Twilight of the Force

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

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Twilight of the Force

Post by Pryde »

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



Elena hated this planet. The neon lights, the loud music, the crowds. She hated the crowds. Home to the city of Canto Bight, Cantonica was the number one luxury get away for wealthy tourists, gamblers and war profiteers. Built on the shore of the sea of Cantonica, the galaxy’s largest artificial ocean, Canto Bight was a beacon of opulance on an otherwise barren world. Nowhere else in the galaxy was the decadence of high society so blatantly on display as it was here. The rich and powerful gambled and drank themselves into a stupor while the less fortunate worked the casinos and the racetracks. Forced to live in conditions not fit for habitation, many of the denizens have banded together to form semi-autonomous communities in the hills surrounding the city.

Working conditions for many on the planet left much to be desired. Few were lucky enough to earn a paycheck while most were treated as little more than slaves. The best anyone could hope for was a spot in the stables tending the fathiers. A roof over your head, a pile of hay to sleep on, living in the lap of ‘luxury’--if you don’t mind the beatings, that is. For most, however, they could find a home in any number of ramshackle communities dotting the hills just outside the city. Communities like the Tangle located outside the wall just west of Old Town. Built amid the ruins of an ancient city the Tangle was little more than an encampment of shanties, tents, and shelters half thrown together into a makeshift settlement. Out of sight, out of mind, places like the Tangle represented the true underbelly hidden beneath Cantonica’s lavish streets. Groups of homeless beings all coming together to form semi-autonomous communities on the far outskirts of the city. In squalor, like animals, while society's elite trampled over them.

Elena had half a mind to do some trampling of her own, but she was here on business and trampling wasn't on the itinerary. With a sigh, she came to a stop in front of one of the largest casinos in Canto Bight. A bright neon sign hanging above the entrance proudly proclaiming its name, Coruscant Hotel and Casino. Named, of course, after the original capital of the Galactic Republic then later the seat of power for the old Empire. A tyrannical government that fell apart nearly thirty years ago, long before she was born.

As she stared up at the sign a group of beings began to descend the stairs in front of her. She immediately looked at her feet as they passed, one hand pulling her hood tighter around her face. She wasn't dressed in anything fancy, not like the people around her. She wore typical spacer garb, a muddy gray poncho over dark shirt and trousers. Completely non-descript--or at least she had hoped. In this environment, however, the outfit made her stand out even more. Still, the poncho served its purpose, hiding her weapons from prying eyes. As the group passed, she overheard one of them comment on her appearance, mocking her in front of the others. The three women each shared a laugh at her expense and Elena glared at them. When their backs were turned, she stuck her tongue out at them, immediately feeling rather childish. Her cheeks red she turned and headed up the stairs to the casino.

At the top a large, burly alien stood outside of a massive entrance. "Gotta check ya for weapons," the Nikto told her as she approached.

Elena’s gait did not falter as she stepped right past him. "You don't have to check me for weapons," she asserted.

The Nikto stared at her a moment then shrugged. "Nah, I don't gotta check ya for weapons."

Inside the noise was ear-shattering. Between the music, the slots, the crowds, and the constant sound of poker chips and dice rolls it was a wonder anyone could hold a conversation. People passed by almost shoulder to shoulder as servers carrying drinks carefully made their way through the crowd. A large uproar arose from a nearby sabacc table. Apparently, someone was having a great night. She waited a moment and watched the game with an idle curiosity. She didn't have the luxury to partake, however, as she was here to meet someone. A man known only by his title, the Master Codebreaker. She had no idea what he looked like, only that he wore a red plom bloom on his lapel. His usual haunts were the dice tables at any high-stakes casino in Canto Bight. Just the dice tables, though. Apparently, he wasn't allowed to touch the digital stuff.

Can't imagine why...

She stopped next to a large card table, her eyes searching the crowd for a red plom bloom. There were so many people present that the task of finding a single person based on his pin felt like an impossibility. Not so much for her, as it turned out. It didn’t take long for her to garner some unwanted attention. She’d hoped the hood would keep people away, but in actual fact it made her stand out.

"Well, well, a mysterious beauty enters my world," a man said as he sidled up next to her at the table, eyeing her from head to toe. "C’mon, love, take that hood off and show me your pretty face?"

"Beat it," she told him.

The man looked disappointed. "Aw, don't be like that. Lemme try to get to know you first."

Elena groaned, discreetly lifting the edge of her poncho to reveal the Westar 35 she wore on her belt. "I said scram."

The man's eyes bulged. "Uh, yea--right," he said, slinking back into the crowd. Never taking his eyes off her.

The girl sighed, turned her attention back to searching for the Codebreaker. There was another commotion from a table a short distance away. A large crowd had gathered around a craps table, packed so tightly they obscured her view of the dice roller. Pushing away from the card table she tried to make her way closer. She’d barely made it a few feet when a pair of larger beings suddenly obstructed her path, forcing her to dance around them to avoid being knocked over. The two Ithorians appeared not to notice as they passed, idly chatting among themselves while pointing to a row of slot machines.

“Hey, I’m walking here,” she shouted at them, but the two beings ignored her.

She glowered at the pair until they were out of sight before turning her attention back to the crowded table. After moving a bit closer she could barely make out the form of a well-dressed man wearing a white jacket through the gaps in the crowd. He was leaning forward over the table to pick up the dice when she saw him. As he did so she briefly caught a flash of a small red pin on his lapel.

Red plom bloom, she thought before working her way around to his side of the table. Her first attempt to push through the crowd met with resistance as well as a few nasty comments. Still she persisted, wedging herself between people until she found herself standing right next to the man.

"Are you the one they call the Master Codebreaker?" she asked.

The man paused just long enough to look down at her with what looked like the slightest hint of surprise. "They’re letting kids in here now?" he asked, one hand reaching for the dice.

"I'm not a kid,” she asserted, “I'm eighteen."

"My apologies," he said, shrugging his shoulders before tossing the dice down the length of the table. There was a brief pause followed by a celebratory pump of his arm. A rousing cheer rose from the crowd.

Elena fidgeted, looking up at him in annoyance. "Look, I don't have time to be coy. I’ve got a job for you, so are you the Codebreaker or not?"

"I don't work pro bono, Kid, and you don't look like you have much to pay with."

That stung a bit, but then the truth always did. Still, she didn’t appreciate him pointing out she wasn’t exactly swimming in cash. "Can we go talk somewhere private or do I have to do this here?"

"Depends on what you're offering," he said, reaching for the dice once more.

She frowned. "I was told you'd be sympathetic toward my plight."

"Told by whom?" he said, never taking his eyes off the table.

"Maz Kanata."

He stopped finally, looking at her with renewed interest. "How do you know that name?"

Elena refrained from answering him. Instead, she picked up the dice, placing them back into his open palm. She gestured toward the table with a nod of her head. Codebreaker gave her a strange look before he tossed the dice away. As they tumbled across the table the girl made a slight gesture with her hand. It was a subtle movement but enough that Codebreaker saw it. In response both dice stopped rolling, landing on a five and six. There was a mix of cheers and groans from the patrons around the table. The Codebreaker, however, had not yet taken his eyes from his winning roll. After a moment he leaned over to the woman standing next to him.

"Cash me out," he told her, even as the dice were being passed back to him. He ignored the man running the table, turned his attention back to Elena. "Come with me…"
Last edited by Pryde on Fri Apr 21, 2023 5:33 am, edited 15 times in total.
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by VagueDurin »

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 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 'Circle 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. "Kichkina, your favorite parts coming up, you're gonna miss it." He spoke, referring to Rossi as 'little one' in Soccoran, 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. The pink skinned crewmate had to carefully vault over the curled up form of Heval, Vagues pet Mutriok. The four legged predator simply lifted one fur tufted ear up to blink an amber colored eye in her direction before letting out a content sigh and repositioning itself on the deck. Having cleared the tan and grey colored companion, Rossi next 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...

The automated flight in was uneventful. Once the Ninth Circle was safely tucked into the berthing and her systems were all shutting down or going into standby, Vague rose his from the pilots chair and headed aft into the main hold to meet with the rest of his crew. "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 was scouring any unsecured cred-cards or personal devices in her vicinity, occasionally helping itself to those unsuspecting beings hard earned credits. Rossi finally relented and let go her grip on the older Duros' arm. They had finally arrived at the main attractions and would be splitting up to chase their own vices. For Orev, it was a storefront boasting all sorts of exotic varieties of Tabac... for Rossi, it was a galaxy renowned chocolatier.

Meanwhile, half a klick southwest in The Tangle:

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 paved and decorated 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 twin hearts 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-tunics 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...

Some time later:

The sun was nearly setting as the pair of outlaws 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 place 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 while, 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.

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 Where have you been in Sy Bisti. "Ngalinda isikhathi eside." I've been waiting a long time Senna Bertyl rebuked him in an exasperated tone.

"Angikwazanga ukuzibamba, kulungile? Red Key Raiders zikhona yonke indawo." I couldn't help it ok? Red Key Raiders were all over the place. 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 her tea-rose complexion. Senna had found Tsivoin abandoned and starving in the spaceport and taken him in with her at The Tangle. They 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." Be careful along the way

"Njalo." Always 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...

Back at Kangs Place:

"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 downed the shots, slamming them back to the bartop.
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by Pryde »

Codebreaker led her up several floors to a private suite and Elena got her first look at a life of decadence. The door opened into a lavishly decorated room complete with couch for sitting, a holovid the size of the wall, separate seating areas for drinking or gambling and doors leading into ajoining rooms. She let her eyes dance over everything, wondering why anyone would need all that space. Her thoughts were interrupted as the door opened again. A woman entered the room shortly after they did. The same woman from the craps table hanging off Codebreaker's arm.

"Lovey, do be a dear and get us some drinks," the man said to her, gesturing to a small bar on the other side of the room.

Lovey gave him a brief look of annoyance. Elena thought she might say something, but instead she crossed the room, fetched up some glasses and began filling them with some kind of brown liquid.

Meanwhile, Codebreaker turned his attention to Elena. “I must say, it’s fortunate you’re alive. When we got word that Skywalker's temple had been destroyed there wasn't much hope for survivors.”

Elena froze, her back stiffened. "I’m not here to talk about that. I have a job for you."

“So you’ve said,” Codebreaker answered. He studied her for a moment, probably judging whether he should push the issue. Finally, he moved over to a pair of opulent chairs flanking a gaming table on the other side of the room. He sat in one, inviting her over to occupy the other. By the time she’d taken a seat Lovey had returned from the bar with a pair of drinks. One she handed to Codebreaker, the other she offered to Elena. The young Jedi glanced at the drink before waving it off.

The older woman seemed only slightly put off by her refusal, opting to keep the drink for herself. She sat on the arm of Codebreaker’s chair, one arm draped over his shoulders. Elena found her presence annoying. She’d come here to hire the Master Codebreaker, not empty her dirty laundry in front of his groupie.

"So,” Codebreaker said, drawing her attention away from Lovey. He paused long enough to take a quick sip from his drink. “What can I help you with, Miss…”

“Elena Connor,” she said, answering his unspoken question. “In short? A new life… and the old one erased."

Codebreaker arched an eyebrow. "You're going into hiding."

It was a statement, not a question. Elena easily picked up on the note of disappointment in his tone. Maz Kanata had told her he was a freedom fighter. Probably on Canto Bight working an angle of his own, no doubt thought she’d be useful. This planet drew the worst types of beings from all over the galaxy. Rich snobs rubbing elbows with diabolical warlords. A Jedi could make a real difference here.

A Jedi could, but an apprentice… “Your point?” she said, giving him a guarded look.

"I mean no offense, but someone with your abilities..." His words trailed off.

Elena averted her gaze. "I'm sorry,” she said, her arms wrapped tight around herself, “but I can’t. I'm not like you, or Maz. I’m not a hero.”

“Is that what you think I am?”

Her expression soured. “Does it matter? Just being here is dangerous enough. For you and--,” she faltered, not really knowing the name of Codebreaker’s assistant. “Her.”

The other woman looked worried. Up till now she’d only been half listening, watching Elena with an idle curiosity. At the mention of danger her ears perked up. Suddenly finding herself with an overabundance of concern. “Dangerous how? What are you running from?"

"Lovey," the Codebreaker said, silencing her with a stare. No good would come from invoking the name of the First Order here. He turned his attention back to Elena, "What you want from me is possible, but temporary. I can create for you a new identity, but it won't last."

He was right, of course, Elena knew that. The First Order wasn't just a quasi-paramilitary dictatorship. They had regular dealings with a group of Jedi hunters known as the Knights of Ren. Beings with command over the same powers she had. No amount of computer wizardry would hide her from them forever. "It'll buy me some time."

"True,” he said, “but what will you do with it? Do you have a plan?”

Elena faltered, this wasn't the direction she saw this going. This is the fething plan.

Codebreaker waited for her to answer. When it was obvious she wasn't going to he continued. "There are others like you, you know. The Resistance—"

"No," she interrupted him, a bit more harshly than she’d intended. "No more wars. I didn't sign up to fight for the Republic, I was just trying to get out of the shithole of Vorzyd V."

“Fair enough,” he said, sighing in resignation. He stood. “I’ll need a few hours to pull together the necessary documents. Lovey would you be so kind as to entertain our guest?”

Elena thought the other woman might’ve appeared annoyed by the request. She stayed seated where she was until Codebreaker had left the room, finally turning her attention to the young Jedi.

“Can I get you anything?”

She shook her head.

“Are you sure?” Lovey said, eyeing her from head to toe.

Elena couldn’t help feeling self-conscious under her scrutiny. Lovey had the same judgemental look as the group of women she met outside the casino. Aside from the poncho, every garment she wore was well worn and one or two sizes too big for her, all of it stolen. She had a few credits to her name, but not enough to purchase new clothes. Not that she needed any. What she had now was functional and that’s all that mattered.

“Can you stop looking at me like that?” Elena said, shifting uncomfortably in her seat.

“My apologies.”

She said it the same way Codebreaker had when he criticized her age. Elena found that even more annoying. She was about to say as much when Codebreaker came back into the room. Much sooner than he said he would. He had a disturbed look on his face and a datapad in one hand.

“What is it?” Lovey asked, beating Elena to the punch.

“Canto Bight Police Department is on full alert and a First Order star destroyer has been rerouted to Cantonica.”

“What?” Elena said, immediately jumping to her feet. “How? Why?”

She gave him an accusatory look to which he held up a hand. Tapping a command into the datapad he made a swiping gesture toward the holovid. The device sprung to life with security feed from the Cantonica starport. The video ran for a short while until a familiar figure entered the frame. Codebreaker paused the playback, zooming in on the woman’s face.

“They tagged you coming into the city.”

“They? The First Order?”

He shook his head. “Someone with resources. I’m still trying to figure out who. More disturbing is that they set up this net before you arrived, meaning—”

“They knew she was coming,” Lovey finished for him.

He nodded.

“But the only one I talked to was…,” Elena trailed off. “She wouldn’t, would she?”

“Maz is careful, but not omniscient," Codebreaker explained, "As perceptive as she is she cannot judge the intentions of everyone who frequents her watering hole.”

“Well, that’s just fething great…”

Lovey stood from her chair, moving closer to the door. Meanwhile, Codebreaker stepped beside Elena, handing her a small device. “Here, this’ll get you through the service entrance at the starport. From there you can sneak aboard a ship.”

“And do what? Crash it? I’m not a pilot.”

He smiled. “That you’ll need to figure out for yourself. I have faith in you.”

At least one of us does. “And what’ll you be doing?”

“Disrupting their communications, pinging their net with ghosts. It’s not much, but it’ll buy you some time.”

Not much indeed, it was a lot less than she hoped for. Then again he was known for his reputation of being the galaxy's greatest slicer, not the galaxy's greatest warrior. With a sigh she spun on her heel, heading toward the door. Codebreaker stopped her with a hand on her arm.

“One last thing,” he said, “Your name. You need to change it. Don’t ever let anyone know who you are.”

Elena set her jaw in annoyance, half ready to protest. Before she could say anything Lovey interrupted them from the doorway.

“Codebreaker,” she said, drawing all eyes to her. While they were occupied she’d been peeking into the hallway outside. After getting their attention she closed the door, quickly stepping away from it.

Codebreaker glanced down at his datapad, frowning. “CBPD were faster than I imagined. Someone must’ve spotted us entering the turbolift.”

Elena stood on her tiptoes, peeking over his arm to get a look at the screen. A squad of four police officers were carefully making their way down the hallway toward Codebreaker’s room. “Fething hell,” she swore. This day was not at all turning out the way she’d hoped.

Tucking the datapad into his back pocket, Codebreaker wrapped an arm around her shoulders, directing her toward the balcony at the back of the room. “Go, hurry,” he said.

“Out the back,” she asked incredulously. “We’re ten stories up!”

“Don’t you Jedi defy logic all the time?”

"A Jedi, sure. But I'm--" she said when an angry pounding at the door interrupted her. The sound echoed throughout the room, thundering into her chest with each strike.

“Canto Bight police! Open up!” A man shouted from the hallway.

Codebreaker shoved her toward the balcony. “No time to argue, just go!”

Elena stumbled, somehow managing to maintain her balance. She cast an uncertain look back at Codebreaker. “What about our deal?”

“Now isn’t the time.”


“Elena,” he said, his tone firm.

Biting her lip she turned back to the balcony, taking off at a run. She made it several steps before the door to the suite exploded inward. Police officers poured into the room, weapons raised and at the ready. Stun pulses followed her out onto the balcony as she leapt over the railing, the blasts narrowly missing her by a few inches.

“Feth! Feth! Feth! Feth,” she cursed, free falling down the side of the building. With her eyes closed she used a telekinetic blast to propel herself back toward the hotel. With a loud crash she smashed through a window into an unsuspecting patron’s bedroom. She hit the ground hard, landing on her side. The impact jarred her arm, sending a sharp jolt of pain straight through her body. She rolled backward into a dresser, hitting it with a hollow thump and threatening to knock it over.

The room’s occupants stared at her with wide eyed disbelief, clinging to their blankets, desperate to cover their bare chests. Elena wobbled as she scrambled back to her feet, rushing out the room toward the front door. Screams followed her down the hallway, but she ignored them. She raced past the turbolift to the stairs, taking them down three at a time. When she hit the ground floor she burst into the casino, straight into the arms of an unsuspecting Zabrak. The pair tumbled over each other, landing in a heap. A dozen wine glasses shattered against the floor, punctuated by a loud clatter caused by the metal tray the Zabrak was carrying. All eyes in the vicinity turned to them.

“Gun!” Someone cried. “She’s got a gun!”

Elena glanced at her hip, quickly flipping over the edge of her poncho to cover the weapon, but the damage was already done. Everyone around them scrambled away in every direction. Some climbing over tables while others crashed into and over each other. Elena leveraged a nearby card table to pull herself to her feet. Through cracks in the chaos she managed to spot several police officers pushing their way toward them.

“There,” one of them shouted, “Stop them!”

Swearing under her breath she turned back to the Zabrak, offering him a hand. “You need to go, now.”
Last edited by Pryde on Thu Apr 06, 2023 5:53 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by VagueDurin »

"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, so 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.

As ever the guests of the casino were either so absorbed in their garish pursuits, or simply didn't care one iota about being in the way of a being attempting to accomplish a task. The grey and black skinned Zabrak steadied the tray for a third time after being bumped into by a particularly ornately dressed Twi'lek and sighed under his breath. A few twists and a turn brought the teen to the appropriate table. He slowed to a stop and reached down to press a blinking amber switch on the underside of the table which immediately caused a tray stand to slide outward from the tables side. Tsivoin then carefully lowered the tray so that it rested securely on the stand as he did so, he forced a broad and comletely false smile across his face.

"Three Tarkenian Nightflowers?" He called out, then quickly distributed the cocktails to the appropriate guests. "And the Lomin Ales? Great." Those two he passed out, "And the Andoan Wine?" No one looked up. He gave the briefest of sighs, glancing at the table. There were still three guests who hadn't acknowledged his presence, and none of them had an empty wine glass in front of them. I can't read your minds, you know? Tsiv thought as he allowed the most microscopic of sighs. "Andoan Wine?" He repeated, pointedly looking at the remaining three guests.

A human with fair complexion glanced up from her cards and cast an annoyed glance at him before turning her attention to anything else. "Apologies, gentle beings, did one of you order a glass of And-"

"What have you got there?" asked another human without looking at the Zabrak, a garishly dressed man with smokey grey-black hair and a carefully waxed mustache.

Tsiv took a moment to compose himself and then began to reply "Sir, were you waiting for an Andoa-" Before he could finish, the man had reached over and snatched the glass from the tray, causing it to topple off the stand. Tsiv barely caught it before it clanged off onto the floor.

"I ordered this eons ago." The man rebuked before taking a whiff of the burgundy colored liquid. "Hermph, hardly even a hint of Lyterotag Berries." He finally took the time to look over at Tsivoin and his lip curled beneath the mustache, his next statement was clearly made more so about Tsiv than the wine. "Standards here certainly have fallen. That'll be all."

Tsivoin bit at the inside of his cheek, his violet eyes darkening a shade. "Ofcourse, Gentle beings." He replied with a quarter bow and spun on his heel to return to the bar. Tsiv's brooding about the disrespectful man was so loud that he hadn't heard the barbacks instructions.

"Hey! Hornhead, Celanon Semi. A dozen. Table 16." The impatient tone told Tsiv he'd probably already repeated the order more than once.

"Right. On it." Tsivoin nervously replied. He and Senna had to do their very best to be unmemorable when working. They had no papers, worked for hard, unreported creds, and had no social system to rely on. Casino's like this one didn't ask any questions when you turned up looking for work, but they sure would get curious if you gave them a reason to be.

The Zabrak took off at as brisk of a pace as his ill-fitting shoes would allow him. Table 16 was near a side stage where a performer was busy regaling anyone who would pause long enough to tip. It would require him to skirt along the outside of the casino floor and cross the very busy kitchen area. He'd just finished carefully navigating between runners carrying full trays out and bringing dirty dishes back into the kitchen when the next thing he knew he'd been struck sidelong and was falling.

He hit the ground hard on his back, his horns bouncing off the cool marble floor and his vision dazed. Vaguely he was aware of the pool of straw colored wine seeping into his pantleg and a strange weight atop his chest. It took a few moments for clarity to find him, and his eyes widened as he realized he'd been bowled over by a human female. Likely somewhere to go and didn't care who got in the way he thought to himself. About the time the teen was coming to the realization that he'd just spilled about a camtono full of credits worth of wine, he heard someone shouting about a blaster. The being who'd run him over had just pulled themselves upright and from beneath their hood he could just barely see a young females face, bright green eyes in the center bracketed by strands of auburn hair. She didn't look like a robber.

Before he could think of anything to say or do the human thrust a hand out at him, causing him to flinch away. A moment passed and he realized there wasn't a blaster in her hand. "You need to go, now." She spoke.

"Wha?" he replied stupidly.

Elena shot another quick glance towards the still chaotic crowd to confirm her suspicion that security was closing in, then shook her hand in Tsiv's direction once more. "You're not deaf right? You need to get away from here before they see your face."

Tsivoin's somewhat bewildered expression tightened into the beginnings of a scowl. "Ukhuluma ngani?" What are you talking about? he muttered in Sy Bisti, touching the palm of his left hand to his temple. "You scram! I've got to get this cleaned up and figure out how I'm going to explain to the bar how I lost a dozen glasses of wine." He retorted.

"I don't speak that... whatever that is," she said, casting another look over her shoulder. Casino security and Cantonica police officers were still closing in. They were much closer now, too close to waste any time.

Meanwhile, the crowd was still stampeding. No one really knew what they were running from so they were running everywhere. As much as she wanted to admire the kid for his dedication to his job, if he stayed here any longer he'd be crushed under the weight of the crowd.

"Sorry, Kid, but it's not safe," she said, grabbing his arm and pulling him to his feet, "We gotta move now."

The moment Tsivoin got his feet back underneath of him the Zabrak followed Elena's gaze into the Casino and made eye contact with one of the Cantonica Policemen. The cop looked first at Tsiv, then Elena, then his eyes focused on where her hand held the Zabraks arm. He then raised a gloved hand to his lips and reported into his comlink that the terrorist was not alone. That she was traveling with a grey Zabrakian male.

"You work here, right?!" Elena quried as she drug the Zabrak away from the security forces closing in on them.

"Well, yeah." Tsiv replied, glancing down at his unifrom pointedly.

"Ok great, then why don't you help yourself out. Show me how to get us out of here!" Elena exclaimed, a bit exasperatedly. Deep down, she knew it wasn't the kids fault... He had no idea what kind of danger he was in or how much trouble it'd cause him if they got caught now. But still, a little urgency wouldn't hurt she thought to herself as she glanced back over her shoulder.

Tsiv was overwhelmed, confused. His twin hearts pounding in his chest. Why was security after her? Why did she need to drag him along. A thought suddenly occured to him. "You aren't going to hurt me, are you?" He asked, starting to shorten his stride. If she was a criminal - was he now a hostage?

"What? No! Why would you even-" She realized belatedly that she'd been so surprised by the question she'd stopped running altogether. Fething get a grip here, Elena she thought to herself briskly. "Look those goons want me locked up, or dead. I don't really know which and I'm not sure which'd be worse. But either way they catch us they're definitely going to hurt us both. So if you'd please?" She finished, gesturing again the way they'd been running.

Tsiv was panting from the stress none of this made sense but one thing she said, he heard very clearly. They're definitely going to hurt us both. For a moment the pain of thousands of nights in captivity washed across his face and eyes, and in the next instant he shook his head violently to banish those thoughts. Whatever was going on, he needed to run. "That way's no good." He stated, his voice no longer waivering. "Come on. This way - there's a service tunnel in the back of the kitchen that leads to the delivery area we can get out there." He explained, shaking his arm out of her grasp and flipping the script by grabbing her wrist instead and pulling her along.

The pair crashed through a pair of double doors and were immediately sorrounded by the noise and bustle of a busy kitchen. From the grill area an Elomin shouted something at them in a language neither of them understood as Tsiv guided her through the malestrom towards the door in the back. They were about a dozen steps away when one of the policemen finally caught up with them. He shouted something at their backs, but didn't wait for a response before bringing up his rifle to fire.

Just as he was squeezing the trigger one of the cooks backed into him while carrying a tray causing his blaster to shift in his hands. The blast struck somewhere in the ceiling and at the sound of it, Tsiv skidded to a halt and turned to look. The errant shot turned out to be less harmless than it first seemed though, as it had struck a support piece and now a massive industrial fan duct meant to collect smoke from the grill was creaking and groaning. Before Tsiv could do anything else, the support gave way and the duct started to fall, likely to crush the policeman and several of the cooks beneath it.
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by Pryde »

Support struts broke apart, giving way as the the massive weight of the industrial fan strained the remaining struts beyond their capacity. The metal beams twisted and bent, shrieking loudly. Elena covered one ear with her free hand, her eyes shut tight against the sharp wail of warped metal. She forced herself to look again when the Zabrak came to a sudden stop. She nearly barreled into him a second time, but managed to stop herself. Behind them and above the large ceiling was toppling over. Debris from the roof had fallen on top of one of the cooks, pinning her in the path of certain death.

Two more cooks and a cop were in the danger zone as well. Elena had only a split second to decide, keep going and let these people die? Or save them and get caught in the process? Between those two options there wasn't even a choice. She snatched her arm free from the Zabrak's grasp, stretching both hands out toward the ceiling fan. Sweat beaded on her forehead, dripping down her brow and pooling on her chest. The massive fan slowed as it fell, eventually coming to a full stop several meters off the ground. Holding the weight of so much metal forced Elena down to one knee.

"Kid," she said, her voice strained, teeth clenched. "Grab the girl!"

For the briefest of moments, Tsiv remained motionless. His eyes darted between the now hovering apparatus and stranger who'd led him into this mess.

Elena must have sensed his apprehension because she urged him onward again.

"Kid, now. I won't be able to hold this much longer."

Tsivion sucked in a deep breath and sprung into action. The teen rushed forward and grabbed at the largest piece of debris that was pinning the cook to the ground. His frail frame struggled to make the piece budge. He shifted to a smaller piece and pulled it away. Then another. Finally all that was left was the one too heavy for him to lift alone.

Tsiv looked over at the policeman who was still pointing the rifle loosely in Elena's direction. "Hey! Help me!" he cried.

The cop grimaced, but let the rifle dangle by it's sling as he stepped forward and together he, Tsiv and another cook finally freed the pinned girl. Tsivoin reached down and looped one of the girls arms over his shoulder and though he struggled under her weight, he hurriedly pulled her away from danger. He'd only made it a few steps outside of the crash zone before he heard the whine of a blaster rifle charging.

"That's far enough. Put down the girl and let me see your hands." The officer commanded.

Tsivoin did as he was told and carefully helped the girl lean against a nearby counter before he raised his hands up and turned to face the officer. He was struck in the side of the head with the stock of the rifle before he even turned the full way around, the blow sent him sprawling and he ended up prone on the ground. He groaned as he felt a boot applying pressure to his lower back as the officer then turned to aim his rifle at Elena.

"Elena Connor, stand down. You are under arrest."

She glared at him, still down on one knee, still holding the weight of the fan. She considered throwing at him, but that would most likely end in his death. As misguided as his actions were he was just doing his job. Now that the cooks and everyone were safe she let the fan drop. The tangled wreck of metal crashed to the floor with a thunderous boom. To his credit the officer didn't even flinch, never even took his eyes off her. She still had her hands up, somewhere between the decision to surrender or keep fighting. Finally, she set her jaw, reached for a chunk of debris--

ZAP! A single stun blast from the officer's rifle struck her in the side. Elena toppled over, her world fading to black...


Elena came to with a start, metal rattled against a steel table as she jerked on her cuffs. She was seated in a chair. Beside her the young Zabrak was cuffed to the same table, his eyes wild with fright. She looked at him apologetically, knowing that it wouldn't mean much. She'd gotten him into this on accident, anything that happened to him was on her. He no doubt felt the same way, probably hated her for it, but she couldn't think about that right now. Turning her attention to more productive things she took in her surroundings.

They were in a small ten by ten room, a single table with four chairs occupying the center. The far wall was comprised of a one way mirror, allowing her to clearly see her reflection. Her weapons and poncho had been removed, an ugly purple bruise ran down the side of her left arm. The sight of it made her aware of the dull throbbing from her elbow. The only other feature of the room was a single door located in the center of the wall to the left of the mirror.

"Fething great," she muttered, smacking her forehead against the table with a light thump.

A moment later the door opened, almost as if the officers on the other side of the mirror were merely waiting for her to wake up. A tall, dark haired man dressed in an officer's uniform emblazoned with the logo of the Canto Bight Police Department entered the room. He held a stack of flimsies bound in a folder with one hand while idly thumbing through it with the other. He moved to stand opposite the table, still examining the files contained in the folder.

Why do they do that? They're not actually reading anything... right? "The kid doesn't know anything. He's just an innocent bystander, so let him go."

The officer didn't answer. The only noise in the room was the sound of papers shuffling.

"Hey," Elena shouted, demanding his attention. "Did you hear me? I said the boy's innocent let him go!"

"We'll decide his innocence, Ms. Connor," the officer said finally. Tossing the folder down onto the table with a soft slap. He lowered himself into the chair opposite her, cupping his hands together atop the table.

"Do you even know what this is about? Why you're arresting me?"

"Your file lists you as a member of a known terrorist organization. Wanted in connection to several crimes committed against the First Order."

"Terrorist," Elena repeated, her tone incredulous. "One of those 'terrorists' killed a tyrant and saved the Republic. One of them even saved the lives of four innocent people tonight, including one of your own."

"I am aware. While your effort to save our man is appreciated it doesn't avail you of your previous crimes."

"They attacked me. They're hunting me. I had nothing to do with this."

The officer leaned back in his chair, tapping his fingers in a rhythmic pattern. He studied her, his face neutral, but Elena thought she might've seen a hint of uncertainty in his eyes. Seeing an opportunity she pressed forward.

"The First Order is trying to prevent the return of the Jedi. They want me dead because I am the last of their order. If you hand me over to them you are surrendering the galaxy's last best chance of preventing the rise of a second dark empire."

At the mention of Jedi that flash of uncertainty faded immediately. Elena's heart fell.

"Jedi," the man replied, it was his turn to sound incredulous. His finger tapping continued, increasing in speed until finally he stopped. Leaned foward, arms crossed on the table. "You believe the Jedi are real?"

"You have video proof of it, don't you?"

"I'm not sure what we have," he admitted, leaning back in his chair. He reached into his pocket, fished out a small holo device, setting it down between them. He pressed a key and the device sprung to life displaying footage from a shaky holocam. Probably handheld, from a speeder in the air.

Elena's eyes widened as she recognized the huge skyscraper of the Coruscant Casino and Hotel. The camera footage zoomed in on the building as a figure flung itself from a balcony on one of the upper floors. She fell several stories before magically flying backward through a window. Almost as if in response the dull throbbing in Elena's arm thrummed even harder as the memory of her rough landing came unbidden to her mind.

"Neat trick," the officer said. "What was it? Handheld repulsors? Did you toss them after landing? If there's evidence in that room my men will find it."

She opened her mouth to respond, but the officer silenced her with a finger. He pressed another key, causing the image to shift to what Elena thought might be the body cam footage of the officer who arrested her. It showed her down on one knee holding up several tons worth of mangled steel with little more than the power of her mind.

"This I assume was done with magnets. Perhaps that metal rod thing we found on your person?"

My lightsaber. The thought set her heart racing. "LIsten to me, don't turn it on."

"So you admit that it's a magnet?"

"No! Something more dangerous."

"A bomb then?"

Elena pounded her fists on the table. A loud, metallic thump rang off the walls. "No damn it, listen to me! Do you know what a laser sword is?"

The officer scoffed. "Ms. Connor, I've had just about enough of your games. You are under arrest for acts of terrorism, not magic and... Tsivoin Ulderis--" he held up a page from the folder, "--is your accomplice."

"Tsivoin is--"

Before she knew it the man shot out of his chair, his hand lashed out, bashing her across the cheek. Elena's vision exploded with stars, the force of the blow snapping her head to the side.

"That's enough," he said, turning his full attention to Tsivoin. "Now how long have the two of you been working together?"
Last edited by Pryde on Thu Apr 06, 2023 5:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by VagueDurin »

Tsivoin might have been relieved when Elena came back to consciousness, if he'd been in any frame of mind to notice. The teen's twin hearts were pounding so hard and loudly in his chest he could barely even hear his own thoughts. How long had it been, now? Three, four years since he'd last been held in bondage.

Tsiv could do little more than stare at the shackles securing his wrists to the table. That was, until the tabletop shook under the force of Elena's forehead impacting it. He shook his head in a feeble attempt to clear his mind but before he could say anything to her, the door opened and an officer marched inside.

Tsiv tried to keep track of their conversation over his own panic but much of what they were saying made little sense to him. Until the officer reached out and struck Elena across the face. That made plenty of sense to Tsivoin. Half his life he'd been owned and abused that way.

The curl to his lip and low snarl in his throat was an involuntary response. He didn't know this girl. Hell he didn't even know her name until the policeman yelled it in the kitchen. He didn't owe her anything, and she was human to boot. But the Zabrak wouldn't abide the abuse, to anyone.

When he didn't immediately respond, the Officer raised his voice. "Well, How long? Or am I using words too big for your little servant brain to understand?"

Tsiv's eyes turned downward, and some of the vehemence faded from the snarl on his face.

"We know you were property of Rinnrivin up until his death and the failure of his cartel four years ago. Did she find you then?"

Only silence followed.

"Maybe I did," Elena said, "You know how Jedi are when words like 'property' are used to describe people. Maybe I was the one who killed Rinnrivin, blew up his whole gang."

The officer scowled at her, leaned over the table, weight balanced on the knuckles of both hands. "If I believed that were true you wouldn't be in a holding cell. I'd have you tied in the streets, let Rinnrivin's successor and his men take turns on you busting up your pretty face. You see, that's the law around here. The status quo is to not upset the bad guy of the week."

"That why you called the First Order."

The officer faltered, broke eye contact with her only for a second.

"You didn't..." That was significant. If Cantonica Security Forces weren't the ones to contact the First Order someone else did. Someone else put this interrogation into motion.

"They tagged you coming into the city."

"They? The First Order?"

Codebreaker shook his head. "Someone with resources. I'm still trying to figure out who..."

Who else would profit off her capture? Some border world baron? A gang of thieves? Maybe the Red Keys... Elena had too many questions and no easy answers. At least none that were forth coming.

"So, what was the job," the officer asked, interrupting her thoughts. "Tsivoin here gets you access to the casino's service areas. Were you here to rob the vault?"

"I told you, the kid's innocent. He doesn't even know who I am. Plus, if you check the security feed at the starport you'll know I only just arrived today. Tsivoin's been here working for the casino before that."

"Except the casino has no record of a 'Tsivoin Ulderis' ever being employed," the man pointed out. "As far as anyone knows tonight was his first shift."

Elena's eyes widened, she stared at Tsivoin. Did she interrupt a heist? No, it couldn't be. The boy was too frail, too weak to be a criminal... at least a criminal working on such a level as to rob the vault. More than likely he was there picking pockets, much as she had living on the streets of Vorzyd V. Still, it made implicating him as her accomplice that much easier.

The officer lowered himself back into his seat. "So how were you going to do it? Tsivoin gets you into the back rooms while you coerce two of Cantonica's biggest high rollers to... what?"

He looked between them, waiting for an answer.

Tsivoin finally found his voice. "Uthani?" What is he on about? He asked at Elena, then turned to look at the officer, "Ukhuluma ngani?!" What are you talking about?!. "First Order? Heists? I don't know anything about any vaults, high rollers, none of that! I'm an undocumented laborer, just like half of the 'help' here trying to scrape up enough earnings to survive another week." Tears brimmed in his violet colored eyes. "I've never seen this girl before until she knocked me over out there and your goons started chasing us!"

The officer leaned back, assuming the same posture he had a moment ago only now his frustration was more apparent on his face. Elena assumed whatever he was fishing for he wasn't getting. Probably a reason to keep them and not hand them over to the First Order. Obviously, he didn't believe in the Jedi so he wasn't afraid of her. A quick demonstration of her power would change that, but at the moment they were in a police station surrounded by men with guns. Without her lightsaber she was not fighting her way out of this one. Not to mention that such a demonstration would only change his mind about handing her over.

He said something about the Red Keys being the 'bad guy of the week'. Elena hadn't known much about them other than that they traded in slavery. That's probably why the officer was fishing so hard to find some reason to keep them. Selling them to the Red Keys would net him a tiny little profit. It wouldn't make it any easier for her to escape, however, and put them in a far more dangerous position. They needed to escape now and time was running out. Neither of them wanted to be here when that First Order star destroyer arrived.

"Listen--" Elena began, but she was interrupted when the door suddenly opened.

Another man dressed in the uniform of the Cantonica Security Forces entered, crossed over to the officer and whispered something into his ear. The officer's eyes bulged slightly, though he quickly collected himself. He stood, straightened out his jacket. "Excuse me," he said before following the other man out of the room.

The moment the two men left the room, Tsivoin coughed out a strained cry. "Ngifuna ukumpha la. Ngifuna ukuya ekhaya! Kufanele ngifinyelele Senna, uzokwazi ukuthi enzeni." He strung the sentences together rapidly, wringing his hands together and shaking his head back and forth. I want out of here. I want to go home. I've got to get to Senna, she'll know what to do.
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by Pryde »

"Still don't speak that," Elena said softly, lowering her head to the table. How was she getting out of this one? Knocking out the officer, getting the keys to her cuffs, she could probably manage both of those things, but she'd have an audience. Someone else was on the other side of that mirror. A superior? An aide? Didn't matter, someone would raise an alarm and this room would be full of men with blasters.

She'd have to fight her way free when they transferred her back to her cell... if they transferred her back to her cell. She could well be sitting here up until the First Order arrived to retrieve her. Even if she wasn't there was no guarantee they'd put her and Tsivoin in the same cell block. If they were separated she'd have to find him, she wasn't planning on leaving him behind.

The door opened up again and the officer came back into the room, leading a third man behind him. He was taller than the first, had her belongings tucked under one arm. Elena noticed his uniform first, drawing in a sharp breath. He wore the black, double breasted jacket of a First Order Intelligence officer. How could he have gotten here so soon? Was she too late? Had the star destroyer arrived already?

"We found them together in the casino, though neither will admit their connection to each other," the officer was saying.

"We only have interest in this one," the First Order agent said, gesturing to Elena. "We'll be taking her aboard my ship."

"What about Tsivoin," Elena demanded, shifting her gaze between him and the Cantonica police officer. "I told you he has nothing to do with this. Take me but let him go."

The First Order agent ignored her, gesturing to her cuffs. "Unbind her from the table."

The officer nodded, leaned over to do just that. As his hands reached out to undo her cuffs there was a loud sizzle pop and the officer's head ricocheted off the table as he crumpled onto the floor. The First Order agent reached up and unhooked a device from his ear. The hologram covering his face vanished, Elena recognized him instantly.


He held a finger to his lips, half turning to gesture at the mirror. A second later a knock followed, he wasn't alone. "Alright, door's open. We need to go now," he told her, grabbing the officer's keys and unbinding her hands.

Elena rubbed her wrists, grateful to have her hands free. Codbreaker tossed her things onto the table, turning to head toward the door. "What about the kid?" she said, gesturing to Tsivoin. "We can't leave him here."

Codebreaker frowned, his brow furrowed. "It was hard enough forging a prisoner transfer for you. I don't have time to make one for him."

"I'm not leaving him behind."

"Let's get you out of here first," he said, gently cupping a hand around her elbow. "I promise I'll come back and--"

"No," she said, pulling her arm away from him, "he's coming with us now."


"I don't care. If we can't get him out quiet then I'll get him out loud. I don't need a stupid prisoner transfer." She emphasized her point by picking up the hilt of her lightsaber.

Codebreaker placed a hand on her wrist, firmly nudging her arm down to her side. "Alright, we'll get him out, but not like that. You go around flashing that fancy glow rod of yours and we'll have every bounty hunter on the planet looking for you. Here--" he handed her the keys to Tsivoin's cuffs.

Elena quickly retrieved her things from the table. Her gun belt and satchel, the lightsaber she already had. She put them on, threw the poncho over her head, covering the whole ensemble then turned to Tsivoin. Kneeling next to the frightened teenager she placed a hand on his cheek to calm him. "I'm sorry," she said quietly, "It's my fault you're here, but I swear I'll get you out. Just stay close to me and keep your head down, alright?"
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by VagueDurin »

Tsivoin wasn't able to make heads or toes of what had just happened. All he knew was this 'Codebreaker' and the girl Elena seemed to know each other - and the former had just freed her of her shackles. It was a start. The teen tried to flinch away from her hand as she rested it against his cheek but his own shackles prevented him from moving away. He saw the confused expression work its way across her features for a brief moment before a sort of realization dawned behind her green eyes. Then, as she surely put two and two together and understood that as property Tsivoin's only experiences with touch were pain, he saw pity. She spoke softly and withdrew her hand quickly, instead using it to undo the restraints around his wrists.

Tsiv immediately created distance between himself and the two humans in the room. His violet eyes studying them closely, only briefly glancing down towards the stunned officer before looking back to Elena. He wanted to say 'Haven't you done enough already?'... And he nearly did just that, except that she had convinced the code-fella to let him loose. For now that'd need to be enough. The young Zabrak resolved himself to keep up his guard for a doublecross, and simply nodded his head at her in compliance.

The Codebreaker watched on impatiently, glancing down at his chrono before back up at the two. When it became apparent the Zabrak had nothing to say, he cleared his throat pointedly. "Elena. We must go." He urged.

The young Jedi was still studying Tsivoin closely, and had been lost in thought until the Codebreaker spoke. "Alright. Let's go." She replied. The door to the interrogation room slid open and Lovey stood over the stunned body of another Cantonica Police Officer. She too was dressed in the uniform of the First Order. She ushered the Codebreaker out of the interrogation room and offered Elena a guarded smile as she followed. Once Tsivoin had also cleared the doorway she hit a key to slam the door shut behind him.

"We didn't plan for two." She declared, tone sounding concerned.

"Right you are, m'dear. Unfortunately, it's now time to improvise." he replied, taking a short moment to look around before leaning down and plucking some cuffs off a nearby rack and offering them to Elena. "Right. Prisoner transfer, we'll need you to look the part. If you both could put these on."

Elena sighed softly. She understood immediately what the Codebreaker intended, just as sure as she realized he likely didn't understand what it meant for the kid. Her green eyes dulled a shade as she turned to look at the still very frightened teenager. "It's just until we can get clear of the station, ok kid? I'm sorry but this is the only way." She watched the internal strife play across his tattooed face and held her breath until he finally nodded and stepped closer, offering her his wrists in such a practiced and familiar manner that it broke her heart. She gingerly placed the cuffs on as loosely as she could while ensuring they wouldn't fall off on their own, then turned and had Lovey do the same to her own wrists.

"Splendid. Now..." The Codebreaker and Lovey re-activated their holo-disguises, and assumed formation bracketing the two teens as they walked out of the room and into the corridor beyond. "We can no longer walk you out the front. However, there lies beneath us a tunnel, leftover from when they created the ocean here. We'll get you to an opening and then stall as long as we can. The rest, dear Jedi, will be up to you and the Force." He explained.

The quartet marched down the corridor about six meters, turned left and walked another three meters. Elena cast the occasional awkward glance back at Tsivoin, partially to make sure he was still following, but mostly out of guilt. She didn't notice as Codebreaker sidled up next to her, a sly glint in his eyes. "You know," he began, speaking softly, "for someone who doesn't think she's a hero you sure do sound like one."

He held up a small recording device and tapped a key. "The First Order is trying to prevent the return of the Jedi. They want me dead because I am the last of their order. If you hand me over to them you are surrendering the galaxy's last best chance of preventing the rise of a second dark empire."

Elena's expression soured. "I wouldn't put much stock in that. I was just trying to get him to let us go."

"Is that all?"

"That's all."

Codebreaker watched her, his eyes searching hers.

Elena tried to keep her face impassive, but after a few seconds under his scrutiny her annoyance began to show. "Can we just get out of here, please?"

The older man shrugged. "As you wish."

They walked the rest of the way in silence, coming across a large octagonal grate about halfway down a side corridor. The Codebreaker knelt down and with considerable effort pulled the grate up, exposing a shaft beneath it. As he did so, Lovey undid the cuffs on the teens. "This is it then. May lady luck smile down upon you both." He offered, watching as the Zabrak hurriedly lowered himself down the ladder into the dark tunnel below. He stopped Elena as she moved to follow, resting his hand on her shoulder gently.

"Be careful," she told him.

"Always," he said. "Now go. That star destroyer will be arriving any moment. You and the kid need to be on a transport before that."

"The kid? But--"

"CBPD has a record connecting him to you. If he's still here when that ship arrives they will catch him, interrogate him and kill him just in case there's a chance he might lead them to you. So if you want him to live you both need to leave, now."

By the time Elena clambered down the ladder, Tsivoin had taken a handful of careful steps down the tunnel. When he heard her feet hit the stone, he turned back to peer through the darkness towards her. "Doubt you've got a light tucked away in there?" He asked, motioning at her poncho.
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by Pryde »

Elena hesitated, her thoughts hearkening back to Codebreaker's warning. "You go around flashing that fancy glow rod of yours and we'll have every bounty hunter on the planet looking for you..."

No one will see me down here... will they? "Um, yea," she said slowly, her hand reaching under the poncho toward the small of her back. She pulled out the small, metal rod thing she hefted back in the interrogation room. Gently nudging Tsivoin to one side while being careful not to touch him. "Stand back a bit."

Once the kid was out of the way, she thumbed the lightsaber to life. A brilliant amber blade burst from the hilt with a snap hiss, setting the corridor awash in its golden hue. "Alright, this way... I think."

She set off down the tunnel, picking a direction at random. Fifty-fifty, doesn't matter, right? Her feet sloshed through a pool of ankle deep water, she tried her best not to imagine what was in it. As they walked she cast another glance at Tsivoin, hoping the teen still trusted her enough to follow.

Tsiv took a few steps forward, then stopped. It didn’t take long for Elena to notice and she turned back, holding the lightsaber horizontally above her head. The Zabraks eyes narrowed. “Why’d you do it?” He asked after a moment.


“Back in the room. That guy cut you free. Why didn’t you just leave with him?”

"Because I couldn't leave you behind."

“But. Humans don’t do that.” He took a step backwards, his gaze drifting to the tunnel behind him. “Not unless there’s something in it for them.”

"Word to the wise, Kid, Cantonica is just one planet in a wide galaxy, people aren't all the same everywhere. Now c'mon, we gotta get moving before that star destroyer shows up."

Tsivoin didn’t feel any better about the situation, but he had little recourse. He also wanted to get out of this tunnel as soon as possible. The ankle deep water had already seeped through the hole in his right boot and his foot was soaked. The teen begrudgingly followed along behind her.

Elena could feel the kid's turmoil bubbling beneath the surface. His distrust of humans ran deep, but there wasn't much she could do about that right now. It didn't help her case that it was her actions that got him into this mess. Maybe he'd have been better off if I hadn't stopped to help him at the casino. The kid was disoriented, completely unaware of the danger he was in and right in the path of a stampeding mob. Had she let him be what guarantee did she have he'd turn out okay? If Master Skywalker hadn't died... if the First Order hadn't tried to kill me... She longed to be back on Ossus learning lightsaber forms and practicing her telekinesis. Not out here on the ass end of the galaxy sloshing through... what the hell was this? Brown stuff?

The tunnel led them out of the police station into some kind of stables. Elena disengaged her lightsaber, climbed to the top of the ladder and quietly cracked open the grate to peer outside. The stables beyond looked empty, the room dimly lit by a few lamps. She hadn't known what time it was, but judging from how little light was filtering in from outside it had to be late. She pushed the grate aside the rest of the way and climbed out. She stopped to offer a hand to Tsivoin but hesitated. Would he even take it? But he never gave her the chance to find out, that moment of hesitation was long enough for him to climb out on his own.

"Where are we?" She said.

"Race track, probably."

Race track? Race track for what? She crept toward one of the empty stalls, craning her neck to peer inside. A large, four legged beast stuck its head through the opening above the gate, startling her. She fell backward onto her rump with a startled cry. Quickly casting a glance over her shoulder at Tsivoin, wondering if he heard or saw that. Her cheeks turned a bright red, she opened her mouth to say something. To try and cover up her embarrassment, but before she could utter a single word a sudden movement caught her eye.

"Tsiv, get down," she whispered sharply. She hadn't really intended to shorten his name, it was just easier than saying the whole thing.

Without waiting to see if he followed her direction, she crept to the corner where she saw the movement. Pausing at the edge so as not to startle whomever it was. After silently counting to three she burst around the corner, pulling up short when she saw a young human boy cowering on the floor behind the wall.

"Fething hell, kid, you scared me," she said, kneeling next to the boy. "Are you alright?"

The boy scrambled back from her, hands up to protect himself.

"Does anyone on this planet trust me," she muttered aloud, mostly to herself. "Look, I'm sorry, Kid, but my friend and I need to get to the starport. Can you help us?"

The boy watched her warily, his eyes flitting up to meet Tsivoin's. Finally, after a moment's hesitation, he pointed to a nearby window.

Elena followed the gesture with her eyes, getting up to peer outside the window. From her vantage point she could see the city high rise above her. Beyond that ships were landing and taking off by the dozens from a large, dome-like structure on the far end of the city. She smiled, turned back to the kid. "Thanks heaps," she said, then she looked at Tsivoin, "C'mon, let's go."
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by VagueDurin »

As the young Jedi made her way to the exit of the stable, he paused and studied the boy in the low light. The still healing burns from an electro-whip were visible along the boys forearms. Tsiv felt a warmth creep across his back, bidden from the memories of his own bondage. He stepped forward and knelt next to the boy, speaking in a low tone in the same language that Elena had heard him use before. The boy responded, and the pair had a rushed, but seemingly heartfelt conversation. Just about the moment Elena took a breath to urge the Zabrak into movement, he and the boy brushed palms and then the teen stood and turned her direction, fresh tears welling in his eyes.

He didn't offer her the chance to ask any questions, rather he simply walked out of the stable and climbed up on a rock to peer around. It didn't take the teen long to gather his bearings before hopping back down. "Long way's to the starport. Best bet would be to stay off the bridges - probably take your chances along the oceanfront." he offered, pointing a finger in the direction of a boardwalk that would lead her towards the beach.

Elena considered it for a moment, realizing he knew better than she would having just arrived that day and nodded. "Great, let's get going."

She'd made it about a meter and a half before she noticed the kid had shoved off in the completely opposite direction. "Hey! I thought you said it was this way?"

"Yup." He replied without stopping.

"Well. What are... Where are you going then, we need to get to the starport now!"

"It's no use." He threw back over his shoulder.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, look." He replied without stopping, pointing off towards the starport.


"What's missing?" He asked, almost smugly.

The young Jedi's eyebrows furrowed in thought as she turned to look back at the starport with a more critical eye. Then it struck. The string of lights going towards the surface or up into space had disappeared. Dank Ferrik She thought to herself.

"Bets they know we escaped. Locked down the starport. Even if you do get there, no one's being allowed to leave."

"Well, then we'll just have to break out then."

"You can try. I have to go home."

Elena placed a hand to her forehead and sighed, before hurrying to catch up with him. The stress of the moment led to her not thinking twice before placing a palm to his chest to stop him from moving. She'd meant it more as a gesture, and was surprised when he was knocked off balance by her hand. It was again then that she was forced to notice how thin and frail he was. The Jedi grimaced, nice going she thought to herself as she took a half step back to give him space, holding her palms up in apology. "Look I didn't mean to - well - Sorry." She looked over her shoulder at the direction he'd been walking, then back towards the flitting lights of the starport. "Tsiv. You can't go home. These people, they are hunting me, and anyone associated with me. Do you, understand what that means? Right or wrong, they think you know me now."

"But I don't."

She bit at her lip in thought. She didn't want to frighten the kid, but how else could she get this to sink in? "Look. The First Order aren't some local planetary cops, ok? If they can't find me, they will capture you and do whatever it takes to make you tell them how to find me, and when they figure out that you don't know, they'll probably kill you."

Tsivoin paused at that, if only for the briefest of moments. "No one bothers to come looking for us in The Tangle. We're safe there. We take care of each other." The last bit was spoken with pride. He started walking again, taking a wide arc to scoot around Elena who was blocking the path. "You could come, you know. You'd be safer with us."

Elena's step faltered, she nearly tripped over herself. The kid had just given her the offer of a lifetime. A chance to finally stop running. To live like everyone else and feel like she belonged... but it was just a dream.

"Tsiv, it won't last. Cantonica's not a big planet and with their resources..." she trailed off.

Tsiv didn't slow his pace. The teen shrugged a bit and kept on walking. "They'd regret it if they tried." He declared with an unearned certainty. It was now obvious to Elena that he had no concept of what the First Order was or what they might be capable of, and that he had a severely inflated opinion of how much of a sanctuary The Tangle really was.

Meanwhile, back at Kang's Place:

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, the house lights snapped to life, bathing the bars inhabitants in a sudden and stark contrast.

The outlaw didn't bother to glance at his chronometer, he knew damned well that it wasn't late enough for last call. Almost in unison he and his two crewmates turned to look over at the entrance to the bar, there they saw a pair of CBPD officers with a sheet of flimsy slowly making their way through the place. A third officer, likely their superior, approached Kang behind the bar with a similar sheet of flimsy.

"What can Kang do for you fine officers this evening?" The proprierer inquired with a very thick veneer of grace. The officer handed Kang the flimsy. "Looking for these two in connection with a botched heist over at the 'Coruscant tonight. Female human, male zabrak."

Kang studied the flimsy for a moment and grimaced. "Don't know nothing bout the girl. This'on though..." He paused to indicate the Zabrak. "Worked for me till just now if you can beleive it. Hang on one second." He turned and hollared towards the back of the place.

A short moment later Nello, the Abyssin, arrived.

"Nello, this'on. The Zabrak. We're cutting ties. Let this officer know where they can find him, eh?" Kang nodded once to the officer, then turned to go help another customer.

Vague continued to eavesdrop as the Abyssin explained to the officer that the Zabrak was an undocumented worker which was unsurprising in these parts, and that he resided in the shantytown west known as The Tangle. After providing the information, the Abyssin placed a healthy amount of hard-creds down ontop of the flimsy. The officer collected his flimsy along with the creds, an obvious bribe to avoid any further conversation about the employ of undocumented beings, and then went back to rejoin his other two CBPD officers. Moments later the trio left the bar and the houselights blinked off, returning the place to its usual dark and musty mystique.

The outlaw took a slow sip of his Pilsner, before turning to re-engage with Rossi and Orev. "I hear they've locked down the spaceport. That the girl was waving a blaster around on the casino floor." he heard someone at the bar say.

Lockdown? Interesting. "EssJay?" He spoke into his comm. "Fire up the passive scanners and heat up the core, would you?"

"Trouble?" Rev spoke, it was as much a statement as a question.

"Locking down a spaceport, especially this one, for a pair of teens likely just running a grift at the casino? I don't like it." Vague replied.
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by Pryde »

Elena chased after him, her mind racing from some reason--some excuse to get him to change his mind. He didn't appear to be that much younger than her, though his frail body made it difficult to judge. Either way, it was probably a safe bet he spent much of his life here. Everything he knew was here and everything outside of here... well, his reaction to the First Order threat looming over them was all she needed to know. She cast her eyes up to the night sky. So far no wedged shape ship overhead, but how long would they have? She'd let him take her to the Tangle, hopefully someone there could help talk some sense into him.

Tsivoin led her through darkened alleyways and side streets, making surprisingly good time. He seemed to know exactly where he was going which was fortunate, cause Elena was completely turned around. They arrived at the wall on the city's western edge. Elena expected to see a massive gate opening out onto the plain beyond the wall. Instead what they found were a series cracks and crevasses along the wall that people were using as a makeshift entryway. Town's so rich they can't spring for a single door for the poor?

Beyond the city wall there were no artificial lights. The pair had to make their way in near total darkness. Elena tried her best to keep up with the vague shadow she hoped was Tsiv. Hugging her arms tightly around herself as a stiff breeze sent a cold shiver down her back. As they approached the tangled mess of shelters and tents, aptly named The Tangle, she stopped.

"Hey, Tsiv?"

He turned to her, his face completely masked by the darkness and impossible to read.

"What I did back there in the sewer--with the light stick. Don't mention that to anyone, okay? And don't say the J word."

"The what?" He said, his head cocked to one side. The only visible sign of his confusion.

"Jedi," she explained, "It'll be dangerous for everyone if the First Order knows I was here. You really should come back with me to the starport."

"We'll be fine." He turned on his heel, continuing on his way.

Elena let out a long, slow breath. She started to follow him when her entire body went cold. Her feet frozen in place, she turned her gaze skyward. Against the backdrop of stars and dust clouds, only barely visible to the naked eye, was the wedge shaped silhouette of a First Order star destroyer. They're here. They were out of time and she still needed to convince Tsivoin to leave. He was quite a ways in front of her now and she had to run to catch up...
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by VagueDurin »

Tsiv was already well into the expansion region of The Tangle. 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 Elena hurriedly traversed through it's winding footpaths chasing the Zabrak 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.

Eventually she saw Tsiv pause at the entrance to one of the tents. To Elena, the larger, family sized tent was no different than any of the other dozens they'd passed by on their way in, but as she rushed up and opened her mouth to tell him their time was up, Tsiv placed a finger to his lips to indicate she should be quiet, and then slipped through the tents entrance.

He didn't pause to see if Elena followed him in or not, instead he simply went straight to his sleeping mat and took a knee, reaching one hand out to tap Senna on the shoulder as she slept on the mat next to his.

"Senna, vuka... Kube nenkinga." Senna, wake up. There's been trouble. 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?" what do you mean? she hissed.

"Kwakuyiputha kimi." I messed up, the police are after us He whispered, touching the center of his chest with a bowed head. "Siyalandelwa ngu umantshingelane."

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.

"Lowo ngu-Elena. Nabo bayamlandela." That's Elena, they're after her too Tsivoin explained as he followed her gaze and saw Elena standing at the entrance to the tent.

Elena was battling her emotions, fear and uncertainty regarding the looming First order threat was mixing in with sympathy and repulsion for the fact that a place like The Tangle was allowed to exist and that beings like Tsivoin had no choice but to live this way. She'd experienced her share of slums back on Vorzyd V when she was younger, but the stories she'd heard of The Tangle hadn't done the place justice. She'd been watching Tsivoin and when he woke a sleeping being and Elena saw the girls 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. 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. Elena said nothing... though she did mentaly grimace and reminded herself that the Codebreaker had told her to change her name. Instead she glanced back at her chrono. That Destroyer will surely have launched troops by now... they had little time left.

Senna's attention and disapproving expression stayed on Elena 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. The pair continued to speak quickly, in hushed tones in that language Elena didn't comprehend. It was clear to the young Jedi now that Senna was the elder of the pair and that the Devoronian cared deeply for Tsivoin.

"Ngitshele ngokwenzekile." Tell me what happened. Senna demanded to Tsiv when she was satisfied that he was unharmed. She slowly stood and narrowed her eyes at Elena 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 officer had fired upon them in the kitchen 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 Codebreaker who'd disguised himself as part of the First Order, she held up a hand and jabbed a finger in Elena's direction.

"Yiphutha lakhe. Bekufanele ngabe umshiye, nimlethe lapha na izibaya." This is all her fault. You should've left her at the Stables. Senna chastised Tsivoin.

The pair started talking far too rapidly for Elena to even isolate the words next. Each of their voices rising in pitch and volume before Tsiv finally raised his hands palms outward. "Senna.." He spoke in a plaintive tone.

Elena 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.

Then it all changed. It started with the sound of someone knocking a steel ladel against a pot. Then another. and another.... soon there was a chorus of metal clangs erupting from all over the Tangle. Elena couldn't make heads or tales of it, but Tsiv and Senna stopped their argument in it's tracks. Everyone else in the shanty tent bolted awake as well. It was the warning signal. Outsiders were encroaching into the Tangle.
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by Pryde »

Elena took two steps backward into the tent. She hadn't actually meant to cross the threshold, till now she'd been lingering just outside of it. It was the ladle that caught her attention first. When the clanging turned into a chorus she knew what it was. The First Order was here, they were too late. She took another step back, her hand reaching unbidden toward the hilt of her lightsaber. Would she have to fight her way out of here? How far away were they from the city? She'd been lucky not to have been cornered before, but now that luck seemed to have run out.

"Tsivoin," she said, never taking her eyes off the open doorway, "we need to go, please. Everyone is in danger as long as I'm here."

"Akayomboni nawe!" He's not going anywhere with you! Senna shouted.

Elena let out an exasperated sigh, throwing her arms up in the air. "I don't speak that."

"He stays. You go," she clarified while Tsivoin moved to the open flap of the tent to peer outside.

"Look, I really don't have time for this. He has to come with me because it's too dangerous for him to stay here. CBPD arrested us together, they interrogated us together. They think we're working together."

Senna tried to object but Elena pressed on, raising her volume to talk over the girl's objection. "It doesn't matter if it isn't true. The First Order will still capture him, interrogate him and kill him if there's any chance that it might be."

"Then we go together."

Elena held up her hands. "Oh no, no way. I'm not putting anyone else in danger. We haven't been seen together, so you--"

She stopped, sensing a flash of warning from the Force. She spun on her heel toward the Zabrak. "Tsiv, get down," she cried, diving at him before he could respond. The stun blast missed them both as they tumbled to the ground in a heap of arms and legs much like their first meeting. Elena landed on top, her Westar 35 in hand. She fired off a couple of shots into street, forcing the Canto Bight police officer to duck his head.

"Did you get him?" Tsiv said.

"Um, I think I hit a tent pole."

Tsiv gave her a look.

"What? I only keep it for show."
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by VagueDurin »

The cacophony of warning chimes died out almost instantly after Elena took the shot with her blaster, and somehow the sudden silence was even more deafening than the clangs and clanks had been.

Tsivoin was beside himself. The CBPD had never ventured this far out of the city... not for as long as he'd been in The Tangle. His violet eyes narrowed as he focused his attention on Elena. She'd been called a terrorist back at the casino, could it be true? What in the 'verse could she have done to make them this desperate to catch her? he thought to himself.

Senna had moved forward to stand near him and the Zabrak rested a hand on her shoulder. "What do we do?" He asked earnestly.

The Deveronian exposed her fangs. "We fight." She answered.

"What? No. We run!" Elena countered. "Look neither of you know what you're up against-"

"And who's fault is that?"

"Senna-" Tsiv tried to interject.

"No Tsiv. This is her trouble, but it is our home." As if spurred on by the words she spoke, sounds of struggle could now be being heard from multiple points in the encampment as the denizens of The Tangle rose to drive back the trespassing officers.

This was a nightmare. The absolute worst thing that could happen. All this commotion would draw the First Order. Troop transports would land in the middle of the Tangle and people would die.

"No," she said softly, her face aghast, "make them stop. Make them surrender. People are going to die if they fight!"

Moments ago, back at Kang's Place:

Durin made a slight face after taking another sip of his pilsner. The libation was returning to room temperature quicker than he was relocating it into his stomach which was usually an indication that he'd had his fill of the drink and the setting. The outlaw was only half listening to Rossi as she went on about one of the street performers that she and Orev had watched earlier in the evening while he continued to listen to the background conversations around him for hints as to what was going on in Canto Bight tonight. His thoughts were suddenly interrupted, though, as his comm warbled.

"What'v'ya got EssJay?" Vague asked immediately.

"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." Vague said nothing, instead he clicked the talk button on his commlink twice to indicate receipt and understanding of the droids coded message and then reached into a vest pocket and distributed a stack of hard creds onto the bar large enough to cover the trio's remaining beverages and a tip.

In a practiced sequence that would appear random to any onlookers the three outlaws exited the bar on unique paths. Orev exited through the alley in the back, Vague straight out the front door. Rossi delayed by detouring to the refresher for a few moments before also leaving out the front.

Approximately three minutes passed before the trio reunited at what passed for the opulent cities town square. "Report." Vague breathed the word into the crisp nighttime air.

"Destroyer in orbit." Rossi spoke with a jubilant smile on display for any onlookers.

"Dropships left the port and headed west." Orev added.

"The Tangle?" Durin asked, and Orev nodded. "Rot. Well, never much cared for all this light and noise anyhow. Fancy a trip?" He asked Rossi, offering the young Kessurian an arm and starting off towards the spaceport.
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by Pryde »

The fighting intensified as more denizens of the Tangle poured out into the streets. They met the column of Canto Bight Police on either side, some carrying blasters others brandishing makeshift clubs. The Police did their best to hold them back, shoving against the crowd with riot shields and stun batons. Senna bent to pick up a piece of scrap metal, marching toward the battle with a determined look. Tsiv followed her, picking up a weapon of his own.

"Tsiv, wait! Don't do this," Elena said as she rushed after him. She caught him by the shoulder, but the teen shrugged out of her grasp with surprising strength. "Tsiv!"

Three transports rocketed past, the shockwave nearly knocked her off her feet. She watched in horror as the First Order transports landed in the middle of the Tangle, crushing shelters and tents alike. The blast doors opened and dozens of troopers dressed in gleaming white armor poured out of the transports, firing into the crowd. A young couple, a man and a woman, were cut down by blasterfire as they charged the First Order, wielding little more than clubs. Elena turned toward Tsiv and Senna, caught them both with the Force and flung them back to her.

The pair landed on their backs at her feet. She glared down at them. "This isn't the time for suicidal heroics! You--" she pointed at Tsiv, "--need to get her to the east service entrance of the starport now! I'll meet you there!"

She turned on her heel, headed towards the battle.

"What are you going to do," he called after her.

"I'm going to lead them away."

Elena ignited her lightsaber, marching toward the First Order. The golden blade of her weapon lit her up like a beacon, drawing the attention of several airspeeders above. They shone spotlights down on her, one of them likely held a GNN news crew. Codebreakers not going to like this... She kept her stride even and didn't stop, fighting to keep her hand steady so the world wouldn't see her trembling. In the four years she'd been running from the First Order this was the most attention she'd ever drawn to herself. She just hoped she'd survive it.

Many of the combatants from both sides stopped fighting to watch her. Staring at her with eyes wide and mouths agape--at least the ones old enough to remember the tales. One trooper stood out among the rest. He held a hand in the air then directed it toward Elena. "Concentrate all fire on the Jedi!"

The troopers opened up with everything they had. Elena flipped her saber into a reverse shien grip, deflecting blaster bolts harmlessly away from the crowd. "Go now! Run," she shouted. The command was mostly directed at Tsiv and Senna, but could also have been taken as a general order for the people who had gathered to fight the police.

She didn't stick around long enough to find out who followed her direction. With a boost of Force enhanced strength she leapt on top of a shelter, bounding from one unstable rooftop to the next, always staying within visual sight. The First Order troopers immediately broke ranks and turned to pursue. She dared not look behind her to see if the Canto Bight Police were chasing her as well, she just hoped they'd consider her a higher priority like the First Order...
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by VagueDurin »

As Tsivoin and Senna scrambled their way back to their feet, the Zabrak watched for a moment as Elena took off across the tent-tops. His previously quite simple existence seemed a lifetime ago as he continued to consider just who this human was, and what she had done to illicit such a determined pursuit. Moreso, he wondered what this First Order was? What kind of beings hid behind that stark white armor and how could they show so little regard for the lives of his brethren among The Tangle?

Senna grabbed hold of Tsiv’s hoodie, bringing his focus and attention back to the here, now, and specifically to the ire in his friends expression. “Wakwenza kanjani lokho?” How did she do that? she demanded.

The Zabrak could only shrug. It was obvious, now, that Elena had been correct. This ‘First Order’ was obviously hells bent on success and based on the indiscriminate damage they’d done even just landing in The Tangle, there was little they likely wouldn’t do to capture them. The teen sighed slightly and glanced over at his Devaronian friend. “We’ve got to get out of here.” He stated simply, grabbing hold of her hand.

She resisted, but only in a token fashion. Hardheaded as she may be, Senna was seeing the same wanton destruction that Tsiv was. The pair took off, darting between a row of tents as the sounds of struggle grew louder on all sides. Each of the teens held makeshift clubs, bits of tentpoles they’d snatched off of the ground. They did their best to stay hidden, sometimes running through tents while mostly keeping between rows of them. Inevitably, though, their path towards edge of The Tangle brought them out into the open and just as Tsivoin cleared the cover of the shanties he was struck by a riot shield.

Senna shrieked, then bounded forward to stand in front of Tsivoin as he recovered from the blow. She’d tried to warn the Zabrak to slow as they came to the clearing but hadn’t done so in time. The Devaronian was reminded again how naïve Tsiv was for his age, having spent so much of his developing years in servitude. She bared her fangs at the trio of CBPD officers who’d managed to be in the right place at the right time to discover them mid-escape.

“We don’t have any quarrel with you. We only want the Zabrak and his human accomplice.” One of the officers spoke. “Stand down, lady. Enough beings have been hurt today.”

Tsiv slowly utilized the tentpole he’d been carrying to pull himself back to standing. The impact with the officer’s shield had broken open the skin of his forehead, his cheek was already slick with warm red blood as he swiped at it with the sleeve of his hoody. Once he’d steadied himself, the Zabrak stepped forward to stand in line with Senna, both teens brandishing their tent-pole weapons.

The battle was short. Senna and Tsiv may have led rough lives, but they weren’t warriors. It didn’t take long for the officers to overcome the teens meager defenses with their stun batons. Senna was the first to be taken down. She was struck multiple times with the stun baton until she felt to her knees, two of the officers quickly moving to restrain her as she flailed against them.

The third officer was beating Tsivoin back, away from where Senna had fallen. With a particularly vicious strike, sent the Zabrak sprawling prone into the shambles of a nearby campsite. Tsiv immediately noticed a shining object in front of him and quickly snatched up the blaster pistol. The weapon felt foreign to his hand as he rolled to a supine position and fired off a couple of shots. Each of the green colored bolts impacted harmlessly into the ground in between Tsivoin and the officer, though they did at least stall his advance.

For a brief moment, Senna’s heart swelled in elation as she saw Tsivoin turn around wielding the blaster. Just as quickly as the warmth spread through her chest, a desolate chill gripped her neck as she saw another group of officers begin approaching from behind the Zabrak. There would be no escape. Not for them both, anyway. Tears welled in her eyes and her first attempt to warn him lodged in her throat.

“Tsivoin! Emva kwakho. Gijima!” Behind you. Run! she shouted.

Tsiv quickly looked over his shoulder, popped off a few erratic rounds, then turned back to Senna. “Cha. Hhayi ngaphandle kwakho.” No. Not without you he yelled back.

Senna clamped her eyes shut tightly for a moment, struggling against the binders the officers had applied to her wrists. “Tsivoin, Sthandwa sami, bheka, ayikho enye indlela. Hamba. Manje. Zisindise!” My treasure, look around, there’s no other way. Go now. Save yourself! She commanded.

Tsivoin’s twin hearts were pounding in his chest as the Zabrak began panting. He spun one way, then the other. “Senna, no… I…”

“Dosh it, Tsivoin. Get the Frell out of here!” Senna screamed as the Officers began to close in on him.

Tsivoin bit back a sob, try as he might, he couldn’t think of anything else he could do. He screamed, so loud his throat burned from the effort, and he fired again and again at the officers before he took one last look at his friend and took off at a dead sprint towards Canto Bight.


Tsivoin quickly ducked back behind the industrial loader as another First Order patrol crossed the alley-mouth with bright searchlights. He squeezed his fist tighter around the wooden grip of the blaster pistol he’d found back at The Tangle and looked towards the stars up in the night sky. The Zabrak had managed to elude the pursuing officers and gained access to Canto Bight’s ‘Old Town’ through one of the many cracks in the aging stone wall. However, there had been no pretense on what direction he’d taken off in and now it seemed like every available officer was combing the back streets in search of him. As he neared the spaceport, he started to encounter more of the white armored troopers, and less of the CBPD Officers.

The teen sighed. He’d made the most of the opportunity Senna had provided. He’d snuck his way through town to the starport. Now he lay in wait, hidden from the searchers in an alley across from the east service entrance. His only hope now was that Elena survived the Tangle and could find her way back here safely as well.
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by Pryde »

Elena gasped for air as a nearby explosion threw her into the wall of a run down shelter. Two TIEs screamed past overhead while she lay on her side recovering her breath. The First Order stormtroopers nearly had her penned in and with the air support provided by the TIEs she'd not make past the open field to the city. Hefting herself up on shaky limbs she ducked into the shadow of an overturned building. Behind her she could hear the distant voices of stormtroopers fanning out to search for her.

Her communicator chimed, the sound of it jolted her. She covered her mouth in time to smother a startled cry. Reaching into her pocket she held the device in front of her. The nearly transparent, blue-tinted image of Codebreaker's face appeared above her palm.

"Was I not clear in my instruction," he said, his voice stern.

Elena winced. "Perfectly clear, but the kid..." she trailed off, unwilling to finish that thought. No, that's just an excuse. I could have overpowered him and taken him with me. "Look, I don't think I'm getting off this rock now."

"I've arranged for a distraction. A good friend of mine is going to try to draw the TIEs away. You'll have one chance to make it back to the city."

"How? Even without those stupid eyeballs the stormtroopers will still see me running across the field. How am I supposed to make it without getting caught?"

The image shifted from Codebreaker's face to an overhead view of the area. A red dot marked a spot a short distance outside of the Tangle. "I had Lovey leave you a little something after we'd heard the CBPD had been deployed to the Tangle. Unfortunately, this was as close as we could get it. You'll have to be quick, but this should help you get back to the city safely."

"How did they even find me? Weren't you like ghosting them, or something?"

There was a pause. Elena could almost hear his frown. "I'm not sure. We're still looking into it. Best guess? They found you through an affiliate of the young Zabrak. Had you gone to the starport, however..."

"Yea, yea, hindsight," she grumbled irritably.

"There's more bad news," he continued as the image of his face reappeared, "We've managed to jam all communications coming from the Tangle, but some of it got out. Your little display to draw the attention of the First Order made it onto GNN. It's only about six seconds worth of footage, but enough to make you a galactic celebrity."

Fething great...

"I know you don't want to hear it, Elena, but I strongly suggest seeking out the Resistance. General Organa can--"

"I said no. I am not fighting in anyone else's war."

Another pause. This time she didn't have to imagine the crease in his forehead, she could see it. "You better get going, you don't have much time."

The image blinked out of existence, drowning her in darkness again. At almost the same time a new sound roared overhead, followed by the telltale blasts of shipborne lasers. One of the TIEs exploded in a brilliant fireball while its wingman turned to pursue the new threat. Two more TIEs descended from space, all three of them chasing after the aged freighter.

Elena took the opportunity to dash into the open, running at a full sprint past the last line of tents marking the border of the Tangle. Somewhere behind her someone shouted and blaster bolts pelted the dirt at her feet. A short distance away at the spot Codebreaker had marked she found a speederbike half covered by a camo net. She yanked the net off in one pull, powered up the bike and blasted toward the city wall. She covered the distance in an instant, abandoning the bike to slip through one of the tiny crevasses into the city. Once on the other side of the wall it would be easier for her to dodge overhead patrols from TIEs and the CBPD, but that would only last until she neared the starport.

Why didn't I leave the kid behind? She mentally berated herself, resisting the urge to swear profusely. She shook her head, who are you kidding, Elena? You know why... She darted down the empty streets, running as fast as her sore legs would take her. Progress to the starport was slower than she would've liked. The west wall marking the entrance to The Tangle was on the opposite side of the city. On more than one occasion she was forced to detour around First Order patrols, making her progress even slower. By the time she arrived at the outskirts of the starport a full squad of TIEs was already screaming through the air scanning the area. Of the aged freighter that had drawn them away there was no sign. Elena hoped the pilot made it out safely.

Hiding in a nearby alleyway she found Tsivoin ducked behind a dumpster staring at the starport from across the street. Strangely, he was alone. She came up behind him, trying her best not to startle him. "Where's your friend?" She whispered quietly...
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by VagueDurin »

Tsivoin had just ducked even further behind the dumpster to get away from the screaming ion engines of a patrol of tie fighters as they methodically searched overtop of the city. The Zabrak's thoughts were all over the place. He felt as though he'd betrayed Senna by leaving her behind, and he was sure at this point that the human had either been captured as well, or abandoned him altogether to save herself.

He was so absorbed in thought he hadn't heard her approach. At the sound of her whisper, he spun with scavenged blaster in hand. The young woman was thankfully quick and alert, and she was able to reach out with one hand to grab hold of his wrist before he'd been able to bring the blasters muzzle in line with her.

The Zabrak immediately snatched back his hand and weapon, though he offered a somewhat apologetic glance. "The police got her. She told me to run." He added the last bit in a tone that conveyed his guilt, almost as if he needed to justify why he wasn't captured along with her.

There was a pang in her heart at the sound of his voice. She looked crestfallen, avoided his gaze. This was her fault, she would need to find a way to rectify it later.

"I'm sorry," she said, her tone so quiet Tsivoin had to strain to hear her. "I wish there was something..." her words trailed off.

There was too much heat to go after Senna now. If she attempted another jailbreak the First Order would catch them for sure. She'd have to come back after things have died down and she'd have to do it secretly. Landing at the starport would only trip the net again.

"First, I need to get you out of here. Then maybe..."

She stood, crept to the edge of the alleyway and peered out into the street. A squad of stormtroopers patrolled the area in front of the starport, too far away to notice them. The TIEs were still looping around to cover the area again, this was their chance to get inside.

"C'mon," she whispered back to him.

She darted out into the street, glancing back over her shoulder to make sure Tsiv had followed her. Once she'd made it to the door she pressed Codebreaker's device to the keypad with her palm. A second later the light shifted from red to green, allowing her to open the door. She held it open for Tsiv then followed him inside.

"We'll need a fast ship," she said, speaking in low tones, "I don't suppose you know how to fly?"

Tsivoin seemed to stagger a bit as they crossed the threshold of the service entrance. The spaceport was the setting of some of his worst days. He'd been a slave for Rinnrivin's Cartel since he was about four years old, but when Rinnrivin was killed and his holdings fell into the hands of rival gangsters, Tsiv and many other slaves had been discarded here. He'd been about eleven at the time and had been living off of garbage scraps and wild rodents for months before Senna had found him and taken him in.

Elena must have noticed his hesitation, as she paused her momentum and turned to look at the teen. The human was taken slightly aback by the almost feral look in his eyes. She had no idea what had come over him, and hadn't the time to sort it out now. "Hey." She prodded verbally, waving a hand in the space between them.

Tsiv seemed to snap out of it, at least partially. "Sorry..." He mumbled, "It's just - been a long time since I've been near here." the explanation was lame, and he knew it... but how did one explain to a complete stranger that they used to live off of the rodents that had drowned in pools of engine fuel?

"I asked, do you know how to fly a ship?" Tsivoin's expression went agape all over again, and it was all the answer she needed. "Well, I guess we'll figure that part out together." She uttered mostly to herself.

Elena stared at the device in her hand, idly turning it over. Codebreaker had said it would get her through the service entrance, but she wondered if it would also crack the security codes on a ship. Only one way to find out...

She led the way into the first occupied berth they encountered. Inside they found some kind of luxury yacht, there was no one around so Elena quickly sidled up next to the ship's boarding ramp. First she tried Codebreaker's device, but much to her chagrin nothing happened. She tried forcing the lock, but again no luck. She had some skill picking electronic locks, but this was a newer vessel with state of the art security. Half turning to Tsivoin she pondered asking him, but decided against it. What were the odds a street urchin from Cantonica could slice his way into a ship?

"We'll have to find one that's already getting ready for takeoff," she grumbled, "C'mon."

They'd checked several more berths before coming upon a ship that had its boarding ramp down. The vessel was a CST series freighter, one Elena had never seen before. Standing outside the boarding ramp were two beings, loading crates onto the ship. One a Duros, the other a Kessurian that appeared to be almost the same age as her.

Elena bit her lip nervously. "I guess, this will have to do."

She started to move forward when Tsivoin grabbed her arm. "What about those two," he said, pointing.

"Don't worry," she assured him, "just follow my lead."

He seemed unconvinced, but she ignored that. Carefully made her way within several meters of the pair of aliens, making sure to stay out of sight. Once they had reached a point where there was no more cover between them and the ship she paused, focused on the two beings loading the ship and held up two fingers. She pretended to toss an imaginary pebble, both aliens turned their head as if they'd heard something.

Wasting no time she grabbed Tsivoin by the wrist and pulled him along behind her. They raced across the open tarmac as quietly as they could and up into the ship's main cargo bay. Footsteps caught her attention and she quickly ducked behind a pallet of crates, leading Tsivoin behind her. A third being, a human, marched past them and down the boarding ramp. Once he was out of sight Elena breathed a sigh of relief.

So far so good, but they weren't out of the woods yet. "This way," she whispered, hurrying across the cargo bay to the corridor beyond. "We just need to get to the cockpit and--" she turned the corner into the hallway and came to a screeching halt. A dog crouched low in front of her, teeth bared, a low growl emitting from his throat.

Elena smiled nervously, taking a step back. "Uh good doggy, niiice doggy," she said, holding her hands up as if the animal had trained a weapon on her.

The dog barked, lunging forward. Elena ducked to the side, narrowly avoiding being bitten.

"Run," she cried, pushing Tsivoin back toward the boarding ramp.

The commotion from inside the ship had alerted the three outside and by the time Elena and Tsiv had run back into the cargo bay they were already rushing up the boarding ramp. Elena slid to a stop, pulling Tsivoin behind her. She had one hand at the small of her back, tightly gripping her lightsaber, careful to keep it concealed under her poncho.

"Fething great," she muttered quietly.

Vague was the first back up the ramp, followed shortly by Rossi and Orev. Upon first sight of the teenagers the Captain slowed his advance and with a nonverbal signal he indicated to Orev that the Duros should keep his blaster holstered. For his part Vague slowly slid his own KDC-76 Heavy Blaster Pistol back into its holster, though he didn't allow his gunhand to travel to far away from it just yet. Even before he spoke up, his Duros first mate sidestepped his way to Vague's left side to ensure that he had a clear line of sight to the intruders - an indication that this crew weren't the easy mark Elena had hoped they might be.

"Heval, Dur! Otur!" immediately after Vague spoke the commands, the tan and blue Mutriok abandoned the chase, and sat on the deck of the craft. The creature fell silent, but it's honey colored eyes remained fixed on Elena and Tsivoin.

Vague's steely grey eyes narrowed at the edges as he regarded the pair of teens for a moment in silence. "Human female, Zabrak male. What might the chances be that you two are the pair half the planet is looking for out there?"

Elena's jaw clenched the moment the human identified them. She took an unconscious step back, nudging Tsivoin back as well and keeping herself between him and the others. Her eyes flitted between the Human and the Duros, both of whom seemed like competent fighters. The Kessurian lingered by the entrance to the cargo bay, her expression a mixture of concern as well as confusion.

She could probably get by the Kessurian fairly easily, but the other two would be a problem. Right or left no matter which direction she chose she'd have to get past one of them and they were both armed with blasters. They kept their weapons holstered for now, but she'd be a fool to think they were helpless. Question was, which one did she have a better chance of escaping?

C'mon, Elena, think! Right or left?

A sound from behind startled her. Reacting on pure instinct she drew her weapon, it's golden blade springing to life with a snap hiss. She leveled it at the droid who had just entered the cargo bay. The machine held its hands up, its photoreceptors flashing wide in what might've been surprise.

Elena turned her attention back to the human who'd spoken. "My friend and I are going now. No one comes near us."

Heval did not flinch from his sitting position, but the moment Elena moved the Mutriok coughed out a warning bark and then warbled a low growling noise. As soon as she’d drawn her lightsaber, Orev drew his pistol and aimed it at her midsection. SlackJaw and Rossi each took a few steps backwards respectively.

Vague frowned slightly, his keen eyes studying Elena closely. By the way she shielded the Zabrak, It was clear to him that she was the orchestrator. The spacer lifted his hands slightly away from his hips, and tilted his head slightly in Elena’s direction. “Easy now, y’all came onto our ship. You wanna leave, you know the way out.” He spoke plainly, but with a directness in his tone.

To punctuate his declaration, he directed his crew with another non-verbal hand signal which instructed Rossi to move over next to Orev. Vague did likewise, crossing in front of the Duros’ line of fire, placing all three of them along the far bulkhead. This opened a path along the near bulkhead for the teens to traverse. As soon as Elena took her first step, though, he spoke again causing her to stop and point the saber his way.

“I’m curious, though, what was the plan here?”

What was the plan? Elena's ears burned. First Codebreaker than him. Why do people always insist on asking questions they already know the answers to? Of course she didn't have a fething plan, she was making it up as she went. It was just dumb luck they boarded a ship with a guard dog.

"What difference does it make? The plan was flawed," she said irritably, averting her gaze to hide some of her embarrassment. "Cute dog, by the way, wasn't expecting that."

Vague provided her with a humorless smile. He snapped his fingers and pointed to the deck near his feet, and the Mutriok obediently moved to the Captains side and laid flat on the deck. “Few do.” He offered, his tone bordering on apologetic. He glanced over at the Zabrak briefly, the looked back to Elena. Before he could speak again, the sounds of commotion made their way up the ramp from outside. Vague made a short gesture and Rossi slinked over to the ramp to peer outside.

“First order, they're going ship to ship.” She reported.

"Dank Ferrik." Vague let out a slow sigh as he pinched the bridge of his nose. His other had reached out to the bulkhead behind him and he punched a code into the keypad located there. Somewhere off in the cargo bay the telltale sound of a hatch sliding open could be heard.

Orev watched Vague key in the code and the corners of his lipless mouth folded inward in a frown. "Uqinisekile?" Are you sure? he asked in a quick but hushed tone.

Vague held a hand out palm facing Elena, then turned to look over at his Duros friend. "Uyazi nawe noma ngubani ukuthi kuzokwenzekani kubo uma bebanjwa." You know as well as anyone what will happen to them if they get caught. he offered in response, "Uma behamba manje, First Order lizobabamba ku-starport, noma libathole emkhunjini womunye umuntu." If we send them away, the First Order will either find them out there in the starport, or while they search whatever ship they sneak onto next.

"Akanaphutha, 'Rev, baphephe kakhudlwana kithi." He's right, 'Rev, they're safer with us. The Kessurian added.

The Duros thought it over for a moment, then grumbled an affirmative. Vague then turned to look over at Elena and Tsivoin once again. "Here's the deal - My friend here," he indicated Rossi with a nod, "Is going to take you into the cargo hold. You're going to hide in a compartment there until she comes back to let you out."

Elena scowled at the man. After all that back and forth in a different language and this spacer thought she was going to trust him now? Like hell. She waved her saber again for emphasis. "You think I haven't heard this one before? We aren't going to let ourselves into a cage for you."

Tsiv reached over and tugged at her poncho. "Not now, kid." she whispered tersely, then focused back in on Vague and the open ramp behind him. "We'll take our chances."

Vagues forehead creased as he frowned at her response, though the Captain certainly couldn't blame her for not being trusting. "Surely you understand, I can't send you back out there now - If they see you leaving our ship we'll be considered complicit in... well whatever it is they want you for."

Before she could reply, Tsiv pulled her poncho harder, enough that she had to shift her stance and turn slightly away from Vague and the others. "Ake ngimkholise?" Let me talk to her? He spoke earnestly at the Captain, who raised an eyebrow at the Zabraks command of Sy Bisti, but ultimately nodded with a glance at his chrono to underline the urgency of the time.

"What?" Elena asked him, more sharply than she'd intended.

Tsiv took a sharp breath, then nodded over at the ships crew. "He's telling the truth." He spoke in a whisper, hoping the rest of them wouldn't be able to hear. "They were speaking Sy Bisti, ok? I heard everything. He said that if we leave we'll get caught, either breaking into another ship, or if we make it onto another they'll just find us when they search the next one. The pink one said we'll be safer here with them, they mean it. I believe them."
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by Pryde »

"Wait, that's the language they were using?" Elena said, her eyes wide. She lowered her saber a bit and grumbled. "Seriously, am I the only person in the 'verse who doesn't speak it?"

She turned her attention back to Vague, disengaged her lightsaber, clipping it back to her belt. "Alright, fine. Just one question."

"We don't have time for questions," Vague pressed.

"I know, I know. Just, um... how... how long--" there was a strange note in her voice and a slight quiver to her lip. A momentary lapse in her bravado that disappeared as quickly as it came. "I mean, whatever let's do this."

The tension in the corridor finally gave way, if it could have, the release likely would've made an audible hiss as she shut down the lightsaber and acquiesced to Vagues plan. "Okay, Four - get our visitors situated and then head to the lounge. Three - get back to the cockpit and keep the drives warm. Two - grab a stack from petty... keep it out of sight until we need it." As his crew sprang into action, Vague twisted his neck one way and then the other, his vertebrae cracked from the movement. He assumed the affable persona of his Captain Venkman alias, and headed towards the boarding ramp to head off the First Order inspectors.

Rossi moved quickly over to the teenagers and offered them a shy sort of smile. The Kessurian was significantly younger than the rest of the crew - and most of the beings they did business with - so she wasn't very familiar with beings close to her own age. Hardly the time to be making friends, Ross she thought to herself sharply. One look at the two and she realized she could only imagine what they'd already been through tonight. Any remaining thoughts about how dangerous they might be shifted into the furthest recesses of her mind. Vague would sort that out later.

"Okay, um, this way." She offered and gestured for them to follow her into the cargo hold. Flood lights audibly clicked on as they moved into the hold and she led them towards the far end behind what looked like barrels of liquid. The pink skinned alien stopped there and took a step to her left to make room for Elena and Tsiv to continue on. "Just through there." She motioned to the opening in the floor. There was no illumination from inside the compartment, but what was making its way in from the cargo holds floodlights showed a short ladder that they could lower themselves down with.

Elena stared into the darkened hole, one hand gripping her wrist so tight her nails left red marks in her skin. She turned back to the Kessurian. "They, um... won't they see us with the door open?"

The Zabrak and the Kessurian both turned their heads to look over at Elena at the same time. Each of their expressions showed incredulity of varying amounts. Surely it had been implied that the compartment would be closed behind them? Rossi looked over at Tsivoin quickly to see if he had any suggestions, but the teen simply lifted his right shoulder in a shrug. She sucked in a quick breath, then turned her honey colored eyes back to Elena. "Uh.. n-no. I'll close the hatch once you're inside. It's shielded, you know? So their scanners won't pick you up?"

"R--right, of course. Stupid question," Elena said. She bent over, quickly climbed down the ladder before either of them could think to question her behavior. The space was small, but not compact. It had room enough to hold a decent amount of contraband, which Elena suspected was what this particular compartment's purpose was for. There'd be space enough down here for both of them, but it wouldn't be pleasant. And with the door closed there'd be no light.

Tsiv moved to follow, but before he could step onto the ladder Rossi stopped him with a hand on his arm. The teen flinched and jerked away from her grasp.

"Hey. Sorry. Look uh, just stay quiet okay? We'll do our best to hurry them along."

Tsiv just nodded in response and quickly lowered himself down into the compartment. As he reached the bottom of the ladder he stepped off and turned, almost instantly bumping his elbow into Elena. "Hey - Watch it!" her voice was shriller than he'd heard it thus far, it was obvious she wasn't okay with this situation.

"Sorry." He carefully shifted around and found the opposite wall of the compartment with his back, doing his best to give her as much space as possible. There was a low grinding sound as the gears activated, and seconds later the hatch hissed itself shut above them. For several seconds the compartment was shrouded in total darkness, then a tiny red light blinked on in the corner. It wasn't much, but it allowed the Zabrak to differentiate Elena's form from the rest of the compartment.


At the foot of the boarding ramp

"CST-877, registered as the... Cassian Sunrise." The First Order was bracketed by a pair of Stormtroopers and two technicians wearing coveralls waited behind with scanners. He seemed to pause, waiting for Vague to respond... The Captain had heard no question, and knew better than to volunteer any information until required. Vague simply stood and waited for the man to continue. "Arrived in port earlier today, what is the purpose of your visit to Cantonica, Captain... Venkman?"

Vague nodded his head slightly towards the casino, then shrugged slightly. "Just some R&R for my crew, here to enjoy some drinks and a few nights of pillaging the tables."

"Hm. Yes, of course. We'll be inspecting your vessel now."

"Can I refuse?" Vague asked. He had no intention of doing so, but he had a part to play and couldn't simply roll over for the First Order's overreach.

The officer took a moment to pointedly look over at one of the troopers beside him, "You could try." He replied, implying that the inspection would go through by force if necessary.

"I understand." Vague replied, feigning the appropriate amount of nervous energy.

"You and your... thing will wait here." The officer commanded. "How many are your crew?"

"We number five. Myself, Heval here-" He indicated the Mutriok at his feat, "One protocol droid, a Duros and a Kessurian."

"They know to stay clear."

Again, no question was asked, so Vague simply allowed his silence to confirm to the officer that his inspection would meet no resistance. One of the stormtroopers remained at the ramp watching Vague, while the officer, technicians, and the final trooper headed up the ramp and into the ship.

Vague smiled broadly and nodded at the trooper. "You know, if you told me what you're looking for I could probably make this easier on everyone, eh?"

He received no response.
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by Pryde »

Elena huddled against the wall, as far from any of the corners as she could manage. She had her arms wrapped around her ankles, heartbeat exploding in her ears. She turned her gaze away from Tsiv, unable to look in his direction. It was hot inside the compartment. Hotter than she imagined it would be. She pulled her poncho off over her head, setting it aside. Sweat glistened on her bare arms, pooling at the base of her throat. How much time had passed? Surely, they'd waited long enough.

She leaned her head back, wishing she'd stolen a chrono. Not a fething thing down here to tell the time by. Just how long did they expect them to wait? The faint sound of footsteps filtered down from above. Elena was elated, thinking Rossi was on her way back, but had they really been down here that long? She shook her head. The air was so tight it was hard to focus.

Someone moved a palette up above. The sound of metal screeching across the floor startled her. She closed her eyes, voices crying faintly in her ears. Fething hell it was hot. She grabbed a handful of the front of her shirt, tugging down to relieve some of the pressure on her chest. Her breathing came in short ragged gasps.

"There's not enough air," she muttered, rocking back and forth. Her tone so quiet her words were unintelligible. "There's not enough air."

She was breathing faster now. Gulping down air like a parched man who'd just stumbled upon an oasis days after being lost in a desert. It had been long enough now, right? She'd been down here for an hour, maybe more. They weren't going to leave her, were they? Trapped in this sauna, gasping for air. She'd die down here if they didn't come for her soon. Just like--

Another screech from above. Elena immediately flattened herself against the floor, hands covering her head. Her whimpering was loud enough to reach Tsivoin on the other side of the compartment. More crates and equipment were shifted about, causing a loud ruckus that thundered down below. She scrunched her eyes shut even tighter. A loud boom from falling debris jolted her entire body. Dozens of voices screaming in unimaginable pain filled her ears. All the while the heat bore down on her like an inferno, singeing her ankles, arms, her face. The weight of the air held her down. The debris piled above her shielding her from the worst of the flames, but for how long?

"I need to get out," she squeeled, clawing toward the ladder, "I can't breathe!"
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by VagueDurin »

Like Elena, Tsivoin had also slumped to the floor of the compartment, his back to the wall the teen sat very still as he waited for the Kessurian - or any of the other crew members - to finally return and let them back out. The Zabrak had spent more time than he cared to remember in tiny spaces like this one... rarely were they this dry and sanitary. He couldn't be sure how long they'd been down there, but he soon started to hear commotion coming from the other end of the compartment.

Look uh, just stay quiet okay? The words that the Kessurian had uttered played back loudly in Tsiv's mind. For the first time since the hatch closed, the Zabrak stirred, twisting his body and squinting in the red hued darkness he tried to see what was happening on the other side. Before he could think of anything else, the human made a break for the ladder.

Tsiv winced, looking up towards the hatch as if it would be thrown open immediately in response to the noise she generated. When that didn't happen, his attention turned back to Elena. "Hey - Hey - Hey." he hissed, scrambling onto his knees and then maneuvering in the cramped space to block her egress to the ladder. He reached out and grabbed hold of her shoulders. "They're right out there searching, I can hear them moving crates." He implored, not knowing that the noise of the scanning crew was exactly what had set her off in the first place.

"They're dying! The fire..." She tried to make a break for it again but Tsivoin wrapped an arm around her waist, pulled her back, pinning her to the floor. The frail teen held her in place with a surprising amount of strength, even as she struggled to break free still gasping for air. "Please... can't breathe..."

Her cries were becoming more desperate now, louder.

Tsivoin was struggling to keep her pinned to the floor, for the briefest of moments the Zabrak thought to reach for the blaster pistol he'd snatched up during his escape from The Tangle - not to fire of course because the noise of even a stun blast would be too great, but to perhaps temporarily knock the girl out. He frowned even the moment the thought had occurred, however. He couldn't bring himself to do that. Instead he straddled her hips to bring his bodyweight atop of her, freeing up one hand to cup over her mouth. "E-Elena, it's going to be okay. It won't be much longer, just hang on, okay?"


The scanning crew had started in the cockpit, working their way aft. Their search had progressed quickly at first, however now that they'd made it cargo hold, they were taking their time. Rossi had remained in the hold under the guise of cleaning duties just in case the crew detected their stowaways. As she worked her way down an aisle of crates the montrals on either side of the Kessurian's forehead began tingling. Shavvit She was sensing the turmoil within the compartment.

Thankfully the hide-a-hole's electronic countermeasures were keeping the First Order scanners from detecting the two life forms, but the same wouldn't be able to be said if they ended up hearing a commotion. Rossi keyed open her comm and spoke very quietly into it. "Lamta, Lamta, Lamta." she spoke their distress signal, then waited for the comm to click as Vague signaled his receipt. "Need a distraction, not much time." She whispered.

Moments later, Heval came bounding up the ramp, skittering around the corner and then barreling into the cargo hold. "What is this?! Hey you, control this thing before I-"

Vague arrived before he could finish his outburst, striding into the hold and walking into the center before whistling to get Heval's attention. The Mutriok bounded over to where he stood and sat next to the Captain. "Heval, Axaftin!" Vague commanded. The Mutriok began to trill and yowl loudly, while Vague acted like he was trying to calm and quiet him.

"Officer, I'm sorry. I'm not sure what's gotten into the fella, he's never like this." Vague offered with a shrug. "Maybe its the frequency on the scanner? Are you about through here?"

The noises continued, only growing louder and higher in pitch. The officer initially looked as though he was going to object, then he reached up to put a gloved hand against his temple and shouted over the animals howling at the scanning crew. "Well?! Any other life forms?"

They responded in the negative. "Scopes clear, Sir!"

"Very well. Captain I suggest you sort that out," he indicated at the Mutriok, "As well as several regulatory violations my crew has detected within the modifications aboard this ship. We'll be leaving now."


The hatch finally opened, a rush of fresh air and light flooding into the compartment. The Kessurian leaned over the edge to pear inside, her eyes widening at the sight of the Zabrak straddling the girl - seemingly trying his hardest to overpower her.


At the cool rush of air Elena found her strength again, shoving the Zabrak off of her while he was distracted staring at Rossi. In an instant she was on her feet and scrambling up the ladder. Back in the cargo hold now her heartbeat was gradually beginning to slow. At the Kessurian's questioning glance Elena flushed, turning away from her. Her eyes settled on Vague momentarily, the man's face an expressionless mask.

"Um... thanks," she said simply, stepping away from them both.

Tsiv ended up rather unceremoniously on his backside. The bewildered teens hands were trembling and his twin hearts were pounding so hard he thought they might erupt. He glanced up out of the compartment but saw no one as their attention had turned immediately to Elena as she had scrambled out into the hold.

The teen took a moment to try and collect himself and then with still shaking hands he climbed up the ladder and out of the compartment. When he reached the top rung, the Kessurian offered him a hand. "Close one." She said as he gained his footing on the deck.

"Uh, yeah?" he asked lamely. He hoped he wouldn't need to explain what hat gone on in the compartment, not that he really understood anyway.

Vague regarded the two for a moment, all the obvious questions he wanted to ask dying at the tip of his tongue. It wasn't important and there wasn't time. He walked over to the edge of the bulkhead where a console was inlaid and keyed up the intercom. "Three, get the main drives spooled up, we're checking out. Four, they're going to resist - I'll need you in the turret."

Tsiv had worked his way over to where Elena had escaped to and was trying unsuccessfully to make eye contact with her. The frantic way she'd been trying to escape the compartment had him spooked. As Vague dealt orders out to his crew, she finally looked up, ignoring Tsivoin's concerned glance and instead looking to the Captain of the ship. "What about us?" She asked, her tone level but emotionless.

Vague turned to regard her and trapped his tongue between his teeth as he considered her question. The immediate danger to his ship and crew had passed, but there was no telling what the First Order would do next. Thus far they'd shown a willingness to expend drastic resources hunting for these two... The sooner they were out of the system, the better.

His gaze softened a bit as he took in some details. Their state of dress, the stains around the bottom of their pants and the telltale streaks of dried sweat on their skin. These two had had quite the evening already. The human couldn't have been any older than Rossi - he suspected she was a few years the Kessurians junior - and while he hadn't been around a ton of Zabraks in his time, most humanoid species shared the same telltale signs of maturity and this grey and black skinned Zabrak was surely juvenile. And malnourished, the Captain thought, and injured.

That settled it. "Heval, eve-git. You two, follow me." he commanded. The Mutriok stood and trotted off deeper into the cargo hold, disappearing into the shadows. Meanwhile Vague started walking into the ship. They strode through a corridor before emerging into what appeared to be the main compartment of the ship.

It had several corridors that led into and out of it and seemed to be separated into three distinct sections: A sitting lounge nearest them, a large dining table across the way, and a small bar area kitty-corner from that.

Vague paused and indicated the corridor to their left just passed the bar. "There's a communal 'fresher down at the end of that corridor if you need it." Then he turned and tapped a key on the bulkhead to his right, which opened up a door to what looked like a med bay. "For now, see to that gash and whatever else needs tending to." He ordered, indicating the wound on Tsivoin's forehead. He turned to head for the cockpit, then paused momentarily. "They're not going to appreciate our departure - this may get choppy." he spoke over his shoulder before disappearing into the corridor beyond.
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by Pryde »

Elena stared after him, thankful he hadn’t asked the question that was on his mind. Once he was out of sight she turned back to Tsiv, her thoughts racing for some explanation for what happened back there. Eventually, she settled on not saying anything and pointed at a nearby stool. “Sit.”

The kid did as she asked while she fetched some supplies. Gauze, butterfly stitches, a bacta patch. She grabbed some disinfectant, leaning down to inspect the boy's wound. "This may sting a little."

She wasn't a doctor by any stretch of the imagination, but she did have some basic first aid training. She cleaned his wound, stitched it closed and finished it off by applying the bacta patch over the whole ensemble. She patted him on the shoulder before straightening up, just in time for the ship to rock violently. She nearly lost her footing, grabbing onto one of the medical beds for support. She nodded her head back toward the main common room.

"We better sit down."

"What about you?" Tsivoin protested.

Elena glanced down at herself. She had cuts, bruises, even laser burns all over her body, a sharp, stinging pain emanating from pretty much everywhere. She could treat the ones she could see, but could she count on the kid to handle the rest? "I'll be fine," she insisted, "Now go."

Tsivoin reluctantly left the medbay, casting uncertain glances over his shoulder. Elena trailed behind him, gripping her elbow with one hand, her gaze leveled at the floor. He slowed his pace to match, making a beeline toward the lounge area. They were about halfway across the room before Elena grabbed hold of his wrist, stopping him. Their eyes met, she looked at him pleadingly.

“Hey, um… about what happened back there. What I did, the things I said… Don’t tell anyone… please?”

The Zabrak still flinched at her touch, but the reaction was more muted than it'd been when they'd first met. He glanced down at her hand on his wrist as he struggled with the deeply learned reaction to pull away and run - it was a considerably difficult instinct to overrule. Finally his violet eyes looked up and met Elena's.

About what happened back there.. What the hell had happened back there? Tsiv had no idea, the teenager was just glad that they hadn't gotten caught. He thought back to the moment where he'd considered using force to keep her quiet and heat rose to his cheeks. Yes. The less said about it the better.

"Not a word." he replied simply, before the ship seemed to rotate on mutiple axis all at once. He lost his balance and began falling backwards, frantically he reached out and grasped hold of the arm that Elena was using to hold his wrist to stop his fall.

Elena sensed the shift in the ship's rotation before it happened, grabbing hold of the bulkhead to steady herself. Meanwhile, Tsivoin clawed at her arm, still slick with sweat from her ordeal in the compartment. His fingers slipped and he started to tumble backward. He closed his eyes, braced himself for impact against the floor, a chair, the ceiling, anything. When nothing happened he was confused. He opened his eyes again, found himself floating in the middle of the room. He glanced over at Elena, she had one hand stretched toward him and sweat beading on her brow.

She made a gesture with her arm, sending Tsivoin soaring across the room into an empty crash seat. She pinned him against the chair, unable to move while the seat's safety bets, seemingly on their own, strapped him in. Once the belt was secure she let go of the bulkhead and raced across the room to join him. At that moment the ship's pilot threw the vessel into a downward spiral. Elena's feet left the floor, her momentum carrying her forward. She slammed into the bulkhead above Tsivoin's head, ricocheted off the wall before crashing into the floor at his feet.

She was dazed and moving slowly. The ship started to rotate again. The floor dipping away from Tsivoin. He looked down in time to see her sliding out of reach, his shoulders still pinned to the crash seat.

Tsiv winced at the sound and force of the impact as he was helpless to stop Elena from careening into the bulkhead above him. The teenager desperately tried to stretch against the restraints of the crash seat, his fingers splaying outward in vain as the continued maneuvering of the craft sent her unmoving form sliding aft along the deck. She was soundly out of his reach - the Zabrak quickly reached up and grabbed hold of the restraints. He yanked this way and that, bucked his shoulders against them, but the harder he strained against them, the tighter they got around his slender frame. He'd never been in a crash seat, and he had no idea how to get free. "Elena!?" He called out towards her, hoping she may come-to.

It was no use. The impact had either stunned her, or rendered her completely unconscious. One last ditch effort to struggle free of the seat only left the Zabrak yelping in pain as the restraints tightened down even further against him. "Help?!" He squeaked, barely able to breath his left hand still splayed out in Elena's direction.

An invisible force, like a blanket made heavy from a sudden downpour of rain, suddenly fell upon the girl. First slowing her slide, then incrementally pinning her to the deck. The weight grew heavier and heavier until finally her aftward motion was halted altogether. It was at that moment, that Heval bounded around the corner - whether the animal had heard the commotion or was drawn out of the cargo hold due to something else was unclear. The why was of no consequence, though, as to Tsivoin's releif the Mutriok seemed to immediately notice that Elena was hurt and in danger. The beast took gentle hold of her ankle within it's mouth and tried to pull her towards the bulkhead, only to find he couldn't move her. He stopped, took a step back, then tried again with the same lack of results. Heval then whinned a high pitched sound and tilted its head in Tsivoins direction.

The Zabrak's pinpoint concentration on Elena was broken by the sound, and almost at once the invisible heavy weight lifted. Immediately the Mutriok coughed a low bark and then stepped back to the young womans side, again taking her ankle in its mouth it slowly and gently pulled her back to the bulkhead, and then it lay against her as a sort of crash restraint of its own.

Elena woke in the infirmary some time later. Faces both familiar yet unfamiliar staring down at her, the Captain of the ship and a young Kessurian girl. "What... how..." she started, desperately trying to piece together the remnants of her hazy memory. A sudden thought occurred to her, standing out like a beacon with all its clarity. "Tsivoin!" She sat bolt upright, immediately regretting it. Shooting pains lanced throughout her entire body. Hands reached out, gently urging her to lay back down. "Where's Tsiv?"
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by VagueDurin »

"Hey. Hey take it easy." Rossi spoke softly, doing her best to keep Elena in the gurney without doing any more harm to the young girl. "Your friend is fine. He's in the lounge eating - well, everything he can get his hands on."

"You did well to get him secured when you did. Sorry you weren't able to do so yourself." Vague offered from the other side of the gurney. The spacer had felt terrible when he'd found out that she hadn't had the chance to strap in before the worst of their escape had occurred. He chastised himself internally - so used to his well oiled crew, he hadn't considered that the pair wouldn't get buckled in time. "I should have made sure you were both bolted down before took off."

"As long as the kid's alright," she said quietly. "I fethed up his life enough, I think..."

She leaned her head back, staring up at the ceiling. "Captain, why didn't you turn me in?"

Her comment, thought it wasn't necessarily meant for him, confirmed Vague's suspicion that the Zabrak was much more a tag-along than an accomplice. Vague scratched the knuckle of his thumb against the stubble on his chin as he considered her query.

"I haven't decided, yet." the reply didn't specify whether he meant he hadn't decided why, or if he hadn't decided if he may yet do so. He took a couple steps back away from the side gurney. To the inattentive they may have seemed random, though in reality it put him more squarely between Elena and the exit. "I've got a few questions of my own - do you mind chatting while she finishes dressing those burns?"

"Do I got a choice?" She muttered, more to herself than to him. "Ask away, but I doubt you'll believe me... few people do," she added under her breath.

Rossi waited for a nod from Vague, then turned back to Elena, grabbing a fresh burn dressing from the package on the nearby table.

"Let's start simple. Tsivoin out there was less than forthcoming about the two of you, and I'd prefer to stop calling you 'the girl and the kid."

"Well, I already told you his name and mine..." she trailed off, remembering Codebreaker's advice to change her name. She glanced between them, considering her options. She'd already flashed her laser sword in front of them. Not to mention the Captain had identified her in the cargo hold, granted he didn't do it by name. She could lie, but it probably wouldn't take much to look up her arrest warrant and then they'd know they couldn't trust her. She sighed. "Elena Connor."

Vague watched the conflict on her features as she weighed her options before finally introducing herself. He spared a quick glance over at the other medical gurney where her weapons lay, then turned back to Elena. "Great. Now we know the kid lived and worked back there. What were you doing in Canto Bight?"

She grimaced. How much information was safe to give him? And how much should she keep to herself? "I was sent by Maz Kanata to find the Master Codebreaker. She said he could help me disappear."

Now they were getting somewhere. "From the First Order I take it?" She didn't need to verbalize the affirmative. "The CBPD told the bartender at Kang's they were after the two of you for a 'botched heist'. That's not exactly laying low... So what went wrong?" It was obvious something had tripped up her efforts and for the safety of his crew Vague needed to try and understand what she was wrapped up in.

"Botched heist?" She said, her tone incredulous, "As if! I wasn't--"

There was a shift in his expression, she quickly composed herself. "I mean, it's not important cause it isn't true. The First Order isn't after me because of something I did, it's because of what I am."

"And what's that?"

"A terrorist, apparently. But I never terrorized anyone."

Vague's mostly impassive expression soured a bit at that. He didn't detect any duplicity from the girl. Some guarding, certainly but he could hardly blame her for that... No, she was not lying, and yet - To warrant the dispatching of a Star Destroyer, the company sized deployment of troopers and a lockdown of a spaceport. The sooner they got to Ord Radama the better, they'd make sure the kids were safe and had a fighting chance - then he and his crew would be on their way.

The spacer let out a slow sigh, what a mess. "Once she's patched up, make sure you show her to the galley. If you're even half as hungry as the Zabrak you'll want to grab your share before he does." He then turned and headed towards the commons area.

Elena blinked. "Wait, that's it?"

Rossi stopped applying a bacta compound and pressed the back of her hand to her forehead as Elena reopened the dialogue with Vague.

He stopped just before the hatch opened up in front of him. Glancing back over his shoulder, he asked pointedly “You have more to tell?”

She winced, what are you doing, Elena? Just let him go. "Well, no... I mean..." she floundered, her eyes darting to the gurney where her lightsaber lay.

A stranger boarded his ship with a weapon that hasn't been seen since the fall of the Republic and not once did he ask her about it. Was he just not interested? Did he even know what it was? What it meant?

"I, um... I guess not," she finished sheepishly.

Vague shifted his hand and fingers, showing Rossi a signal for rallying, followed by three extended fingers. As he did so, he made a more obvious and flourishing movement with his other hand in order to check the chronometer strapped to his wrist. “Grand. Finish getting patched up and get some food in you, then.” He replied, turning once more to leave.

"Wait!" She called after him, flinching as he turned to face her. She averted her gaze, a profound sense of guilt coming over her. "You asked me what happened... Someone, um... used the starport's holocams to catch me on Cantonica. If they were still watching..."

Her words trailed off but the implication was clear. Whomever was watching the cameras saw her board his ship. Saw him lie to First Order. Whatever she was involved with, he was part of it now.

The skin around Durin’s eyes tightened a bit as he took a moment to study Elena. What she revealed stood to reason. The arrival of the Star Destroyer, hell the dispatching of it in the first place, was all but proof that whatever was going on was well above the Canto Bight Police Department’s purview. The Captain nodded his head just slightly, but did not reply before he keyed the hatch open and disappeared through it.

Rossi watched him go, then glanced quickly at her own chronometer. He’d given her thirty minutes to wrap things up with Elena before the crew was to meet up. The Kessurian shifted over to the other side of the gurney to check on the bag of fluid dangling from the ceiling. It was about half gone. She fiddled with the valve to increase its flow a bit, then turned her honey tinted eyes back to Elena. She cleared her throat a bit awkwardly, and tried to offer a reassuring smile. “How’re you feeling?” She asked, almost making a face immediately after. What a lame thing to say.

Elena sighed, leaned back on the pillow, staring distantly straight ahead. Fine, all things considered. I only ruined the life of one person for sure and four other people possibly... "Could you... leave the door open?" She said quietly, fully aware that she avoided answering the girl's question. "It's just... hot in here, ya know?"

Rossi blinked once, and couldn’t help keep her lower jaw from dropping partially open as she belatedly made the connection. If her skin wasn’t pink already, it would have crimsoned. “Closed spaces?” She moved to the doorway and keyed the hatch. She didn’t wait for an answer. “I don’t do well in crowds. I mean, like- you know really big ones?”

Elena's face turned a bright red as the girl made the connection. "I--no... just hot... like I said," she stuttered. "I mean, I don't need the door open. You can close it if you want."

She tried to sound confident, but her eyes betrayed a feeling of uncertainty.

Rossi reached up and tapped another key on the console, locking the hatch open. “It’s fine. No biggie.” She held her hands up palms out. “Our secret… and uh, sorry we had to hide you in there. So where are you from? How’d you get to Cantonica? What happened down there?” She practically burst with the questions.

Elena was a little caught off guard by the barrage. Briefly she wondered if the girl had any contact with other people her age or if she'd been cooped up on this ship forever with the Captain and his first mate. Not that she was any different. There'd been kids her age at Luke's temple but she was less interested in them and more interested in her training. Not that she'd know what to do or how to act around another girl her age. She was a survivor on Vorzyd V, a loner at the Jedi temple and a fugitive ever since. There'd never been time to make friends.

"Look, um..."


"Right... It's real nice to meet you and everything, but you shouldn't get attached to me. It's not safe."

“I wasn’t- I mean I’m not…” Rossi trailed off for a moment. You are, though. You even told her your name. Vague’ll flip if he finds out. “Maybe I should go check on Tsivoin.”

Rossi turned to leave, but Elena caught her wrist, stopping her. There was an odd, desperate look in her eyes when the Kessurian turned back to look at her.

"Tsiv has nothing to do with me. Shouldn't have anything to do with me. Leave me behind at the next port, but the kid should stay with you."

Rossi opened her mouth to say something, but Elena interrupted her before she could object.

"At least take him back to Cantonica when its safe. Just... don't leave him with me. He deserves better."

There was something in her eyes. Something you just couldn’t fake. This girl at least, truly, believed what she was saying. Rossi just couldn’t imagine how someone so young could be the cause of so much trouble. There had to be something else. Something more. It hardly mattered, though. She knew what Orev was going to say. Vague would agree. What could she do?

“I uh- I’ll try.” She then spun quickly and started out of the med bay. For a moment she reached over to the console to key the door shut, but just before she hit the key she remembered Elena’s plea and pulled her hand back before disappearing deeper into the ship.
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by Pryde »

Elena hadn't even waited for the soft echoes of Rossi's footsteps to fade before tearing out the IV and climbing off the gurney. She crossed the room over to where her belongings were, her lightsaber, a Westar 35 and the small shoulder bag she carried. She reached for the bag first, undoing the clasp and sticking her hand inside. She felt around, a sense of urgency to her movements. When her fingers brushed the smooth surface of a small, cubed object she breathed a sigh of relief, pulled the cube from the bag and held it up. The blue, semi-translucent box shimmered in the dim light of the med bay. She clutched it tightly in her palm before tossing it back into the bag.

The cube, like her lightsaber, was a priceless artifact. The saber on its own would have sold for a pretty penny, but the holocron? A literal vault of Jedi secrets? This crew would've been able to afford a whole fleet of ships. The fact it was still in her possession was evidence enough the crew had no idea who or what they were dealing with. It's better that they don't... Things had a tendency to get complicated whenever someone discovered what she was. Either she was the answer to everyone's misfortunes, a responsibility too heavy for her to bear, or she was trouble. Usually the latter. There were a lot of people eager to collect the bounty on a Jedi and just as many who simply wanted her dead. Had she known how much baggage was tied to joining the Order she might not have been so eager to accompany Master Luke.

Just like that stupid old man not to tell me everything, she grumbled. She'd grown impatient with his teaching. Wanted to learn more, but Luke kept telling her she wasn't ready. Frustrated with the slow pace of his lessons she snuck into his vault and borrowed the holocron. She'd train with it late at night, returning it before Luke and the others awoke the next morning. It was because she was in the vault that she survived the attack on the Jedi temple, the walls were sturdier. If the pillar hadn't fallen the way that it did after the ceiling had collapsed she'd have been crushed. As it was the pillar held up most of the debris, supported by the vault wall, creating a small pocket for her that kept her safe from the flames. But it hadn't muffled the screams of her fellow students... at least not entirely. She could still hear their voices in her dreams.

She stifled a shiver as she wandered out into the common room. Tsivoin was huddled at the counter in the kitchen, a bowl of something in his hand while the other shoveled food in his mouth. Her poncho had been folded up and placed on the chair next to him. She wandered over to him, grabbed the garment and quickly threw it over her head. Then she smiled at Tsivoin.

"The Captain says you're going to eat them out of house and home."
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by VagueDurin »

Tsivoin had been so engrossed in filling his stomach that the teenager had not noticed her approaching. The Zabrak set the bowl down on the counter with an audible clunk and took a moment to collect himself and process what she’d said, then he reached down to pick the bowl back up and held it out towards her. “This stuff is great! It’s sweet and when you warm it up and put this syrup overtop-“ His words were muffled as his mouth was still full of the spongey cake bits. He stopped and swallowed, then began speaking again – more clearly this time. “Here, have some.”

She held up her hands. "I'm good, thanks. Stomach's still rebounding from takeoff."

She pulled up a chair and sat next to him, staring helplessly at her hands while wordlessly working her knuckles. Tsivoin went back to munching on his food, seeming not to notice her. After a moment she spoke up again. "Tsivoin, I'm sorry... for everything."

When she turned down the food, the look that Tsiv gave her was as if she’d spoken in a completely foreign language. The former servant couldn’t imagine ever saying no to food. His thoughts drifted to so many hungry nights in the slaves quarters, and then the awful time he’d had trying to survive off of trash and dead varmints in the spaceport before Senna had rescued him.


As if on cue, the moment his thoughts shifted to his friend and what might have become of her, he heard Elena speak again. The teen dropped the ball shaped bit of cake he’d been holding back into the bowl as he brought his violet eyes up to regard her. His lower jaw dropped open as he instinctually prepared to tell her that it was ok, that it wasn’t her fault… but the words didn’t come out. Instead, the lone thought occurred to him, almost as if someone else whispered it into his mind. Was it all her fault? The teen still didn’t understand the why’s of any of what had happened this night. Even as he recalled the sequence of events, he realized the silence was extending on too long. What could he say?

“Will you be okay?” He asked what sounded like a simple question, though in fact he wanted to ask about what had happened in the compartment, and how badly she’d been hurt during the take off, and most critically what was going to happen to them next.

Will I be okay? It was such a simple question but weighed heavily with everything the pair of them were afraid to say aloud. She forced a smile on her face.

"Yea, kid, I'll be fine."

She stood, turned her back to him. "Gonna get some sleep while we have a minute. You go ahead and eat your fill."

Not waiting for a response she moved to the couch in the lounge area. Pulled off her poncho and rolled it up under her head to use as a pillow. As she closed her eyes her thoughts wandered back to Tsiv's question. Will I be alright? For today... for right now. But how much longer?

She escaped the First Order tonight, but what about the next time? She caught a glimpse of the extent to which the Order was willing to go to destroy her. An entire legion of soldiers, TIE fighters, even civilian casualties. How much longer could she evade such callous zealotry? More than likely the First Order would corner her eventually and then--

"Game over," she muttered under her breath...

Tsiv reached down to pick up the cake ball again, turning it over between his thumb and index finger twice, then he sighed and dropped it back into the bowl. Until she’d come out and apologized, the teen had been so distracted by their current predicament that he been able to avoid thinking about what had happened to him since she’d run him over in the casino… Now that that dam had broken…

Well he’d lost his appetite. The teen sighed heavily, then looked around for a distraction. He’d never been in a starship – save for the cargo hold. He and the other slaves had been locked inside cages and stowed deep in the cargo hold while they were transferred to Cantonica.

He stood from the stool and was about to head into the lounge when he saw the furred alien from earlier trot it’s way in from the hold. The Mutriok sniffed at the air for a moment, turned in a small circle, then leapt up onto the couch where it curled up and settled down atop Elena’s outstretched legs. Without any other ideas, and not keen to have another encounter with the furry beast just yet, the teen slunk off to the cargo hold where the lack of furniture and creature comforts helped to make him feel more at home. He found a tarp that was draped over a crate and wrapped it around his shoulders and curled up onto the deck to get some rest himself.
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by VagueDurin »

Meanwhile, in the ships cockpit:

“I’m not saying we should sell them,” SlackJaw the green and tan droid explained, it’s yellow green photo receptors brighter than normal. “A reward for a bounty is completely different than trafficking in slavery.”

Vague slammed his steel tumbler down on the center console loud enough for the sound to echo down the gangway. “Tu carî ji qelsiya kesên din sûd wernegirin.” Never profit from the weakness of others. He recited the first, and possibly most important of the four laws that made up the Black Bha’lir’s ‘Smugglers Code’. In truth, this expectation to ‘play fair’ was a difficult one to reconcile when one lived a life of crime. One must draw the line somewhere, though, and the Captain of the Ninth Circle had made this particular line very clear.

“I’m just saying – If we don’t someone else will.” The droid rebutted, placing his palms up in the air to signify he wasn’t contesting the point any further.

The four crewmembers had begun deliberation in the cockpit as soon as Rossi had joined them. Upon her arrival Vague immediately questioned what had the girl spooked and she relayed to them the strange turn her conversation with Elena had taken in the med bay. The cryptic warning had done little except solidify Orev’s position that the stowaways needed to be left behind: both for the ship and crews’ safety, as well as to ensure their ability to continue earning a living. For Vague’s part, the Captain hadn’t even entertained the idea that they might be offered a chance to stay – until Rossi had spoken her mind and cast that singular vote against the majority.

“We do not deal in people. We never have, and we never will.” Vague flipped a few switches along his portion of the ships control panel, then turned his light brown eyes back to regard his crew. “We’ll be coming out of hyperspace soon to hop off the Hydian Way. I’ll send a message out to the network, see if we have any friends on Ord Radama that could take the kids in and make sure they get a safe shot at a fresh start.”

Rossi, who was sitting behind SlackJaw at the comms station frowned – her honey colored eyes searching Vague’s expression for any hint of doubt… But of course the mans face was as stoic as ever. Blast it anyway! she thought to herself, trying to think of anything she could say or do to change even one of her crewmates minds.

Durin noticed the conflict on her face and blew out a short breath. “If we don’t hear good news from the network, then we will look into alternatives. We won’t simply kick them down the boarding ramp, Roz, but it’s simply not prudent to allow them to stay.”

Rossi huffed out a sigh in irritation. Deep down, the Kessurian knew it was the best she was going to get… but that didn’t mean she had to like it. She stood quickly and without another word took off out of the cockpit and disappeared down the ladder towards her quarters. Orev shifted in his seat, but Vague waved the Duros off. “Let her be. She’ll work it out.”

He turned and tapped a set of keys in the center of the cockpit and a small hologram appeared in front of him. It displayed realtime video from a series of security cams located throughout the ship. The Captain flipped through them quickly – he let out a low chuckle when he saw that Heval had made himself comfortable atop the sleeping form of the girl, Elena. His brow furrowed a bit as he continued through the views, finally finding the Zabrak curled into a twitching ball beneath a tarp in the cargo hold “Odd, that.” He said under his breath.

A short time later, they’d traveled as far as they could along the super-hyperlane of the Hydian Way and were forced to revert to realspace and alter course. While SlackJaw worked on the coordinates for their next jump Vague sent off the message he’d spoken of earlier. Once it was away, he stood and made for the gangway that led back into the main part of the ship.

“You know what she is, right?”

Vague paused and looked back over his shoulder at his Duros First Mate. “I know what she looked like.” He replied in an even tone. “Hard to ignore a glowrod that ornate, ‘Rev, but they’ve turned up in salvage before.”

Orev clicked his lipless mouth open and shut again in an expression of disbelief. “Surely you don’t believe that.”

Vague tilted his head to the side and raised a shoulder in a shrug. “I believe what I can prove, you know that. Besides, this time tomorrow she shouldn’t be our concern any longer.” With that said, he turned and dropped down the ladder to go check on Rossi.
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by Pryde »

Ord Radama
0800 Hours

"This contact of yours," Elena said for the third time, "They'll be able to keep Tsiv safe?"

"You both safe," Rossi answered. The Kessurian had a distant look about her, like she was distracted by something.

Elena leaned forward to get a better look at her face, but Rossi avoided making eye contact. Before she could think to voice the question, though, Vague and 'Rev entered the cargo hold talking about supplies. Tsivoin trailed after them making a beeline straight to where she and Rossi stood near the boarding ramp. He too seemed reticent to leave, his eyes cast downward. Elena briefly wondered if it was the food.

A bark announced the arrival of Heval as the Mutriok bounded into the cargo hold. He ran past Vague and 'Rev, coming to a stop at Elena's feet. He barked up at her to get her attention. She smiled, knelt next to the animal, stroking his mane. "Who's a good little guard dog?" She said, scratching under his chin. She cupped his head gently between her hands, looked deeply into his eyes. "Thank you for saving my life."

Heval barked again, swiped his wet tongue along her cheek. Elena laughed, wiping her face with her sleeve. She fetched something from her pocket, glancing conspiratorially toward Vague to make sure he wasn't looking. Then she held a cakeball up for Heval with a finger to her lips. "Our secret," she whispered.

The Mutriok quickly lapped up the treat, bounding back into the heart of the ship. Elena watched him go before straightening up again. She dusted herself off, turning just in time to see Vague coming toward them. "I guess this is goodbye, Captain," she said, holding her hand out to him. "Thanks again for... well, you know..."

Vague watched Heval trot away from the girl curiously. The Mutriok rarely took to strangers. His lips twitched into the slightest of smirks, a smirk that quickly disappeared. The Captain took a moment to look over at Rossi and Orev pointedly, “Of course. Look we may not operate aboveboard, but I wouldn’t wish the injustice of the First Order on my worst enemies.” There was a strange note to his voice, an authenticity that wasn’t part of his normal timbre.

Rossi who was still standing nearby rolled her eyes and cleared her throat overtly. “He means, you’re welcome.” She piped in, still not quite able to look Elena in the eyes.

Elena shifted her weight, looking between the two of them. Her jaw dropped slightly, her unspoken question catching in her throat.

"Well, we should probably get going," she said after a moment, still eyeing Rossi with a curious look.

“About that,” Vague interjected, drawing Elena and Tsivoin’s attention back to him. “We’ll be in port for a bit as we restock and refuel. Rossi has volunteered to take you both into the commercial district.” At Elena’s inquisitive expression, he indicated the filth along the edges of their trousers. “Get you both set up with some fresh clothes and supplies.”

“It’s the least we can do.” Rossi piped back into the conversation.

“One more thing.” Vague added, his brows furrowing slightly in Rossi’s direction. It wasn’t quite like the Kessurian to be so outspoken. He stepped forward and handed Elena a communicator. “I don’t run a taxi service, kid, but… in case.” He nodded at the comm unit. “You can get ahold of us through that.”

Elena was caught off guard. New clothes and a method for contacting them? When she spoke again her voice was faint. She tried her damndest not to get choked up, but failed at it utterly. "Please, I can't," she said, handing him back the communicator. "You've already done too much."

Vague refused to accept the communicator back. He instead offered a joyless smile. “Consider it a down payment, then. For your future discretion – should anyone become curious about what ship and crew brought you here.”

"Discretion I can do," she assured him. "Thank you."

She turned to Rossi. "Well, shall we?"

Once the trio cleared the spaceport and boarded the mass-transit speeder train, Rossi finally started loosening up. Ever since she disagreed with the rest of the crews decision regarding the stowaways she’d been on edge. The Kessurian sat with her back to the window while the planet flew by outside, she was typing away at a scomp-pad when Elena asked her what she was doing.

“I’m scrubbing the records and holo recordings of our arrival. Not something I usually do but after what you said about Cantonica – Well Vague didn’t want to take any chances.” She explained, then paused for a moment to look up from the screen. “Look, Elena… I’m sorry about all of this, I tried to talk them into letting you both stay.”

Elena looked surprised. Is that what that weird energy was? But you don't even know me. She glanced over her shoulder at Tsivoin who seemed distracted watching the landscape slide past below them. With a sigh she turned back to the Kessurian. "Look, Rossi, it's not that I don't appreciate the sentiment it's just... People who get involved with me usually end up getting hurt."

She looked over at Tsivoin again to emphasize her point. Her guilt visibly showing on her face. "It's better for him--for you, if you'd never known me."
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by VagueDurin »

Rossi couldn’t help but make a face at Elena’s reply. Her first thought involved wondering just how many people Elena could have come across in her short lifespan to have such a jaded outlook on friendship. She immediately felt foolish for the thought, however. Having been raised in a foster system run by a secretive smuggling cartel, her notions of normal were irreversibly skewed. The Kessurian then followed Elena’s gaze over to the Zabrak who seemed one hundred percent engrossed in the spectacle. A warmth grew in her core and blossomed outward, culminating in a genuine smile. She then, too, turned to look out over the wetlands as they careened across them towards the commerce district.

“I so often forget to appreciate the little things.” She spoke, mostly to herself.

The comment wasn't for her, but Elena understood the sentiment. She turned away, her expression becoming distant. "Yea," she said, her voice barely above a whisper.

"What's wrong, Elena?" Luke Skywalker said, kneeling next to her.

Elena sat with her legs crossed, hands in her lap, a stone laying on the ground in front of her. She stared at it, her face scrunched in frustration. "I don't get it. How is staring at this rock going to make it fly?"

Luke smiled at her, resting a hand on her shoulder. "You believe that birds can fly?"

She nodded.

"And starships?"

She nodded again. "But starships and birds have like wings and rockets and stuff. They're
supposed to fly."

"You have the Force," he said pointedly, poking her in the chest right above her heart. "Give yourself to it, feel it flowing through you."

She frowned. "You keep saying that, but what does it even mean?"

Luke shifted his weight, sitting cross legged beside her. Taking her hands in his he guided her to face him. "Close your eyes."

Elena sighed, another stupid exercise. Why couldn't he ever just tell her what he meant? Why all the riddles and cryptic responses? Grumbling, she closed her eyes, keenly aware that he was still holding her hands in his. "Okay? Now what?"

"What do you hear?"

"I hear you."

"Think beyond me," he said, "Clear your mind, try again. Breathe... Now what do you hear?"

Elena groaned inwardly, but took a moment to center herself all the same. She breathed in long, slow breaths, tilting her head a bit to listen. There were voices not far away, the other students. Each of them quietly conversing among themselves while working on the exercise Luke had given them. Some of them even seemed elated, having successfully gotten their rock to move. She bit her lip, doing her best to bite back her jealousy. She knew what Luke would say if she got hung up on that. Still with her ear arched toward the sky she tried to listen beyond the small circle of Jedi learners.

Long minutes had passed, Elena still straining her ears to hear... something. Anything. After awhile a breeze picked up, rustling leaves and playing with her hair. It carried the scent of wildflowers and sage along with something else. The gentle chirping of kaddyr bugs. Some distance away a frog croaked just as an eagle soared overhead, its cries echoing toward the horizon. Rodents scampered away through the grass, burrowing underground or climbing into the trees for safety. The fields were alight with activity, something Elena had never taken the time to notice.

"Good," Luke said quietly, "Now... what do you feel?"

She changed her focus, still concentrating on her surroundings. The afternoon sun hung high overhead, its warmth washing over her. The wind blew again, the cool air sending a shiver down her spine. Her skin tingling as goosebumps formed in her flesh. She felt the gentle touch of Luke's hands against hers, the soft grass between her toes, the packed dirt beneath her. And on top of it all there was a charge in the air, almost as if the planet were electrified. It surrounded her, penetrated her. Flowed from her into Luke and vice versa, down into the earth itself. It was everywhere. Was it the Force? Is that what he wanted her to feel?

"Picture the rock," Luke continued, speaking softly. "Feel it in your mind. To the Force a rock is a rock. Whether it's on the ground or in the air there's no difference between them. Let the Force show you that truth. Give yourself to it, let it change how you perceive the world."

Elena tried to imagine the stone. It wasn't hard given that she'd been staring at it for the past fifteen minutes. It's muddy brown color was clear in her mind, its coarse texture still lingered on her palm. She could see the slight imperfection on one side of it, marring what was otherwise a near circular shape. She tried to imagine what that stone would look like in the air. Same rock, same imperfection, just floating three feet above the ground. As Luke said there was no difference between them, no difference at all.

"Open your eyes."

Elena had been so focused on what she was doing that Luke's voice nearly startled her. She opened her eyes, looked at him, he nodded toward the stone. She turned her gaze, her eyes widening. The stone was at eye level, suspended in midair. The second she realized it she lost control, sending the rock plummeting to the ground. In a rush she freed her hands from Luke's, tried to catch it before it fell.

Luke's smile broadened. He stood, ruffling her hair. "You've taken your first step into a larger world..."

Elena grimaced as the last vestiges of the memory faded from her thoughts. Those were happier times. When she first arrived at the temple she was as scrawny and malnourished as Tsivoin. After being rescued by Luke she was given food, clothing, a bed. At first the thought of becoming a Jedi, while exciting, was to her merely a means to an end. A way out of the gutter into a life of luxury. She didn't believe the Force was real, the Jedi only existed in stories. But Luke was patient with her. Though she struggled he eventually opened her eyes to the truth. Guided her, as he said, into a larger world. If only you'd told me what was in that world...

“Do you like the ocean?” Rossi asked Tsivoin.

The Zabrak blinked quickly, his thoughts returning to the here and now. “Huh?”

“The water,” Rossi indicated with a pointed finger towards the distant sea, “You like it?”

Tsivoin looked back to the window, but the wistful innocence that had rested on his face until then faded away – what was left was a raw vulnerability. His violet eyes began to wet and the teen forced himself to look away. “No.” He spoke, perhaps too quickly. “When I was uh- When they took me and made me work for them… Before Cantonica it was on Sibensko. The complex was underwater, we didn’t see the sun for years.”

Rossi was taken aback. The Zabrak had been so protective of his and Elena’s identities when they’d first fled Cantonica, and even since then he’d only offered the barest of minimum communication with anyone other than Elena herself. Both his openness and the subject he spoke of surprised her.

“I uh, I’m sorry. That must have been hard.” She offered, glancing over at Elena briefly. She’d had a hard time putting together how long the two teens had known each other but the vibe she’d picked up on was that it hadn’t been long. She wondered what, if anything, Elena knew about Tsivoin’s past.

Elena was in her own little world, barely listening as the two spoke quietly. Her attention had shifted to the other passengers, most of whom were busy with their own affairs. Some staring out the window as Tsivoin was, others quietly conversing on holo calls either for business or personal. One young boy had taken a particular interest in her. She'd caught him staring out of the corner of her eye. When she turned to look at him his gaze shifted down. Elena followed the gesture, glancing down at her hip. Her poncho had folded up on top of her, exposing her lightsaber, allowing it to dangle freely. She quickly flipped the end of the garment over her leg to cover it, glancing up to look at the boy. Only he was nowhere to be found. Her back stiffened as she frantically scanned the crowd looking for any sign of the child.

"Elena," Rossi said suddenly, drawing her attention back to the present. "Everything alright?"

"Um, yea," she said, quickly casting a glance back where she saw the boy first, finding only an empty chair. "Everything's fine."
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by Pryde »

Elena held up a blouse Rossi had handed her. It was frilly, made of a lightweight fabric similar to silk and it was pink. She eyed the garment suspiciously. Surely the Kessurian wasn't planning on buying this for her, right? And just how many garments was she planning to buy, anyway? This was the sixth shirt Rossi had given her, the other five were draped over her arm. They hadn't even started looking at pants yet. She shifted her weight from one foot to the next, eyes darting to the door. How much longer was this going to take? Again she lamented not owning a chrono.

"Won't this tear if, you know... I have another night like last night?"

Rossi furrowed her eyebrows, looking first at the blouse and then at the folded tops on her arm. She sighed slightly and tossed the lot of them to Tsivoin who stood silently to her right. The teen scrambled to catch them but made sure that none hit the ground.

Rossi collected her thoughts and turned back to Elena with a bright smile on her face. “You can’t just run around in a worn down poncho all the time.” At the face Elena made, she continued in a lower volume, “I don’t know what you have planned but you’re going to need to be able to blend in. You know: Work, Play, Night out with friends. Options. Always have options.”

What I have planned? That gave her pause. What did she have planned? What comes after this? What was I going to do after Codebreaker erased my records? Get a job? Live a normal life? Just what the hell was normal? A husband and wife? Maybe a couple of kids? Living in a house with a white picket fence? The more she thought about it the more it frustrated her. Her gauge for normalcy was broken long ago. She lived as a beggar, a thief, a Jedi and a fugitive. A normal life for her seemed as impossible a dream as becoming a big Broadway star in a holodrama.

"Okay, sooo... Is there an outfit that does all of that?"

Rossi put her hands on her hips, giving her a sharp look.

"What? I don't really have the luxury of carrying around a lot of luggage."

The Kessurian blew out a befuddled sigh. I’ve never met a girl in the ‘verse who wouldn’t jump at the chance to run up the bill on an all expenses paid wardrobe upgrade. What gives? She waited a half a second, mostly to give Elena a chance to say she was kidding… then turned without a peep and stalked off into a different section of the store.

Tsivoin was struggling to untangle the mess of tops that Rossi had thrown to him and in the process he ended up snagging one of them on a clothes rack without noticing. When the snagged garment wouldn’t budge he grew frustrated and twisted his body away from the rack, ultimately doing exactly what Elena had been concerned about – tearing the fabric. At the sound of the ripping top, his violet eyes grew wide and the teen immediately dropped the rest of the tops. He took a handful of steps backwards quickly, his posture meek as he began to repeatedly apologize to whoever could hear him.

Elena stared after Rossi as she stalked off to another part of the store. She'd been caught off guard by the girl's reaction. Was it something I said? Stepping around Tsivoin she moved to follow the Kessurian.

"Hey, Rossi--"

She'd made it a mere handful of steps before she heard Tsivoin frantically apologizing behind her. She'd turn to see what was wrong, the teen had a handful of clothes at his feet and a torn blouse in his hand. Hearing the commotion an older man approached him. He snatched the blouse from Tsivoin and held it up, his brow furrowing in anger.

"What have you done," he said, "Do you have any idea how much this cost?"

Tsivoin stuttered out another apology, bowing his head.

The man held up a hand, seemingly considering striking the boy.

"Hey, relax. It was just an accident," Elena said, quickly stepping between him and Tsiv.

The man appraised her--appraised them both. Eyeing them up and down, his nose scrunched in disgust. "Street rats," he said, "Gutter trash. How did you get in here?"

Elena's eyes flashed but she held her tongue. It wasn't the first time someone had called her gutter trash, it wouldn't be the last. "Look, we're just shopping, alright? We're not here to cause any trouble."

"Shopping," the man said, his tone incredulous. "No, you two are done. I want you out."

He waved to a Devaronian standing by the door. The alien, accompanied by another human, approached them, immediately taking hold of Tsivoin and Elena by the arm.

"Hey, wait," she said, but they were already being shoved toward the door.

Tsivoin was thrown out first, staggering into the street but somehow managing to maintain his balance. When they threw out Elena she stumbled into him, sending them both sprawling to the ground. She untangled herself from the young Zabrak and stood, dusting herself off before holding out a hand to Tsiv.

"Well, that was rude. Are you okay?"

The Zabrak immediately shrunk away from the helping hand. Tsiv scrambled backward, shooting his hands outward in a defensive posture. His expression was terror-stricken, his violet colored eyes peeking through his spread out hands. “I’m sorry, it just got stuck.”
You sent

Elena stared at him, still offering her hand. She blinked twice before lowering her arm. "Tsiv, really, it's no big deal, don't worry about it. The shopkeep just overreacted. He can have the garment fixed if it's really that important."

For a moment the teen didn’t move. He didn’t blink, he didn’t breath. He just lay there listening to his twin hearts pounding in his chest. He sucked in several deep breaths, and then replayed the last few seconds back in his head. Finally, he realized that Elena wasn’t going to strike him. Tsivoin then wrapped one arm around his midsection and reached the other out towards her. She took it and helped pull him back to his feet.

At that moment, Rossi came walking up to them, having been unable to find them in the store she had left through a separate exit and started searching for them outside. “Hey! What are you two doing out here?”

At the sound of her voice, Tsiv quickly let go of Elena’s hand and clasped his together in front of him - casting his gaze down to the duracrete unable to look up at either of them.

Elena watched him curiously. Was this behavior reinforced by something he experienced on Cantonica? Or somewhere else? She'd been shooed away plenty of times in her youth by people who didn't want her around, but what she was seeing now went beyond that. This was abuse.

"Um, let's just say we were asked to leave," she said in answer to Rossi's question. "I don't think they're going to let us back in."

“Well that’s just ridiculous. Why would they-“ She stopped mid-sentence as Elena offered her a rather matter-of-fact expression as the younger girl gestured to the state of her and Tsivoin’s dress. Rossi could have kicked herself. She should have known, even a back-water world like Ord Radama had it’s fair share of prejudice. You could have at least had them change into some clean service over-alls or something, Roz she thought to herself. Her eyes shifted to Tsivoin, his posture and demeanor in stark contrast to Elena’s. “Um-“ She stepped off to the side and motioned for Elena to follow. “Maybe you should look after him and I can um, try that shop down the street. I have a pretty good idea of your sizes. I’ll come back with some stuff?”

"I guess that's--" she stopped when her gaze fell on a familiar face. The young boy from the train, she'd forgotten all about him.

He was watching her from the crowd, but when her eyes met his he turned and fled. "Hey, wait!"

She hurried after the boy, following him down the street and turning a corner. The others were hard pressed to keep up with her. Tsivoin appeared reluctant to push his way through the crowd and Rossi wasn't about to leave him behind. It took them a moment to finally catch up with her. She'd wandered about halfway down a side street still looking for the boy.

"Elena, what is it? What's wrong?" Rossi said as she came up behind her.

Elena bit her lip. What was she doing? He was just a boy, he probably didn't even know what he was looking at. "It's... nothing," she said after a moment of silence. "C'mon."

She turned to head back the way they came, but almost at the same moment she did an armored hovercraft turned the corner, heading toward them. The craft stopped in the middle of the street, its doors opening. A small squad of First Order stormtroopers piled out and began rounding people up.

Elena's back stiffened at the sight of their telltale white armor. She instantly turned around to head the other way. Two smaller craft appeared at the far end of the block, funneling people toward the larger, armored vehicle.

"Sithspit," she cursed.

The three of them found themselves swept up with the rest of the crowd, along with any shop owners whose doors were still open. The stormtroopers had trotted everyone out to the middle of the block, huddling them together in an imperfect circle. Once that was done a tall, blond haired man wearing the black uniform of a First Order officer stepped out of the larger vehicle, turning to address the crowd.

"We're looking for a Resistance spy," he announced in a firm voice. He held out a small holoprojector and turned it on. The blue tinted face of a rugged looking man with dark hair and a mustache appeared above his palm. Elena's eyes widened. It wasn't a perfect match, but the man's face shared a certain resemblance with the young boy she'd been seeing. A family member, perhaps?

"This man has been feeding our enemies with information concerning supply shipments. We have reason to believe he's been operating in this area and that he's receiving help from others. My men will now speak to each one of you individually to confirm your identities. If anyone his harboring this man we will find them."

He nodded to a stormtrooper standing off to his left. He and one other man broke off to begin speaking with the crowd. A probe droid accompanied them, scanning the face of each person they talked to.

"What do we do," Tsivoin asked in a frightened voice.

"Shh," Elena hissed, "Just let me handle it."

She caught an odd look from Rossi who seemed almost as worried as Tsiv.

The troopers and their droid worked their way down the line, asking each person to step forward and be scanned. Elena stood in front of Tsivoin and Rossi, seemingly unfazed by the danger facing them. When the troopers finally reached them they beckoned her to step forward, she refused.

"Come forward," the trooper tried again.

Elena stood her ground, her eyes shifting from them to the officer, whose attention seemed to be elsewhere. "You can move along now," she told him, making a slight gesture with her hand, "You've already scanned the three of us."

The trooper paused, staring at her. "We can move along now. We've already scanned the three of you," he said, gesturing for his partner to move to the next person in line.

The two men stepped past them, taking their droid companion with. Elena allowed herself a sigh of relief, turning to face the others who stared at her in wide eyed silence. Her victory was short lived, however, when she heard the officer's voice shouting again.

"Excuse me! You two," he snapped, stepping forward to confront the two troopers who'd just spoken to Elena. "Did you scan these three?"

The two men looked confused, sharing a glance before answering. "Yes, Sir, we did."

The officer stared at them a moment, silently rubbing his chin as he considered their response. "Scan them again."


"I said scan them again."

Fething great. Elena shifted closer to Rossi and whispered in her ear. "When I say 'get down' you grab Tsivoin and run for cover."

"What? Elena--"

"Just do it, Rossi. No questions."

She didn't give the Kessurian anymore time to respond before stepping out from the crowd, volunteering herself to be the first scanned. The probe droid floated in front of her, fixed her with its photo receptor. After a moment the machine began squawking excitedly, Elena responded by drawing her lightsaber, slicing the droid in half. "Get down! Now!"

"It's the Jedi!" The officer shouted. "Kill them!"

The troopers scrambled for their weapons, the two closest to her barely getting a hand on their blasters before she cut them down. Blasterfire rained in on her from every angle. Elena reversed her grip on the saber, deflecting each shot away with short, precise movements of her blade. One trooper armed a grenade, tossed it onto the ground at her feet. She thrust her hand out, sending the device soaring back the way it came. It exploded, killing the trooper and damaging the hovercraft next to him. She half turned, picked up the stormtrooper behind her with the Force, slammed him into the ground once, twice, three times before tossing him away. He crashed through a storefront window, setting off an alarm.

The last two troopers kept their distance, firing at her in intervals. She speared one with a flick of her wrist, calling her saber back to her before throwing it again in a wide arc. The weapon spun as it flew, slicing through the last trooper before returning to her hand. Then she turned at last to the officer. The man had a weapon trained on her, but was trembling violently.

"Stay back," he shouted as she approached him. "I said stay back!"

He fired once. Elena caught his blast on the tip of her blade, sending it back. The man stared dumbfounded at the sizzling hole in his chest, crumpling into a heap in the middle of the street.

She stared at his body, her face impassive. She barely registered the passage of time, hadn't even been aware of the past few moments. She acted on pure instinct, out of fear, anger, a misplaced sense of loyalty to her friends. Without thinking she cut these men down, killing them before they could kill her. Or Tsiv, or Rossi. It had to be done, right? It was the right thing to do... right? She fell to her knees, the golden blade of her saber blinking out of existence. There was no other way. She did what she could--the only thing she could. Now she'd have to live with the consequences...
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by VagueDurin »

Rossi struggled to catch her breath. As instructed she’d pulled Tsivoin back and away from Elena as soon as the young girl lit her laser sword. The Kessurian didn’t see all of what happened next, but she’d caught enough glimpses to fill in the blanks. She first helped the Zabrak back to his feet, then took a moment to assess the situation. Most of the bystanders had scattered – some had taken cover while the rest had taken advantage of the commotion to escape the area altogether.

Rossi quickly looked over to Elena, only to find the girl kneeling on the ground, staring straight forward at… Rossi sighed as she followed Elena’s gaze to the Officer that had been in charge of the group of troopers, the hole in his chest from the laser blast still smoking.

“Tsivoin, help her up.” She told the Zabrak as she drew the snubnosed blaster pistol from it’s holster at the small of her back. She moved quickly to confirm that none of the troopers were still a threat, then shifted the blaster into a low ready position while scanning the surrounding area.

Tsivoin had no idea what had just happened. One moment they were preparing to be scanned, then the next thing he knew was Rossi pushing him down to the ground and leaning over him. He’d heard blasterfire and screams, then silence. He moved now to help Elena, finding her still kneeling on the duracrete.

“Hey. Hey, get up. Come on –“

Elena said nothing, still too stunned to speak. Tsivoin found that she wasn't entirely unresponsive, however. As he took her arm and gently guided her to her feet she did not put up any resistance. He wrapped her arm around his shoulders, turning to look at Rossi.

At that moment a young boy appeared from the crowd, waving them over. "Psst, hey! This way! Over here!”

Rossi instinctively turned at the sudden sound and leveled her blaster at its source, only to immediately lower it upon seeing a human child waving at them. Her brows furrowed, but a quick glance either direction didn’t yield her with a better plan at that moment. “This way, Kid.” She spoke back to Tsivoin over her shoulder and the trio made their way over to the boy. She turned her back to him and ushered Tsiv and Elena past her, keeping her eyes on the street as she backed into the alleyway. “Who are you? What do you want with us?”

"Not you, lady. I'll help her," he said, gesturing to Elena. "Quick, take her down here."

He led them down a short flight of stairs into what looked like a maintenance tunnel.

Lady? Rossi wasn’t sure what to make of what the boy said. Why her? Why Elena? He couldn’t know her… Once they were secure in the tunnel, she stopped and pulled out her comm unit. She snapped it off the moment after activating it as it emitted only a fierce screech. “Shavvit!”

“What?” The Zabrak asked her, struggling to keep up his portion of Elena’s weight as she remained draped over his shoulder.

“The First Order. They must be jamming local comms, I can’t get a signal out.” She sighed, running a hand briskly back through her hair then turning back to the boy. She holstered her blaster and knelt down in front of him. “Okay, kid, thank you for bringing us this far but we’re going to need some answers before we move any further. What can I call you.”

He seemed annoyed, but responded nonetheless. “I’m called Niven, and we don’t have time to stay here and talk. They don’t come down here normally but for her – We need to go, now.”

“Go where?”

“Someplace safe.” He replied, looking over at Elena briefly. “Comeon!”

Elena had a distant look in her eyes. It wasn't altogether clear to the others if she even knew what was happening. For her part, though, she was still back in the middle of the street. Still staring at the body of the man she'd just killed. One of seven lives she callously ended.

"What's wrong with her," Niven asked, shifting his gaze between Tsiv and Rossi. "Is she hurt?"

Rossi frowned at the boy. She wasn’t sure how honest she should be. “She’s in shock, Niven. Stress from the struggle back there.”

“Can’t be. Jedi don’t get stressed.”

“Jedi?” Rossi asked curiously. This boy was very peculiar.

“Yeah. Jedi. You know, Galactic Guardians, Lightsabers, Heroes.” He practically rolled his eyes as he explained. Only a blank stare followed, so Niven then looked over at Tsivoin and tossed his hands out to his sides. “You either? Where are you even from, how do you not know about the Jedi?”

Rossi cleared her throat and moved sideways to get back into his field of view. “Hey, we can talk all about that later. You said there was a safe place?”

"Yea, this way," the boy said, hurrying down the tunnel.

He moved so fast Rossi had to help Tsiv with Elena otherwise the teen wouldn't have been able to keep up. Their path through the tunnels was complicated. They took so many turns that neither the Kessurian or the Zabrak were sure they could find their way back on their own. After awhile he finally came to a stop in front of a ladder leading to the surface. He climbed up, tapped three times on the hatch, waited a moment then tapped twice more.

The hatch opened, the face of a young woman staring down at them, eyes widening upon seeing Rossi and the others. "Niven, what the hell--"

"No time," the boy said, rushing up the ladder, forcing the woman to step aside. "Help them get her up here."

"Niven, do you have any idea what you've done? You're father--"

"I brought her back here, the Jedi I saw on the train. I told you she was real."

The woman stared at him then turned back to the hatch. She reached a hand down. "Here, give her to me."

For a moment, Rossi hesitated, but they’d come this far. What else could she do. Together she and Tsivoin labored through the process of hoisting Elena up through the hatchway. The woman on the other end took her out of view, and Niven quickly ascended next, leaving the Zabrak and Kessurian to follow behind. Rossi finished helping Tsiv climb up and get settled, then pulled the hatch closed behind her. Before she could do anything else, the young boy pushed between her and Tsivoin and did up the lock on the hatch before bounding off to where the woman had taken Elena.
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by Pryde »

The woman helped Elena into an old, worn down couch off to one side of the room. Looking around Rossi guessed that they were in the cellar of some structure deep within the city. Judging by how far they'd traveled underground that put them an uncomfortable distance away from the tram back to the starport.

"She's in shock," the unnamed woman said, waving her hand in front of Elena.

"That's just what the pink lady said, but that's ridiculous. She killed all those troopers and they didn't even touch her."

"What?" The woman said, her eyes wide. "Troopers? What troopers?"

"Back at the market," Niven said, shoving his thumb back over his shoulder. "They were looking for Dad but found her instead."

"She killed them? How many?"

"Like a dozen. By herself," the kid said proudly.

Doubt crept into the woman's expression.

"Six," Rossi corrected. "Plus an officer."

That startled her. Niven was fond of making up stories but this was the first time someone had corroborated them. She looked back at the girl on the couch, reaching for Elena's hand where she still held a tight grip on her lightsaber. Could the stories be true? Men and women with extraordinary powers?

"Niven, go. Tell your father."

The boy darted through an open doorway deeper into the structure. Meanwhile, the woman turned back to her two guests. "I'm sorry about the boy, he's... well, he means well." She held a hand out toward Rossi. "My name's Alya, we're with the Resistance."

As soon as the boy mentioned his father Rossi placed a palm to her forehead. We we’re trying to avoid the First Order, not run straight to their most wanted man on the Planet.

She watched with a weary expression as the boy took off to find the spy, then shifted her focus to the woman. She had been trained to lie in situations like this, but without aliases for the other two, and in light of what had just happened back there, she instead offered the truth. “Rossi. This is Tsivoin, and that is Elena. We were - clothes shopping.”

Alya smiled, laughing to herself.

Rossi looked confused. "What?"

"I'm sorry, it's just--I never imagined a Jedi would be clothes shopping."

Well, I was, anyway she thought wryly. But there was that term again. Rossi looked over at Elena forlornly, noticing that Tsivoin had slowly gravitated her way. She could see in his body language the teen was worried about her. Rossi was too.

“Forgive me. Elena is.. just our friend. We uh, aren’t familiar with this term, Jedi?”

"She never told you?" Alya failed to hide her surprise. How could they not know? "Well, um... You are aware the New Republic formed out of the ashes of the Empire?"

Rossi nodded.

"And the Empire formed out of the ashes of the Republic," Alya continued. "Well, the Jedi were the guardians of the Republic. There were thousands of them, all with abilities that couldn't be explained. They could move things with their mind. Even control your thoughts just by talking to you. Until now I'd thought they were just stories, but..."

She trailed off, turning her gaze to Elena.

Rossi stopped herself from explaining that they’d only just met Elena because then she’d likely end up having to explain what had happened back on Cantonica as well. She listened as Alya described to them what the woman had been taught about these, Jedi. She hadn’t noticed it at the time, but could that have been what Elena had done to the troopers who were about to scan them all? Control their thoughts? If she could do that… Rossi shivered involuntarily. As Alya moved her focus back to Elena, Rossi’s shifted over to where the boy had disappeared to. She needed to find a way to get back to her ship, or at the very least a way to contact them.

“We appreciate Niven helping us away from the market, truly we do… but I really need to get these two back to our ship at the port. I can’t seem to get a signal through on my comms and our Captain is surely going to be worried soon.”

"That would be an insanely bad idea," a new voice said as a man entered the room accompanied by Niven.

Rossi could tell even without looking this was the same man whose picture she'd seen carried by the First Order. "What do you mean?"

"If the FIrst Order are jamming communications then it's likely they've already taken control of the mass transit system back to the starport. Taking your friend there would be the fastest way to get her caught," the man said, stepping in front of Elena and kneeling down to look into her eyes. "How long has she been like this?"

"Since they arrived," Alya answered.

He frowned. "The First Order will have already begun a sweep of the city. They'll go door to door if they have to to catch her. We need to move her now."

He reached out and gently took hold of Elena's arm. The second he did so she sprung to life, engaging her lightsaber and grabbing a handful of his shirt. She held the blade inches from the mystery man's neck. In response he raised his hands, but he did not look afraid. None of them did. In fact looking around Rossi could see nothing but awe in the eyes of everyone present. Their gazes locked on the golden hue of Elena's weapon.

"Where am I?"

"It's alright," the man assured her, "You're with the Resistance."

"Resistance?" Elena repeated. She disengaged her saber and quickly stood. "No, no, no, I'm not--I can't be here."

In any other setting, Rossi might have thought it charming how Tsivoin emitted a low growl and did his best to insinuate his frail form in between the man and Elena as she stood and protested. At this time, in this setting, instead the Kessurian simply became that much more aware of the weight of her blaster in its holster and the fact that she had no idea where they were or how to leave.

“Tsivoin, hlala uzolile... singase sidinge usizo lwabo.” Tsivoin, stay calm, we might need their help. She swapped to Sy Bisti, then back to basic once she heard his growling subside. “Move her, where??” She tried to force some of that commanding tone she often heard Vague use, but in her heart she knew the only leverage she had here would come from violence – or at least the threat of it – and that wasn’t something she was comfortable utilizing.

"There are places we can take her. Old facilities used by the Rebel Alliance during the Galactic Civil War," the mystery man said, "But honestly, the safest thing for her would be to take her off planet."

"You said we shouldn't go to the starport."

"I said you shouldn't take the tram," he clarified. "There are... people we can contact. If we can get a message to General Organa--"

"No," Elena interrupted, surprising everyone with the sharpness of her tone, "I will not be a weapon for the Resistance."

There was a brief silence as they all stared at each other. Elena, seeing the surprise on the man's face, allowed her expression to soften. "I'm sorry, but this isn't my fight. I never wanted it."

He looked at her with compassion in his eyes. "I understand, but the situation hasn't changed. If you are to evade the First Order then we need to get you off planet now before that ship returns."

"Returns?" Elena said, giving him a confused look. "What do you mean?"

He ran a hand through his dark hair. "We were monitoring a First Order star destroyer in orbit. Yesterday it departed without warning, we're not sure where it went."

A chill came over her. "Cantonica," she said quietly. "That's why we didn't see them on the way in. We left them on Cantonica."
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by VagueDurin »

Rossi’s thoughts immediately shifted back to the pitched battle she and her crew had had with that Star Destroyer during their harrowing escape. Are we going to have to blast our way out of Ord Radama’s gravity well too?

“We- might have engaged that particular destroyer while making an unscheduled departure from Canto Bight yesterday.” She offered. “If they are to return here, it would be in everyone’s favor if we weren’t still here when they arrive.”

The man nodded. "We'll see what we can do. You said you had a ship?"

Niven, who up until this point had been silently observing, looked like he was bursting at the seams. He stared at Elena incredulously. "What do you mean this isn't your fight?" He accused her. "You're a Jedi, aren't you? You're supposed to be a hero!"

"Niven!" The boy's father said sharply.

"But Dad--"

"Go to the back, now."

He glared at him, shifting his gaze between him and Elena.

She couldn't look him in the eye at all, settling for staring at the floor instead. She understood the boy's frustration, but what else could she do? She was just one person against an entire legion. They had a fleet of starships, thousands of troops and the Knights of Ren. She had her lightsaber, how exactly was she supposed to fight back?

Finally, the boy had enough. "You're no Jedi," he said, turning on his heel and heading out of the room.

His father followed him with his eyes before turning and giving Elena an apologetic look. "I'm sorry about my son. I'll have a talk with him when this is over. Right now I need to confer with my people in private. You are welcome to anything in this room, we have food, beverages..." he trailed off. "Let me know if there's anything else you need."

"We never got your name," Elena pointed out.

He smiled. "No, you didn't," he said, then he and Alya left the room, leaving the three of them alone.

The minute they were alone, the Kessurian pulled out her comm unit and once again tried to contact Vague and the others, to no avail. Rossi sighed and stowed the unit once more before taking a second to look around the room, her eyes ultimately settling on Elena.

"Hey. You okay?"

Elena hadn't stirred since the Resistance members left, hadn't even lifted her gaze from the floor. She kept hearing Niven's words echoing in her head. 'You're no Jedi.' When Rossi spoke her voice sounded louder than usual, snapping her back to reality. "Um, yea. I'm fine."

She didn’t believe her, but there was little to be done about that right now. Rossi had made note, however, of the stark contrast in Elena's demeanor since the conflict in the market and the first impression she’d given the crew back on Cantonica. Rossi chewed at her lip subconsciously as she thought it over – the girl certainly had bravado, and having witnessed her dispatching of the First Order patrol it was obvious she’d had training to back it up… and yet…

“Odd, that.” She mumbled under her breath.


The Kessurian shook her head to clear her thoughts and returned to the present. “Tsivoin, go check the lock on that hatch for me? See if we can get out that way if we need to?” She didn’t think that these strangers would have a coded lock on the inside of their hideout, but she’d heard of crazier things. At Elena’s curious expression, she offered a joyless smile. “We don’t know these people. For all we know they could be talking about how to split the reward for turning you in. Vague always says ‘never walk into some place that you don’t know how to walk back out of’.”

Makes sense... Unfortunately for her she didn't walk in here on her own. Someone carried her here and she had no recollection of how to get back out. She tried to recall how they got here, but could only remember vague images of tunnels, steam, metal piping. She sat down on the couch again, hands in her lap, eyes glued to her palms.

"Guess you got a little more than you bargained for taking me out shopping, huh?"


"How bad is it?" Arlo asked as he leaned over his comms technician.

Zed frowned. "In a word? Bad," he said. "Good news is judging by the First Order's response that girl in there has got to be the real deal. Almost too good to be true, but it'll be a nice change of pace to have a Jedi fighting by our side."

"She's not coming with. We're helping her escape."

The Rodian stared at him in shock. Or rather what Arlo assumed was shock since his mouth hung open and his eyes... well, his eyes always looked like that. "Boss, not to be rude or nothing, but are you out of your Force forsaken mind? We let her go the First Order will catch her eventually. Best place for her is D'Qar, the General can--"

"It's not up for debate, Zed. We take her by force we turn her into an enemy. If she decides to help the Resistance then she needs to make that choice on her own."

"But she's a Jedi."

"She's a teenager who's never killed anyone before."

A silence fell after that as each member of the group stared at him. Realization slowly dawning on their faces. Arlo turned his gaze to his son, Niven, who sat in the corner watching them. If he'd had any remorse for what he said to Elena he wasn't showing it.

"So what do we do?" Alya said, finally breaking the silence.

"The supply depot on the eastern side of town is our best bet. They'll have transports there and with most of their men out searching the city it'll be lightly guarded. I want schematics on the building and eyes on their patrols pronto. That star destroyer is probably on its way back as we speak so we need this done yesterday, people. Let's move."

Everyone stood at once, each one rushing to complete his orders. As the last person filed out of the room Arlo reached into his pocket, pulling out a worn photograph of a young woman. He stared at it a moment, sighed and tucked it back into his jacket...


Rossi couldn’t contain the short burst of nervous laughter after Elena spoke. The Kessurian cleared her throat quickly in recovery before she shrugged. “Guess so. And we left empty handed.” She paused momentarily, then offered in a slightly less jovial tone. “I’m sorry for what happened. We’d not heard any intel about the Order having a presence here. If we had we’d have never brought you to Ord Radama.”

“Just a long bolt on the hatch.” Tsivoin called from the other end of the room, interrupting the two girls. “We’re not leaving yet, are we?” He asked, his eyes shifting over towards the counter where a bowl of what looked like fresh fruit was sitting. Rossi and Elena shared a brief look, then giggled.

“No, not this minute kid. Better fill that black hole you’ve got while you can.”

Elena watched him fill his stomach. He'd probably consumed more food in the past two days than he had his entire life. Not all bad, I guess. Her thoughts trailed to Senna, probably still trapped in a Canto Bight prison. For one of them, at least.

She looked up at Rossi. Now the Kessurian was wrapped up in her troubles as well. Stranded here in the good graces of the Resistance while a First Order death squad hunted them down.

She sighed. "I'm sorry, Rossi. This is what I was running from... on Cantonica..."

Rossi sat on the couch next to Elena and turned a bit to better face the young human. “About that- It’s pretty obvious by this point that he just got caught up in the ion wash but… You said they wanted you for terrorism. These people keep calling you a hero… So, what gives?”

She bit her lip. "It's a legacy I didn't think I'd have to live up to--well, not alone, anyway."

She gestured to Tsiv. "I used to be like him, an orphan on Vorzyd V, until Luke Skywalker found me."

Rossi's eyes widened.

That didn't surprise her. Not a lot of people believed in the Jedi or the Force. But even way out here it seemed just about everyone had heard the name Luke Skywalker... though most considered him a myth.

"Master Luke brought me to Ossus, taught me the ways of the Jedi--" she levitated the hilt of her lightsaber, twirling it in midair. "--said one day I'd become a great protector... though he never said what I'd be protecting everyone from."

Rossi looked over at Tsivoin for a moment, then back at Elena. Not for the first time she wondered what her life might have looked like had her fate not intertwined with Durins. “Me too.”

At Elena’s slightly bewildered expression, the Kessurian realized she hadn’t been specific enough. “No not with all-“ She gestured at the lightsaber, “that. I meant uh, orphaned, y’know.”

"Oh," she said simply, putting the saber away.

"So, what happened next?"

Elena sat unmoving, eyes straight ahead. That same haunted look she had hiding in the cargo compartment creeping onto her face. After a moment she shook her head and stood.

"They've been gone for awhile now. Shouldn't we be planning our escape? You know... just in case?"

Rossi frowned. The Kessurian couldn’t deny that she had been hoping that the two of them would have more time to get to know each other. Elena was right, though, planning would be the prudent course of action. What was there to plan, though, really? Beyond making sure that the hatch could be opened… She pulled out her scomp-pad and started tapping at the screen as she spoke.

“Well, the First Order – or someone – is blocking communication… maybe I can still get into the local network… If I can then maybe I can figure out where we are. The hatch is our only way out of here but without knowing our location there’s no telling where we’d end up.” She could tell by Elena’s body language that the girl wasn’t comfortable. She needed a distraction. “Why don’t you take a look around here, see if there are any clues about who these people are or what this place is?”

"I have a better idea," she said, moving to the door where Niven and the others disappeared from. She held her hand a short distance from the handle, a few seconds later there was an audible click as the latch undid itself. She opened the door, gesturing to Rossi. "C'mon."

Before Rossi could object, she watched the Zabrak set grab one more piece of fruit from the bowl and disappear through the doorway wordlessly. She wondered, not for the first time, if the two of them knew each other better than they were letting on. Well, frell. she thought to herself before stowing the scomp-pad and following the teens. “Elena are you sure?” She asked as she emerged through the doorway.

"Trust but verify. A friend told me that once," she said, an odd melancholic quality to her tone.
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by Pryde »

The door opened up onto a long corridor. Elena led the way down the length of it, past one empty room after another. The structure was expansive, some kind of abandoned industrial plant. Just looking around it was hard to tell what they made here, but it was clear no one was making use of it anymore. Beyond a few crazy people spying on the First Order, that is.

At the end of the hallway they reached a junction. Elena poked her head around the corner, but ducked back into cover as soon as she saw a woman pass by down one of the side corridors. She leaned out into the open again, watched the woman move to open the door of what looked like a control room. The door slid open and the sound of voices filtered out into the hallway. She waited for the door to close again before directing the others behind her.

She crept up to the control room door and placed her ear against it, closed her eyes and strained to listen. There were voices on the other side, but it was difficult to make out what they were saying. "They're here, I can hear them."

Almost as soon as she said it the door slid open again. Elena lost her balance and fell with a frustratingly girlish scream. She looked up from where she landed on the floor and spotted the mystery man standing over her.

Arlo stared down at her. "Would you like to come in?"

Elena quickly got to her feet. "Wait, how'd you even know we were here?"

He pointed out into the hallway up near the ceiling where a red light was flashing.

Elena spotted the light and her cheeks flushed red. "Oh... right..."

Arlo stepped aside and gestured with his arm. "Come, we were just putting together a plan."


Elena crouched down next to Rossi in an empty alleyway across from the supply depot. The large expansive structure spanned several city blocks. What used to be a warehouse now housed munitions and vehicles for the First Order. Recent construction had added a perimeter fence along with guard towers at various intervals, most of which were under manned now with the majority of First Order foot soldiers dedicated to searching the city. There were a few patrols wandering the outskirts of the facility, but with less man power Arlo and his resistance cell were able to find an opening.

Unfortunately, Rossi, Tsivoin and her were forbidden from actively participating. Partially because they were unknowns. Arlo had no way of gauging their skills or expertise, with the possible exception of Elena who had already demonstrated her ability. That was another matter entirely, however. As much as Elena had protested they couldn't risk her having another breakdown. So instead she sat and watched as two members of Arlo's team penetrated the perimeter defenses and eliminated the first patrol. After checking to make sure the coast was clear they waved to Rossi and the others.

"That's the signal," Rossi said, getting up to follow. She stopped when Elena hesitated to move with her. "Hey, you alright?"

Elena couldn't take her eyes off the half obscured forms of three dead stormtroopers. Her mind's eye harkening back to the terrified face of the First Order officer she killed. She hadn't even noticed when Rossi turned to address her. It wasn't until the Kessurian had grabbed her shoulder that she finally reacted. "Huh? What?"

Tsivoin followed Rossi’s eyes to look over at Elena as well. “The signal.” He struggled to keep his voice down low, despite the pounding of his twin hearts in his chest. The teenager wasn’t sure what all was happening, but he did know that the stakes were raised.

Rossi tried not to sigh too loudly as she watched the hesitation on the younger girls face. She looked then to both of the teens and spoke plainly. “Okay, hey, look here. Just follow my lead, stay behind me and you’ll be fine, okay?”

Elena blinked, she'd only just realized she'd been staring. Shaking her head she stood and dusted herself off. "Of course we'll be fine," she said, trying to muster as much bravado as she could. "No big deal, but really I should take the lead. You'll be safer behind me."

For a brief moment, Rossi thought back to the market… Surely in another situation Elena was probably correct – assuming she wouldn’t freeze up again. Her skill deflecting and redirecting the First Orders blaster bolts back then was amazing. This was Arlo’s operation, though; and its success depended explicitly on the First Order busying themselves searching out in the city for the gold bladed lightsaber wielding terrorist. That outward focus was key to keeping this facility undermanned. If the gold lightsaber turned up here the entirety of their forces would then collapse back down upon them.

She shook her head firmly, resting her hand on Elena’s shoulder. “No. Remember what Arlo said. If you’re spotted here then we’ll all be in a heap of trouble. I know it sucks taking orders, believe me I spend half my life getting bossed around back on that freighter – but everyone’s got a role to play and tonight, we’re just along for the ride.”

Elena grimaced. As much as she hated to admit it, both Rossi and Arlo were right. Nothing would draw the First Order's attention faster than flashing her laser sword around. Unfortunately, it was the only thing she had she was confident in using. With a sigh she nodded, drawing her Westar 35. She wasn't as proficient with a blaster as her saber, but it was a small comfort just to have it in her hand. Better than feeling completely unprepared.

The three companions followed Arlo and his men into the depot. Various crates and hover trucks dotted a wide ferrocrete courtyard, providing them some cover as they made their way to a side entrance. Arlo's men lined up against the wall by the door while Zed attempted to slice into it. Elena and the others joined them lining up in a file behind the last man. Zed connected a scomp pad to a port by the door and began typing furiously. Arlo checked his chrono as the seconds wound down.

"Zed, what's taking so long?"

The Rodian scowled... or at least he made a face that looked like a scowl. "Almost there," he said, still typing away. He keyed in a quick series of commands, swore then tried again, swearing louder.

"Damn it, Zed, we don't have time for this. That patrol will be here any minute now."

"I got it, just gimmie a second."
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Re: Twilight of the Force

Post by VagueDurin »

Rossi tried to ignore the building tension the first time that Arlo asked the Rodian about his progress. But the second time she heard the increased stress in his tone and couldn’t help but look over the shoulders of the beings in front of her to where the Rodian was working at a scomp-pad furiously. She fidgeted once, then sighed sharply and looked over at Elena and Tsiv. “Wait here.”

The Kessurian moved around the first two beings and was closing in on the door before Arlo extended an arm out to block her progress. “What do you think you’re doing? We told you back at the safehouse that you three are hands off here.”

Now that she was closer, she could see what the problem was. The scomp he was running wasn’t capable of defeating the encryption level on this door, and a few more wrong entries would surely trigger an alarm. “Yes. Okay? I remember, but he’s never going to be able to crack that door with a model 63 Scomp.”

The Rodian stopped and looked over at Arlo with a scowl, while Arlo narrowed his eyes at Rossi. “Why is that?”

“Because that lock has dual-phasic encryption, and that scomp is only capable of randomizing the second layer sequences. Look, tell him to stop okay? You can’t brute-force a dual encryption like that. If there are too many failed attempts it’s going to trigger an alarm. Please. I can do this.”

Arlo seemed ready to send her to the back of the line, but at the last minute he had a change of heart and instructed Zed to stand aside. Rossi gingerly approached the door and silently mouthed an apology towards the Rodian before she pulled out her own scomp-pad and connected it to the door. It took a few moments for the device to mate with the locks software and then she analyzed the origin of the encryption before selecting an appropriate splicing algorithm.

“This is a serious lock for a supply depot.” She muttered to herself as she typed in a series of commands into the scomp-pad. Six seconds later the indicator on the doors lock flashed form red to green and the door unlatched obediently, revealing a massive storage warehouse loaded full of neatly arranged weapons crates, tibana gas cannisters, and row after row of combat starships and repulsor vehicles.

The group filed into the warehouse quickly as the door slid silently shut behind them. Many stood wide eyed, eyes darting about at the sheer volume of weapons and combat vehicles. Arlo's intel had suggested this warehouse would be full of foodstuffs, medical supplies, maybe some weapons but nothing like this. What stood before them were the makings of an invasion force, probably the first of many. This news came as a surprise to all but one. Arlo was the only one who did not react to the revelation they were breaking into a military base and not a supply depot.

Elena took a step back, a cold shiver running down her spine. "We shouldn't be here," she muttered under her breath. "You never said this was..." Her words trailed off.

Arlo shouldered his rifle. "Plan hasn't changed. We secure a transport and get you off this planet."

Rossi drew her snubnosed blaster as soon as she realized what sort of warehouse they’d just snuck into. She overheard Elena and Arlo speaking and checked the blasters charge. “We’ll need to move quickly. This kind of inventory, they are bound to have patrols here too. We need a transport that’ll carry three back to the spaceport and you all still need to do to make this look like a random incursion.”

Arlo watched her, but gave no indication he was listening. He turned to look at Elena. "You still want to go into hiding?"

The girl looked between him and the row upon row of TIE fighters laid out before them. Whatever hope she had of finding a place to lay low was rapidly diminishing. With a force like this the First Order could invade the Outer Rim and who could stop them? The New Republic? Most of their fleet was stationed at Hosnian Prime. Meanwhile, border worlds like Ord Radama were left to fend for themselves. If the First Order attacked would the Republic even try to stop them?

"I..." she started, thoughts racing through her mind. What was the plan now? Where could she hide if the First Order takes over?

Rossi had started off in the direction of what she thought was a line of repulsorcrafts but when she noticed that only Tsivoin had followed her step faltered. She stopped completely and took a few steps to one side, leaning against a tall stack of crates she peaked out from the corner to look back at Arlo and Elena.

“What is it?”

“Shh. Tsivoin,” She was about to hand him her blaster when she noticed that the kid already had one in his hand. Must’ve brought it with from Cantonica… She thought to herself, then looked back around the crate towards Elena… There was a tension between them, and she recognized the posture and tone that Arlo was taking – she’d seen Vague do it plenty when he was working a mark. “Kid, I’m not sure about this Arlo guy. Do me a favor, wait right here and keep an eye on your friend.”

“What are you going to do?”

“What we came here to do. I’m going to get us home.”

"I know it's a tough ask," Arlo continued, "but you see what we're up against."

Elena waivered, her eyes once again falling upon the TIE fighters all standing in rows like little toy soldiers. I can't... I'm not... She shook her head, memories of the lightning storm that had destroyed the temple lingering at the edges of her consciousness. He was wrong in a way. It wasn't just the men or machines they were fighting, but something else. Something much worse.

She backed away from him, a sudden thought occurring to her. Everyone had seemed surprised upon entering the warehouse, everyone but him. Had he known? Did he bring them here on purpose? Did he... bring her here on purpose?

"Elena, listen to me--"

A pair of laser blasts struck the near wall of the warehouse, followed by a second and a third volley. Moments later, a combat patrol speeder zipped up and stopped just short of the fresh hole in the wall. The hatch hissed open and Rossi hopped out, looking first towards the hole she’d made in the wall to make sure it was large enough, then she turned her focus to the confrontation happening between Arlo and Elena.

Arlo’s expression was somewhere between shock and fury, Elena had barely reacted at all, and Tsivoin had stumbled out from behind the crate with his mouth agape.

“What are you doing?!” Arlo shouted.

“Kid, come on over here, get in.” She turned to address Arlo next. “What we came here to do, commit a robbery against the First Order and get me and my two friends back to the spaceport undetected. Unless I missed something?”

The sound of blasterfire startled Elena. In an instant her hands came up to shield herself, it wasn't until the wall behind her exploded outward that she realized no one was shooting at her. She stared wide eyed at Rossi, shifting her gaze between the Kessurian and Arlo. Alarms began to blare, their sound filled the hangar, a dozen pairs of armored boots could be heard shuffling in the distance. I thought the plan was to get out quietly. Wasting no more time Elena moved to join Rossi at the speeder but Arlo stopped her.

"Elena, wait. The First Order is coming. The Republic may want to stick its head in the sand, but we don't have that luxury. If we don't stop them now..." His words trailed off. "Please, the Resistance could use someone with your--" he faltered again. "We need your help."

Elena stopped, stuck halfway between Arlo and Rossi. She stared back at the man, her chest tightening. On some level she knew he was right, but this was not an easy decision for her to make. Maybe he felt compelled to join the Resistance, but he didn't have the entire legacy of an extinct order of Jedi Knights weighing down on him. The pressure on her was astronomical.

"I'm sorry, but... I can't."

She turned and ran the rest of the way to Rossi, climbing aboard the speeder just after Tsivoin. She sat in the seat next to her and gawked at the Kessurian. "Rossi, what'd you do? The others haven't secured speeders yet."

Rossi took a moment to look out at Arlo just before the hatch sealed shut, then she turned to the teens. “Strap in.” she directed them before throwing power to the drives and catapulting the speeder out through the makeshift doorway she’d created.

What did I do? She thought to herself briefly. I saw through that sleamo’s nerf-shit. The Kessurian bit her tongue, though. It wouldn’t do any good to try and point out to Elena that Arlo and his band were trying to use her for her abilities. She’d have to arrive at that revelation in her own time, or not.

Rossi banked the speeder around to the south, temporarily splitting her attention between the maneuvering controls and the main console. Ultimately she was able to call up a map and select the spaceport as a destination. “Can you help me navigate? Call out the turns?”

"Um, yea..."

Elena stared at the map, trying her best to decipher what all the little indicators, lines and blinking lights meant. She reached out, pressed a switch on the console in front of her, jumping as an alarm started blaring. She quickly pressed the switch again, killing the alarm, her cheeks turned red.

"Go, um... that way." She pointed.


“Look I’m just saying, not like her to miss a check in.” Orev took another swig from the chilled glass of Prow in his hand.

Vague, sitting adjacent to Orev, blew out a short exhale and shook his head slightly. “You didn’t see her and the girl. Roz was practically stumbling over ever word she said to her.”

The Duros grunted slightly in response. “Alright, maybe. But to not answer, or call back?”

“I’ve got EssJay doing a passive scan for her signal. No reason not to be prudent, I’m just not ready to send the cavalry after her. She already thinks we treat her like a kid as it is, last thing we need to do is confirm that by chasing her down.”


“Are they still back there?!” Rossi called into the back of the speeder where Tsivoin had wedged himself between the seatbacks and the roof in order to peer out the rear viewport.

“I don’t see them!”

The Kessurian took a moment to look over at the map. “How much further?” She asked Elena before quickly turning her attention back to the road. “We’ve been out of contact with the rest of the crew for too long. If we don’t clear the jamming field soon they’ll be sure to try something reckless.”

“Like blasting a whole in the warehouse wall with a stolen speeder?” Elena countered, almost without thinking the words through first.

Rossi’s jaw clenched. Yeah, a lot like that, actually.

“I think were getting close.” Elena added, looking up at the sky and the telltale trail of ion engines rising up into it, rather than the confusing navigation screen.

“Thank Céus.” Rossi uttered, feathering a bit more throttle out of the craft. “Do you still have the comm unit Vague gave you?”

“Uh…” Elena fiddled with the crash restraints until she could reach the comm. “Yes.”

“Okay, start trying to get ahold of Vague. They can’t have the whole planet jammed or none of these transports would be able to contact the spaceport for clearance.”
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