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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 studied him silently for a moment, then answered with a small salute.  “Carry on, sir.  You know where I’ll be if you need assistance,” he muttered, the barest trace of disappointment in his voice.

With that, the Old man shuffled past him and headed to their shared quarters, hands shoved in his pockets again.   

The information that Reynik acquired from Jiggs proved to be a minor update on the very same information that Marigon herself had been given.  The data matched the records they had on board the ship, though it did include more recent sightings and developments.  At least ten people remained behind long-term on Nar Shaddaa, no doubt to recruit new people into their cause.  There was plenty of traffic going in, but only half were ever seen again—all of them leaving by body bag.  The other half simply disappeared, and Jiggs had been unsuccessful in tracking down how they were getting out, or even which ship they were somehow filtering into unseen.

They were cagey and watchful.  Attacking head on was unadvised.     


Offline Jabbathejack

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Reynik spent the next few hours lying on his bunk going through the information as thoroughly as possible. He frowned; it was hardly an easy situation to work through, but he was determined to handle it in the best way.

Eventually, he got up, sighing softly as he stashed his datapads in his pack, sliding it underneath his bunk. There was something very different about reading reports and seeing the situation for yourself.

He could hear Esbern outside, by the sounds of it checking something with the engine. Reynik made his way down the hatch, pausing just outside the door to look at his pilot.

"I won't be long." He muttered quietly and then turned, heading off towards the area where the sect had been reported.

He pulled up the hood on his flight jacket, hiding his face as much as possible, but in a place like Nar Shaddaa, he blended in. Apparently there were around ten members of the sect left here, but Reynik did not expect to come across any of them, not on his first pass. As he neared the location, he kept his gaze fixed firmly in front of him, yet he felt out with the force, getting a far more detailed picture than just with his eyes alone.

On this level of the city, few strayed unless they absolutely had to, so Reynik opened up dialogue with a scrap merchant, claiming that he was looking to buy. Of course, the merchant didn't have what he wanted right then and there and he left, with the excuse built up to be able to return.

Instead of heading back to the ship, Reynik headed higher up in the city, looking not for the command areas, but areas that he could use to access them without fear of getting caught.

Again, he made himself appear as unobtrusive as possible, hiding in shadows when the security personel made their rounds. He found the waste disposal centre, knowing that something like that, certainly in a place like Nar Shaddaa, would barely be watched.

Here, he found an unattended computer panel and pulled out a small interface panel. He worked quickly, bypassing the rudimentary security systems, looping back to the command unit system, searching until he had found what he was looking for, a list of the ships that came and went over the last few months along with the details of who owned them. He had already seen a similar list on the data that Jiggs had sold him, but he was interested in the anomalies, data that could slip through the cracks.

He found the ship that Marigon had been tracked out of. He knew that the specified destination of a trading centre on the outer rim was false, but he knew that the owner of the ship was much harder to falsify. The merchant was named Taylon and Reynik made a note to track him down. He searched on the ship's serial number and could see that it was a regular visitor, always listing the trade port on the outer rim as its final destination.

Hearing the sound of someone approaching, Reynik unplugged his device and flattened himself against the wall. He gave a slight wave of his hand, clouding the mind of the maintenance worker so that he was not seen. Once the coast was clear, he headed back to the ship.


Offline Firesblood

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Esbern only nodded when Reynik mentioned he was leaving, continuing to work on his maintenance tasks.  When the Sith returned, he was in the same place doing the same thing, though he was in the process of buttoning up the job. 

Upon sight of Reynik, he wiped his hands on his trusty rag and gave a small nod of acknowledgement, his expression careful.  The length of time that Reynik was gone suggested that he had been doing a thorough job, and while Esbern had been tempted to follow or watch him via the copious security feeds available in the Nar Shaddaa sectors, he had resisted.  He wanted to see what the kid could do and how well he could do it, and this was his chance.  Between the length of time he had spent studying the pre-gathered material that Jiggs had given him and whatever it was he had been doing while he’d been out, Esbern had more than a little hope that his expectations would be met.  Few Sith he had known over the years ever collected more info than was required to wreak havoc upon their enemies.  If Reynik proved himself different, than maybe he wasn’t so bad and could be trusted with the more sensitive aspects of the mission ahead of them.  After all, Marigon had mentioned that Cygius had been wanting Reynik for his operation for a while, and whatever else Cygius was, he had an eye for the best sort of people for what they did. 

“What did you discover?  Anything new?” He asked gruffly.  He wasn’t certain whether Reynik would answer or not or whether the young man would include him in his plans, but he still wanted to get the point across that regardless of differences, he was there to help.       


Offline Jabbathejack

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"Too early to tell." Reynik's face twitched violently as he spoke. He still did not know if he could trust the pilot, especially considering his history and the conversation that he had overheard earlier.

He was well aware that his every move was being scrutinised by this man, reporting back to Marigon at the very least. Who else he reported to remained to be seen.

Reynik left it at that, heading inside the ship to his bunk. He sat down cross legged, his back leaning against the wall and he set his lightsaber down in front of him.

Closing his eyes, he began to meditate, using the lightsaber as a focal point. Using the force alone, he lifted it up and began to dismantle it whilst keeping it steady. The casing opened up, revealing the crystal within. Feeling the different parts, he rebuilt it slowly and when it was completed, he started the process again. It was a technique that his master had taught him, using it as a way to regain control over his own senses, particularly the pain that was almost constant in his first few months of training. Even now, meditation was an essential part of his routine.


Offline Firesblood

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Esbern considered him silently, then nodded rather than pressing the issue.  It was Reynik’s prerogative to keep his discoveries to himself; the outcome could be judged just the same. 

He watched the Sith return to their quarters and then went to the communications room, dialing in the appropriate channel to Darth Cygius.  As usual, Esbern was made to wait by the Keeper that organized the bulk of Cygius’ missions, a quiet man with only slightly less cybernetic implants than Cygius himself.  There was no idle chat between the two of them as the silence stretched on, but several minutes later Cygius appeared on the holo. 

“Report, Hullis.”

Esbern straightened from digging out a crust of grime beneath his fingernails and nodded in greeting.  “Marigon reported in, lord.  She’s alive.  Still digging out the originating signal of her call though; could take a few days or even a week.  It’s highly complex.”

Cygius shifted and his gaze drifted down for a brief moment.  “…She did not run into trouble as suspected?”

“No, and I don’t mind telling you that I told you so,” Esbern growled, crossing his arms over his chest defensively.  Cygius, who had more years of experience with Esbern than most anyone, let this slide. 

“And what information did she have for you?”

“Nothing yet, just that she’s landed safe and was successful in infiltrating the Exiled, lord.  The call was short.  She didn’t have much time.”  Esbern hesitated, scratching at the mess of scar tissue on the back of his neck.  “There was a complication with her carbonite freezing, though.  Turns out the job was imperfect.  She woke up blind like most people do when they come out of carbonite at first, only….only it didn’t come back for her.”

Cygius stroked his chin, his thin mouth pressing thinner.  “Hardly a death sentence for a force user, but this does complicate things.  There is a reason why many of our kind choose cybernetic replacements if something happens to our sight.  Certainly one can use the force to see after a fashion, but such abilities are usually only obtained after trespassing a path more often walked by heretics and Jedi,” he said, spitting the word ‘Jedi’ like a curse. “This could complicate things, especially given her current company.”

“With all due respect, Darth Cygius, Marigon isn’t a traitor,” Esbern snapped defensively.

“Perhaps, but even the most loyal could suffer doubt when faced with something so life altering as losing one of one’s most important senses.  Were she here instead of nestled in a den of rebels, my concerns would be less.  I suppose we have no choice but to wait and see.  Send me your report of the conversation and I will decide how we will proceed.  Inform me once you have managed to track the communication source.”

Esbern gave a silent nod, his jaw setting tightly. 

“And my newest acquisition?” Cygius asked, changing the subject abruptly.

Esbern gave another short nod.  “So far, so good.  His self-control is impressive.  He’s cagey, but that’s a positive trait in this line of work.”

“How close is he to completing his mission?”

Esbern shrugged. 

Cygius’ eyes narrowed.  “You do not know?”

“Like I said, lord.  Cagey.”

“Is it not your job to pay attention to these things, Handler?”

“You wanted judgement on how he handles himself, and you’ll have your answer when all is said and done same as me.  This isn’t a test to see how well he works on a team, it’s a test to see if he has the appropriate skills to get the job done our way.  He can either work well with his own leads, or he can’t.  He either climbs the rope he’s been offered, or he hangs himself with it.  The choices are all his.” Esbern said gruffly, going back to digging out the dirt beneath his nails.  “Personally though, I think he’ll probably do just fine.”

“If you say so, but I do not enjoy being kept in the dark.  You know this.” Cygius said

“I do say so.  As for being kept in the dark, you’ll just have to deal with it.  That’s the nature of the beast.” Esbern replied firmly.  “That’s all I have to report.  Any further orders?”

“No.  As you were—oh and Hullis?” Cygius queried, head tilting slightly.  The old man merely raised an eyebrow in answer.  “I can still activate the chip in your head and blow your skull to a million tiny pieces if the whim takes me.  I know it must be difficult to learn new habits when one is of your advanced age, but…you will observe the proper courtesies expected of you when next we speak, or I will be finding a more respectful and obedient Handler to take your place.  She is not there to shield you from my wrath now.”       

Esbern scowled, but bowed his head after a beat of hesitant reluctance.  “Yes, Darth Cygius.”

The transmission cut without another word between them, but Esbern muttered several obscenities as he left the communications room and headed for his bunk.

The old man came upon the sight of Reynik’s meditation, and rather than entering the room properly, he stayed just inside the door and watched.  Most Sith in his experience meditated on their rage, letting it seethe until one could feel it clear across the ship.  Marigon had been different; she preferred the rarely viewed meditations used by her race.  Reynik’s way was more unique than even her method, however.  It was practiced, controlled.  Lightsabers could be deadly to the wielder if even a single component was off, but as he dismantled the weapon and reassembled it, Esbern couldn’t help but note how flawlessly the young Sith did.  He had no right to the pride that he felt, but he felt it just the same.  It spoke greater volumes as to Reynik’s character than anything else had so far. 

Yeah…the kid will do just fine, Esbern thought to himself again, with no small amount of approval. 

Careful to disrupt Reynik as little as possible, Esbern moved with a surprising silence to his bunk and got into it, wincing in discomfort at the hard mat that was the ship’s excuse for a bed.  He didn’t sleep, but rather watched and waited. 


Offline Jabbathejack

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Reynik could sense Esbern's presence before he even appeared in the doorway. During his meditation moments, Reynik was more in tune with the force than ever before and sometimes, he found that he was able to sense a person's motives and feelings. He wasn't sure whether the older man would have mental shielding, especially considering how he could withstand both physical and mental torment.

To his surprise, Reynik found that he could sense more than he had expected to be able to. The pilot actually seemed to be impressed, even if it was just a touch of the sentiment; that was more than enough. There was frustration, irritation and mistrust, all of which Reynik had expected to see, but it was not clear exactly who those feelings were directed at.

Gently, Reynik reassembled the lightsaber and lowered it to rest lightly on the bunk in front of him.

"Any news?" He asked, his eyes remaining shut.


Offline Firesblood

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“No,” Esbern said, peering at the wall an arm’s length away.  Nothing new had come up, and even the brief chat with Cygius had offered no new insights.  He was still reluctant to tell Reynik much of anything regarding Marigon, though it was more from a place of paternal protectiveness than anything else.  But perhaps… 

“I recalled the information from Marigon’s call,” He finally said, deciding to offer some small amount of trust.  “It will take a while to unbury the signal and track it to it’s originating planet, but I am working on it.  If and when the answers come…I’ll share it.”  The old man said this with no small amount of reluctance, but it wasn’t exactly personal, at least not against Reynik himself.  The silence stretched on a moment, and Esbern sighed. 

“You gotta understand…The Empire stole any chance I ever had at having a family of my own a long time ago.  She’s the closest thing to one of my own kids that I’ll ever have, so…it’s nothing personal against you.  I’m…afraid for her.  She’s never done anything like this before, and when you showed up…I wasn’t sure that you wouldn’t jeopardize her life more than it already is.  But…but you seem to be a good kid in your own right, so…I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt for now.”  Esbern gave him a sarcastic grin, flashing a few gaps where some of his teeth had gone missing over the years. “I know, that means the world to you, don’t it?” 


Offline Jabbathejack

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"Good." Reynik replied softly, his eyes remaining closed. It was a start, even if it wasn't much.

He opened his eyes as Esbern continued, turning his head to look at him.

"We know the risks." He replied softly. "That's part of our training."

He paused; they had both been slaves, but their experiences with the empire had been very different. For Reynik, the Sith lord had saved him from an unpleasant death and given him freedom. No doubt Esbern already knew that; the security lock on his records would be easy enough for a man like that to bypass.

"I'm here to do a job, part of that means finding my predecessor. I do not plan on killing her."

He paused again, choosing his words before he spoke them. He kept his voice soft.

"If you have any further information that could help me with this, then I would appreciate your assistance."