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Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)

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Offline Firesblood

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Esbern nodded when Reynik indicated he was finished and rose, shouldering the bag with his tools.  Once their dishes were divested of, the old man led the way through tunnels of varying sizes, pausing ever so often to make sure they were on the right path.  A flat lift took them approximately 30 levels down from where they had been, and from there Esbern led him down another twisting maze of tunnels. 

The deeper and further they ventured, the hotter and more humid it got, soaking their clothes through.  Finally, the tunnel opened into a cavern even greater than the one in which the Savati city above nestled.  The light within mimicked the natural shades of the binary stars that used to be visible from the surface of the moon, casting mellow shade of violet over the jungle contained within.  As lively here as the surface of the moon was dead, the smell was a combination of damp, rotting vegetation, sickly-sweet floral perfume, and the strong, overwhelming stench of decomposing meat.  Everywhere one looked, massive, fleshy, toothed blossoms in vibrant shades of violet and blood-red swayed in a nonexistent breeze, barbed tendrils actively seeking a meal.  The ground they grew from at first glance was a rough sort of compost, only the color and the occasional shards of bone revealed that it was anything more than soil. 

Esbern fumbled for a tin in his pocket and popped the lid with his thumb.  Getting enough on his finger, he wiped the salve just beneath his nostrils and offered it to Reynik so that he could do the same if he wished. 

The old man continued into the cavern, edging as far away from the gargantuan flowers and their extended reach as possible; as they passed, those same tendrils reached and strained towards them. 

Once Esbern had determined that they were hidden well enough and out of proximity of any immediate danger, he turned towards Reynik and raised a wild, white eyebrow. 

“Alright, lets have it then.  What haven’t you been able to tell me about your meeting with her?”


Offline Jabbathejack

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Reynik's face twitched as he followed Esbern deep into the caves, yet that was the only suggestion that he might be ill at ease. Deep down though, he found the area unsettlingly similar to the mines where he had been held. So much so that the smell was actually the least offensive part about being there.

His feet crunched on the uneven floor and he looked down, realising that he there was bone under foot.
"I will need your assistance with encryption. I need to speak to Cygius as soon as it is possible. The situation is not what I was led to believe initially. We will not be able to complete our mission as we had planned. Needless to say, we cannot be detected."


Offline Firesblood

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Esbern frowned, scratching at his flyaway hair as Reynik detailed what he needed.  He looked rather skeptical at the mention of Cygius, but this was hardly considered abnormal.

“It will take time.  I don’t know how Marigon got word from this place before, and I haven’t seen a single communications station anywhere yet,” he muttered, shifting just to the side when a longer plant tendril bumped against his arm.  “The encryption part is nothing.  I can do that, no problem.  I’ll ask her how she managed to get the signal offworld next time I see her.”

That said, Esbern’s gaze grew a touch sharper. “How bad is it?”


Offline Jabbathejack

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"Use the ship, perhaps?" Reynik's gaze moved around the caverns, his injured face twitching perhaps more violently than usual. "At least we know that Garin is on our side. Even if I had to threaten him to ensure it."

He turned back to Esbern, frowning at the question, yet he was glad that he had something to focus on other than their surroundings.

"It was... a challenging conversation."

He sighed heavily, knowing that he had to choose his next words very carefully. Esbern's connection with Marigon had not gone unnoticed and he knew damn well that if she had not been involved, then the pilot would not even be with him. His loyalty was to her, not to their cause.

"I realise that the information we had been supplied with before the mission was wrong. We had no idea the scale of what we are dealing with. I need to talk to Cygius and we cannot afford to be discovered."


Offline Firesblood

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Esbern nodded in answer to Reynik’s suggestion.  “I’ll see if I can’t figure out a way to get to the hangar without looking suspicious.  Could be tough.”

Despite that admission, he didn’t seem to be against it.  As Reynik went further into describing, albeit vaguely, that they had been misinformed, Esbern grimaced.  “It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out.  We were sent to disassemble a newborn rebellion, not…this.”  The old man gestured in a general manner to their surroundings.  “I don’t know the full depth of it, but from what little I’ve been able to put together since we’ve been here, I’m beginning to understand how much bigger it is.”

Esbern scrubbed at the stubble on his chin.  “Anything else?”


Offline Jabbathejack

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"This movement is by no means newborn." Reynik shook his head, yet that slight movement seemed to spark yet another violent twitch and he gave a slight hiss of pain as it happened. He recovered quickly, grimacing as he continued.

"From what Marigon told me yesterday, they have been planning this for a long time. Placing operatives deep within both the cartel and the Empire, dormant for years. They hope to bring both down at the same time."

Perhaps it was the stench within the cavern, yet Reynik was finding it increasingly difficult to breath down there. He was sweating, feeling as if he had just completed a gruelling training exercise, rather than just a walk into the caverns and a difficult conversation.

"Bold claims, I know, but if it is true, then it has the power to change everything."


Offline Firesblood

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Esbern’s brow furrowed as Reynik went on to relay what Marigon had told him, considering his words carefully.  The Sith was struggling, that much was clear to him.  In the time that he had known Reynik, the young man had been composed, controlled; if he felt anything in the way of nerves, the only sign of them was the way the scarred side of his face twitched.  This was different, more.  Something was really bothering him, but Esbern couldn’t tell if it was the situation they had found themselves in, or something else entirely. 

Esbern’s hand twitched at his side, and he was tempted to rest a hand on the Sith’s shoulder to offer some small comfort, but he was all too aware that the gesture would likely be awkward and unwelcome; they had not acquired the rapport that he and Marigon had.  The concern in his voice when he spoke was genuine, though; he cared for the young man in his own way.  “I’ll check in with Garin and see if I can’t work out a line to Cygius for you.  In the meantime, you don’t look so good.  Are you alright?”
« Last Edit: August 09, 2020, 09:30:10 AM by Firesblood »


Offline Jabbathejack

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Reynik eyed Esbern, his expression suddenly wary as he realised that he'd given away too much. If he had still been in training, he would have been beaten for such an oversight. A weakness like this could easily be taken and used against him. Something, even as seemingly insignificant as being reminded of a part of his life that he would have liked to forget, might be the end of his life or, at the very least, cause even more trouble to an already increasingly difficult mission.

Esbern had read his file, he knew where he had come from. If he had shown an inadvertent weakness, then it was probably one that was expected of him. It was his job to ensure that he proved himself beyond such pathetic fears.

Reynik nodded, his expression hardening.
"I'm fine." He replied almost mechanically. "You are correct. This is the best place for us to talk properly. Good."

"We should head back soon, we don't want to be missed."


Offline Firesblood

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Esbern’s brow furrowed, but he didn’t argue.  “My work is here.  You had best get a move on back the way we came if you don’t want to be missed.  I’ll see you later.”

Without another word, Esbern collected his tool bag and headed in a different direction towards the climate regulators, slapping at a few creeping tendrils from the plants that sensed him along the way.

---

When Reynik returned to the quarters sectioned off for Force users, it was mostly empty.  Two of the men whom he shared a room with were in an offshoot room doing their meditations; the Chiss who had assaulted him the night before was nowhere in sight.

The only person immediately apparent was Master Sika, who was settled cross-legged against a wall and working on what looked to be a disassembled practice drone.  The pot of caff he had taken from the Cantina earlier sat next to him, which he seemed to be using as a large cup on its own. 

When Reynik entered, the older man looked up sharply, then went back to his work, nostrils flaring slightly.  “Good.  I trust your secret meeting in the graveyard went well?” he asked bluntly, eyes narrowing as he replaced a minuscule screw in it’s appropriate place.  Once that was done, he gestured to the floor.  “Sit.  We have expectations and duties to discuss.  I’ll be brief; you stink worse than a week old corpse and it’s messing with my concentration.”   


Offline Jabbathejack

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Reynik was only too glad to escape the confines of the cave, yet he tried his best not to show it as he nodded to Esbern and turned away, heading back the way they had come. By the time he reached the entrance, his face was twitching painfully at regular intervals. He took a moment to compose himself, focusing on controlling his emotions as he made his way back into his quarters.

He paused as he saw Sika and approached him slowly. Reynik did not show any surprise at the comment on their meeting. Instead, he smiled as he sat down cross legged in front of him. There was no point in denying the obvious.

"Well enough." He replied quietly. "I like to know what's around me. Besides, its nice to get some fresh air every now and then."

He debated offering to change his clothes, but he decided against it; Sika could have his concentration skewed a little more. He waited patiently, wondering what duties they would assign him.


Offline Firesblood

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Sika paused and stared at Reynik, eyes narrowing slightly before he emitted a quiet snort and went back to work.  “I suppose as a Sith and a former slave of the Empire, you would be used to the stench of death and decay.  It is such a common odor on worlds controlled by them after all.”

Once Reynik was sitting, the Master set aside the probe and sighed, pulling a small datapad from one of his pockets and extending it to him.  “I have taken the liberty of preparing an itinerary for you.  Your duties are listed within, and you will be expected to see to them in a timely manner every day—We all pull our own weight here in Sehtvan.  I’m afraid none of those duties require venturing to the sub-tunnels for a stroll amongst the daisies, so it would be deemed very suspicious if you were to be seen going down there again.”

He paused a moment, taking a long drink directly from the carafe. “I also require your presence in the sparring room an hour after evening meal is done for the foreseeable future.  My opinion of the Empire notwithstanding, they do churn out some formidable warriors, and you have the skill set I need for this particular case.”

He picked up the probe again and dismissed Reynik, going back to his work without another word.  The itinerary in question seemed basic enough; time was allotted for meditation and training if needed or desired, and the rest was assorted odd jobs.  Tomorrow, he was assigned to the granary caverns, helping to move loads of foodstuff to the Cantina’s storeroom.  The rest of the week he was assigned to clearing out a massive cave-in in the South East arterial, which was currently disrupting the supply chain between Sehtvan and half a dozen other cities.   


Offline Jabbathejack

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Reynik watched Sika, remaining silent for the moment. Sika's assumption that he had been a slave of the Empire amused him, but he did not try to correct him. Being here, amongst enemies at every turn, he kept his mind closed off.

He took the datapad, glancing at it briefly before looking back up at Sika.
"Thank you. I will study this. I don't think you will have any issues with my performance."

He smiled thinly.
"I shall endeavour to keep my wanderings out of restricted areas in future."


Offline Firesblood

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Sika didn’t acknowledge him, having already declared an end to their conversation.  The itinerary had nothing listed for Reynik to attend to that day, so it was up to him what he would do with it.

The rest of the day went by without any hitches and with no sighting of the Chiss, though the others who shared quarters with Reynik made their appearances occasionally throughout the day. 

The time for evening meal came and found Esbern sat at the same table, freshly bathed but still carrying the subtle aroma of rot beneath the soap, as if spending the entire day in the gardens had somehow permeated the old man’s very skin.  Marigon sat just beside him, though her tray of food remained largely untouched in favor of the mug of tea she was cradling between both hands.  Neither of them spoke, choosing instead to remain in a companionable silence.  An empty spot across the table had been kept empty for Reynik, for whenever he arrived.   


Offline Jabbathejack

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Reynik spent the rest of the day in training and meditation, pushing himself both physically and mentally. Since he had been on missions, it was not always possible to ensure that he kept up with his regular training regimen; it was good to be allowed to have the time to hone his skills.

Even during training, he made sure to keep his mental defences up, just in case. You could never tell who was watching.

Reynik noticed the absence of the Chiss, but as everyone seemed to be busy, he did not have a chance to ask someone where he was. Getting up from his meditation, he changed out of his training robes and headed over to join the others for food.

He slid neatly into the vacant space, greeting others with a nod as he began to eat.


Offline Firesblood

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Esbern grunted in greeting when Reynik joined them, and Marigon dipped her head in a small nod of acknowledgement.  The old man hardly missed a beat in stuffing his face, with double the amount of food on his tray as per usual.

He elbowed Marigon and nudged the tray in front of her, which earned him a small, ireless glare in his direction.  “Eat, girl.  If you were any thinner, you’d disappear the moment you turned sideways.”

“Harder target,” Marigon muttered against the rim of her cup, but after that sip she chose the roll from her tray, picking it apart into tiny pieces and reluctantly eating. 

Esbern scowled at her, but held back the retort that had flown to the tip of his tongue.  He returned his attention to Reynik, apparently having decided that he might provide a less frustrating distraction.  “So how did the day treat you?  Anything of note happen?”