” He turned back to face Isis. “Then I ran into you two and it's almost exactly what my father said would happen. I don't know if it's just coincidence or what, but it's not something I want to gamble on.”

He leaned against a bulkhead. “The best thing you two could do is leave now, but somehow I don't think you're the type to turn tail and run.”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Sun Oct 30, 2016 10:14 pm

"No, not really," Isis replied but then she shook her head. "Don't get me wrong, though. I'm not exactly thrilled to be on this planet in the first place, but this is her father we're talking about. The man could be executed tomorrow, this might be her last chance to meet him. I may not think very highly of the guy for what he did to her but were our roles reversed I wouldn't want him to die without knowing I even exist."

As she finished that last bit Hirai emerged from the back room wearing her twin swords on her back and carrying a black case. She looked like she was armed for battle and she may as well have been. Isis had a feeling this whole situation had just gotten a whole lot more complicated. She cast Hirai a disapproving look, knowing what might have been going through the other girl's mind but said nothing.

"Alright, what now," Isis asked, turning back to Korzen. "Assuming this is all true and someone is tracking us, I take it returning to our hotel room is out of the question?"

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:57 pm

“Right now I wouldn't trust anywhere in the city,” Korzen confirmed with a nod. “That includes my apartment and any JSI safehouses that I know about. It's only a matter of time before the wrong people check the security footage today and put things together – assuming my father is right about everything.”

Korzen started pacing again as he tried to come up with the best course of action. He could only think of one that was viable. “Okay, this is what we're going to do... I'll take the both of you to my grandfather's farm on the outskirts of the city. It may not seem like it, but it's probably one of the safest places on Juoi. After that, we can try and figure out why someone would want to lure Hirai here.”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Tue Nov 01, 2016 11:50 am

"And now we're going to a farm," Isis said with a sigh. "We're definitely getting into predator territory here. I hope my dad doesn't find my face on a milk carton," she added under her breath.

Then she reached down and grabbed a small bag sitting nearby that she had set aside earlier. The bag contained a few extra changes of clothes and her blaster. "Alright," she continued, "lead the way, but I promise you, buster, any funny business and I'll have Hirai here dice you into pieces."

Her tone sounded like sarcasm but there was a hint of warning in there too. She didn't entirely trust the man, but then she didn't entirely disbelieve him, either. There was more going on here than they knew and Korzen could help fill the blanks. As much as she didn't like it, if they wanted some answers they had to go with him.

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Tue Nov 01, 2016 11:26 pm

“As tempting as that would be to see, I'll pass for now,” Korzen replied with an equal amount of snark to Isis's sarcasm, but his expression also seemed to imply a genuine curiosity in how good Hirai actually was.

He gestured towards the exit ramp on the ship. “It's a bit of a drive, so we should get going. If we time it right, we should make it there just in time for lunch. Honestly, I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.”

***

Clara felt tired as she leaned back in her seat in Tulsar's speeder. They were currently on the way back to his place. “Well that was a whole lot of nothing!”

As they had eventually found out through Qan Kisa, Habas had soundly rejected Jaska's offer of citizenship. Apparently the Hutt was still undecided as to what Habas's ultimate fate should be on Juoi, but Tulsar had promised to set up a meeting with Jaska tomorrow for her to plead the case of extradition in person. Clara didn't know how to feel about the idea of trying to convince the fat slug of anything.

If she was being honesty with herself, Clara wasn't surprised that Habas had rejected Jaska's offer. One thing she knew about her uncle was that he preferred not to stay in one place for too long. Part of that was a general preference to travel the galaxy, but there was a practical reason for it too. The longer he stayed in one place, the more likely one of his enemies would find him.

Tulsar smiled. “You're probably already sick of hearing this, but you need to practice some patience. I think we're still in a good position. Jaska may be more reasonable than you give him credit for. You'll have me and Qan Kisa backing you and that's going to count for something, believe me.”

“I suppose so,” Clara agreed and had to admit that she kind of agreed with Tulsar. Speaking with Jaska was still going to be her best shot and she could certainly do worse than going in to it with the backing of two of the most influential people on the planet.

If that didn't work out, there was always her fallback plan of creating a jailbreak...

As they entered the borders of Tulsar's farm, Clara was able to make out more details that were obscured by the darkness yesterday. For one, there was indeed a sizable forest on the property. As they ventured inward, Clara saw several fields of crops. She was able to identify most of them idly, although a few were unknown to her. The agridroids were hard at work tending to them.

She turned back to look at Tulsar. “You know... since there's still a lot of daylight left... you could make good on your promise to teach me that punch you used yesterday.”

He chuckled. “As I recall, I said I would 'show you the secret' to the punch. I'm not sure you have the aptitude to learn it.”

She glared at him. “Is that some kind of crack about me being a woman?! I'll have you know I graduated at the top of my class from the Beruss Military Academy. Even set a few records when I was there.”

Tulsar did not seem intimidated or impressed. “Calm down. I'm not disputing that you're a great fighter. Your official records make that much clear. What I'm saying is that it takes a very special fighter to learn how to use that punch. I'd venture that there are few people left in this galaxy that would be able to learn it.”

Clara crossed her arms defiantly. “Fighting has always come naturally to me. If you show me, I'll learn it. Just try me.”

“I suppose we'll find out,” Tulsar replied as he brought the speeder to a park in front of the house. “A promise is a promise, after all.”

As they got out, Falanis came to greet Tulsar. They spoke for a few moments before Tulsar turned to Clara. “The lesson may have to wait, Clara. It seems we're going to have a few more guests coming over. My grandson is bringing some people with him, although he refused to say who they are over the comlink.”

That put Clara on edge as she instinctively rested a hand on her blaster. “Should I be worried?”

Tulsar rubbed his goatee thoughtfully. “I don't think so. Korzen is impulsive, but his heart is always in the right place. I'm sure he has a good reason for what he's doing.” He looked pointedly at Clara's hand on her blaster. “I doubt it has anything to do with you or your uncle. This wouldn't be the first time he's come to ask me for my help with a situation.”

Clara relaxed a little at his words. “So what's the plan then? What should I do?”

He laughed. “That's easy. You can help us prepare the other guest rooms. If you stay here more than a day, then you're going to earn your keep. I probably should have mentioned that. The reward for doing so is more of my wife's cooking.”

Clara had to grin in spite of herself. “Damn, you're twisted, old man. Okay, you got me. Show me what needs doing.”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Wed Nov 02, 2016 3:43 am

Hirai and Isis shared a glance with each other before Isis shrugged and followed Korzen out of the ship. Before they could load up onto his speeder, though, there was a bit of a hold up getting past spaceport security. Fortunately, a quick conversation with Korzen cleared that up and allowed them to pass. Afterwards they loaded up their things into Korzen's patrol car and were on their way. Conversation between them was light. Isis and Hirai were still on the defensive and there was a bit of a worry that the patrol car might be bugged. About twenty minutes into the drive the weight of Korzen's earlier remark about the length of the drive began to set in. Isis stared out the window at the passing landscape wondering impatiently just how long this was going to take.

At some point during the journey she had dozed off though she couldn't remember when. When she awoke later it was because Hirai had jostled her awake. She stretched her arms and legs as much as the cramped confines of the car allowed and looked at the window towards the farm that had come into view. She would have considered the farm to be huge if she had seen more than one farm and could draw some kind of vague comparison. As it was she just had to assume it was pretty big. There was a long driveway that headed up to the house. On either side of it there were various fields and crops. Korzen directed the car up the driveway and pulled to a stop near the house. As they were all climbing out of the vehicle Isis stared up at building in front of her.

"Nice house," she said, "Your grandfather must be loaded to afford a place like this. Maybe we should compare trust funds," she added, glancing back over her shoulder at Korzen.

If he had any reaction at all to the joke he hid it well. Isis was kind of hoping for some kind of indication of the man's wealth but he gave her none. Though she supposed if he had come from a place of wealth then he wouldn't need to work for the JSI.

"So, what exactly are we going to tell your father about why we're here," Hirai asked suddenly from behind the vehicle. "Or do we have to tell him anything," she added, remembering something Korzen had said earlier back at the detainment facility. Whomever his grandfather was Korzen seemed to suggest he knew they were coming and that sort of clairvoyance put Hirai on edge.

"Maybe you should tell him how you found that little note in my father's office," Isis chimed in, "Might be a good place to start."

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Wed Nov 02, 2016 7:14 pm

Korzen grinned as his grandparents exited the house after the three of them had disembarked from the patrol speeder. He was about to spread his arms wide for a hug when he saw a redhaired woman emerge from the house behind Tulsar and Falanis. She also made no secret of the blaster at her hip as she eyed the three of them suspiciously.

Korzen's smile faded a bit. It hadn't even occurred to him to ask if there was anyone else at the farm. However, this wasn't the first time his grandfather had taken on a pet project, so it wasn't quite as much of a surprise as it should have been.

Before Korzen could say anything, Tulsar beat him to it. “Korzen, why did you take your patrol speeder all the way out here? Xorpex is going to have a fit about you not returning it.”

Korzen laughed a bit and scratched the back of his head self-consciously. “Yeah, sorry, I wasn't really thinking about that. You see, I was going to visit Dad today and well...” He stopped himself as he looked at the redhaired woman again. “To be honest, I'm not sure how much more I can say in the present company.”

He moved towards the other woman and extended a friendly hand. “I'm Korzen Leidias, and you are?”

A little to Korzen's surprise, she took his hand in a surprisingly strong grip, fearlessly, like she was testing him. “Clara Molariou,” she introduced herself. “I understand you're Tulsar's grandson.” She nodded towards Isis and Hirai. “Who are your friends?”

Korzen was able to avoid doing a doubletake. He'd heard about the scene Clara had made in the detainment facility, but this was the first time he'd been able to put a face to the name. It was definitely not what he expected. Considering the bombshell Hirai had dropped on him this morning, he was looking forward to seeing Clara's reaction to the other girl.

He hid a smile as he gestured towards the two of them, first to Isis... “This is Isis Sinclair...” then to Hirai... “And this is Hirai Mo-OW!!!”

Korzen's introduction was suddenly cut off by Hirai kicking him in the shin. He looked at her curiously, but she just shook her head in warning. Korzen tried to recover as best he could. “Uh... she's just 'Hirai', I guess.”

He looked back to see his grandparents watching the little exchange with questioning looks, but Clara was doing her best to stifle a laugh. “I like her already,” she remarked with a smirk.

Tulsar picked up the pieces of Korzen's broken attempt at introductions. “I'm Tulsar, and this is my wife, Falanis,” he said by way of greeting. “I'm not sure yet what brings you two here, but if Korzen brought you, then you're certainly welcome to stay at our place until we can help you.”

Falanis smiled as she nodded politely. “Well, let's not stand outside all day. I'm sure we can figure out the rest after a good meal. I was in the middle of preparing lunch when you arrived. You must all be famished after the long trip.”

That perked Korzen up. “Starving,” he emphasized. “What's on the menu, grandma?”

Falanis chuckled as she headed back into the house. “Oh, nothing special: sandwiches and my trademark vegetable soup.”

Korzen followed Falanis in the house, but glanced back at Isis and Hirai. “You two are in for a treat,” he assured them, before going inside. Clara went inside shortly thereafter, still casting a wary eye towards Korzen as she did so.

Tulsar remained a moment longer. “I know this all must seem a little strange and off-putting at first,” he said to them, “but I assure you that my grandson has always acted with the best of intentions. You have nothing to fear from us. Feel free to join us inside at your leisure.”

With that, he too went inside, leaving Isis and Hirai time to adjust to everything that had just happened...

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Wed Nov 02, 2016 10:06 pm

Neither Isis nor Hirai were prepared for who just walked out of that house. Having attained somewhat of a celebrity status at Beruss both girls recognized her instantly. That was why Hirai had stopped Korzen from mentioning her last name, though Tulsar seemed to think it might have been because of something else. Isis, meanwhile, was completely confused. She had be glancing between Hirai and Clara the whole time and while Clara seemed rather wary of all three of them Hirai on the other hand avoided eye contact with her.

After everyone had left Isis just stared at Hirai incredulously and pointed towards the house. "Hey, wasn't that...," she started but Hirai interrupted her.

"Yes," the other girl said simply.

Isis was now even more confused. "Okay, aren't you...,"

"We are," Hirai answered, interrupting her again.

"So then why didn't you," Isis tried to finish but Hirai refused to let her.

"Because," she said firmly and then she headed up the stairs into the house, effectively ending the conversation.

Isis just stared at her friend as she went on ahead. She knew that Hirai had other family besides Habas. Clara's last name was evident of that and Isis had asked about it before. Any time Isis had brought up Clara, though, Hirai seemed to get rather distant. As far as Isis was aware this was Hirai's first time meeting Clara in person. She would have thought Hirai would be eager to get to know her cousin, but now it was pretty apparent there was something going on. With a sigh Isis headed up the stairs after Hirai and entered the house just after she did.

The inside of the house had a nice homely feel to it that almost reminded Isis of visiting her grandparents back on Corellia. Some of the smells were even fairly similar and the best of those smells were wafting into the living room from the kitchen. Isis and Hirai followed the crowd as everyone gathered in the kitchen for lunch. As Korzen, Clara and Falanis worked to set the table Isis sidled up next to Hirai and whispered in her ear.

"Are we going to talk about what just happened," she asked.

"No," Hirai said, "Why would we?"

Isis was shocked and a bit hurt. She thought she and Hirai had told each other everything. "We're sisters, Hirai, no secrets between us, remember?"

Hirai just sighed. "Look, it's just--really personal, okay? I don't want to talk about it."

She fell silent and Isis just watched her, torn between pressing the issue and letting her have her space. After awhile she finally gave up and turned to look at Tulsar. "Sooo," she began with a note of uncertainty in her voice, "this is a very nice place you have here. I guess I should thank you, both of you, for inviting us to lunch. My father would kill me if I suddenly forgot my manners."

Not that I'd care, she thought wryly to herself. Manners were usually her father's thing, not hers. She liked putting her elbows on the table or eating like a pig. Having to sit up straight, take small bites and use your napkin was a pain in the proverbial backside.

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Sat Nov 05, 2016 8:03 pm

Falanis smiled at Isis. “Thank you, but we don't stand on ceremony around here unless it's a special occasion. Feel free to dig in and eat as much as you like.”

As Falanis was speaking, Clara and Korzen seemed to be in a competition to see who could finish their meal first. At first Clara had been a bit dubious about the vegetable soup. She had never been much of a soup person - more of a stew person – but after taking a tentative sip, Clara was starting to think she'd have to make an exception. It was flavorful and robust without being overwhelming to the senses and it seemed to warm and energize the body with every mouthful she took.

Clara had emptied her bowl before she remembered there were sandwiches as well. There were a bunch of different varieties on a tray, cut up into quarter sections to make them easier to eat and sample. After grabbing one, Clara looked over at Falanis. “You know, my mom is no slouch in the cooking department either, but she'd kill to learn your recipes.”

Falanis laughed a bit. “Well, I have my ways. I learned a lot it from my mother and then started adding my own special touches once I married Tulsar. Just about everything I use comes from the farm, so the freshness makes a big difference.”

Tulsar reached over and held his wife's hand lovingly. “My father may have started the farm, but Falanis was the one who took it a step beyond. The care she puts into the crops and the livestock is what keeps it thriving.”

Falanis looked over at Clara. “You see, I was a farmer's daughter. My family originally came from a small farm on Reytha. My whole life has been involved with helping things grow. That's why I was so interested in your time on Taanab. I've always found their farming method of hexagonal tessellation to be fascinating.”

Clara grabbed another sandwich and took a bite before responding. “I guarantee that there's nothing I could tell you about it that you don't already know. My dad, Rajir, could talk about it for hours, but to be honest with you, I've always found that kind of stuff to be painfully boring.” She finished her sandwich and had to resist reaching for another one. “I have to admit that I am a little curious to see more of your farm though. I certainly can't argue with your results.”

“Why don't I show you after lunch?” Falanis volunteered. “I'd still be interested to hear your thoughts on it.”

Clara glanced at Tulsar and then back at Falanis. “Well, your husband promised to teach me a fighting technique and I'm kind of eager to give it a try, so...” She trailed off, not sure what else to say.

Tulsar picked up the slack. “Nonsense, I'm going to be busy after lunch speaking with Korzen and his guests about their situation. I can show you the move at a later time.”

Clara sighed as she knew right away that the old man had dodged her again. She had to wonder if Tulsar would have found some other excuse to avoid teaching her the move if his grandson hadn't suddenly shown up. He was still hiding something big, that much Clara was sure of. To top it off, she still had no idea how she felt about Korzen and the two girls he had brought with him. She did get the distinct impression that Isis and Hirai were watching her a little too much though.

Finally she just shrugged. This was certainly no place to bring it up. Instead she grabbed her dishes to bring to the kitchen and pointed warningly at Tulsar. “This changes nothing. My uncle takes priority over all of this. Otherwise I'm out of here.”

Tulsar nodded with that frustratingly implacable calm of his. “You have nothing to worry about, Clara.”

Clara just nodded back. It was as satisfying an answer as she was bound to get out of the old man. She then looked over at Falanis. “When you're ready to give me the tour, you can find me outside doing some combat practice.”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:43 am

Despite Isis' distaste for always having to remember her manners she did so anyway without really thinking about it. She had caught herself once or twice taking small bites and eating with the poise and grace only one of the filthy rich could afford. It was frustrating, to say the least, that this behavior was so ingrained into her, but she tried her best to play it off. Hirai, for her part, tried her best not to be distracted by the presence of Clara. She cast her cousin a wary glance or two as she listened to her conversation with Falanis but said nothing. Once Clara was finished with her meal she quickly excused herself from the table and headed outside. Hirai watched her leave and felt a huge weight lifted off her shoulders as soon as the other woman was gone. Isis gave her a curious look, the beginnings of a question forming on her lips. Hirai tried to silence that question with a glare, but Isis wasn't having it.

"What the hell is going on with you," Isis whispered, "Why won't you just tell her who you are?"

"I said I don't want to talk about it," Hirai answered back in a tone that had a certain amount of finality to it.

Isis just gave her a look. "You know I can't accept that."

"Too bad," she said then she looked over at Tulsar, blushing slightly when she realized that he and Falanis were watching them curiously while they were whispering. "Um," she started, with a bit more uncertainty than she would have liked, "Thank you for the food," she said sheepishly, "but we really should be going. Korzen brought us here because he believes we're in danger and if that's true then I don't want to drag you or your family into this any more than we already have. Isis and I can figure this out on our own."

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:59 pm

“She's wrong, Grandpa!” Korzen said with a quick rebuttal. “I came across them this morning exactly like Dad has been saying all along. Well, Isis was unexpected, but Hirai showed up just like he said she would.”

“I told you we don't need help,” Isis repeated. “We can take care of-”

Tulsar casually held up a hand for silence and the room quickly complied, quite to the apparent surprise of Isis who felt the sudden need to let him speak. Tulsar's face was stern and thoughtful, which was a dramatic departure from the affable old man he had showed his guests so far. “The dining room is not the place to discuss such matters. Let's move this to my study.”

Falanis was gathering the plates. “I'll finish cleaning up. Should I bring Clara back inside?”

Tulsar shook his head. “Clara is part of this, but I need more information first. Go ahead and give her the tour.” He glanced at Hirai meaningfully. “She'll learn the rest soon enough.”

***

The inside of Tulsar's study was about what one would expect. It was lined with bookshelves, and for a wonder, they contained actual books instead of data tapes and flimsiplast. The centerpiece of the room was a solid wooden desk and an old comfy chair that Tulsar was currently using. Korzen and his guests were seated across from him in bantha-hide leather chairs.

Once everyone was seated, Tulsar spoke: “Allow me to save us some time. From what my grandson has already told me, I've figured out your situation.” He nodded towards Hirai. “You're Hirai Molariou, the heretofore unknown daughter of Habas Molariou. You were lured here by news of his imprisonment in spite of the fact that Juoi has not sent out any kind of statement yet.”

The two girls looked at him in astonishment, but Tulsar continued before they could say anything. “I know this because my son, Sysen, has been saying that this would happen. The sequence was exactly as he described it: Habas Molariou would come to Juoi, we would capture him, and he would be used as bait to bring an unknown relative of his to the planet. At first I thought that might be Clara and chalked the rest up to coincidence since she was a well-known relative, but now that you're here, I have to reconsider everything else he's told me as well.”

“I don't think whoever is behind this knows about Hirai yet,” Korzen said to Tulsar. “I found them pretty quickly and didn't waste any time bringing them here.”

Tulsar kneaded his fingers together thoughtfully. “I hope you're right, but the implications of this are very disturbing. That means everything else Sysen told me might be true as well.” He looked back at Hirai. “You've suddenly become one of the most important people on this planet, Hirai, and I need some answers from you. I need to know how you found out about Habas. I need to know about your mother. And last, but not least, I need to know why you don't want Clara to know who you are.”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Mon Nov 07, 2016 11:39 pm

"It's not that I don't want her to know, it's just--complicated," Hirai told him. As soon as Tulsar had mentioned that he knew who she was Hirai had been afraid this topic might come up. Suddenly, though, that fear paled in comparison to the rest of what Tulsar had told her. From their initial conversation with Korzen both Isis and Hirai had assumed that she would be used as bait to trap her father in some kind of deal. Never had they suspected, however, that it was in fact Habas who was the one being used as bait. They did all of this to get to me? Why? She found herself distracted by the implications but Tulsar's voice snapped her out of it.

"Uncomplicate it," he said and Hirai just stared at him.

Finally, with a sigh she looked away, a part of her desperately wishing to be anywhere else but here. "My mom died when I was fourteen," she said, "She was very sick. After she was--gone I, um... I contacted my Uncle. I was only fourteen and couldn't really take care of myself so I wanted my Uncle to send a message to my father for me, but he um... He refused. He wanted nothing to do with me. He didn't even want to acknowledge me as part of his family... Part of her family. So I moved to Coronet instead and volunteered to join the military. It was really the only option left to me," she continued and there was a mixture of regret and hatred in her eyes, "I wasn't allowed to be her cousin then and I don't see why that needs to change now."

As she spoke her voice was filled with such ire that it had surprised Isis. She had never heard Hirai get so angry before, though granted she had every right to be. Even Isis was mad, angry at the fact that Rajir had denied his own niece like that. She may have had her issues with her father and while Isaac Sinclair was not about to be nominated for Dad of the year any time soon he was still infinitely a better relative than Rajir Molariou.

"I found the message about my Dad while working for Isis' father," Hirai continued once her anger had ebbed, "I read it on a bulletin while I was sorting files. I didn't think anything of it, though, I mean it looked official enough. It was addressed to the Senator, I don't think I was even supposed to read it, I just found it by accident. As for my mother I don't think I can tell you much. Only that she loved me and she was afraid. We lived in a small cabin in the middle of the woods and for as long as she'd been alive we never once left. She, um... She never told me why."

She fell silent as she waited for his response. A part of her was surprised at herself. She had never told anyone that much about herself before, not even Isis. There was just something about this man that made her want to tell him everything and that thought frightened her. What if he was the one who had lured her here?

No, that's stupid. Why would he do that and then asked me all these questions, she silently chided herself...

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Tue Nov 08, 2016 10:37 pm

“That's a lot to consider,” Tulsar replied thoughtfully.

“It's insane,” Korzen added as he crossed his arms across his chest.

His grandfather looked over at him. “That's not helping, Korzen. We have to work under the possibility that all of this is true. Her mother could be a-”

“Who's talking about that?” Korzen interrupted him, before leaning forward to look at Hirai. “I'm referring to her avoiding her cousin.”

Tulsar was a bit put off by his answer and Korzen used that to push forward and say his piece. He stood and faced Hirai directly. “Has it ever occurred to you that you're being as bad as this Rajir person? You've already made up your mind about Clara before even meeting her. Now, I don't know that much about Clara, but I know she's brazen enough to tell an entire detainment facility that she's going to free Habas Molariou one way or another.” He looked over at Tulsar again. “Back me up on this, grandpa.”

The older Leidias seemed to be at a loss at the abrupt shift in topic, but he recovered quickly. “That's true. She did do that. From what I understand, Clara left for Juoi as soon as she got her uncle's call. I don't think she even bothered to pack a spare set of clothes. In fact, getting him released is about all she talks about.”

Korzen smiled triumphantly as he looked back at Hirai. “Does that sound like someone who hates your dad? Or who would hate you? You can't let fear or anger cloud your mind. You need to rise above it and tell her who you are right now. Or I will.”

Tulsar sighed wearily. “Korzen... It's not your place to make that decision for Hirai.”

“We can't just let it fester, grandpa, especially when it's so baseless,” Korzen argued back. “Isn't it Aunt Kalja who always says that this galaxy would be better off if-”

“Korzen!” Tulsar interrupted him sternly. “Enough.” He then looked over at Hirai apologetically. “As I said before, my grandson means well, but he's a bit too impulsive for his own good.”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Tue Nov 08, 2016 11:34 pm

Isis could barely restrain herself. The minute Korzen set in on Hirai she wanted to get up and punch him in the face. It was only Hirai's firm grip on her wrist that prevented her from doing so. Isis looked over at Hirai and the other girl silently shook her head. With a sigh Isis fell back into her chair. She didn't agree with Hirai's decision any more than Korzen did but she wasn't about to make that decision for her. She hadn't been there all those years ago to hear her Uncle tell her to scram. She had no idea what Hirai had to wrestle with all these years knowing that she had family out there who didn't want her. Could Korzen even imagine what that was like?

"It's--fine," Hirai said finally, "I'm sure Clara is a very nice person it's just... It wasn't easy growing up and if Clara wanted to know that I existed she could have found me. It's not like I gave up trying to find Habas after mom died. Hell, I even went to the same school!"

She stopped suddenly when she realized she was raising her voice. With a sigh she let her anger pass and looked away. "Look, I'm not here to talk about Clara, okay? I came here to free my Dad."

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Wed Nov 09, 2016 1:23 am

“You two have the same goal!” Korzen said to Hirai, exasperated. “And how was Clara supposed to look for you if she didn't even know you existed? What makes you think her dad told her anything about you in the first place?”

His piece said, Korzen made a disgusted noise and headed for the door.

“Where are you going?” Tulsar called after him.

“I need some air,” Korzen replied as he paused at the exit. “Don't worry, I won't say anything to Clara, but I think the only one you're hurting is yourself, Hirai.”

After his grandson had departed, Tulsar shook his head. “I've spent years trying to temper that boy's heart. It's his greatest strength, but also his greatest weakness. He has never held back if he sees something that strikes him as wrong.”

Tulsar looked back at the two girls, all business. “It might be time to take a break. I have a few leads I can look into now, but I need just a little more information from you two. Isis, I need to know more about your father. If the message was found in his office, it's possible he could be involved in this. Hirai, I need to know your mother's name and if she perhaps left anything significant with you. It may be that whoever is behind this doesn't want you, but rather something of your mother's.”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Wed Nov 09, 2016 2:00 am

"Something significant," she asked, her mind racing for ideas. Her mother didn't leave her much, the house, some clothes and... Her eyes widened when she remembered her twin swords. Could that be it? No, it couldn't be and even if it was she wasn't about to tell that to a stranger. "No," she said, shaking her head, "My mother didn't leave me anything like that."

Isis gave her a curious look. She knew Hirai was lying, they had just made Korzen drive halfway across town to pick up her swords. Isis knew they meant a great deal to her and she also knew why. Her line of thinking had followed along the same path, though Isis couldn't see why anyone would want Hirai for her weapons. It didn't make any sense. "Anyway," Isis said, standing up, "I'm going to go get some air. If you want information on my father then read a tabloid. Everything you need to know about him is on the 'net."

She stepped past Hirai on her way towards the door and Hirai stood up, halfway between going after her and staying. "Isis," she said.

"Don't worry," Isis called back over her shoulder just before she left the room, "I'll only hit him once."

Then she was gone, leaving Hirai alone in the room with Tulsar. Reluctantly, the girl sat back down and looked at the old man, trying to decipher who he actually was and how he thought he could help her. "My mother's name was Kana McKay," she said, "I really don't think this has anything to do with her. As far as I know she's never even been to Juoi and would you please stop making me talk about her. I know it's been four years but it still hurts."

**********

Isis found Korzen outside the house and around the back. He seemed like he was thinking about something as she approached and when he saw her he looked surprised. "Isis," he started, but he was suddenly interrupted when she punched him right across the cheek. The blow staggered Korzen and half spun him around. Isis considered hitting him again but stopped herself. She promised Hirai she'd only hit him once, after all.

"I told you Hirai was family, did I not," she shouted at him, "How do you think it made her feel the way you tore into her like that? What do you even know about her situation? How could you even know? You've got your perfect little life here, you couldn't possibly imagine what it's like to be rejected by your own family! Hirai's been on her own since her mom died. Her family didn't want her so I made her part of mine. Do I agree with what she's doing right now? No, I don't but you don't get to tell her that," she said, emphasizing the word 'you' by stabbing him in the chest with her finger. "You seem to be doing your fair share of complimenting Clara, but you barely even know her yourself. Four years Hirai has been searching for her father. Four years! You don't think word might have gotten back to Clara that someone with the same last name was asking about her Uncle? Clearly it got back to someone otherwise we wouldn't even be here! The galaxy is much smaller than you think."

Then she spun on her heel and stormed off without giving Korzen a chance for a rebuttal. She had heard him say his piece and she had needed to say hers. Ultimately, whatever either of them believed didn't matter. Only Hirai could decide whether she wanted to reconnect with her cousin or not.

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Wed Nov 09, 2016 10:48 pm

Tulsar nodded and decided not to press the issue. He could tell there was more Hirai wasn't telling him, but at least now he had some leads he could follow up on. “Very well. Can you tell me about Isis's father instead? I need to ascertain one way or another if he's involved in this. She seemed to get quite hostile when I mentioned him.”

***

A little to Isis's surprise, her punch did not seem to do much to faze Korzen and he managed to catch up with her quicker than one would expect of someone who had just been socked in the jaw. Perhaps more to her astonishment, he was smiling as he darted in front of her. They were face-to-face and Korzen started walking backwards so that her forward momentum would not be halted as they spoke.

“I've got to admit, that's quite the punch,” he said to her with genuine admiration. His expression then turned more solemn. “I'm sorry if Hirai is upset, but she doesn't get a monopoly on having a rough life. You know, maybe Clara really is as terrible as Hirai believes, but I'm not going to just assume that about her. Maybe it's the cop in me, but I like to see a little bit of evidence before I condemn someone.”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Thu Nov 10, 2016 12:48 am

Hirai scratched the back of her head as she carefully considered her words. "Um," she started with a note of uncertainty, "Isis' relationship with her father has always been very--complicated. I know they both care very deeply for each other though they're both too stubborn to admit it. As for me, well he's always been very welcoming to me. Sometimes I get the feeling he wishes Isis was more like me, but don't quote me on that."

She thought about the message she found and how it might be connected to Isaac. Hirai doubted that Isaac would do anything harmful towards her, she was like a second daughter to him. Plus there was Isis to consider. She would never forgive him for putting Hirai in danger. "I really don't think he's involved in this," she continued, "I didn't find the message in his office. I found it in the file room. The fact that it was addressed to him is probably just circumstantial. The polls only closed a few days ago, he hasn't been in office very long."

**********

"You think this is about Clara," Isis asked him sharply, "It's not by the way. Rajir never made her feel welcome in that part of her family and maybe deep down inside she started to think she doesn't deserve to be. You think she's rejecting Clara but she's not. She's rejecting herself and then you went and said all of that in front of her."

She kept walking back towards the house in spite of the fact that Korzen continued to keep pace with her while walking backwards. Her tone was still angry, but she made no further moves to attack him. She was just pissed that while Korzen claimed he didn't want to condemn Clara he already seemed to have made up his mind about Hirai.

"You don't know her like I do, Korzen," she continued, "She internalizes everything. Her mother dies of illness, it's her fault. Rajir doesn't want her, it's because she's not good enough. She misses my birthday, she's a complete failure. You have the audacity to stand here and tell me not to judge a book by its cover when it comes to Clara but what do you think you're doing with her? Damn it, Korzen, she was going to break her father out of prison without telling him who she is because she's afraid he won't approve of her."

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Sat Nov 12, 2016 12:51 am

The Leidias farm was indeed impressive. While not a farmer by any means, Clara had absorbed enough information just from growing up on Taanab, and her father talking about his work, that she was fairly well-versed in the topic. The farm had many of the galactic staples in fruits and vegetables, including a few rarer forms of produce that were more difficult to grow. More astonishingly, and without exception, the produce was larger than normal – something Falanis had assured Clara was all done naturally. While Clara wasn't sure if she believed the older woman on that score, she couldn't argue with the results. A few samples plucked from the fields gave credence to the idea that the freshness of her ingredients was at least partly responsible for what made Falanis's cooking so potent.

They were on the way to see the livestock when Falanis suggested a detour to the barn. While Clara wasn't sure what would be so interesting about it, she simply shrugged and continued to nibble on a Ghibli fruit as Falanis led the way.

Once inside, Falanis started to talk about how the dairy animals were cared for. Clara tried to feign interest, while at the same time noticing with a knowing smile that the animals all seemed to be particularly well-behaved around Falanis.

Because of course they were.

That was when Clara overheard two voices arguing outside. She identified them as Isis and Korzen and started eavesdropping despite herself, mostly because of the first thing she overheard:

“...he's an assassin, isn't he? What is she worried about?” Korzen asked.

Isis's voice seemed angry but tired. “Maybe to you and I, but Hirai's mother told her all kinds of stories about Habas when she was growing up. He's like a hero to her. In her mind, his approval will either make or break her.”

“That's unhealthy.”

Isis made a sound of frustration. “I don't want to hear anything more from you. You couldn't possibly understand what she had to go through.”

“That's not true...” Korzen began in rebuttal, but by that time they had walked outside of audible range for Clara.

That was more than enough for her though. It sent Clara's mind racing for possible explanations. Hirai was here for Habas as well? Why? What connection did she have? Perhaps Habas had saved Hirai's mother at some point in the past? That would certainly fit with her uncle's methodology. Clara smiled to herself at that idea. Of course that's what happened. No doubt Habas had admirers all across the galaxy due to his good work. She was selfish to think that only she saw her uncle so highly.

Just as Clara resolved to get to know Hirai better, she felt a light tap on her shoulder that caused her to jump a bit. Clara turned to see Falanis standing behind her with a smirk. “Just making sure you're still paying attention.”

“What is it with this family and being so good at sneaking up on me?” Clara asked herself glibly. “This is getting embarrassing.”

“Sorry,” she apologized out loud. “I got lost in thought. Why don't we come back to the barn later? I'm actually more interested in seeing the nerfs out in the field.”

Falanis clapped her hands happily. “My pleasure. This way.”

***

“...You couldn't possibly understand what she had to go through.”

“That's not true,” Korzen argued. “Okay, yes, I never had to endure as many hardships as Hirai, but I've been through some tragic times myself.”

Isis finally stopped her walk. “Oh, like what? Did you wreck the new speeder you got for your birthday? Face it, Korzen, you and Hirai have nothing in common. Your family is loaded, they're apparently widely respected – at least your grandfather is, and you get their love and support unconditionally. They're also alive.”

At this Korzen seemed to finally falter a bit. “Not, um... not all of them. Hirai and I have that in common.”

“Your mother is dead?”

Korzen nodded an affirmative. “She was gunned down right in front of me when I was only ten. My father made a lot of enemies by being something of a hero cop. She was killed in a drive-by that was targeting him.” He stuck his hands in his pockets and looked away. “I survived because she shielded me with her body. I'd be dead too if not for that.”
Last edited by Halomek on Sat Nov 12, 2016 2:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Sat Nov 12, 2016 1:07 pm

Isis looked away, suddenly she felt like a jerk. "I'm sorry," she said quietly, "About your mom, I mean. I didn't know."

Then she turned back towards him and that same look of irritation she had on before was back. "Anyway, the point is before you ask Hirai not to judge Clara to harshly you should take a good look at yourself in the mirror and make sure you're not doing the same to her."

Then she stepped past him and continued walking back towards the house.

**********

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the farm Falanis and Clara were on their way towards the fields where the nerf were grazing, but as they turned the corner around the barn Clara ran right into Hirai. "I'm sorry," Hirai said, "Please excuse--," she stopped suddenly when she looked up and saw who it was. "I mean, um," she faltered, averting her eyes away from Clara as words started tumbling out of her mouth. Finally she half turned and looked at Falanis. "Have you seen Isis," she asked, "I think she's with your grandson."

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Sat Nov 12, 2016 3:21 pm

Korzen watched Isis depart for a moment before slouching against a tree and lowering himself to the ground with a sigh. “I'm really bad at this. I don't know how Aunt Kalja made it all look so easy.”

***

Falanis shrugged at Hirai. “I haven't seen them.”

“I might know where to find them,” Clara suggested, before looking at Falanis. “I'll help Hirai if you wouldn't mind picking up the rest of the tour later?”

Falanis waved them off with a smile. “Not at all.”

Hirai stammered a bit. “No, no... I'm fine. I don't need any help.”

Clara gave her a friendly clap on the shoulder. “Don't worry about it, kid. I was just getting the lay of the land from Falanis anyway. Come on, I think I overheard them nearby. This way.”

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