Star Wars: Through the Never

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

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VagueDurin
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Star Wars: Through the Never

Post by VagueDurin »

OOC: This thread follows the adventures of the Crew of the Veiled Bedlam, as they navigate a galaxy on the verge of monumental tidal shift.

IC:


Snuggled between an imposing mountain range and what was widely considered the galaxies largest artificial ocean, the ornately lit destination city of Canto Bight gleamed in the midday's light. Renowned as a luxurious coastal city and the capital of the planet Cantonica, its carefully masoned streets and plaza's were home to a myriad of clubs, casinos, hotels, boutique shopping zones and any number of other distractions for the universes most wealthy and affluent denizens.

The city was truly a beacon of opulence on the otherwise mostly desert world, the most on the nose symbol of Centrist High Society. A beacon so bright that no patron or tourist who arrived within it's sphere of influence would ever notice The Tangle, a scant 500 meters west of the walls of Old Town, draped across the landscape of the foothills of the mountain range.

Out of sight, and out of mind, The Tangle was nothing more than an encampment of hand-made shanties, tents, and shelter halves put together into a makeshift settlement. It represented a loose band of homeless beings who long ago came together to form a semi-autonomous community on the far outskirts of the city.

A bright flash of light and a loud explosion far above the domed buildings of the city rapidly made it's way over The Tangle, causing Tsivoin's bright violet eyes to fly open. The young Zabrak laid motionless for an instant, his heart pounding as a keen focus slowly pushed the bleary sleep from his gaze. Tsivoin reluctantly pulled the threadbare blanket off his frail form rose from his sleeping mat.

Despite the continued cacophony of mid-day fireworks erupting from the city proper, the grey skinned humanoid took care to move as silently as he could, some of the others in his tent slept with noise canceling fabric stuffed in their auditory receptors... some just simply slept through the noise altogether.

It took only minutes for Tsiv to clean up and change into one of his simple maroon hooded-tunic's and a pair of workers fatigues he'd pilfered from a construction site a few weeks back. The boots he pulled onto his feet were several sizes too large, and the plastinaps he'd stuffed in them were already wearing down. He twisted his head to the side abruptly, cracking the vertebrae in his neck... a motion he habitually practiced when trying to clear his mind. Let's go, you'll be late if you don't get moving. he thought to himself.

The teenagers walk to the edge of the city was uneventful, and he waited at the cities wall for his turn to cross. There was no entrance proper to the Canto Bight from the west, only a handful of tight crevasses and passages smoothed out over time by other gentle-beings as downtrodden as he was.

The smell always hit him first, as he crossed into Canto Bight proper. The smell of exotic, carefully prepared meats and delicatessens. His mouth involuntarily watered and he flicked his tongue over parched lips. He flicked his neck again before pulling the hood over his horned head and working his way into the throngs of beings, the mid-day parade having just finished they were returning to whatever it was they'd traveled to the resort city for.

It took Tsivoin an extra five minutes to reach his destination, Klang's Place. He'd had to take a diversionary route when he'd noticed a pair of Red Key Raider goons loitering outside of Zord's. His lip had curled when he spotted them, no doubt waiting for whatever crime lord they were working for to have his fill of the Spa and Bathhouse. Red Key was trouble he couldn't afford, and so now he stood near the dumpster in the back of Klang's being berated for his tardiness.

"Look it won't happen again Nello. I swear. I just had some trouble getting through the parade crowd." Tsiv kept his voice low and any defensiveness out of his posture... the way only a being who'd lived a life of servitude could.

"Hermph, well it had better be, T, because you know Klang's not going to stick his neck out for an urchin like you." the one eyed Abyssin spat at him before stepping out of Tsiv's way and allowing the Zabrak through the back door.

Tsiv subconsciously touched the palm of his hand to the front pocket of his work trousers, feeling the edges of the small stack of credits he'd pilfered from a pair of Pantoran's on his way in. He surely wasn't going to be telling Nello that he was also late because he'd stopped to rob an easy mark around the corner from Canto Casino...

*Remote location just inside the Cantonica System*

Like a bog-worm attached to the end of a spectacularly casted fishing line suddenly and violently breaks the surface of a still pond, a highly modified CorelliSpace CST-877 Freighter burst forth out of hyperspace on the outskirts of the Cantonica System. Invisible ripples of ether dispersed through real-space in its wake as the crew of the freighter checked over their systems and readouts. The cockpit currently had three occupants. A reddish brown haired human sat in the pilots seat, an olive and tan colored protocol droid in the co-pilots seat. Behind them seated at the navigation section was a grey-green colored Duros, his bright orange eyes practically radiant with a smug excitement.

"Get Kessled SJ!" The Duros, Orev Masuda, hollered as he slapped the side of the console flatly. "How did you put it..." Orev paused and slowly rose out of his seat in order to imitate the droid more completely. "Coordinates are coordinates, I don't understand why we would waste credits replacing a perfectly functioning navicomputer." He finished, in a terrible impression of H-F07PO, their droid crewmate.

The pilot, Vague Durin, turned a bit in his seat as he took a small sip from a steel tumbler that rested on the console between him and the droid. "He's got a point, EssJay, and you know I hate agreeing with him about anything. We shaved three parsecs off the course since our last run, and..." He paused to point at the two moons hurtling through their orbits of the desert world of Cantonica. "Look at drift ratings on our exit vector. The D & S was definitely the right choice."

"You have me at a disadvantage." SJ replied solemnly. "I am incapable of arguing against these results."

Vague smirked at his reply and got back to work, toggling and flipping a sequence of switches he feathered the sublight throttle and wrapped his freehand around the yoke. "Atta-boy." he uttered. "What transponder are we broadcasting?" He asked, looking up into the transperisteel in front of him and watching Orev's reflection as he shifted over to the comms console briefly.

"We... are... currently aboard the Cassian Sunrise." The Duros replied.

Vague nodded and toggled the blinking light that indicated Cantonica's Space Traffic Controller trying to hail them. He paused flipping the page in a notebook he kept near the captain's chair. In a moment Vague's voice altered pitch and accent to mimic the slow but deliberate drawl of a core world aristocrat. "Yeah roger that CSTC, this is Commander Venkman of the Cassian Sunrise, it's a pleasure to be speaking to you today. I'd be just delighted if you could assign my freighter a flight path and a berth at the Canto Bight Spaceport at your earliest convenience."

"Cassian Sunrise, this is CSTC we have you on approach from 0.570. Please alter course to 0.655 heading 40 degrees, maintain current speed and altitude and await further instructions." came the clipped, almost droidlike response from the traffic controller.

"CSTC, Cassian Sunrise here that is an affirmative, we're dipping over to 0.655 heading 40 degrees will maintain our glidepath until we hear back from you." Vague replied, then dropped the accent to turn and look over at SJ. "EssJay, what's the neighborhood look like, anything spooky on the scopes?" He asked as he directed the ship onto its new course without looking.

The droid's fluorescent yellow-green photoreceptors flittered momentarily as he regarded the information flowing into the ship from its various sensor suites and within moments they returned to a solid glow and he responded. "One or two armed freighters and a couple Cantonica Customs Pickets, the rest are pleasure shuttles and tourist craft."

"Good. Very good."

"Cassian Sunrise, this is CSTC, berthing has been assigned and an approach sequence has been generated. You should be receiving it now." Vague nodded his head silently as the information flitted across his overhead display. "Once you lock in our automated traffic control will guide you to your docking bay."

Durin hated giving away flight permissions of the 'Bedlam to any automated system, but they were here at Cantonica to blend in, and if there was one constant on Cantonica, it was that there were rules. Vague slipped back into his Venkman accent once again to reply to the controller. "CSTC, Sunrise here, that's an affirmative, course is accepted and locked in, we're all yours, have a great day."

Several minutes later, Vague tapped a button that opened up an intercom channel throughout the ship. "Kid, your favorite parts coming up, you're gonna miss it." He spoke before closing down the channel.

As always, they'd chosen to arrive on the dark side of the desert world, and as such, they're approach to the spaceport would bring them over the horizon, resulting in the spectacularly dazzling lightshow reveal of the gleaming city of Canto Bight and its magnificent man-made ocean.

The ships fourth occupant, a young Kessurian named Rossi Hanlon came bounding down the corridor from somewhere aft and skidded to a halt directly behind Vague's seat. Her pink colored hands griped the back of the pilots chair as she watched on in wonderment at Canto Bight revealed itself to them all.

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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Canto Bight was, as some would describe it, the most happening place in the galaxy. Beautiful resorts, rich masonry, and lavish entertainments. Everyone who was anyone came to Canto Bight whether for business or pleasure. Nova wasn't anyone, but that didn't stop her from convincing everyone she was. A young street rat from the gutters of Vorzyd V, she wandered the streets of Canto Bight as if she had always been there. Here it was easy to make a name for herself. Many of the people visiting Canto Bight had special needs and Nova had certain talents that lend themselves well to transporting specific items. For some reason people just seemed to find her charming and often chose to look the other way every time she passed through customs. That was the kind of guaranteed delivery that only she could offer. It afforded her a fairly nice apartment on the luxurious side of town and a little spending money to take to the casino with her on an occasion like today. Earlier she had seen a gown in a boutique window and decided to splurge, but it was just a bit out of her price range.

Nothing like a quick trip to the casino to win a few extra creds, she thought as she walked up the stairs and crossed the threshold of the entrance. By now the evening crowds were beginning to assemble at the tables and the air was filled with the familiar sound of poker chips clicking, dice rolling and cards flipping. The musical tones of slot machines blared over the din of the crowd as Nova passed. Her favorite game was craps simply because it was easier for her to cheat, but she didn't start there. Too obvious to suddenly arrive at the casino and immediately start winning. Instead she sat down at a nearby sabaac table and pulled some credit chits out of her pocket. She played a few hands and lost some money. Not much, though, she was careful about that. Reading the other players around the table was tricky. Sometimes it was easy to bluff people into making a bad bet, other times they were too strong-willed. One could never be sure of the result.

She spent some time wandering the casino after that, sitting down at some of the other card tables or playing the slots. The sun had gone down by the time she found herself at the craps table. After losing a fair amount of money in other games the second she had those dice in her hand she suddenly found herself on a hot streak. Somehow she always managed to land on exactly what she needed on every roll. The dice had been tested, of course, so the alien running the table knew she wasn't cheating. What he hadn't seen, though... Or rather, what no one had seen was the slight gesture she made with her hand every time she rolled the dice...
Last edited by Pryde on Fri Jan 10, 2020 6:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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"Alright, here’s the deal. We all know how Ruella gets in big groups, so I'll take her the thing and get the stuff... Rev, Ros you're on your own, we'll meet back up at Klangs once the suns down. EssJay, I don't trust this place on a good day, and with the way the Outer-Rim's been heating up... You stay and keep an ear on the traffic. If something comes up let us know. Any objections-" by the time Vague had turned his attention back away from the droid, Rossi had already looped her arm into Orev's and was practically dragging him down the ramp and out of the hanger. "Right. Good talk, team."

Orev and Rossi spend most of the afternoon wandering around the streets of Canto Bight, occasionally stopping off for the Kessurian to look at fanciful clothing along the way. All the while her custom written code scours any unsecured cred-cards or personal devices in her vicinity, occasionally helping itself to those unsuspecting beings hard earned credits. The pair splits for a few moments as they arrive at their always intended destinations which were conveniently right across the street from one another. For Orev, it was a storefront boasting all sorts of exotic varieties of Tabac... for Rossi, it was a galaxy renowned chocolatier.

The sun was nearly setting as the pair met back up on the boardwalk, Orev puffing on a spicy and floral smelling Cigarra, while Rossi savored a particularly messy truffle of some kind. They nodded once to each other, and wordlessly started making their way to Klang's Place. Orev walked in first and immediately scanned the landscape, making note of a couple small groups sitting at tables before he walked further into the bar and took a seat near the end of the bar, Rossi followed suit and sat on his left. A grey skinned Zabrak with black markings was washing bareware at the dish pit and it seemed like Klang was either not in, or busy elsewhere as a bar-service droid rolled up in front of them.

"Do you have any blossom wine?" Rossi asked it, to which the droid shook its saucer like head and stated the negative. "Ok, how about a Soccoron Mescal?"

"Sure, sure." The droid replied, it's photo-receptor shifting over to Orev as the Duros studied the bars liquor shelf intently. The Duros didn't find what he'd been looking for. "Do me a Sazerac, heavy on the bitters." He commanded, and the droid zipped off to prepare the drinks.

When the droid returned with the drinks, Orev placed the proper amount of hard currency down on the bartop and took a slow sip of his cocktail. The hybrid whiskey and cognac drink had a wonderful burn and he sighed contently before turning on his stool to face his crew-mate. "So, how'd we do today?" He asked her, his tone low enough not to carry far past their spot at the bar.

Rossi blinked her brown eyes at the Duros and put on a falsely offended expression. "Why, 'Rev, what on earth are you insinuating?" She retorted, pausing to check her reflection in the wine flute she held in her hand. When the older Duros didn't reply and fixed her with that blank stare of his, she relented. "Let's just say that we won't be needing to worry about docking or refueling costs this stop, I won't be needing any new formal wear for a whiler, and if the boss-man will let us, we've got plenty to stake later at the casino."

Orev clinked his rocks glass to her flute in a mocking salute. "Atta-girl." He commended her.

*Back alley behind Klang's Place*

Tsivoin's shift at Klang's was mercifully uneventful. The young Zabrak pocketed the palm-full of credit's he'd earned for washing the bar ware and keeping the place tidy through the dinner and evening rushes and winced. As he made his way carefully down the back alley he inspected his hand and identified a small cut he'd suffered at some point during the shift. It wasn't serious, and there was little he could do about it now anyway, he needed to get across town to the Coruscant Hotel and Casino for his next job of the night.

The Zabrak was undocumented. He had no papers, no citizenship, no family that he could speak of. He caught flashes of memories, here and there, of what he thought was his homeworld. He wasn't sure how old he'd been at the time, but it'd been several years since the Cartels had come and raided that place. He'd spent the years that followed as a slave. Tsiv pulled his hood over top his head as he recalled the events that led to him escaping that servitude, he was sure that at any moment he may be spotted, snatched, and tossed back into that awful life, and hurried along down the street.

The sun had long since fallen over the horizon of the artificial Sea of Cantonica, leaving the city of Canto Bight to provide it's own brilliant illumination. The spectacle was obnoxious, but Tsivion used it to his advantage. The many brilliant and harshly lit signs, billboards, and street lamps were meant to dazzle the cities patrons, not efficiently and orderly light the streets. As such they produced a labyrinth of shadows that Tsivoin now navigated, eventually reaching the Coruscant Hotel and Casino.

He entered through he back door, slinking through the corridor that separated the kitchen and laundry facilities of the Hotel/Casino, until he came to a small store-room. He knocked on the door in a precisely timed pattern, and stepped through the door, hearing it woosh shut right behind him.

"Kade ukuphi?" he heard immediately. "Walinda isikhathi eside." Senna Bertyl rebuked him in an exasperated tone.

"Kwakufanele nakayo, Red Key Raiders edolobheni." Tsivoin replied. The pair spoke Sy Bisti, a trade language used mostly in the very Outer Rim and into the Unknown Regions.

Senna, a female Devaronian, considered his explanation and warning for a moment and nodded her head slightly. She wasted no further time and immediately began to undress, the bright utility lighting causing her exposed orange/pink skin to seem as if it was glowing. She was about the same age as Tsiv, so far as they could tell anyway - a bit shorter, though the pair shared the same frail frame of someone worked too hard and fed too little. She had violet colored hair and markings that contrasted with the tea-rose complexion. The two had met shortly after he'd arrived at The Tangle and had were the closest thing either had to family.

The two spent no time with idle chatter, and with a practiced ease they executed an almost graceful ballet in the cramped space of the store room. At the dances end, they'd swapped their ensembles completely, Tsivoin now wearing the Coruscant Hotel and Casino's distinctive dark blue and gold uniform while Senna had dressed down into his plain tunic and utility trousers. The pair of humanoids touched foreheads in a warm gesture and Tsivoin reiterated his earlier warning. "Qaphela endleleni."

"Njalo." Senna replied as she keyed the door to reopen. The pair disembarked immediately in opposite directions Tsiv heading deeper into the Casino, Senna starting her trip back to The Tangle...

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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One more pair of doubles and she had just about all she needed. As Nova reached down for the dice one last time, though, she felt a tug at the back of her mind and looked up. Not far away she caught sight of two casino security guards taking a keen interest in her game. One was whispering to the other and pointing in her direction. She immediately passed off the dice to the next person then turned to leave. That's when she caught sight of two more security guards heading towards her. They just about had her surrounded, limiting her options for escape.

Looking around her eyes locked on a young Zabrak carrying a platter full of drinks. With a slight flick of her fingers she pulled the tray from his hands, nearly taking the Zabrak with it as he tried to hold on. He stumbled and fell as the tray slid across the floor under the foot of the nearest security guard. The guard stepped on it then immediately lost his footing as the tray slid forward without purchase. He fell backwards, taking several patrons with him and making a huge mess. Nova made a quick bee line through the opening she just created, heading towards the door. She was a mere fifteen feet away when three more security guards appeared out of nowhere and surrounded her.

"Miss, please come with us," one of them said and Nova sighed softly.

The security guards escorted her to a back office where she found the young Zabrak seated in a chair across a large ornate desk. On the other side of the desk sat a well groomed man dressed in a snazzy suit.

"Please sit," he said, directing Nova to the other chair next to the Zabrak.

Nova did as he asked, casting a side long glance at the Zabrak.

"That's quite the hot streak you were on, miss..." his words trailed off.

"Nova," She said in response to the unspoken question.

"Miss Nova," the man finished. "My name is Jhoren Ray, I work for Jorka Edy. Do you know who that is?"

Nova nodded but said nothing.

"Nova," Jhoren continued thoughtfully, "That's an interesting name. Except, it isn't really yours, is it?"

"What are you trying to say," she asked, narrowing her eyes at him.

He keyed a few switches on the device mounted to his wrist then made a gesture as if he were pushing something at her. An image appeared on the display on the desk in front of her and on the screen behind him. It was the image of a thirteen year old Nova, an arrest record of her from Vorzyd V. Emblazoned below the picture was the name Elena Connor.

"Disappeared eight years ago and then reappeared here. Tell me, how does a street rat from Vorzyd V find herself on Canto Bight dressed in the finest clothes money can buy and brushing elbows with the richest members of society?"

Nova shrugged, "Just lucky, I guess."

"Sure, or maybe it's something else." He pressed a few keys on his wrist pad again and security footage from the casino proper appeared.

"Tell me, what is this," he asked as he zoomed in on Nova's hands. On the screen she made a slight flicking gesture with her fingers right before the dice came up doubles.

"A twitch," Nova answered easily.

"Really," he said, "Let's watch some more."

He made a grand show of focusing on her hand each time she rolled the dice. Pointing out the gestures she made every time. Each time the dice would come up a winner, seemingly against all odds.

Nova looked annoyed. "What are you trying to say? That I can somehow magically control the dice," she asked finally out of frustration.

"It does seem ridiculous, doesn't it? After all magic isn't real, right? Or is it?"

He gave her a keen stare which she unerringly returned. "The Jedi aren't real and you're wasting my time. You pulled me in here because of a weird gambling quirk, everyone has them."

"As you say," he said with a shrug, "Yet oddly enough you were quick to leave and your accomplice here tried to help you escape."

"Accomplice," Nova scoffed at him, "Never seen the kid before in my life!"

"He dropped a drink tray in the path of one of my security guards. His gross incompetence nearly afforded you a chance to escape."

"So fire him for being clumsy and let me go! I've done nothing wrong!"

He crossed his arms at her and leaned back in his chair. "Fortunately for you I'm feeling inclined to let you go. I'll even allow you to keep your winnings. If what you're saying is true then it's been a very good day for you. If not then I would spend that money quickly."

Nova's entire body went cold as a dark shiver traveled down her spine. "What did you do," she asked, her voice taking on a more fearful tone.

"I have a friend in the First Order who happens to be very interested in people with your, um... Talents. Paid quite a bit of money to learn about you. His men should be arriving soon, in fact."

Nova's face went completely white then all of a sudden she stood. The two men behind her raised their stun blasters, but before they could fire they were suddenly thrown against the wall by an invisible force. Nova turned to face Jhoren and with a gesture she threw him up against the screen behind his desk, cracking it and knocking him out. His body fell to the floor in a heap.

"Get up, kid, it's time to go," she shouted at him...

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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*Klang's Place, Canto Bight*
"What've ya got there?" Vague's voice carried between Orev and Rossi's shoulders, causing them both to startle, though Rossi nearly fell off her stool. Neither of them had seen or heard Vague enter the bar, nor approach them. He was always doing that. Rossi licked some of the mescal that had spilled from her flute off the back of her hand and slapped Vague on the shoulder with the other.

"How do you always do that?" She asked, knowing she wouldn't get an answer.

Orev, who'd handled the surprise much better, but probably took the fact that he'd been surprised harder to heart, grumbled a bit and inclined his rocks glass to the side. "Sazerac." He told Durin, nodding his head absently at the liquorshelf behind the bar.

Vague made a slight face, barely perceptable even to his crew, then took a moment to examine the shelf and the tap handles... A slow intake of breath was the only outward indication of his dissapointment.

Klang was back from whatever errand he'd been running, and the heavyset human made his way over and nodded towards the trio. "Something for ya, bud? And you two, another round?" He asked.

Durin took to the stool on Rossi's left and nodded respectively at Klang. "Do me a Blood and Sand, another Mescal, Sazerac... and three shots of Shasay Idlewill."

Both Rossi and Orev turned their heads in Vauge's direction at the end of his order. "So, we're happy then?" Orev asked matter of factly.

"We're happy." Vague confirmed, setting a large stack of hard credits down on the bartop for the round, with plenty left over for Klang and his waitstaff.

The bartender returned with their drinks, setting the three chilled shot glasses down in front of Vague, along with his cocktail, then parsing out the other two drinks to Rossi and Orev respectively. Vague thanked him, took a quick drink of his Blood and Sand, then passed the shot glasses down to his crew mates. The trio wrapped thumb and forefinger around their shot glasses and in near as makes no difference unison, raised them together with a resounding clink, then tapped the bottom of the glasses on the bartop, before raising them once again in the air.

"Leng may yer heart always burn, n'yer drives never cool!" They recited the phrase and downd the shots, slamming them back to the bartop.

*Coruscant Hotel and Casino, Canto Bight*

"Three Tarkenian Nightflowers, two Lomin Ale's and a glass of Andoan Wine. Take these to the Sabaac section, table 83!" The bar back called out as he slammed the Lomin Ales onto the tray.

Tsiv was next up in the rotation of runners to the Zabrak slid to the service area and hoisted the tray up onto his shoulder. He took an extra second to steady it and then sped off gracefully through the bustling casino towards the section of Sabaac tables. Even for a weekend night, the place was jam packed and it took all of Tsivoin's concentration and coordination to keep both himself and the arrangement of drinks upright.

That was, of course, until he swore he caught a flash out of the corner of his eye. He glanced off to his left for just a micro-second and had barely registered a pair of security guards moving with a purpose before it seemed as if someone just all of a sudden tried to yank the tray out of his grasp. Tsiv's focus shot straight back to the tray as he tried in vain to keep it flat and upright, but just as he thought he might have succeeded the tray lept out of his tight grip and he stumbled to the floor trying to catch it.

Tsiv crashed down to the tiled floor and shut his violet eyes slowly in defeat. The Zabrak was an undocumented and very possibly wanted being working under the table for hard creds, he could scarcely afford any amount of scrutiny, but as he watched the guard slip on the tray and fall into two rather affluent looking Pantoran's, Tsiv felt a knife twist in his gut. Shavvit he thought to himself.

It wasn't but a few minutes later he'd been forcefully escorted into a back office, shoved into a chair and told to wait quietly. The teen was expecting the snazzy dressed official to question who he was, who had hired him, where his papers were... or maybe just outright ask for his uniform and tell him to never show his horned head there again... instead, curiously enough, he watched on perceptively as a pair of guards drug a human female into the office and all attention was pointed in her direction.

It wasn't until he heard the man say the words, "-your accomplice here tried to help you escape." that Tsiv felt a cold sweat start to prickle at his lower back. He immediately opened his mouth to clear the air but the girl named Nova... or Elena, or whatever - was faster to the punch.

"Accomplice, never seen the kid before in my life!" he heard her exclaim and for the briefest of moments he let his violet eyes shift from looking straight down at the floor in front of the desk to glance sidelong at her with an expression of appreciation.

"So fire him for being clumsy and let me go! I've done nothing wrong!"

The expression was short lived. His brows furrowed into a scowl and he started trying to replay some of the conversation. What were these two talking about, Magic and Jedi, what had he stumbled into?!

The teen couldn't have been less prepared when the girl next to him shot to her feet and the Casino boss and his guards were knocked unconscious by some invisible force.

"Get up, kid, it's time to go!" He heard her say, but all he could do was glance left and right, his jaw a bit slack as his mind tried to reconcile what his eyes were seeing.

"What are you, dumb and deaf? Let's... Go..." she repeated in a slower, darker tone.

Tsiv blinked his violet eyes and looked up at her. "Wh- Where? What do you mean? Look I don't want anything to do this..." He spoke finally, raising his arms slightly up and out to the sides, as if some unseen authority was watching.

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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"Put your hands down, you look ridiculous," Nova told him exasperatedly as she drew her blaster and moved to the door. With one hand she held her blaster up while the other carefully cracked the door open so she could peer outside. More casino security guards were gathering just outside the office, just about half a dozen. "Look, I get it," she continued, speaking over her shoulder at Tsiv, "None of this is your fault and you don't want to get involved, but the fact is you can't stay here, okay? They think you're with me and you're not going to convince them otherwise. If they catch you they'll torture you and kill you. So stay here if you want or come with me, but you need to decide NOW!"

As she finished that last statement she blasted the doors off their hinges with a powerful shockwave, knocking over all of the security guards in the hallway. Then she took off running down the hallway past the guards and towards the casino proper. She didn't bother checking to see if the Zabrak had followed her. By the time she reached the casino floor, though, there was a ruckus as a squad of First Order stormtroopers suddenly burst through the entrance. She was on the balcony above them overlooking the casino floor and as she watched a figure clad all in black and carrying a vicious looking axe entered behind the troopers and ordered them to fan out.

"Fething bantha poodoo," she swore quietly to herself and quickly ducked behind a large potted plant. The First Order had been surprisingly quick to arrive. Jhoren must have been watching her for awhile and called the First Order before having his guards pick her up.

The Zabrak from before had reluctantly followed her from the office and she quickly grabbed him and pulled him down behind the plant. "Tell me you know of another way out of here," she asked him...

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

Post by VagueDurin »

Tsiv remained seated for a solid second as he considered his predicament. He had no idea who this person was, and had no reason to trust her... but as he sighed heavily he came to the ultimate conclusion that it didn't matter. When Jhoren woke up, the human wasn't going to believe anything he had to say in his defense. Like it or not, he was as good as burned at this casino, and more than likely the entirety of Canto Bight. Competition was fierce here between establishments, but that didn't mean ownership wouldn't band together to blacklist a bad egg. He'd seen it before.

He made the decision and stood, jogging out into the corridor and following Nova towards the balcony. He'd barely managed to get there and catch a glimpse of some white armored troopers when she yanked him down into a crouch and asked if he knew another way out.

"Yeah, uh.. This way." He motioned with his horned head down a side corridor. "There's a back set of stairs that leads to the drink cellar. The pricey stuff gets delivered straight there by an overhead door that opens to the back. If you can get us to the stairs, I can get you out of the city."

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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Nova nodded then glanced over the rim of the pot. The stormtroopers down below were busy checking each of the patrons one by one, sometimes being rather rough with them. They seemed thoroughly distracted so now was as good a time as any. "Alright go," she said, urging him forward. They both ran down the corridor to a flight of stairs leading down to the main floor. Tsiv was going to have to lead her back behind the bar which meant crossing the casino floor. They made it about halfway before she heard a cry of alarm.

"There they are," one of the troopers shouted and he immediately opened fire on them.

His opening shots missed and Nova wasn't about to give him a second chance. She raised her blaster and fired once, catching him in the chest and throwing him to the floor. Then she turned to Tsiv. "Go! Now!"

He took off running towards the bar as more stormtroopers began to fire on their position. Nova squeezed off a few shots to keep their heads down then carefully made her way back towards the bar. She was almost there when a sudden force picked her up and threw her backward into a row of slot machines. She fell to the ground in a heap, her blaster skittering away from her along the floor. The black-clad figure was nearly on top of her now and as he raised his axe to cut her down she quickly ducked out of the way, just narrowly escaping. Then she turned and tried to aim her pistol at him realizing only then that she had lost it. He took another swing at her which she dodged and as he brought his axe back around towards her she scrambled to reach inside her jacket. The axe was just inches away from her face now when a golden blade suddenly appeared out of nowhere and stopped it.

There was an audible gasp from nearby patrons at the sudden appearance of a lightsaber. Many people were now torn between their curiosity and their flight for survival, but most wisely chose to run for their lives. "I recognize that blade," the axe-wielding Knight of Ren said from behind his mask, "You're one of Skywalker's pupils, aren't you? Pity, you should have died with the rest."

Nova said nothing before she pushed away from him. The two of them traded blows, taking turns striking and then parrying each other's attacks. Nova had no intention of getting into a prolonged battle, however, and took the first opportunity she could find to escape. The Knight raised his axe over his head for an overhand strike and as she ducked out of the way she reached out with the Force and tugged on a large, ornate statue standing nearby. The statue fell between them, separating her from the knight. Then she disengaged her lightsaber, summoned her blaster to her hand and took off after Tsiv. Blasterfire followed her as she went and she found Tsiv standing near the entrance to the back with his mouth agape.

"Stop standing there like an idiot and run," she shouted at him as she ran past and through the doors...

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

Post by VagueDurin »

Tsivoin spun around as he noticed that Nova was no longer running next to him and as he did the Zabrak froze in place as he watched a black clad monster swing an axe over his head at the girl. In an instant the teens mind was consumed by a primal fear he couldn't begin to explain.

The Casino shattered into pebble sized rubble around him and he was transported back to his homeworld of Feldrona and he could only stand helpless as he watched on as his former home was ransacked around him. A band of Axamine Warriors and Cartel henchmen had invaded the Zabrakkian colony and were rounding up and separating any Zabraks remaining that hadn't fought to their deaths resisting capture.... And in the middle of it all, was a trio of fearsome looking wraiths, dressed in all black garb wearing terrifying masks stalking through the chaos in a deliberate search for something, or someone.

"Stop standing there like an idiot and run!" Nova's shout startled Tsivoin and the flashback disappeared and the disoriented Zabrak was thrust back into the present reality.

Too petrified to do otherwise, Tsiv immediately obeyed her command and fled. It took only moments for them to crash past the cowering barstaff and after nearly tumbling full on down the winding staircase that led them to the cellar, Tsiv was know hunched over the controls that were meant to raise the overhead cargo door. It wouldn't respond.

"It must have a coded lock or someth-" He started to say, turning towards Nova only to be forced to dodge out of the way as that golden-amber blade of hers once more erupted to life and sliced a roughly oval shaped whole in the door.

"We don't have time for this. Move it." Nova ordered as she disengaged the blade and Tsiv did as he was told. He led her through the whole, careful to avoid the still cooling edges, and the pair quickly shuffled off down the alley.

Tsivoin's knowledge of the entwining alleys and gangways allowed them to slip the noose of the First Order's search pattern and before long, he the pair were squeezing their way through one of the particularly narrow and claustrophobic crevasses in the west wall of Canto Bight's Old-Town district.

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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Tsiv's knowledge of the city was impressive. He led her down alleyways and side streets which she had never known even existed. It wasn't long at all that he had her completely turned around, but she had to put her faith in his desire to live and trust him anyway. They had just finished slipping through the First Order's net and as he led her to a tiny crevasse in a very large wall Nova finally had the realization they were heading for Old Town.

"Where--," she started, but Tsiv had already squeezed himself into the crevasse and was on the other side. "Hey wait," she said, squeezing in behind him. Once they were both on the other side of the wall she grabbed him by the shoulder and spun him around. "Where the hell are you taking me? We need to get off this planet."

"I can't," he told her, "We can lay low here."

"Okay," she said patiently as she wrapped her arms around his shoulders and pointed to the sky. "See that," she asked.

Tsivoin looked up where she was pointing and spotted a small, triangular shape high up in orbit around the planet. "That means we can't lie low anywhere, got it? You want to stay here and die that's your business, but I'm getting off this rock."

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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Tsiv bristled as she grabbed hold of his shoulders and despite the dire plight he couldn't help but shake free of the grip with as a fire flashed behind his violet eyes. "Fine, run if you want." he snapped maybe more harshly than he'd meant to. "Spaceport was probably shut down the minute they got here, though. Wouldn't expect a hoomie to think about anyone but herself anyway. Us urchin actually lookout for each other."

He glanced up at where she'd pointed, then quickly back at the crevasse they'd left the city through. "I'm going back to The Tangle, no one's going to bother with us there, and if they do they'll regret it." he said confidently, turning and muttering something in Sy Bisti under his breath he took off into the darkness. If she wanted to waltz into a trap at the spaceport, so be it. He had to get back to The Tangle, to let Senna know what happened. She'd know what to do. She always knew what to do.

"You go there, you'll only be leading danger right to them." He heard Elena try to caution him to his back, but just kept walking. What'd she know, anyway, she was just like the rest of the rich humans who came here to Canto Bight, looking to take advantage of any lower being they could.

*Klang's Place, Canto Bight*
Vague had just finished his second Blood and Sand and had just settled for a local Pilsner, as he turned to continue listening to Orev entertaining Rossi with another of his tall tales from his time with the Rebellion. "So, then this fella named Darklighter shows up, and let me just tell you about this kid..." He burst into laughter and just when he was about to restart the story, Vagues commlink chirped a short three tone burst. Moments later, Rossi and Orev's did the same.

The trio sat up just a bit straighter in their stools and Vague snatched the link off his belt and flipped the switch. "EssJay, what is it?" He asked.

"Sir you won't believe this, but I was just upstairs looking out my window and saw a a bunch of Feral Orray run passed the garage." the droid said. Vague said nothing. He clicked the talk button on his link twice, then turned it off. Then, in sequence a practiced sequence that would appear random to any onlooker, he, Rossi, and Orev all placed a pair of hard credit sticks on the bartop and walked out of the bar.

Two minutes and three blocks closer to the spaceport, the trio re-united.

"Report." Vague breathed the word into the nightime air.

"Destroyer in orbit." Rossi replied.

"Troops in action at the Coruscant." Orev added.

"Rot." Vague cursed. "Never much cared for this place anyway. Fancy a trip?" He asked Rossi, offering an arm and starting for the spaceport.

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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Nova stared at him as he left then let out an explosive sigh. Such bold naivety, when was the last time she experienced that? Was it Luke when he rescued her from Vorzyd V? She shook her head. That fool's going to get himself killed. She hurried after him and caught up with him just before he disappeared from sight. "Look, we'll go to the Tangle, alright," she said, "You do what you have to do there, see who you have to see, whatever. Afterward, you and me need to split. The longer we stay on this planet the more chances we give them to find us."

"Us," Tsivoin asked harshly. "They're here for you, aren't they?"

"I did explain it, didn't I," she asked, one hand on her hip. "They think you were helping me. If they follow you to The Tangle and capture you they'll torture you because they think it will lead to me. When it doesn't--," she left the rest hanging in the air. "Anyone you talk to down there will only become a target."

Tsiv snarled at her. He didn't want to believe what she was saying. "Why do you even care?" He snapped.

"Because I got you into this," she told him and there was an odd sincerity in her tone. "It didn't have to be you, okay? It could have been anyone! I just needed a distraction and you were the first thing I saw! If I let you go now and you get killed because of me then I have to live with that for the rest of my life!"
Last edited by Pryde on Tue Jan 21, 2020 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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Tsivoin said nothing else after she seemed to try and justify why she was sticking around. The Zabrak had to admit that she at least sounded convincing. He'd been burned far too often by far too many self serving and self absorbed humans to even consider trusting her, though. Whatever made her follow him, he was sure she'd decided to for her own best interests.

The pair walked on through the Cantonica night in silence and darkness. There was no artificial lighting this far out from the city, and only a few faint glows of modest camp fires and stoves could be seen up ahead in the distance.

Tsiv slowed his pace as they got closer to the edge of the encampment and spoke to Nova softly, in a low tone not meant to carry past her ears. "Look, just follow my lead here. This place is safe, and friendly... but anyone rolling in with garb that fresh and well made is a dead ringer for an outsider."

Nova resisted the urge to laugh. Being considered an outsider was the least of her concerns. Rather, she was more concerned about being labeled as a Jedi who had a reputation of sorts for saving the galaxy. Nova wasn't here to fight the corrupt officials running this planet. Or to free the downtrodden from their hovel. At the moment all she wanted was a way off this planet.

"Sure thing, kid, you're the boss," she said with a half-hearted salute. "Just do me a favor and cool it with the J word."

He gave her a blank stare, clearly not understanding what she was trying to say.

"Jedi," she explained patiently, "I'm sure the vids from the casino will make their way around the planet eventually, but for right now it's just easier if we don't talk about what happened back there."

Tsiv frowned at her for a moment, he didn't know anything about the Jedi, and to be fair he really couldn't even understand what had happened back at the Casino so he certainly wasn't going to go blabbing about it to anyone here. He eventually nodded his head a bit and turned back to focus on the terrain as he led her through the outskirts of The Tangle. This late at night, most of its inhabitants were asleep so as they passed through what was essentially the 'expansion region' of the encampment Tsivoin altered his pace and gait in order to move more silently. He hoped that Nova would, or could, do the same.

This outer ring of The Tangle consisted of the most recent additions and as such was mostly made up of fabric tents and shelter halves. The further one traveled towards The Tangles center, the more intricate, creative, and quasi-permanent the dwellings and architecture became. The amorphous way that the encampment had grown and evolved through the years made it seem, especially to an outsider, as if it was merely a hodgepodge of old pre-fab buildings, storage containers, and raggedy tents - but as Tsiv and Nova traversed through it's winding footpaths it was clear that this couldn't be further from the truth. There were shops for goods, services, facilities... a barely perceptible humm in the background hinted at some sort of hydro-electric facility to provide the settlement with power.

The pair passed by halved out cylinder container that had been transformed into a tavern that was still open at this hour and Tsiv caught a glimpse of Nova's expression as it was illuminated by the glowbulbs hanging form the taverns roof. He could tell that whatever she'd heard of this place hadn't held up to experiencing it first hand.

It was only a few more minutes before they stopped. To Nova, likely, the larger, family sized tent was no different than any of the other dozens they'd passed by on their way in, but Tsiv placed a finger to his lips to indicate she should be quiet, and then slipped through the tents entrance. He didn't stop to see if Nova followed, instead he went straight to his sleeping matt and took a knee, reaching one hand out to tap Senna on the shoulder as she slept on the matt next to his.

"Senna, vuka... kube nenkinga." He whispered.

The peach skinned Devoronian started awake with a gasp, shooting up to a sitting position and fixing a threatening stare in the direction of whomever had woken her. Until she saw Tsivoin's outline in the darkend tent interior. 

"Tsiv? Usho ukuthini?" she hissed.

"Kwakuyiputha kimi." He whispered, touching the center of his chest with a bowed head. "Siyalandelwa ngu First Order." 

The teen watched Senna's eyes flash again, but before she could respond he noticed her look up over his shoulder and immediately she reached for the blanket that had puddled in her lap and pulled it up over her shoulder to cover her exposed upper torso, a sour expression twisting her features.

"Iokho Nova, bazama ukumthumba." Tsivoin explained as he followed her gaze and saw Elena standing at the entrance to the tent.

Nova tried her best to maintain a straight face as they wandered through The Tangle in search of--something. She'd lived in squalor before so poverty was not something she was unfamiliar with but here... She couldn't believe that such a place even existed this close to the luxurious city of Canto Bight. She'd heard stories about The Tangle but this was her first time actually seeing it with her own eyes. She felt a deep sympathy for Tsivoin for having to endure such a place.

They stopped outside of a large, family-sized tent and Tsivoin turned to her and made a gesture for her to be quiet. She silently nodded and as he entered the tent she quietly hung by the entrance waiting patiently. He went over to a nearby sleeping matt and quietly tapped a woman on the shoulder. She woke with a start and as soon as Nova saw her face her heart fell. A Devoronian, great, she thought. Devoronians were notorious for being temperamental. They also had strong family ties and this one would no doubt take offense to the fact that Nova had gotten Tsiv into trouble.

The other woman and Tsiv spoke quietly together in a language Nova was unfamiliar with. She could have sworn she heard the words First Order but other than that she had no idea what they were talking about. Then the other woman looked right at her and scrambled to cover her bare chest. That was when Tsivoin turned to follow her gaze and Nova heard him mention her name.

"Hi," Nova whispered quietly, it was the only thing she said. She wasn't really all that interested in introductions right now and kept glancing at her chrono while simultaneously keeping a lookout for the First Order. They may have temporarily given them the slip for now, but it wasn't going to be hard to find her in a place like this...

Senna's attention and disapproving expression stayed on Nova for just one more second before she turned her focus back to her friend. With her free hand, she reached out and touched his shoulder, then chest, pulling at the fabric of his uniform.

"Ingabe ulungile, bakulimaze?" She asked as she checked him over in the darkness.

"Cha, ngiyaphila." Tsiv whispered back.

"Ngitshele ngokwenzekile." Senna demanded to Tsiv when she was satisfied that he was unharmed. She slowly stood and narrowed her eyes at Nova as Tsivoin began explaining to her what he could recall of the events.

The Devoronian dropped the blanket and quickly rummaged through their shared duffel, putting on a pair of utility pants and a hooded shirt with long sleeves. She sat at the edge of her sleeping mat and tossed Tsiv an outfit from the bag as well. He'd just gotten to the part in the story when the casino staff had been hurled around the room by an invisible force and Senna once again glared up at Nova as she laced a pair of boots.

Tsiv did not stop recounting the nights events as he stripped out of the Casino uniform, exposing the lifetime of scars that crisscrossed his back and upper torso as he changed into the same maroon shirt and utility pant's he'd worn to Klang's earlier. Once he finished trying to explain to Senna about the man in black robes, she held up a hand and jabbed a finger in Nova's direction.

"Yiphutha lakhe. Bekufanele ngabe umshiye, nimlethe lapha na?" Senna chastised Tsivoin.

"Bekumele! Nova wayedinga usizo!" Tsiv retorted.

Senna sighed heavily and rolled her eyes. She was irritated with him, but she knew Tsivoin. Of course he would help out a complete stranger... and a Human no less. "Uma bemfuna, sidinga uku umgibelile. Yena Human."

Tsiv visibly recoiled a bit her suggestion and he shook his horned head violently. "No. Ngeke sikwenze lokho. Singcono kunalokho.

"Tsivoin, ngikushiye wedwa vunda, futhi uyayazi!" Senna exclaimed, poking the finger in Nova's direction again for emphasis, her voice finally raising out of a whisper.
"Senna..." Tsiv replied, his voice plaintive.

Nova had only been half paying attention to what they were saying. Most of her focus was on the empty streets of The Tangle, if they could in fact be referred to as such. Most of this place seemed to be haphazardly thrown together but there were at least some obvious avenues for foot traffic. In fact, it was the lack of said foot traffic that left her feeling concerned. She knew it was late, of course, and on any other world most sane people would be in bed right now but this was Canto Bight. The casinos were open late and since they were the largest draw for most people to this planet she guessed a lot of the denizens living in this area probably worked the late shift. That meant that someone should be walking around about now. Hell, anyone really. The bar they passed by earlier was almost completely empty. It should have been packed with people trying to drown their sorrows and forget their lives. Just where the hell was everyone?

As soon as she thought that she heard the Devaronian raise her voice while stabbing a finger in her direction. "Alright," Nova said finally, "I can tell when I'm not wanted. I'll be taking your boyfriend, though, it's for his own good."

She drew her blaster and nodded for Tsiv. "Come on, kid, we gotta go. Something isn't right..."

Tsivoin and Senna shifted their focus in unison, turning it from each other to Nova in the doorway, her blaster drawn but her focus distant and centered on the still air outside of their tent. Senna mouthed something that looked very akin to an ‘I told you so’, as Tsiv merely shrugged uncomfortably.

“What is it?” Tsiv asked her, stepping forward as if to take a peek out the tent opening himself.

Senna stopped his movement definitively with a palm against his chest. “What are you on, lady? We aren’t going anywhere. This is our home.” Senna spoke, her voice lowered back down to a respectable whisper as she noticed she’d woken some of their tent-mate’s with her earlier outburst.

Nova rolled her eyes at that last remark. "First of all, that's cute," she said sarcastically, "but don't pretend like you wouldn't rather be anywhere else but here. Secondly, he's the one that needs to leave, not you. You're not part of this."

"Like hell I'm not," Senna shot back, standing up and putting herself between Nova and Tsiv.

Nova let out an explosive sigh. All those lectures about patience from Master Skywalker, now I'm starting to see why. "Look," she began slowly, "coming with me is extremely dangerous. You don't have to be a part of that. Him, on the other hand, he doesn't have a choice and he knows this because I've explained it to him twice now." She put extra emphasis on her words while leaning over to look Tsiv directly in the eyes. "I can get him safely off-planet then from there he can go anywhere he wants, he just can't stay here. But we need to go now before the First Order show up in their shiny white armor and kill us all."

"Not the First Order," a man suddenly said as he stepped up behind Nova and held a blaster to her head, "but we are looking to do some killing."

He reached down with one hand and grabbed the blaster Nova was holding. "I'll take that, sweetheart," he said as he freed the weapon from her grasp. "A Westar 35," he said approvingly as he held it up, "Old Mandalorian make if I'm not mistaken. How'd a sweet thing like you get ahold of it?"

"Bought it," she said simply, "Lotta old Mando stuff on sale since the Great Purge."

"Hmm," he grunted before tucking the blaster behind his belt. Then he looked up and locked eyes with the Zabrak. "Tsivoin, my friend, why don't you and the missus come out here and have a nice chat with me and my pals."

Nova cast a glance over her shoulder at the six other goons that were gathering behind her. Seven lowlifes she could handle, but she'd catch a blaster bolt in the back of her head before she could even reach her lightsaber...

Tsiv felt his blood run cold when he heard the thug say his name. No random could possibly know it. The young Zabrak looked over at his Devaronian friend for guidance. They had no weapons here, and any thought of rushing the goons or running out the back of the tent was cut off as a second man moved into view of the doorway, training a blaster rifle on Tsiv and Senna threateningly.

Tsivoin’s hands reflexively raised into the air and without any other ideas he reluctantly complied. “Ok, we’re coming out.” He replied quietly, somewhere in the back of his mind he was remembering Nova rebuking him in the Casino office "Put your hands down, you look ridiculous," she’d said… As he and Senna crossed over the entrance to the tent and were greeted by the sight of the remainder of their squad, Tsiv lowered his arms and cursed under his breath. “Shavvit. Bangitholile, Red Keys.” He murmured to Senna, who was frantically scanning their surroundings for a way out of this mess.

One of the goons crossed around his two mates and Nova, closing the distance he pushed Senna aside and lodged a fist in Tsivoin’s gut, the blow caught him off guard and sent the teen down to a knee.“Imagine our surprise, no - our absolute delight, this evening when our scanners snagged an identity query off the Hotel Casino’s holo net, only to discover that grand ole Tsivoin Ulderis was flitting about right here in the same city as us.” The lead Red Key Raider spoke.  “How fortuneouste.”

“Uh, Boss I think it’s fortuitous.” One of the goons in the back uttered, only to be silenced with a jab from the butt of his mates’ rifle.

“How long’s it been, rat. Since you threw our hospitality in our faces, killed all those guards and ran off with Maldenado’s money?” The leader continued, not acknowledging the interrupter.

"Fething great," Nova muttered under her breath. Here she had thought the kid had been taken in by her but really it was the other way around. Still, though, killed all those guards? Just how many were we talking? The kid was so scrawny it looked like he could barely handle a lolth cat let alone a Red Key thug. Why were the Red Key even here to begin with? They typically operated out of Tatooine.

"Heard you were mixed up in all that commotion at the Casino," the leader continued. "Got the First Order down here looking for you too. You just love pissing people off, don't ya?"

He smacked Tsivoin across the face with the back of his hand before grabbing him by the chin and holding it firm, forcing him to stare into his eyes. "Well, the First Order ain't gonna get ya. You're going to Maldenado. Your friend here, on the other hand," he said, pointing back behind him at Nova. As soon as he said that the goon standing behind her smacked her on the back of the head with the butt of his pistol and sent her sprawling to the ground.

"I'm sure they'd love to get their hands on her," he finished.

Nova rubbed the back of her head as she pulled herself up to her knees. Then she locked eyes with Tsivoin and the Zabrak could see just a hint of betrayal in her expression.

"Hey, boss, what's this," the goon that had struck Nova asked as he reached down towards her waist. He had caught a flash of metal as she fell and the second he spoke up Nova's body froze. He was going to force her to make a move, but anything she did now would get the other two killed. "Some kind of weird rod thing," he said as he wrapped his fingers around the hilt of her lightsaber.

As soon as he said that, though, a First Order shuttle flew overhead, it's doors opening up. Blasterfire followed shortly after, splitting the ranks of the goons as stormtroopers descended from the shuttle and appeared along the streets. Nova took the opportunity to take out the guy behind her. She grabbed him by the wrist and pulled him off balance, smacking him in the face with her elbow before twisting around behind him to grab her blaster and shoot him in the back. Then she shot the thug standing behind Tsivoin and Senna.

"Run," she shouted at them while firing off a salvo of blaster bolts at the stormtroopers behind them. The other goons were fanning out now to take cover and fight back. Now was the only chance they had to escape...

The Red Key leader shoved Tsivoin to the ground by the grip around his neck and the Zabrak barked out cry of pain. He’d barely managed to raise himself up to his hand and knees, struggling to breath as he watched the blasterfire rain down around and zip by them indiscriminately. The teenager watched in horror as he saw several singed holes in his and neighboring tents.

"You go there, you'll only be leading danger right to them."… He heard Nova’s warning repeat in his head. It was true. He led the Red Keys and the First Order here and he’d Senna and everyone else in The Tangle in jeopardy.

“Kid! Run! Now!” Nova’s shout and her grip on his shoulder shook him out of his stupor and he painful got up to his feet and tried to keep up as they ran deeper into the winding footpath of The Tangle. Tsiv thought he saw Senna a handful of paces ahead of them, but the blaster fire strobing against the dark of night was playing havoc with his senses.

Should have left the planet when I fething said we should, she thought to herself as she guided Tsivoin through the chaos. She had one hand on his shoulder and the other on her blaster pistol as she led him down one of the side streets into the dark. Senna was a few paces ahead of them and kept casting a worried glance over her shoulder at Tsiv. Nova simply waved her forward as she urged Tsivoin along, down one winding street after another.

"In here," Senna called out as she ducked into a ramshackle shack no bigger than a small closet. It was empty, of course, no one actually lived here, but there were various supplies hanging about on shelves and hooks.

Nova led Tsivoin into the shack and helped him sit. He looked around with wild eyes, practically in hysterics. "Kid," Nova said to him, "Hey, kid! Focus!"

She snapped her fingers in front of his face but failed to draw his attention. "This kid killed a bunch of guards and stole money from the Red Keys," she asked incredulously, "You have got to be kidding me."

She quickly moved to the door and peered outside. It was practically pitch dark in here and out there. What little light there was seeped in through the cracks in the window shades and the spaces between tents from the fires outside. It wouldn't be long until the First Order was right on top of them, though. They needed to get Tsiv moving again and fast.

"Hey, you--um... Whatever your name is," she said to Senna, "Make him snap out of it. We need to get moving before they lock this place down."

"And what are you going to do?"

"I'm going to make sure we weren't followed," Nova answered then she stepped into the darkness outside, closing the door behind her.

Senna checked to make sure the door stayed shut, then ran her hands back through her hair in exasperation. She sighed, took a few steps left, one to the right, then finally spun around to face Tsivoin who was sitting still on the floor. The Devaronian was furious with the Zabrak for getting mixed up in all of this and was about to let him know that… but one look at his face and her ire melted away.

She remembered, suddenly, when she’d first come across Tsivoin. He’d been malnourished, far more so than he was now, grungy and unkempt… She’d found him in the pits near the starship refueling area where he’d been living for weeks off of scraps and whatever wildlife he’d been able to catch. Gods, it was what… 4 years ago now? Up until that point in Senna’s life, she’d never seen a sentient being appear so… feral. Even now she shuddered at the memories.

Senna kneeled down in front of Tsivoin, cupping her hands around the back of his head and resting her forehead against his. “Tsivoin, yiba nami, ube lapha. Yiba manje.” She spoke, her voice soft but intense. She looked deep into his violet eyes. “That’s it… Come on Tsivoin, come back to me.”

Slowly, the frenzy died down behind his eyes, and he took a ragged gasp of air. “Senna! Wha- Where…”

“Shhh. We got away, for now… We have to be quiet… That, Nova, chick went out to make sure we weren’t followed.”

“Senna. Those people… It’s my fault. I… I put everyone in danger.”

Senna sighed. What could she say? He wasn’t wrong… but what was he supposed to do? She stood slowly and pulled him up to his feet. “Tsivoin, do you… remember when I found you?” She asked, to which he nodded his head slightly. “You remember- how you were dangerous- to be around?” She chose her words carefully… they really didn’t ever talk about his past. “Well, I could have left you in that puddle of starship fuel, but I didn’t. I brought you back with me to the tangle. It was a big risk, but I took it, for you…. And I know that you came back tonight, for me. It’s not so different.”

What am I doing? Risking my life for a couple of strays, Nova thought as she carefully made her way through the darkened street. There was a lot of heavy fighting to the west. The Red Keys were putting up quite the fight, but Nova suspected there might have been more to it. She saw the indiscriminate way the First Order had fired into the settlement. No doubt a number of denizens living in The Tangle had been caught in the crossfire. Some even now were probably fighting to defend themselves. Tsivoin had said anyone coming to The Tangle would soon regret it. Damn it, I should have knocked him out and dragged him to the spaceport, she cursed under her breath.

She felt for these people, this wasn't their fight and truth be told they were only in this position because of her. She allowed herself to get cocky. Things had been so simple for her in the past. No one believed in the Force so she could convince anyone of anything she wanted. Jhoren, on the other hand, had been surprisingly perceptive and to think he had contacts within the First Order... Thinking about it now isn't going to help anyone, she chided herself. What would Master Luke do? Runaway, probably. The First Order won't remain on this planet after I leave. They'll try to track me down. It was the best way to help everyone. After she leaves the First Order would pack up and go. I need to get the kid and his girlfriend to a ship and get out of here.

She turned to head back to the shack when she saw a dark figure move against the shadow. Wasting no time she quickly raised her blaster to fire but just as her finger squeezed the trigger the dark-robed man held out a hand to her, throwing her arm wide and freezing her in place. The single blaster bolt fired from her pistol rang out loudly into the night, sailing harmlessly through the air up and away from the settlement. "You're a hard one to find," the man said as he came forward, revealing himself to be the same black-clad figure she had encountered at the casino. "I must admit I was surprised to learn you survived the destruction of Skywalker's temple. How resilient you must be."

He got within arm's reach of her and caressed her cheek with one hand. Nova's eyes meanwhile were locked on the vicious axe he held in the other. "Tell me," he continued, "do you know where Master Skywalker is now?"

"Go to hell," she spat at him. In response he closed his hand into a fist and pulled his arm back. Nova felt the Force pulling on her, dragging her forcefully to her knees while her blaster slipped harmlessly from her grasp. She winced in pain and cried out as he knelt down next to her.

"Not the answer I was hoping for," he uttered quietly into her ear. "I will give you one more chance. Where... Is... Skywalker?"

He closed his hand into a fist again and Nova could feel the Force pulling in on her, threatening to crush her. She cried out in pain and fell onto her side. Through clenched teeth she somehow managed to shout an answer. "I don't know!"

The knight released his hold on her and turned away. "Unfortunate, very unfortunate," he said, "You might have lived, had you have been of use to us. Still, you might provide me with some sport before you die."

He had his back to her and Nova wasted little time to spring into action. She grabbed her lightsaber hilt with one hand and quickly scrambled to her feet before lunging at him. She barely made it a step before he half twisted around and with a simple gesture used the Force to pick her up and throw her. Nova flew backward into the shack, crashing through the door startling Senna and Tsiv. She hit the ground hard, the impact nearly driving the air from her lungs. With great effort she staggered back to her feet again and ignited her golden blade.

"You two need to run. Now," she told them then she stalked out into the darkness to face her destiny...

Tsivoin and Senna looked at each other in the low light being generated by Nova’s now advancing lightsaber. They didn’t need words to come to consensus. The pair grabbed hands and took off after Nova at a full sprint. She went left, they went right… that was, until Tsivoin got a good look at who it was she was fighting…. The black robed figure. He came to a sudden halt, causing Senna to stumble and lose her grip on his wrist.

When she turned to look at him, she saw he was standing frozen solid staring at the aggressor with the Axe. “Tsiv, what is it?” She asked sharply…

“Senna, he was there… the day the slavers took me from my home.” He said absently.

“That’s just great,” Senna whispered under her breath. “Well we can’t do anything about it right now!” She shouted. “This isn’t a street fight Tsiv we need to get out of here!”

The Zabrak paused for a moment, then nodded and turned back to follow her deeper into the Tangle.

They didn’t make it far. Just a few paces away from Nova and the Knight of Ren’s battle, a handful of blaster bolts zipped by, stippling the ground in front of them. The pair stopped short of running into the blasterfire and dove off to the side.

Tsiv was only slightly startled when he noticed more blasterfire being sent out from his side. Senna. She must have snatched a blaster from one of the downed Red Key Raiders. The Zabrak looked up over the barricade they were hiding behind. More Red Key guys. He glanced to the left, and saw another First Order Transport lowering to tent-top level, it’s spotlights shining on both the teens, and the Red Key thugs. When the transports door opened to reveal two rows of First Order troopers, Tsiv grabbed Senna and she fired off a few shots towards the transport, the pair retreating back the way they’d come.

It was just, chaos. Each bit of cover they bounced left or right two was quickly turned into Chandrillan Cheese by either First Order or Red Key blaster bolts… Eventually, they ended up getting separated on opposite sides of a small ditch.

Tsiv ducked down as another batch of blaster bolts came his way. The only reason Tsiv and Senna weren’t dead or in binders was because the Red Key’s were just as interested in killing First Order troopers as they were in Capturing Tsivoin. He could hear the fervent battle between Nova and the Knight of Ren raging behind them too. They were completely surrounded.

“Tsivoin.” Senna spoke over the din of battle. “Catch!” She tossed the blaster she’d been using to him and he caught it clumsily. The Zabrak looked down at it. It was longer than a normal pistol, almost carbine in length with a folding/collapsible stock and a longer cylindrical barrel.  He looked up from the pistol to see Senna slump backwards against her cover.

“Senna!” Tsiv bolted across the pathway and knelt at her side. “Wha-“ then he saw it, a blaster wound in her stomach.

“Think you should make a go of it, Tsivoin… I think… this is bad.” Her breath hitched as the pain of the wound set in.

“No. No. We can… get you to the clinic. The Shistaven there, he can fix you up.” Tsiv started to stammer a bit. Another heavy barrage of blasterfire struck their cover, and he raised up to quickly shoot back.

“Tsivoin…” Senna’s voice was hardly a whisper now… “Hambani. Phila. Phakade.” Her hand gripped his wrist tightly.

Tsivoin, tears brimming in his violet eyes, brought his forehead to hers one last time. “Phakade, Senna.” He echoed. He felt her grip on his wrist go slack, and his grip on the galaxy went with it.

The Zabrak began to vibrate, a feral growl emanating from deep in his chest. He could feel both his heats pounding in his ears. The beating was so loud he could no longer the blaster bolts firing off around him. Then his vision narrowed, until the only thing he could see was about a dozen tiny pinpricks of purple light, each representing one of the murderous bastards who killed his friend.
His growl twisted into a scream, and a blast wave of immense strength shot forth from him, slamming into the attackers like a raging hurricane. The plastoid armor the troopers wore cracked, the Raiders… were less fortunate.  A two and half meter-wide panel from a nearby shack whirled its way end over end, lodging itself in the ground between Nova and the Knight of Ren, and Tsivoin dropped two his knees, his frail form trembling in exhaustion.

Nova grimaced as she struggled against the Knight's axe. He was physically stronger than her and took every advantage of that, pounding her defenses with ferocious strikes. Nova tried her best to parry but each attack merely swatted her weapon away, nearly taking her with it. She stumbled backward, somehow able to keep her footing due to sheer luck. One more attack was on the way and instead of defending it Nova ducked to the side and lashed out with her own attack, grazing his arm. He cried out in pain and took a step back.

"Skywalker trained you well," he said, gripping his arm with his free hand. "You could have become a powerful ally, yet here you are ready to throw your life away for two gutter trash. You Jedi and your foolish ideals."

"You talk too much," Nova quipped at him. Then she lunged at him with her lightsaber poised to strike.

The two joined in battle once more. The Knight still had plenty of advantages over Nova but the younger combatant tried her best to rely more on her speed and agility than her physical strength. The two traded blows back and forth, the golden hue of her lightsaber mixed with the red glow of the Knight's vibroaxe clashing in the dark in a spray of color. It was becoming clear to Nova that she was merely stalling for time. Eventually, she would lose if she didn't find a way out now. Her mind raced for ideas but she didn't have long to consider them before a sudden shockwave hit The Tangle. Both Nova and the Knight of Ren were thrown to the ground as Debris flew over them. A massive section of one of the metal shacks came crashing down between them, lodging itself in the ground.

When it was over Nova crawled back to her feet and she heard the Knight laughing. "What tremendous rage," he said triumphantly, "The boy has such potential!"

Tsivoin?! Tsivoin did this? She looked around. Tents and Shacks alike were torn asunder and families were cowering amidst the debris, some bleeding, others clinging to life. She disengaged her lightsaber then ran over toward her discarded blaster before picking it up. Then she took one last look at Tsivoin and turned to run. She was going to leave it all behind, Tsivoin, the First Order, all of it, but something stopped her. That is not what Master Luke would do and against her better judgement she spun back around and ran over to Tsiv, skidding to a halt on her knees right next to him.

"Come on, we need to go," she told him, grabbing him under his shoulders and helping him to his feet. Tsivoin seemed competely unresponsive to her so she tried again. "Come on," she shouted at him, "Tsivoin! We need to go!"

Tsivoin was nearly dead weight in her arms. His eyes were shot with blood, his skin cold and clammy a sheen of sweat coated it, causing his garments to stick to him. Inside he felt as if he was on fire. Nova yelled at him a second time and it sounded like they were both deep, deep underwater.

As mottled as her words were, Tsvioin could understand the tone. “No.” He murmured. “No, they- Killed Senna.” He tried to turn back around, to return to his friend… but her body was gone.

Nova sighed, and once again grabbed the frail Zabrak, wrapping one of his arms over her shoulders and half-dragging him away. “She’s gone. We will be too if we don’t get out of here. Let’s go.” She forced him to stumble away from the skirmish, then paused. “This place is a maze. Kid, we need to get to the spaceport. Our only hope now is to get off this rock.”

Tsivoin only nodded weakly, barely able to keep his chin up enough to see where they were headed, he helped to direct them through the labyrinth. They reached the edge of the Tangle in only a few minutes, nothing but darkness now between them and the walled edge of Canto Bight itself.

One way into the city? Nova was half expecting an entire regiment of stormtroopers waiting for them, but much to her surprise there was nothing. The First Order must have simply airlifted their troops into The Tangle where the labyrinthian streets combined with all the fighting kept them from locking the place down. She wasn't about to waste this chance, though, and once they were back in the city proper she knew where she was going. Getting to the starport wasn't the hard part, unfortunately. Rather it was getting inside it.

There were stormtroopers out in front of the starport when they arrived. Nova didn't bother to count how many. Instead, she led Tsiv down a side street and made her way towards the sidewall of the starport. There was a metal grating there. She didn't know what it was used for. Maybe it was for ventilation, maybe maintenance, she didn't care. The thick iron bars would have been enough to keep them out, but Nova's lightsaber made short work of them. Once inside they made their way through the tunnels underneath the facility. There were several starships docked at the port but Nova needed one that was relatively fast. They made their way from one berth to another before she found a freighter that looked like it might fit the bill.

The boarding ramp was down but it didn't look like anyone else was at or near the ship so she quickly led Tsiv up the ramp and to the cockpit. Tsiv was slumped against her shoulder and barely supporting his own weight so she lowered him into one of the cockpit chairs then turned toward the main console. She'd flown a ship once or twice before but never really had any formal training. She sat in the pilot seat then stared at the dashboard in front of her. "Okay, um... Where do I start," she quietly mumbled to herself.

She reached over and flicked a switch. Then the ship suddenly began making a loud cranking noise and she quickly turned it off. "Damn it," she whispered and the two sat there breathlessly waiting as they listened. There were voices from somewhere deeper in the ship and Nova knew they were made. She quickly grabbed Tsivoin and helped him out of the chair. Then the two of them made their way around the other side of the ship away from the voices until they found what looked like a maintenance hatch.

"Quick, in here," she said as she lifted the hatch and helped Tsivoin into the maintenance tunnel below. Then she climbed down after him and carefully lowered the hatch. She had one hand on her blaster and the other on her lightsaber as the two waited quietly in the dark...

Tsivoin was panting lightly as he slumped on the ground behind Nova, his body still wrecked from the aftereffects of the shockwave he’d unknowingly produced. A shaky hand gripped around the ankle of one Nova’s boots, whether for comfort or just a way to ground himself in reality, he wasn’t sure which.

“EssJay what’re you playing at up there?” A male Duros called out as he and a human male rounded the corner from the cargo hold, walking passed the small maintenance tunnel that Tsivoin and Nova were hiding out in. They’d taken a moment after getting back to the ship to look over the cargo in the hold. The plan was to get out of here without any First Order attention, but if they were boarded and searched, well, best be sure there wasn’t anything untoward to be found.

Tsiv’s grip on her boot tightened instinctively as the voices drew near, then relaxed somewhat as they listened to the fall of boots getting further away. There was a distinct wine and hiss as the ramp retracted and sealed the ship, and that was that. For better or worse Tsivoin and Nova were onboard for good.

When Vague and Orev got up to the cockpit, however, their Droid companion was nowhere to be found. “Odd, that.” Orev grumbled as he sat down at the nav-station.Vague nodded. He slid into the pilot’s chair and tapped the intercom. “EssJay, get up to the cockpit it’s time to go. Ros, I want you in the turret, just in case.” As he was speaking his free hand was already flying over the instrument panel running through a protracted pre-flight sequence with practiced ease. The ship creaked, purred, and whined in its own interstellar language as the reactors came on line and the drives started to heat up.

Nova allowed herself a sigh of relief as the footsteps passed. She could feel Tsivoin's grip on her boot tighten every so slightly but she ignored it. Truth be told she was rather afraid of him. He reacted so strongly to the loss of Senna that he instinctively drew upon the dark side of the Force. Even untrained he was able to project such a powerful force, mowing down everyone and everything in its path. She closed her eyes, not that she needed to considering how dark it was, but she could remember the aftermath of that shockwave. The frightened faces of the innocents caught in its path as they cowered or bled to death. She wondered if Tsiv even knew, or if he cared.

It was the laughter from the Knight of Ren that stuck with her the strongest. He seemed happy, almost triumphant. She had a feeling the First Order might try to recruit him after that display, adding one more dark sider to the ranks of the Knights of Ren. Nova couldn't allow that to happen. Nor could she allow Tsiv to be trained. If he could learn to control his power the next time he drew upon the dark side could be even worse. That left her in a bit of an awkward spot, however. What was she supposed to do in order to prevent either of those outcomes? Babysit Tsiv for the rest of his life? She sighed again and leaned back against the wall. What would Master Skywalker do?

*In the cockpit of the Veiled Bedlam*

“Spaceport Control would like to know why we haven’t shut down our drives as ordered.” SJ spoke from the co-pilots seat. “Should I mute the comm?”

Vague tapped at a control to his right and shook his head. “Don’t bother… they may tip us off inadvertently to what our friends upstairs have planned. Ros, those guns hot?” He asked into the intercom.

“Primed and ready.” The Kessurian replied, her voice distorted through the microphone.
“Right, hang on to something.” Vague routed power to the repulsorlifts and the Bedlam shot up out of its berth, rotating horizontally until it reached a bearing that would take it between the mountain ranges.

The comm board lit up with protests from Spaceport Control as he feathered the throttle, engaging the sublight drives and sending the freighter into a steep climb. A flick of his thumb activated the shield generators, and another started to boot up their targeting software. “Keep an eye on the sensors,” he told his crew. “Standard callouts, track incoming… but don’t shoot first. I’d like to get out of this without burning Venkman and the Sunrise if we can.”

“Durin, you seeing this?” Orev asked from the nav seat behind him, pointing out the starboard side of the cockpit at the signs of battle in the shanty town near the base of the mountain. “Someone put up a helluva fight down there.”

Vague shook his head a bit, then sighed. “Leave it to the First Order to take on a population center. EssJay, were you ever able to find out what they are after?”

The droids yellow-green photoreceptors blinked a couple of times, then he turned to look at Durin. “I intercepted some chatter but it was a mess. They were chasing after someone from the Casino, but got into a firefight with the Red Key during the process.”
“Red Key, the Raiders?” Rossi’s voice interjected over the intercom. “Why would they pick a fight with the ‘Order?”

“No Idea, but now isn’t the time to turn around and ask!” Orev spoke, tapping a few keys on his console. “There’s your incoming. Looks like a flight of Tie Fighters, bearing point-eight five.”

Vague squinted at the panel in front of him for a moment, then looked skyward. “I see them. Ros they’re yours if they fire on us. Keep an eye on the horizon they like their pincer moves.” He pushed the throttle near it’s stops and the three Starchaser engines screamed to life, jetting the freighter up and through Cantonica’s atmosphere. Once in the ether of space, he snapped the ship into a quick roll and angled it slightly away from the First Order Destroyer that was now moving for an intercept.

*Inside the maintenance tunnel*

Tsivoin’s panting only worsened once the ship started moving. He let go of Nova’s boot and curled up to lean against the opposite wall of the maintenance tunnel, his blaster pistol on the ground and his knees hugged up to his chest. The Zabrak was quite afraid of flying and this was all just too much.

Then the first laser blasts from the ships pursuers struck the craft, causing it to surge to one side, which sent Tsiv skittering across the floor.

Nova had been so absorbed in her own thoughts that she missed the telltale signs from Tsivoin. Once the ship had taken off she knew they were going to be in for a bumpy ride. The motion dampeners helped only a little and the artificial gravity kept them on the deck but the rocking and the rolling still made things fairly rough for them. Both passengers found themselves tossed back and forth along the maintenance tunnel. Nova did her best to guard her head, but ideally the two of them would have been seated and buckled in before the ship had thrown itself into maneuvers.

Motion dampeners helped to lessen the effect of g-forces on the body from normal flight, but they weren't sufficient for completely canceling the effects of evasive maneuvers during combat. This was the first time Nova had been in a ship in combat in space and she didn't much like this helpless feeling of not being able to do anything. She didn't imagine that it could be worse for Tsiv, that is until she heard him hyperventilating.

"Tsivoin," she whispered sharply, "Tsiv! You need to calm down!"

Whether or not he heard her she couldn't tell. He sat huddled in a corner with one arm wrapped desperately around some metal cabling clinging for dear life. Nova swore under her breath. He's going to give us away. She quickly scooted over to him and placed her hand on his forehead. "I'm sorry, Tsiv," she whispered then she closed her eyes and concentrated.

A moment later Tsiv's hyperventilating stopped and he slumped over completely unconscious. Nova quickly wrapped her arm around his body then grabbed the cabling behind herself and tried to hold on for as long as she could. Tsivoin wouldn't be able to guard his head in this state so she needed to make sure he didn't get tossed around very much. That meant the ride was going to be much worse for her...

*Inside the Veiled Bedlam’s Turret*

Rossi Hanlon tracked a particularly evasive TIE/fo fighter as it zipped it’s way through a strafing run on the Bedlam. The double laser cannon turret responded to her controls, peppering the space around the fighter with laser blasts until eventually she clipped the crafts starboard solar panel and it veered off course to assess the damage. No longer a threat for the time being, Rossi brought the turret back inline and scanned for the next fighter.

They’d destroyed two of the First Order’s starfighters, leaving two more from the first flight that had been dispatched to intercept them. The destroyer had send out an additional four when it became clear that the freighter was not going to surrender immediately. Meaning at the moment they were dodging and engaging with six TIE/fo’s .
When the second flight had arrived, Orev had activated the freighters pair of retractable auto-blasters, adding their programed cover to Rossi’s more directed attacks. Orev himself would be in the cockpit controlling the fixed forward facing Heavy Laser Canons.

The Kessurian braced herself against the wall of the turret as Vague sent the Bedlam into a Wotan Weave that ended with a particularly violent Kooigran turn. When her head cleared, and her vision re-focused, Rossi tightened down on the butterfly trigger beneath her thumbs, sending one more TIE/fo into oblivion.

“The Destroyer will be in turbolaser range in less than a minute, if we’re going to spring this noose, it needs to be now.” Orev called into the intercom.

“Alright.” Vague’s voice was a bit strained as he split his focus between tactical analysis and evasive flying. “Orev, hand over the heavy cannon control, I’ll take them over. Get working on a nav solution out of system. Micro-jump. We’ll re-orient there and plot one for another sector. EssJay, fire up Launch tubes 1 and 2. Get me a solution on that incoming wave of fighters.”

The crew complied wordlessly, and Rossi doubled down on her task of keeping the closest TIE fighters off of their back. She’d destroyed two more of the fighters when she felt the freighter shudder and watched two, then four streaks of pinkish light jet away from the fighter.

Homing Torpedos, locked onto the intercepting ties. She didn’t have time the time to watch them find their targets, though. The torpedo locks made sure the pursuing fighters were busier evading the projectiles than they were with chasing the freighter and allowed it to orient it’s bow towards the nearest hyperlane. Within seconds, the starpoints outside the turret blurred into starlines and the morphed into the mottled blue-white of hyperspace.

They’d made it. In the half seconds of silence following their jump to lightspeed, Rossi thought for sure she’d heard something jar itself loose and tumble through the corridor below the turret… but when she tilted her head to listen closer, all she could hear was the thrum of the drives and the trill of the reactor cores. “Odd, that.” She muttered, unstrapping from the blastchair she made her way down the ladder and hoped to the upper deck of the crafts main fuselage.

The Montrals extending from her temples tingled slightly as she crossed over the maintenance grate on the right hand wall of the corridor but she chalked it up to adrenaline from the get-away…

*Inside the cockpit of the Veiled Bedlam*

Vague turned in his blastchair to glance back as Rossi entered the cockpit, a wide grin spread across her pink face. “Nice shooting, pup.” He praised her, then tapped the center console between pilot and copilots chairs. “And EssJay, helluva salvo with the torps. We’ll have to check the readouts but I’m pretty sure you nailed three out of four with that one.”

The olive and tan colored droid shimmied slightly in his seat, an imitation of a dance - Vague didn’t want to know which one of the crew he’d picked it up from. “All in a days work.” The droid replied smugly.“How long on this vector before we drop out, Rev?” Durin asked the Duros sitting behind him.

“Another quarter cycle. Where we headed?” Orev replied.

Nova waited and listened. When she felt the familiar surge to lightspeed and it sounded like the fighting had stopped she allowed herself a moment to relax. Things had gotten pretty rough toward the end there. The ship had been thrown into a maneuver that knocked her grip loose, sending them both skittering across the tunnel. Fortunately, Nova managed to twist her body around enough to absorb most of the blow from hitting the tunnel wall from Tsiv. Once it was all over she gently laid him down and tried her best to prod him awake. It took a moment or two but finally the Zabrak awoke with a start.

"Tsiv! Tsiv," Nova whispered quickly, shushing him while covering his mouth. "It's okay, it's all over. We're safe now. Okay? We're safe."

She could feel his haggard breathing and quick heartbeats slowly begin to fade and she took her hand away from his mouth. "Okay listen," she continued, whispering quietly, "They're going to come for us soon. There aren't that many places we can hide on a starship and they probably heard us rattling around down here, so I need you to promise me something."

She took out her lightsaber and opened up a side compartment revealing the intricate wiring behind it. "We need to cool it on the Jedi thing, okay? When they come for us they can't know who I am. It'll be dangerous for both of us, do you understand?"

She finished stuffing her lightsaber into the compartment then carefully sealed it up tight before turning her emerald gaze to Tsivoin. He quietly nodded and she smiled. "Good," she whispered, "Now I don't think these guys are bad. They were in a registered port so they're licensed traders, but they shot at the First Order so I'm thinking smugglers. That means they're business people so we should be able to negotiate with them. If anyone asks we're just runaways trying to get away from the First Order."

She looked down at her drab clothes. They were torn and dirtied from all the fighting but parts of the material still looked fresh and clean so she probably wouldn't be able to pass herself off as an urchin. "We'll need a cover story," she told him, then she thought about it for a moment. "Okay," she said finally when she had an idea, "you were a servant in my household. The First Order came for us, took my parents but they got me out. Ordered you to keep me safe. That should do as a backstory for now. I'll cover the rest later if they ask for more."

Tsivoin woke in a panic. It was dark, he didn’t remember falling asleep, he wasn’t sure where he was- but then Nova placed a palm over his mouth and began whispering to him that they were safe. The teen relaxed somewhat, nodding his horned head slightly as she removed her hand from his mouth and explained their situation to him. The Zabrak was frightened by the thought of whoever owned the ship coming for them but Nova seemed to be pretty calm about it all. She said that J-word again… she kept telling him not to talk about her being a Jedi, like he even knew what that meant in the first place.

His violet eyes narrowed down to slits, when she told him that he would play the role of a servant from her household, though. “Yeah, no one should think twice about a lowly alien following the orders of his human masters.” Tsivoin replied to her, maybe a bit more venom leaking into his voice than he’d intended. He was still reeling from the loss of Senna and everything that had happened to him since this particular human drug him into her chaotic life.

Nova narrowed her eyes at him when she heard the venom in his tone. "Tsiv, it's just a cover story, it doesn't mean anything. I don't know what happened to you to make you hate humans so much but I am not the people who gave you that," she said, pointing at the scar on his neck that was barely visible over his collar.

"I was abandoned when I was seven, okay? My father left before I was born and my mother told me I was too much of a responsibility and she couldn't afford to raise me alone. So one day she took me to a bus depot, sat me down on one of the benches and told me to wait but she never came back. They tried to put me in a foster home after that but it never stuck. I ran away three times and managed to stay off the grid after the third. I have lived on the streets, stole to survive, ate food I found in dumpsters. I've been kicked around and abused and even hunted my entire life because of this."

She lifted her hand up and her blaster levitated out of its holster to hover in front of Tsiv. "The First Order fears me because of what I can do," she explained, then she reached up and grabbed her blaster before holstering it once more. "They'll fear you too after what you did on Cantonica. Like it or not, kid, we're in this together now. And I know I'm asking a lot because I got you into this, but you are going to have to start trusting me or we're not going to make it very far."

After what you did on Cantonica.… Tsiv’s violet eyes softened a bit in the darkness, and he hung his head. What had he done, on Cantonica? He really didn’t know. One minute, he felt Senna’s life slipping away, and the next minute, Nova was dragging him away from the wreckage.In he end, she was right, though. They were in this together… whatever this was. He nodded his head briefly and looked back up at Nova. “I’m sorry. I – didn’t know. So what happens next?”
 
He didn’t have to wait long for the response, a moment later the two teenagers heard a voice over the ships speakers.
 
“This is Captain Vague Durin, on behalf of myself and my crew, we would like to welcome some unexpected passengers to the Veiled Bedlam.” The voice spoke, pausing a moment before continuing. “We know you’re aboard, and we don’t want any trouble. If you’d be so kind as to come out and introduce yourselves, hands first, we’d really appreciate it.”

Nova found that interesting. They knew they were on board but they didn't know where. Otherwise, they would have lifted up the maintenance grate by now. They could stay hidden but like she said there weren't that many places to hide on a starship. Eventually, they would search every nook and cranny until they found them. She glanced over at Tsiv who was looking right back at her. Then he nodded his head towards the maintenance hatch. Nova quietly shook her head.

"We need to look like we're frightened," she whispered to him. "Follow my lead."

She made a loud noise, banging on one of the pipes in the maintenance tunnel as though it were an accident. Then she immediately began shushing Tsivoin, albeit a bit louder than was necessary. It wasn't long after that before the maintenance hatch was thrown open and light from the corridor outside filtered through. There were three figures there, two of them brandishing guns.

"Alright, you two, time to come out," one of them said.

Nova and Tsiv carefully made their way out of the tunnel looking like two frightened kids. Much to Tsiv's surprise Nova seemed like a natural with this sort of deception. For his part, though, the fact they were on a starship in the middle of the black void helped him to sell the wild look in his eyes. Once they were up on deck they turned to face their hosts.

"Don't hurt us, please," Nova begged them, "We were just trying to get away."

Rossi stood partially on the ladder that led up into the turret or down into the crew quarters, an arm looped around one of it’s rungs as she watched with keen honey colored eyes as the two… teenagers she guessed… crawled up out of the maintenance tunnel and stood in the corridor. They’d definitely had a rough time, though there was no telling how much of it was back on the surface, and how much had been the result of being unsecured during the Bedlam’s escape from Cantonica.
 
Orev stood to her right, blocking the corridor that led to the rest of the ship, his EE-4 Carbine trained loosely in the pairs direction. The Duros seemed to be scowling in their direction, but Rossi knew that was just his face, she could tell by the glint in his red-orange eyes that he was more curious and a bit skeptical than anything else.
 
Vague was directly across the corridor from the maintenance tunnel, standing with furrowed eyebrows as the stowaways clambered out of the hold. His dark brown eyes held a calculating glint to them even as he appeared outwardly to casually look them over.
 
“No one’s looking to hurt anybody.” He stated calmly to the girl, spreading his arms out to his sides a bit, his Gile-686 Heavy Blaster Pistol not quite pointing right at them anymore. “I’d request that you both hand my pal EssJay your blaster weapons, while we get to know each other?” He continued, and the olive and tan colored droid stepped out from around the back of a storage locker on que, pausing just outside of arms reach of the teens as the Bedlam’s crew waited to see if the kids would comply.

Nova carefully unclipped her blaster and slowly drew it from the holster. She had gotten about halfway out before her fingers slipped. She fumbled with it a bit before losing her grip and the weapon clattered noisily to the deck. "I'm sorry," she said quickly. "I can...," she started to reach for it but Vague interrupted her.
 
"No, no, it's fine," he said, then he nodded at the droid.
 
EssJay took two steps forward then bent over and picked up the weapon. Meanwhile, Tsiv had given Nova a sidelong glance. He had seen her handle a blaster before and she did so competently, but that incident just now. He was almost positive she did it on purpose but it looked so much like an accident. Then it gradually began to dawn on him. She wasn't just this Jedi thing she keeps claiming to be, she was also a con artist.
 
All eyes turned to Tsiv after that and he held up his hands. "I don't have one," he told them. Senna had given him a blaster during the battle right before he lost her, but after he had blacked out he lost track of it. It was probably still lying back in the dirt at The Tangle where he had dropped it.

Vague nodded once at EssJay, and the droid tossed him the blaster. As the gun traveled in mid-air Vague holstered his own with his dominant hand and caught Nova’s with his left. He turned the blaster over in his hand for a moment, studying the make and finish, then looked back up at the two. “Okay, ‘trying to get away’… Let’s elaborate on that. Who are you, who were you trying to get away from, and why did you need to get away from them?” He asked, still holding Nova’s blaster in his hand.

"I don't know who they are," Nova began, "but they came for me at a party."

"The First Order," the woman behind her asked curiously and Nova turned to look at her. To Rossi's eyes the girl seemed confused.

"No," she answered, "who are they? Are they the guys in the white suits?"

Orev chuckled at that, such an innocent way to describe what is in reality a horrible regime.

"Red Key then," Vague asked and Nova nodded.

"I think that's what they said their name was," she told them, "They said my father owed them money and since he left his estate to me that I would have to pay it, but I'd never heard of them before! If my father had made deals with them he never told me! I tried to tell them it was a mistake, but they told me if I couldn't pay that they would...," she faltered slightly as her voice cracked. "They were going to take me somewhere. Somewhere I didn't want to go."

She hugged herself tightly as her shoulders trembled.

"It's alright," Vague assured her, "They're not here." He let his hand fall to his side, Nova's blaster dangling by his left thigh. "What's your name," he asked in a softer tone.

"Nova," she told him. 

"And your friend?"

"Tsivoin, I think."

"Alright," he said, turning his gaze to Tsiv, "Was Tsivoin there when they came for you?"

Nova shook her head. "No," she said, "he found me later after I had escaped."

"Escaped," Rossi asked, she sounded impressed.

"It wasn't all that heroic," Nova admitted, "I bit one of them and threw liquor at the other, then I just ran. Tsivoin found me in The Tangle just before that big explosion. I had gotten so lost wandering on my own, I'd never actually been there before. He got me out of there, showed me the way to the spaceport. If it weren't for him, I don't think I would have survived."

Orev’s scowl hardened a bit, and Rossi tapped her pink fingers against the side-rail of the ladder in thought. Vague simply raised a gloved hand up to rub at his brow a bit, his eyes shifting back and forth between Nova and Tsivoin.
 
The freighter captain was essentially a con-man himself, and he wasn’t buying the girls story. That being said, he’d genuinely have thought less of the both of them if they’d just out and blurted the truth. He got the jist that there was enough truth sprinkled into Nova’s story in regard to what the crew had heard through their own channels, but the teen was definitely hiding something. The missing thread, of course, is what brought an entire First Order Star Destroyer into orbit. He would continue to chew on those facts internally, but on the outside, he sighed.
 
“Well, I guess thanks are owed to Tsivoin for saving the day.” He commented as his eyes studied the Zabrak for another moment before turning back to Nova. “So. Nova…” He paused long enough to know she wasn’t going to offer a surname. “Tell me, what would you do if this was your ship, and you’d just caught a couple tag-alongs who helped themselves aboard?”

"Maybe let them go," she asked innocently. "Seriously, you can just drop us off at the next planet, we won't make a peep. However...,"

A thought occurred to her and she was playing somewhat of a dangerous game here. She knew what they were and revealing that could put them in jeopardy. Their only advantage is that they didn't know what she was and she still felt she could use that. Most people still thought of Jedi as the saviors of the galaxy. Revealing herself to be one, however, was still extremely dangerous. The First Order has a fairly high bounty for Jedi and anyone discovered to be Force Sensitive. Hopefully, it wouldn't come to that. Tsiv and her would have to do some planet-hopping anyway to get this heat off of them. Riding along with a smuggler would accomplish that goal nicely and keep them away from any law enforcement.

"However," Vague repeated, prodding her forward.

"Well, you could let us join you. We have skills, we could help you."

"Skills," Orev scoffed, "Like how you handled the blaster?"

Nova looked embarrassed and half turned away from him. "Okay, so I'm not good with blasters, but I can help in other ways," She looked directly at Vague. "My family's connected. All I have to do is mention a few names and I can get your shipments through customs without anyone checking twice." It was somewhat of an exaggeration but more or less the truth. The Force had a profound effect on weak-willed individuals, such as the nine to five pencil pushers usually found in customs stations across the galaxy. Just normal people completely bored out of their mind trying to do a job.

Vague, for his part, seemed somewhat surprised. Or was it simple amusement? Nova couldn't tell, he was a very difficult man to read. "That's quite the bold claim," he admitted, "but why do you think that interests us?"

"This is a smuggling ship, isn't it," she asked. All four of them traded looks and Nova quickly made herself seem indignant. "Come on, I'm not stupid. You left Cantonica in a hurry then shot at the First Order. There's something on this ship you don't want them to see. Now if you let us go we might have to report you."

"Or we could let you out early," Orev replied. His comment was meant to scare her, there wasn't any actual malice in it.

"If you were going to space us you would have done it by now," Nova answered back, "Otherwise why spend all this time getting to know us first?"

"Maybe we like the amusement?"

Nova ignored that then turned back to Vague. "Look, we're just trying to survive," she told him, "Take us on as part of your crew and I promise you that you'll find our relationship mutually beneficial."

Tsivoin, for his part, remained mostly still and out of the way. He’d been thrown for a bit of a loop when Nova had altered the cover story that she’d laid out for them before they had left the maintenance tunnel. He Zabrak was street savvy enough not to let onto that surprise, though, and instead he began to work extra hard at playing the new part Nova had laid out for him, that of the innocent bystander who helped her out of The Tangle when she’d run out of luck. It was a smart play, really, because it meant he really didn’t have a motive to hide here aboard the ship, and he could simply act like the simple being caught up in a bigger narrative that he truly was. 

Vague’s lip twitched into something akin to a smirk, and he looked down towards Novas blaster once more. He shifted it in his hands, a practically imperceptible motion to anyone not looking for it, and untranslatable to anyone who wasn’t privy to the crews unspoken code. He’d called a vote, and each of his three crew members voted with equally veiled motions or mannerisms in turn. 

Vague didn’t need to cast his own vote, the others had all agreed. He looked back up at Nova and Tsiv and the barely perceptible smirk twisted into a grin. He tossed the blaster back to Nova as he spoke. “Welcome aboard the ‘Veiled Bedlam’, consider yourselves temporary guests for now. We’ll just wait and see if either of you end up as useful as you advertise.” He paused, then motioned to each of his crew one by one. “This is Orev, Rossi, and SlackJaw. If I’m not around, whatever they say may as well’ve  been said by me. Don’t mess with my ship, my things, or my people and hopefully we won’t need to make any more formal rules than that. There’s an empty cabin and a communal refresher one deck down,” he paused to nod at the ladder Rossi was perched on. “Feel free to use them to clean up or rest. We should be shifting to the next leg of our hyper jump soon, but it’ll be a few days before we reach our next destination.” He turned and spoke the last bit over his shoulder as he walked past them and back towards the cockpit.

Nova stared down at her blaster with a note of disbelief. So much so that it genuinely showed on her face. That was far easier than she expected it to be. Her story was bogus and she could tell Vague wasn't buying it, at least not entirely. Most of it was the truth. Someone did come for her at a party, she did escape through The Tangle and Tsivoin had played a part in saving her life. The only details she altered was her own role in the events that had unfolded. If she had told them the First Order had been there for her they might not have let her stay. Though she suspected maybe Vague had known that already.

She holstered her blaster then turned to Rossi. "I don't suppose you have a spare change of clothes," she asked, "I left all my things back on Cantonica and Tsivoin here could use something that's more in his size."

The Kessurian and Duros traded knowing glances with one another, something definitely unspoken but well understood, and then she looked back to Nova with a smile.

"You're in luck," She replied in a measured, but friendly tone. "I happened to get a bit of shopping in back there before the blasted First Order showed up and trashed the place." She shifted her grip on the ladder and finished with a sing-song tone as she slid down the ladder deftly, "Follow me."
Last edited by Pryde on Tue Jan 21, 2020 3:13 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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Nova looked to Tsivoin and shrugged. She wasn't sure what the teen was thinking but she hoped he might have felt like he could trust her a little bit more now. "After you," she said with a gesture toward the ladder. Tsivoin was the first to climb down, then Nova, then Orev after. Nova knew the crew was going to be hesitant to leave them alone this early, she just hoped the Duros hadn't planned on watching them change.

As the three followed Rossi Nova stepped up alongside Tsiv. "How are you feeling," she asked quietly, "Things got kind of rough back there."

She was worried about his head. After she had put him under he wasn't able to protect himself. Nova did the best she could to hold him down but she wasn't very strong physically and even though Tsivoin was frail and malnourished he was still a lot of weight to carry.

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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Tsiv was probably as surprised as Nova, or maybe even more so, that the captain and his crew hadn’t spaced them. He tried not to remember the harrowing path he’d had to take on the way to Cantonica when he was fleeing slavery... where were spacers like these folks then? he thought idly...

He didn’t have long to dwell on that, though, as the pink one led them below to the crew deck. He felt Nova step a bit closer to his side a moment before she spoke. The question was innocent enough, at face value.. he wondered if she was referring to their runaway on Cantonica, or their struggle in the maintenance tunnel. Maybe both? He knew better than to mention the battle in the tangle in front of these strangers, though so he chose to interpret her question literally.

“I uh.. I’m ok. I.. I’m afraid of flying, you know, in space.” He admitted, a bit of shame burning under his grey skin. “I guess it’s silly. But, I must have gotten so worked up that I passed out. I don’t remember it.” He had a blurry recollection of Nova trying to hush him, but the next he knew she was shaking him awake and they were in hyperspace.

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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"Um, right. Yea," Nova said, she kept a straight face but she couldn't really tell him that she was the one that put him under. At least not in front of the Kessurian and Duros. A lot of good that did, though. She barely bought them a few moments before being discovered, but at least she stopped him from having a panic attack in the cramped space of the maintenance tunnel.

"In here," Rossi said as she led them into one of the crew quarters. There she helped them to pick out a couple of outfits, nothing too fancy just a couple of jumpsuits. Nova still had some creds from her previous job so she would buy something at their next destination, but for now it was nice to be out of the dirty and torn clothes she had been wearing. Unfortunately, she didn't think there was much she could do to salvage the outfit.

The next couple of days were fairly uneventful, both Tsiv and Nova were pretty much left to their own devices. They helped out around the ship whenever they were asked. Tsivoin was adept at cleaning and Nova knew a few recipes she could cook. She'd passed by the maintenance grate on more than one occasion and could feel the slight tug from her lightsaber but now wasn't the time to try and retrieve it. Maybe after they had docked at the next planet an opportunity might arise. She felt rather naked without it.

On the final day of their journey, Nova made her way to the cockpit. Both Vague Durin and Orev were there and Orev was talking about something with Vague. As soon as he saw her enter, though, he quickly lowered his voice then immediately stopped talking. Vague turned to look at her, his face masked and unreadable as always.

"Morning, kid, how can I help you," he asked.

Nova cast a glance at Orev and Vague seemed to understand her unspoken request. He nodded at the Duros and Orev immediately got up to leave. On his way out he closed the door behind him. Nova had not moved from where she stood near the hatch.

"We'll be landing soon," Vague told her.

"About that," she said, "I spent the last couple of days puzzling why you let us stay on board so easily. There's an old phrase I've heard people say, 'You can't con a conman.' It's not true, though, you can and I have... Just not you. I know you didn't buy my story, at least not all of it and I know you're still wondering if there's something else I'm hiding. What I don't know is why you agreed so quickly to let us stay. Just what game are you playing at, exactly? If there's some kind of surprise waiting for us down there...," she let her words trail off but her hand on the blaster in her holster made her meaning clear.

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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Vague sat still in the pilots chair as Orev left, his dark brown eyes studying Nova as she said her piece and postured needlessly. The man understood where she was coming from. Well, at least at a macro level. At this point it was painfully obvious that she was no heiress and there was something more than a right place right time coincidence keeping her and the Zabrak together. No, this one had learned some of the galaxies harder lessons, he could practically read their lectures on her soul. So no, he didn't buy her story... and yes she was hiding something.

Durin took a deep breath in and slowly exhaled it, leaning forward in his chair and resting his elbows on his knees. In a moment the mask of quasi-friendly, mildly detached spacer melted off his face, leaving a cold, calculating ruthless shell in it's place. "Let me just spell it out plainly for you, kid. I don't give a damn if your the long lost final princess of Alderaan, or the heir to the Emperor's black bones themselves. Maybe you're worth a million credits, maybe you're worth a long pour from a bottle of well whiskey. I don't deal in people." He spoke the last sentence slowly, and with gravitas.

He paused for emphasis, looking Nova straight in the eyes. When she started to reply, he simply held up a hand to stop her. "You're right, I didn't buy your story, still don't. I did think you were hiding something, still do. But so is every single other person on this ship, and most other people in the galaxy. There's no game afoot here, little one. I wouldn't have handed you back a loaded weapon if there was."

He could tell the distrust ran deep in her, so he shrugged a bit, wiped a hand across the stubble on his cheek, and sighed softly. "Truth is, crew took a vote - said you could stay, each for their own reasons that I can't speak for."

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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"Took a vote," Nova asked, "When did...," then it suddenly dawned on her. "It was code, wasn't it? When you shifted my blaster in your hand you called for a vote."

"Very perceptive," Vague said, he actually sounded impressed.

That knowledge actually made her feel a little bit safer, but she still wasn't sure if she could trust them with everything. It was probably better for her to keep the Jedi thing under wraps until she knew them better. Satisfied for now she opened her mouth to excuse herself but just before she could voice a word an alarm suddenly began ringing.

"Strap in, kid, we're here," Vague told her, then he turned his chair around and flipped on the ship intercom. "Rev, EssJay, get up to the cockpit now. The rest of you strap in."

Nova sat down and strapped herself into one of the side chairs in the cockpit, hopefully one that was out of the way. She'd only flown once or twice before so she had no idea what most of these buttons and knobs did. A moment later the hatch to the cockpit opened up and Orev and the olive and tan droid entered and took their stations. Everything that happened after went way over her head. They were all speaking basic but to her it might have well have been a whole new language. After a brief exchange with the port authority the Bedlam was given clearance to land...

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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Vague had a brief conversation with the space-traffic controller, that ultimately lead 'Captain Sung Kencord' and the freighter 'Broadshot' gaining clearance to bypass the Jubilee Wheel, and Ord Mantell City proper, and instead land directly at Worlport.

Vague handed off control of the freighter to SJ who mated their signal with the automated traffic control frequency that would guide the ship the rest of the way through the system and down into Ord Mantell's atmosphere.

He glanced out the viewport briefly as the they moved out of eye-line of the systems bright blue central star named The Bright Jewell... then turned to glance up and back at Nova.

"Welcome to Ord Mantell." he said.

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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Ord Mantell, known throughout the galaxy as "The Smuggler's Haven", orbited around the star Bright Jewel in the Mid Rim of the galaxy. Nova had never been herself but she'd heard many stories about this place. Smugglers, mercenaries and bounty hunters alike often found themselves on this lawless planet looking for work. A pretty good sign that Vague and his crew were between jobs right now.

As soon as the ship landed Vague stood. "I'll take Rev with me and go meet with our fixer. In the meantime the rest of you can relax. Might I suggest visiting the market? Ord Mantell has a wealth of rare things to buy."

Nova nodded absently as he, Orev and SlackJaw left the cockpit. She had no real plan for what to do now that they were here. The option to leave was something she'd considered. It was unlikely the First Order would find them on Ord Mantell, but just the two of them alone Force powers or no wouldn't amount to very much if the Order did decide to visit. The better option was to stay, safety in numbers and all that. First thing she needed to do, though, was get her lightsaber. The others were occupied with offloading and refueling the ship, so now was as good a time as any.

She got up and left the cockpit then wandered down to the maintenance grate. She first checked both ways down the corridor and the ladder to make sure no one was around, then she carefully opened the maintenance hatch and slipped inside. Her lightsaber was still stashed in the same compartment she hid it in so retrieving it didn't take very long. She pulled it out and slipped it inside her jumpsuit then carefully lifted the maintenance hatch to make sure the coast was clear. When she was certain no one was coming she climbed up and out then closed the hatch. Not long after Rossi came around the corner and noticed her.

"There you are," she said, "We were going to go visit the market. I assume you'd like to have something more than that drab jumpsuit to wear."

"Of course," Nova said easily, "Let's grab Tsiv and take him with..."

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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The Kessurian nodded her head and smiled at Nova. "Sure thing, I just saw him back in the galley choking down another ration pack." She spoke, her brows furrowing slightly afterwards as she wondered if she'd chosen the wrong words... She hadn't meant the statement to be disparaging, merely informing Nova as to where she could find the Zabrak. "Poor thing must've had it rough down there." She added in a softer tone as she remembered just how thin he'd appeared in the over-sized clothing when she'd first laid eyes on him.

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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"Him and everyone else," Nova said idly.

Rossi nodded, "Yea, we saw the devastation caused by the First Order as we were leaving. They nearly leveled an entire city block."

Nova's body went cold as soon as she'd heard that. That wasn't the First Order, she thought, but she couldn't tell Rossi that. She doubted Rossi would even understand that it was an accident and Tsivoin... What would he say? It wasn't entirely clear or not if he was aware of what he did down there. When Nova had mentioned it in the maintenance tunnel there was a brief flash of confusion in his eyes. Given how devastated he was after leading the First Order to The Tangle she doubted he would handle it any better if he knew how many innocents he had killed directly.

"Are you alright," Rossi asked, "You look like you've seen a ghost."

"Um, yea," Nova replied quickly, "I'm fine, why?"

Rossi stared at her for a moment longer then shook her head. "You must have had it pretty rough down there too," she said, "Anyway, I'll meet you down on the tarmac."

She climbed down the ladder and headed toward the boarding ramp leaving Nova alone in the corridor. With one hand she idly patted the side of her jumpsuit, her body relaxing a bit after feeling the familiar bulge of her lightsaber. She hadn't really considered how hard it might have been for her back there. She had training whereas Tsivoin did not. On top of that anyone she cared about was already dead and gone and she'd already had a chance to deal with that loss. Tsivoin was still coming to grips with the loss of Senna and that was going to take time.

She headed down the ladder to the galley where she found the Zabrak sitting at one of the tables. "Hey," she said quietly, "we're going to head into town and buy some clothes. Thought you might want to have something of your own that actually fits."

"I don't have any money," he told her.

Nova held up a hand and shook her head. "I'll cover it, don't worry."

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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Tsiv looked up from the package of freeze dried... whatever it was that he was eating, and for a moment his violet eyes narrowed as they studied Nova. His mouth slacked open for just a second, as if he was going to argue, then closed again. He picked up the package and tipped it upside down, dumping the last few kernels into his mouth and disposing of the wrapper. Then he turned and nodded to Nova and the pair made their way across the common area of the ship to the lowered boarding ramp.

"I'll pay you back, when I can." Tsivoin finally spoke.

He couldn't see Nova roll her eyes, but she didn't bother to argue with him about it. If that was what it would take for him to be comfortable, so be it. The pair exited the ship and found Rossi waiting for them in the sprawling hangar.

"All ready to go?" She asked. As Nova replied for both of them, Rossi was looking over their shoulders, and in a few nearly imperceptible motions, she relayed instructions to SlackJaw who was standing at the top of the ramp as it closed.

The trio made their way out of the Morro Spaceport and swiftly blended in to the wandering crowds of Worlport, Ord Mantell's capital city. At fist blush, Worlport wasn't a whole lot different than any other bustling city center that Tsiv had seen... not that he'd been to many. It was littered with strip-malls full of individual shops, random kiosks littered throughout the walkways, a handful of casinos, a pub or cantina on each corner, and neon signs everywhere. It wasn't until a passing airspeeder made Tsivoin look upward that he noticed the eerie pink colored clouds suspended in the sky above them. He was fascinated by that for all of about four paces, before he caught a whiff of flesh being rendered over an open flame.

The teens stomach growled and his mouth started to water as his violet gaze shifted about until he zeroed in on the street vendor who was grilling some fresh meat up ahead of them. Tsiv bit his lip a bit and casually tugged on the sleeve of Nova's jumpsuit. He was embarrassed to have to ask for money, but the teen hadn't had a true meal like that in so long...

Nova glanced over at Tsivoin and was momentarily caught off guard by the sheepish expression on his face. She canted her head to the side slightly but was able to follow his gaze to the food vendor and realization flashed over her features. She rolled her eyes just slightly and nodded, handing him a few credits and shooing him off that direction. She and Rossi waited off to the side out of the way of passers-by and watched the Zabrak purchase two kebab's of some kind of grilled meat and vegetables.

Rossi couldn't keep the smile from tugging it's way across her lips, then turned to glance at Nova. "Sometimes I forget to appreciate the little things." She said softly as the two waited for Tsiv to return to them, having already finished half of the first kebab. He offered the other one when he arrived but they both politely declined.

It didn't take long for the group to make their way through the market, stopping here and there along the way to pick up clothing and necessary incidentals for Nova and Tsiv, as well as some supplies for the ship. They'd bought an oversized duffel and Tsiv and Nova had stuffed all their purchases inside it, while Rossi carried a small crate containing the supplies.

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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The three were having such an enjoyable time that for a moment Nova had forgotten all of her worries. Is this what it was like to have a normal life? A normal family? To go out shopping for clothes and for necessities? She could almost imagine that had her life turned out differently this is what she would be doing. Of course, that hadn't been the case. Neither of her parents thought she was worth raising and her foster parents weren't much better. To them she was a tax break and someone they could order around. She hated them, so she ran away. Again and again and again until they gave up looking, but being on her own wasn't much better. She had to learn to steal without getting caught, eat people's scraps from dumpsters when they weren't looking. That was no way for a child to live.

So distracted was she thinking about her past that she barely noticed a group of thugs approaching them. One of them elbowed her as he passed, breaking her out of her reverie. "Rossi," he said, "long time no see."

"What do you want, Wolf," she answered with a note of disgust in her tone.

"Just heard you were in town, wanted to say hi," he lied, "You know your boss cost me a lot of money. That cargo he freed was prime stock."

"Slavery is illegal, Wolf, you know that."

"In the New Republic," he pointed out, "but there are prime markets elsewhere that would have paid top dollar for them. The crew of the Bedlam owe me some money, I think."

Nova caught Tsiv's body tensing up out of the corner of her eye. She could see the rage swelling in his eyes and she placed a hand on his shoulder. He turned to look at her and she silently shook her head. For a moment he seemed to struggle with letting it go but he relaxed his shoulders nonetheless.

"Who are these two," Wolf asked, looking at Nova and Tsiv. "More strays? Durin sure loves to adopt worthless gutter trash, isn't that right, Rossi?"

Rossi glared at him. "We don't have time for this. Get out of our way."

She tried to push her way passed them but the four men standing behind Wolf drew blasters. In response Nova quickly drew hers and pointed it at Wolf. "Don't, alright? It doesn't have to go like this."

Wolf stared at her and the blaster she held in her hand and scoffed. "I count five to three, I like those odds."

"So do I," Nova told him flatly, "You turn around and leave right now and I won't have to knock you all flat."

There was a pause as Wolf processed that. She seemed serious, but she was just one girl. What exactly could she do to five heavily armed thugs? He started to laugh. "That's cute," he told her, "and I almost bought it, but Bedlam's gotta pay, alright? I'm sending Durin a message...," he started to draw his blaster but before he even got it out of its holster Nova shot him.

The man hit the ground in a heap and the four men behind him opened fire in response as Nova and her two companions scrambled for cover. It was Nova and Rossi trading shots with the thugs as Tsiv had no blaster. Blasterfire filled the intervening space between them, all the while Wolf was struggling to pull himself behind cover with a hole burned into his shoulder. Nova popped up to fire a few shots and nailed one in the chest. The other three sent a salvo of blaster bolts her way and she quickly ducked down behind a speeder as they burned into the side of the vehicle. Rossi traded a few shots with them but only succeeded in keeping their heads down.

Meanwhile, Tsivoin caught sight of a young woman caught in the crossfire. She was out in the open in the middle of all of this, cowering and covering herself while whimpering in fear. Having nothing else to do he quickly broke from cover and ran to her.

"Tsivoin, stay back," Nova yelled to him, but he ignored her.

He skidded to his knees next to the woman and gently helped her to her feet. as they turned to head for cover Wolf finally managed to get his blaster free and took aim at Tsivoin. He fired a single shot that was dead on target and Nova's face went white with the realization.

"Tsiv! No!" she shouted then she stood and thrust her hand out. The blaster bolt froze in midair, just inches away from Tsivoin's back. The Zabrak turned to look at it wide-eyed in wonder as all the shooting suddenly stopped.

Wolf Gunderson painfully heaved himself up to his feet with the help of a nearby food cart and stared at the frozen blaster bolt in amazement. Then he turned his gaze to Nova. Having revealed herself anything she did after hardly mattered so she drew her lightsaber and ignited the golden blade. "Leave," she told them, as firmly as she could. "Now!"

Wolf turned to his crew and nodded. They holstered their weapons and one by one they began filtering out of the area. Wolf turned to look at Rossi one last time. "This isn't over, pup. Tell Durin I'll be back." Then he turned his back on them and left, one hand cupping his injured shoulder.

Nova disengaged her lightsaber and released her hold on the blaster bolt once Tsiv and the woman were out of the way. The bolt flew across the intersection and burned harmlessly into a wall then she turned to Tsiv. "Come on, kid, we have to go," she told him.

"Go," Rossi asked, she seemed confused, "You're leaving?"

"We don't have a choice," Nova told her, "They're slavers, they work with the First Order and they know we're on the Bedlam. If we stay with you it'll be too dangerous. Tell Durin and the others thank you for us."

She and Tsiv collected their things then turned to leave but Rossi pursued them. "We'll protect you," she assured them, "You don't have to leave. Durin will...,"

Nova cut her off. "Durin can never know about this. No one can," she said, turning around to face her again. She gave the Kessurian a pleading look, "Please, Rossi, you can't tell anyone." She started to leave again but hesitated a moment then added, "And you need to forget about us, alright? It's for your own protection."

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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Rossi blinked and shook her head to try and clear her thoughts. She'd heard legends about beings with... abilities. Some of the talk made them sound like myths or deities... other stories made them out to be boogeymen, or harbingers of terrible things to come. Well, up until a few minutes prior, she'd never experienced anything in life that couldn't be explained or rationalized in some way. She would have to come to terms with this. But not now, not today.

"Look, this is barvy. Just stop, come here." She called after the pair, taking her honey hued gaze off of their frenzied retreat to look around at the bazaar. They were away from the casinos and bigger businesses... Most of the bystanders were still in cover, or continuing to move away from the area... if she hurried-

The Kessurian dropped to a knee and pulled a TC-83 unit out of her satchel and set it on top of their crate of supplies. A half dozen keystrokes and a determined punch of her pointer finger and the air all around them suddenly felt dry and charged. A handful of cracks, sizzles, and pops could just barely be heard, followed by some flagrant cursing from a few passersby. She quickly pocketed the unit and pulled out her comm, tapping a coded series of beeps into it as she looked to her side to see if Nova and Tsiv had stuck around. Thankfully, they had.

"Come on, kids. Where are you going? Wolf is small time, alright. Durin squared us away with that Koochu's boss after... all that went down. He's just bitter and looking to settle a score. I just fried anything capable of recording what happened within a four block radius, and frankly, I don't know what you did, how you did it, or what the frell that means to me and I doubt anyone else around here is gonna feel much differently." She paused, looking from one teens eyes to the others. "At least stick with us to the next system instead of taking your chances with another crew who may end up being like Wolf." She implored...

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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Nova was at a loss. One more system couldn't hurt and it would make it that much harder for any pursuers to find them. The problem was if anyone did catch up to them beforehand it would put the entire crew in jeopardy. She'd already dragged one innocent along for the ride and it cost the life of his friend. What price would she have to pay if she got the Bedlam crew involved?

"I don't know if we should," she started, "It won't be safe for you or the crew."

"We can handle it," Rossi assured her, "We've tangled with the First Order before."

Nova shook her head. "Not like this," she said, "The beings that are after me have powers too. It's their mission to destroy the last remnants of the Jedi and they won't stop until I'm dead."

"All the more reason to have friends to watch out for you," the Kessurian insisted. "Look, I can't go into too much detail, but the Captain used to work special ops. He knows how to stay off the grid. You'll be safe with us, I promise."

Nova stared at her then turned to look at Tsiv. He seemed at a loss for what was happening. If she asked he'd probably suggest going it alone. She knew how he felt about humans, but Rossi was right. The two of them by themselves would not be able to keep running from the First Order forever. Plus sticking with Vague and his crew may actually be the best option for them. At least for Tsiv. She could slip away on her own and lead the First Order away from them. Tsivoin would have someone to watch out for him and she wouldn't have to put anyone else in danger.

"Alright," she said quietly, "We'll stay for now, but you can't tell anyone about what happened, okay?"

Rossi gave her an uncertain look. That would mean lying to Vague and the others, she wasn't sure if she could do that. She wasn't sure if she should do that, but she had a feeling that Nova wouldn't stick around if she didn't at least promise so she nodded her head. "Come on," she said as she went back to pushing their crate, "let's head back."

She started walking in the direction of the spaceport and Nova shouldered her bag and followed behind her along with Tsivoin. As they were walking Rossi cast a curious glance back at Tsiv. "You said the First Order wouldn't stop until you were dead," she said quietly, "but what about Tsivoin? Does he have powers too?"

"I...," Nova began but she faltered, casting a sidelong glance at Tsiv before turning back to look at Rossi. "No," she lied, "he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."

She wasn't sure if she could tell either of them the truth. Tsivoin would be devastated to learn about the destruction he had caused back at Canto Bight and frankly Nova was still afraid of him. She'd seen the dark side of the Force up close before when Luke's students had turned against him. The death and destruction they left in their wake still kept her awake at night. Whenever she closed her eyes she was right back there at the temple as it burned and collapsed around her.

Rossi gave her an odd look. There was something about Tsivoin that seemed to frighten the girl but she didn't want to push it any further. Instead, she said nothing and the three of them walked in silence as they headed back to the spaceport. Once they had arrived they learned that Vague and Orev had already returned. They loaded up their supplies then headed up to the common area where the others were waiting for them.

"How'd it go," Orev asked, "Heard there was some commotion at the marketplace."

"Just Wolf and his gang causing some trouble," Rossi explained then she cast a glance at Nova who'd been staring at her. She said nothing, of course, but it was clear she didn't want Rossi to elaborate any further.

"Something wrong?"

"No, everything's fine," Rossi said finally, "So? Do we have a job?"

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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SlackJaw bounced a metal hand off the table he was sitting at and flipped his photoreceptors in Rossi's direction. "Do we ever. You're gonna love this one! We're gonna hit the Wanderl-"

Vague stepped down from the main corridor into the commons area and spoke over the droid. "Wasn't sure if you'd be coming back," His dark brown eyes regarding the pair of teens for a few moments. "Glad to have you." The Captain took a slow sip out of his steel tumbler, then offered them a reserved smile. "I'm sorry you had the displeasure of meeting Wolf Gunderson. We try not to make waves but it's not always easy in this line of work. You're all in one piece?"

Tsivoin was struggling to wrap his head around a lot of things. First... Nova had saved his life back there in the market, for which he was very grateful... but the teen was having a hard time making peace with the idea that he'd become indebted to a human, even Nova. Second... there was something wrong with the ship, and while he couldn't quite put a finger on what it was, it was absolutely eating away at a tiny corner of the back of his mind. Third... The Zabrak was positive he'd never seen a droid using furniture before and he was a bit ashamed in himself that it was bothering him like it was... and finally, he couldn't help but notice how Vague had very purposefully interrupted the droid from telling them anything more about the job... and the more he thought about that, the more he noticed the mans gaze seemed more calculative than it had been before they'd arrived on Ord Mantell.

Rossi noticed that the Zabrak seemed lost in thought, and a glance at Nova's set jaw told her that neither one of them seemed about to answer Durin. So she did instead. "Yup. I think Wolf expected to find one of us on our own. He and his goons didn't seem like they'd planned to slug anything out."

Orev grunted at that. "Still say we shoulda spaced that bastard when we had the chance."

Vague's lip twitched into the quarter-smirk Tsiv had seen a handful of times prior, but he otherwise ignored the remark. "Well at least there's that," He took another sip from the tumbler, then the smirk disappeared and he started dispatching orders. "Ros, I want you to see what you can do about making Wolf's day worse. I'd prefer if he weren't able to leave Ord Mantell for awhile, just in case he gets a bright idea and tries to follow us. Rev and EssJay, see if you can expedite the delivery from the ship-wright, use some petty cash if you need to. I want to be starbound by sundown..." He paused and must have used some non-verbal cue that Tsivoin didn't recognize, because the three crew-mates set off to their tasks. "Would you two follow me?" He spoke once they were alone, glancing back up the main corridor where he'd emerged from.

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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Nova shared a glance with Tsiv. She wondered what exactly Vague planned to say to them. Rossi had mentioned he worked special ops before. Nova wondered if that meant he had resources. Like the kind he could use to check into their history. Nova had a few arrest records from Vorzyd V that were in her public file that shouldn't be too hard to get. She briefly wondered if there was anything else he might have seen. Like the security tapes from Canto Bight. She knew there had to be some. She engaged in a lightsaber duel right there in the middle of the casino floor in front of a hundred witnesses. It might have been foolhardy for her to think that she could hide the fact she was a Jedi from him for very long.

Tsivoin returned her glance with a blank stare to which she responded with a shrug. Then she followed behind Vague down the main corridor. "You're going to teach us that eventually, right," she asked, "Your secret code?"

He stopped a moment to look at her. "I can't turn it off," she admitted, "I'm like hyper-aware of my surroundings like all the time. You were just in there barking orders then the minute you stop talking everyone leaves, no questions asked. That sort of makes me feel like this conversation we're about to have is going to make me uncomfortable."

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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A hint of amusement sparked up behind Vague's eyes before he responded to Nova. "Hyper-vigilance can be a cruel mistress, especially if the dial is stuck on eleven," he took a few more steps down the corridor, then stopped and turned back to the teens, an arm leaned against the lockers.

His eyes seemed to drift over to one of the tattoos on his forearm, but it was impossible to tell which one. "They say a lot of the time it's a symptom of traumatic stress.." His voice trailed off for a second or two, then with a subconscious shrug of his shoulders, his eyes shifted to Nova.

"Tell you what, kid. If you stick around long enough, you'll learn the code. Now," his head turned slightly to look at Tsiv. "I owe you an apology. I shouldn't have let you walk out of here today without a heater." Vague tapped a combination into a keypad and a portion of the corridor slid open to reveal a modest armory. "So take your pick."

He waited and watched as the Zabrak looked over at Nova briefly waiting for her to nod him along before he stepped up to the wall of shelves to look over the weapons. He still wasn't sure what it was about the two of them that had him twisted, even after he'd scoured the digital realm for what information he could find on them.

Durin could feel Nova's patience wearing thin, so he continued while the Zabrak browsed. "I'm sure you understand that I have a responsibility to my crew, and part of that means vetting who I let stay in our home." He paused to make eye contact with Nova.

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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She was afraid of this. She knew eventually he would start asking questions, she was just expecting it to have already happened. Still, she was not looking forward to answering or evading any of his inquiries. She turned away from him and hugged herself tightly. "What exactly do you want to know?"

"Who are you? Really?" He pressed.

Nova sighed and her shoulders drooped. "Don't make me answer that," she pleaded with him, "It's safer if you don't know."

Durin’s eyes narrowed a bit, and he was acutely aware of the Zabrak’s shifting posture. He hoped that the teen could keep his cool, a fight was not what he was after.

“This crew is my family, Kid. This ship is our home. I’m not asking you who you were. I told you that when we got to this rock.”

He sighed a bit, tilting his head slightly to the side. “You weren’t born Nova, you didn’t start out this way. You made a decision to be someone else. Believe me, I get it. Who is that? Who are you, now?”

Who am I now? Do I even know? Was she a Jedi? A thief? A con artist? Or just a kid? "I...," she started, but she faltered. She had no answer for him. "I don't know," she finished finally. "I'm just trying to keep him alive," she said, gesturing to Tsivoin, "He didn't have to be a part of this and it's my fault he's here. I just don't want anyone else to pay for my mistakes."

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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Tsiv looked up from the rack of weapons when she spoke of him, and a little bit more of the conflict within him slid away. It showed in his gaze, the hardness that usually set in his eyes when he looked at a human wouldn’t manifest. He blinked hard, then looked away.

Vague looked between them briefly, then nodded his head once. “Alright then, Nova, well start there. I work very hard to make sure no one pays for mine, either.” Vague paused as he noticed the Zabrak come to an abrupt decision, and he spared a glance away from Nova. “Sawtooth, huh? Nice choice. You both deserve to know, I did some searching around today and saw the First Order has taken out bounties on you after Cantonica.” He left out the part where the bounties described their alleged crimes and body counts in detail...

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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Nova glanced away from him but she didn't look surprised. She already knew the First Order was out for her and she suspected after what happened on Cantonica that they would be after Tsivoin as well. "Maybe it's better if we leave," she told him, "I didn't want to bring this down upon you and your crew."

"And you think going it alone against the First Order is the right move for both of you," he asked pointedly.

"What am I supposed to do," she asked him. Her eyes searching his, pleading with him for answers. "If we stay here they'll come for us eventually and you'll be caught in the middle!"

"That's our choice, isn't it," he asked, crossing his arms, "Each of us is hiding from something, Nova. Your story is no different."

"But--," she began and Vague cut her off.

"No buts," he said firmly, "Rossi convinced you to return here after that incident at the marketplace, right? She's made her choice. Rev and EssJay cast their votes already and they haven't changed their minds. It seems then that the only person who wants you to leave is you."

You're only saying that because you don't know the darkness that will follow me, she thought to herself. She turned her back to him and pondered her options. If she stayed and the First Order tracked them down she would be responsible for anything that happened to the crew. If she left and tried to strike out on her own with Tsivoin the odds of them being killed by the First Order rose significantly. She'd managed to stay a step ahead of them before but only just. Her only benefit was that the First Order had no idea who they were looking for. Now her picture was all over the holonet. Anonymity was no longer an advantage she would have.

Finally, she turned to look at Tsiv. "Since this whole thing started I've never asked what you wanted," she admitted, "So I'll ask you now. What do you think we should do?"

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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Tsivoin shifted weight from one side to the other and studied the deck below him intensely. She’d been running since the minute he he’d met her. The Zabrak figured it was a safe bet she’d been running most of her life. Truth be told he was surprised she she’d even consider staying, much less offer him the chance to weigh in on the decision.

Tsiv sighed a bit. He’d had a home back on Cantonica, though most in the galaxy would have probably balked at the notion of calling it that. He’d had Senna, and the collective of The Tangle as an anchor. He wanted an anchor, and despite himself, he wanted to show Nova what it was like to have one, too.

He finally looked up, and gave a decisive nod. “I want to stay.” He said softly.

Nova looked at him a moment. She couldn't quite shake that sinking feeling in her gut but she left the choice to Tsivoin and he made us decision.

"Alright," she said finally, glancing back up at Vague, "I guess we're staying."

Durin nodded his head. "Great," He glanced around the corridor at the Bedlam's bulkheads and then continued. "These CST freighters weren't designed with permanence in mind. Rev, Ros, EssJay and I have been making do, but- Well anyway, I put in an order while I was out in Wolport for some conversion bunks. If the Correllian's didn't get anything else right, they're at least maestro's of modularity. We're just waiting for the crews to swing in and get them installed and then we'll be on our way."

The conversion bunks would swap our the single beds in the four crew quarters units and replace them with dual bunks that were slightly inset into the bulkhead. They opened up a bit more floor space in the quarters, as well as doubling the sleeping capacity. He flipped his gaze between the two of them, then continued.

"I'm hoping the two of you don't mind sharing the unit you've been in?" He didn't really want to ask one of the others to take in Tsiv or Nova, if he didn't have to.

Tsiv just shrugged, looking over at Nova. He'd been crashing on the floor, which was only slightly less comfortable than the dingy sleeping mat he'd had back at The Tangle, so it didn't really bother him too much. The Zabrak had only ever slept on the floor of a cage, cell, or some other type of communal slave quarters, and if he was lucky he got to do so without a restraint on... so the thought of being offered a choice of bunk was just as absurdly alien to him as the shopping for his own clothes and supplies had been earlier that day.

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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Nova stared between the two of them. If she had to share a room she would have preferred Rossi to be perfectly frank, but she like Vague did not feel comfortable asking one of them to suddenly change their lifestyle. Plus she and Tsiv had been sharing the same room for the past two days already. "Um, I suppose that's fine," she said finally, though it was obvious she was at least a little bit uncomfortable with the idea. "Anyway," she continued before either of them could interject, "we have a lot of stuff to unpack. Thank you again."

Vague nodded and Nova quickly retreated back the way they had come leaving Tsivoin alone with Vague. She didn't know if the Zabrak would follow her and she didn't even turn around to check. She grabbed the duffle with their things and headed back to the room. There was a part of her that felt uncertain about involving Vague and his crew and she briefly wondered if she made a mistake leaving it up to Tsivoin. She just hoped that he wouldn't come to regret his decision...

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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"So what's your deal, kid?" Vague asked once Nova was down the ladder to the crew decks. "I was able to track down a decent file on the girl, but besides this bounty business with the First Order you might as well not even exist."

Tsivoin hadn't immediately followed Nova out of the corridor, he'd gotten the sense that she'd not wanted company. He instantly regretted it. The Zabrak looked around briefly but couldn't find a readily available excuse to escape. He glanced helplessly at the ladder, half hoping Nova would come back for him, before finally turning to face Durin and his question.

Tsiv shrugged uncomfortably before he responded. "I was born on Feldrona, but I don't know when. My village was attacked by raiders about seven years ago... they killed most of the adults and anyone else who resisted, enslaved the rest." He stopped for a second, a hard edge setting along his jawline. "I got sold around a few times, eventually ended up as Red Key Raider property. A couple of us got together and made a run for it awhile back. I got away from the Raiders but ended up stuck on Cantonica."

Vague's expression darkened. He felt for the kid. No one should have to live that way. His brow furrowed in concentration before he spoke. "I remember hearing about a rash of attacks around that time period... A group called the Amaxine Warriors teamed up with the Rinnrivin Di Cartel and cut a swath through the mid and outer rim. Sorry to hear you got caught up in it." He was a worthless gesture but there wasn't anything Vague could do to fix the kids past. This at least explained some of the kids behavior and attitude, though.

Vague led him into the cockpit and continued to ask questions, probing around in the Zabrak's history when he saw the chance, but mostly just trying to get to know who he was and what he was about.

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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Sometime later, Orev Masuda and SlackJaw returned to the ship with the crew from the local shipwright in tow. They immediately got to work on re-configuring the crew quarters and Orev stayed with the technicians to hopefully speed up the process.

SlackJaw and Rossi were in the middle of a game of Holo-Darts when Nova walked into the common area, having had to leave her quarters so they could be reconfigured. Rossi was laughing at something the droid had said or done, then she turned when Nova entered the space, offering the girl a kind, if a bit apprehensive, smile.

"How'd it go?" She asked, her honey colored eyes shifting to glance back at the corridor that led to the cockpit quickly before fixing themselves back on Nova.

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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Nova turned at the sound of Rossi's voice. The other girl was smiling at her but Nova could tell that she was a bit nervous. Whether that was from earlier after her blatant display of power or worry about what Vague had said to them she couldn't tell. If Rossi was afraid of her, though, Nova couldn't blame her. That was the natural response from people when faced with something they don't understand or can't explain.

"Tsivoin decided to stay," she told them.

Slackjaw and Rossi shared a glance, both of them noting she had specifically said Tsivoin. "And you," Rossi asked, turning back to look at her.

"I'm staying too, I guess," Nova said with a shrug.

Again the Kessurian and the droid looked over at each other. The girl didn't seem too ecstatic about it. "That's a good thing, isn't it," Rossi asked, "You won't be alone."

"Not in my experience," Nova muttered under her breath, but not loud enough for anyone to hear it.

"What?" Rossi said, "I didn't catch that."

Nova put her best smile on her face and turned a sweetly gaze to the Kessurian. "Of course," she lied, "Vague has been more than generous."

Rossi stared at her. She was good, that act was very convincing but years of hardship left scars on everyone. Scars that were not always visible except to those who knew what to look for. "Come sit with us," the Kessurian told her and she quickly scooted over to make room for Nova.

"Oh no, that's okay," Nova said holding up her hands, "I was just passing through."

"Passing through to where? There's nowhere else to be. Come play a game with us."

Nova cast an uncertain glance between them but ultimately conceded and sat down next to Rossi. "I've, um... I've never played," she admitted, "I've seen the game before, but I don't know the rules."

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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"Well come on, have a go. I don't keep score when I play SJ anyway." She told Nova, whispering one last bit, "He's got a bit of a gambling problem."

"You know full well that my audio-receptors are perfectly capable of picking up your modified modulation. And it's not a problem if I win." The droid piped up, sliding a set of six darts across the tables surface towards where Nova had just walked up. "They say 'its all in the wrist'." He offered, winking one of his yellow-green photoreceptors.

Rossi just rolled her honey colored eyes and hopped up off the chair to stand next to Nova. She spent the next handful of minutes explaining how the holo-dart board worked, what the numbers meant, how to score, and all the other things a first timer ought to know, then stood back for Nova to try it out.

"If you're through messing around, how about we play a set of Solar Ecliptic." SlackJaw asked, standing and collecting his own set of darts.

Nova looked between the two crew-members, then shrugged. "Just don't get upset when you get been by the new girl." She jeered.

The Olive and Tan droid flicked some microscopic dust off his right shoulder casing, the bright orange replacement casing, then stepped up to the line and threw his darts. He scored two hits on the single 20, one on the double 18, missed two attempts at the 17 completely landing instead in the adjacent 3 panel, and finally a single 15. The holo-board registered the appropriate markings for each of the categories as he walked up to collect his darts. "Your turn." He spoke quickly, obviously enjoying his success and the challenge of a new opponent.

Nova pretend to stretch her arm briefly and examine the weight and balance of the dart. Neither was necessary. She tossed the first dart and it landed dead in the triple 20 slot. The holoboard rang a tone to mark her successful shot. The next two darts stuck to the left and right of the first, both triple 20's. The board could hardly keep up with its sound effects as her score jumped up to 40 while SlackJaws still sat at 0. She hit two double 18's next, and her score jumped up to 58 under a cacophony of more holoboard chimes. The put another two more darts in the single 20 panel and the score jumped up to 98 - 0 in her favor.

Rossi stood to the other side of the board, her jaw just as slack as the droids as she reacted to Nova's throwing prowess. "Well I'll be Kesselled. SJ, you better quit taking it easy on her."

The droid took his place at the line, a bit more jittery this time, and threw his 6 darts much more rapidly than he had his first turn. A single 20 closed off that panel from further scoring, while a double and single 15 finally gave him some points on the board. He hit the both the double and single 17, then went for the 18 but missed low and right, landing in the number 4 panel. The score was now 98-15, in Nova's favor.

They took turns back and forth, but the rest of the game was mostly just SlackJaw trying to close off panels with three-hits to keep from allowing Nova to bloat her score any higher. In the end, there was only the bullseye left to close out, which Nova did in spectacular fashion, in the end, the score was a lopsided 220-79.

"I'm thinking I shoulda put some creds down." Rossi muttered. "You sure you've never played this before, girl?"

"What can I say," Nova said, noticing a bit belatedly that she might have overdone it a bit with the force-aided throws. "Beginners luck?"

Rossi offered her an incredulous stare, but shrugged nonetheless. "Well, I guess I get to play the winner since I sat out that round..."

They'd played through about half of another game, this time a much closer score as Nova's uncanny ability to find just the doubles and triples she needed seemed to wane a bit, before something SlackJaw said made Rossi lose her concentration and she sent one of the darts careening off the bulkhead a few feet wide of the holoboard. She erupted into a fit of laughter, crumpling up a napkin from the table and tossing it at the droid, who dodged it effortlessly.

Rossi's giggling suddenly stopped and she turned to look over at Nova quickly. "Waitaminute, if the shipworkers are down in the crew cabins with Orev... and you're here- Where's the kid?" She asked slowly.

Nova shrugged slightly and met the Kessurian's gaze. "Last I saw him was by the storage lockers with Durin." She said offhand. "He didn't follow me down to the cabins so-"

Rossi sucked in a short breath. "Oh man, that long in the hot seat? Hope he didn't know anything you wanted to hide." she half-jested.

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Pryde
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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

Post by Pryde »

Rossi's last remark genuinely threw Nova off her game and her carefully aimed throw that she had planned to miss flew wide of the board and hit the bulkhead. It was the first time the girl had missed the board completely. The first time she actually, genuinely missed. Rossi and Slackjaw looked down at the discarded dart lying on the floor. Rossi's expression was one of surprise, she hadn't expected that kind of reaction.

"Um, haha," Nova laughed nervously, "Durin wouldn't do that, right? I mean he gave me that whole I'm not asking who you were I'm asking who you are speech."

"So the kid does know something," Rossi asked, her expression thoughtful.

Oh my god, did you forget, Nova asked herself, the incident in the marketplace wasn't that long ago. She didn't think Tsivoin would give away her secret, but Durin was a crafty one. He saw through her subterfuge which she thought was probably one of her best performances. On top of that he made a living as a smuggler so conning people was his bread and butter.

"May I inquire about something," Slackjaw interjected suddenly, "Is there some reason you are deliberately losing?"

Nova blinked at him in confusion. "I'm sorry, what?"

"My photo-receptors are sensitive enough to pick up even the slightest variation of muscle movement. Your last five shots have all been on target but you deliberately missed all the important parts of the board."

Rossi stared at her wide-eyed. "Wait a minute, are you losing to me on purpose?!"

"I...," Nova started, unsure of what to say. "I should go," she finished sheepishly, "I have to go check on Tsivoin, plus there's strange men in my room and I've only just moved in, you know how it is. Thanks for teaching me how to play the game, bye!"

She quickly beat a retreat back down the hallway towards Tsivoin and her quarters before either of them could respond...

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VagueDurin
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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

Post by VagueDurin »

The crews were finished, and Orev Masuda had just finished sealing up Slackjaws cabin. The Duros walked passed the ladder and was just entering the Galley at the same time that Nova was hurrying through from the other direction. The pair slowed and tried to evade but still collided slightly. Orev stumbled back a step and held his hands out in front of him.

"Sorry about that, kid. I didn't hear you coming." He spoke and his tone made it known that this surprised him. Nova was certainly light on her feet, even when rushing about. He tilted his bald head a bit to the side and appraised her with orange-red eyes. "Mods are finished, we'll probably shove off as soon as we get a departure window and start on dinner once we're safe in hyperspace."

The teen nodded her head, but didn't quite look him in the eyes and made no attempt to respond, so the old spacer simply nodded back, side-stepped to allow her through, and then headed out into the common area. It was awhile later when Nova could feel the drives kicking on that Tsivoin had finally managed to escape the cockpit. If he hadn't revealed to Vague and the others his phobia of flight, the poor Zabrak wasn't sure he'd have ever escaped the Captains scrutiny.

He'd slid down the ladder as quickly as he was able, and stepped forward into the crew cabin area, stepping up to the closed door of the first one on the right that he'd been sharing with Nova since they'd been accepted aboard. The teen paused, remembering her less than ecstatic response when Vague had essentially assigned them both to the cabin, and glanced down at the old, oversized boots on his feet. They'd bought some new ones at the market in his size, but he'd not had a chance to change into them yet. He took a quick breath in, held it, and knocked lightly on the door.

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