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Four Little Questions

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Four Little Questions

Post  Thalia Rhose on 30th December 2013, 10:52

There was something about the slender girl that kept people at bay. It wasn't that she seemed particularly dangerous; she was armed, but on Nar Shaddaa, who wasn't? No, it wasn't anything that the muggers in the shadows could put their grubby fingers on. She radiated an aura that seemed to imply that a long and healthy life involved not bothering her.

Once, when approached by a would-be thief, she had given them a Look. It deserved capitalisation, for it was not the sort of look one hoped to see from a would-be victim. It promised dire retribution and, miraculously, it worked; the thief had mumbled an apology and brushed past, without picking her pocket.

Now those on the dark and dingy streets ignored her, sticking to their own plans and making sure said plans didn't involve the girl, which was exactly the way Thalia wanted it.

It had taken her approximately fifteen months to make it as far as Nar Shaddaa. Fifteen months since she had last seen her mother, fighting off Imperial agents with a rather surprising expertise: fifteen months of uncertainty and anger. There were four questions in her mind and a quantity of credits to her name that ensured answers to those four, with a little extra for negotiations. Her every last penny had been spent getting to this point and now that she was so close to her answers, nothing was going to stop her. Her blue eyes, usually so clear and sunny, were as dark as a stormy sea as she scanned the maze of alleyways for danger. The eyes she had inherited from her beloved mother, but the focus belonged to her father.

"Spare some credits, love?" The slurred words came from slightly behind her and to her left. Evidently someone hadn't got the message. Thalia barely paused; she withdrew her pistol, pointed it behind her, and fired. A yelp told her that she hadn't killed the bastard, the scurrying feet told her he had gone. Good. She had no time to waste.
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Re: Four Little Questions

Post  Thalia Rhose on 30th December 2013, 22:21

There. A darker shadow indicated the entrance to the broker's domain, overlooked by those who didn't know it was there. Thalia knew. She had no hesitation in slipping through the crack in the wall, past a Trandoshan who could have passed for a wall itself if not for the ugly reptilian features. It growled a warning at her, which Thalia ignored. She wouldn't be surprised if the broker himself were expecting her. What good would he be, if he didn't know something as simple as that?

The crack in the wall took her into the lower levels of one of the many towering buildings on Nar Shaddaa, many of which had been abandoned or requisitioned for some of the less than legal operations based here. This particular one had, once you squeezed past the Trandoshan and other guards, been renovated extensively. There was even a receptionist, or at least a woman by a desk. Whether she was there to help or hinder was another matter.

Thalia's steps didn't falter as she approached.

"I have an appointment with Bertran," she said quietly. The woman appraised her, then had the audacity to laugh.

"An appointment?" she repeated scornfully. "You?"

"I would be very surprised if he wasn't expecting me," Thalia said calmly, refusing to let the woman's obvious disdain affect her. "Ask him."

"You don't look old enough to be here, girl." The woman's voice was a bit kinder now. "This is not your sort of place."

"It is where I need to be."

The woman, a middle-aged brunette who couldn't be bothered to pry any further, stepped over to a door behind the desk and entered the darkened room beyond. Thalia waited patiently. She could hear the murmuring of voices, a deep one which she expected was Bertran's, and the surprised voice of the woman. It seemed she had been right: then again, Mum had always said for her to listen to her instincts.

The woman emerged a few minutes later, taking her time in reseating herself before looking up at Thalia. Her face was mostly composed, but there was still a lingering hint of surprise in her brown eyes.

"He will see you now," she said quietly. Thalia nodded her thanks and stepped around the desk. She felt the hairs on the back of her neck rise and knew that more of the guards lay ahead, and so did the broker she had crossed the galaxy to find.
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Re: Four Little Questions

Post  Thalia Rhose on 2nd January 2014, 01:48

Unsurprisingly, the back room was dark and dingy; no doubt to set one off balance. It was a common and therefore expected technique. Thalia made her way to the dimly lit desk at the centre of the room and sat in the vacant chair.

"You're late," came a deep voice from the shadows. Thalia rolled her eyes.

"I came in my own time, Bertran. Enough games. Turn the lights on and let us get down to business. Besides," and here she smirked, "I didn't exactly see a queue out there. You have time to see me."

A chuckle answered her, along with the sudden glare of lights. Bertran came into view, a rather repulsive looking Rodian whose grasp of Basic was the best thing about him. Still, he had information she needed. There were others who could have helped her, but she had been advised, for whatever reason, to come here. Her instincts had agreed and so she sat, studying the broker carefully.

"You're shorter than I expected," she remarked neutrally. Bertran took a seat opposite her.

"That doesn't mean you should underestimate me," he commented.

Thalia shrugged. "I don't," she said. Her mother had been quite petite; Thalia was several inches taller than her, and yet Thalia would never forget her last glimpse of her mother, fighting off Imperial troops with such grace and power... no, Thalia would never underestimate anyone after seeing that. Bertran was watching her so carefully that Thalia stopped that train of thought, not wanting to give anything away.

"You have some questions for me, I believe," the Rodian said. Thalia drew out her bag of credits and set four piles on the table. Bertrain appraised them carefully, counted them, then nodded.

"Ask."

Thalia slid the first pile of credits forward. "Do you know who my mother is?" she asked quietly.

"Yes."

The second pile joined the first. "Is she alive?"

"No."

Thalia stifled the gasp as her last flame of hope was extinguished, but she clutched at her chest, her mask falling as pain wrenched her and felt it would tear her in two. Oh, she'd known it was most likely, but a part of her had never stopped praying and hoping that she would be reunited with her beloved mother soon. To hear it said, so simply and coldly, that she was dead...

"Mum," Thalia whispered.

"You have more questions," prompted Bertran, clearly uncomfortable with her tears. Thalia straightened herself up and nodded.

"Do you know who my father is?" she asked, drying her tears and pushing the third pile of credits forward. Bertran accepted it greedily.

"Oh yes, my dear. I know who he is. A great many people do - not that he is your father, but he is rather infamous in certain circles." Bertran said this with glee. Thalia shivered - she could barely remember her father; he was the vaguest of presences at the back of her mind. She was starting to rethink her decision, especially given the rather disturbing look on the Rodian's face.

"Do you know where I can find him?" she asked at last. Bertran claimed the last of her credits for his own, secreting them about his person before answering.

"No," he said at last. Thalia closed her eyes to stop the tears falling. She truly would be alone, then. This had been her only hope - that he would have said yes to at least one more question. She had to get out of here, to find somewhere private and let the tears fall that were threatening to drown her. At the moment she was numb but soon, soon she would feel again, and she was afraid of what would happen then.

"Thank you," she said at last. Thalia nodded her head to the Rodian, who was studying her with a calculating look on his face. She got up to go but was stopped by his scaly hand on her sleeve.
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Re: Four Little Questions

Post  Nik Woverius Rillians on 6th January 2014, 09:01

Nik hated the Smugglers Moon, which was strange given his occupation. It could have been that he thought himself above the blood thirsty rabble that frequented the moon but anyone who knew him would tell you he was a coward pure and simple. Despite his predilection for crime he found that others were of a far greater constitution for the many hazards that came with it.

He could barely bring himself to hold a blaster let alone use it on a sentient. There were times however, times when there was no other choice. He didn't like to think about those times, there was no greater fear of his than closing his eyes and seeing a slideshow of those final moments saved forever in his mind.

You couldn't be that soft as a criminal, someone had told him that as he lay in a pool of his own blood awaiting a blaster bolt that had never came. That sentient was right, Nik had always known it, but unlike that source of wisdom he was still alive; they weren't.

It was cold on Nar Shaddaa, either that or he was getting the shakes sooner and sooner between drinks, whatever the reason he pulled his flight jacket closer around him and walked away from the small and poorly maintained freighter, that served as his livelihood and home, deeper into the cesspit that passed as a port.

He knew Betrain of course, everyone who was in his line of work had crossed paths with the slime ball of a Rodian. Few of them actually liked the guy but that didn't make him any less useful if you wanted something or someone found. The Corellian found himself in need of the latter, he just hoped his credits would cover the fee.

Nar Shaddaa was a rabbit warren of cantinas and slum housing, streets and alleyways diced up the landscape making any newcomers head spin. Rillians' boots knew the walk well, they knew which routes to take and which areas to desperately avoid lest he come out with significantly less body parts than he entered. Finally he came to the discreet doorway, barely noticeable by the drunkards and hooligans that sauntered or staggered up the street.

"I hate this part..." Nik murmured as he approached the doorway.

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Re: Four Little Questions

Post  Thalia Rhose on 7th January 2014, 05:47

Thalia was debating whether or not she could get away with removing Bertran's hand with force. He must have seen it in her eyes, for he quickly withdrew his scaly fingers. Her eyes were no longer the clear blue of a calm sea; they were a stormy tempest, full of anger and desire for revenge, and beneath it all a grief that threatened to drown her. Her breathing was accelerated, her body tense and ready to fight. All in all she was a powder keg and the fuse was burning. Bertran began to talk faster than he had ever done so.

"I have some advice for you," he began, holding his hands up when Thalia started to bear down on him. "Free," he added quickly. Thalia halted, barely keeping a rein on her feelings. "This is gratis, because you are a lovely girl and I would hate to see you follow the wrong path, that and your mother once did me a good turn. Your father did, too," he reflected. "He didn't kill me. Anyway, Miss Rhose, you should not look for him. I know you will want to, once you have grieved. Do not do that."

"Why not?"

"Just... Trust me, Miss Rhose. You must find your own path in life." The Rodian thought quickly. "What would your mother want?" he asked. Thalia deflated like a popped balloon, her mother's face filling her mind.

"Don't hold on to your anger, Thalia. Like a dandelion clock, you should release it to the wind and never hold it close.

"Hatred is never justified. You will go further with love than you ever will with hate."


And then, finally, her exasperation: "You are just like your father!"

"My mother," Thalia said slowly, coming back to the present. "My mother is dead. I will take your advice, Bertran, because there is something more important to do. You will find out the names of the soldiers who killed my mother." Her voice left no room for debate. Bertran nodded, already imagining the amount of credits he could charge for this. Thalia turned to leave, took a few steps then turned back just as the Rodian was heaving a sigh of relief.

"Also," she said, fixing her thunderous eyes on him, "I need a job."
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Re: Four Little Questions

Post  Nik Woverius Rillians on 8th January 2014, 16:16

Nik smiled as he entered the dark, cold, underbelly of the building that served as the brokers office. It wasn't a smile that was particularly warm or charming, it was more a smile that said "If you shoot at me I may piss myself but I will probably shoot back if I haven't run away." In short it was a nervous smile, born of the heavily armed guards that Betrain liked to protect his fine establishment.  They weren't the chatty sort and only looked at him with utterly unconcealed disdain when he gave them a sheepish wave.

"Ah Deloris!" He said cheerfully to the receptionist, sliding his elbow up onto the desk. Or was it Delphi?  Darly? He didn't know, nor care. The woman hated him and displayed this loathing with a sigh and a tut.

"What do you want Woverius" He hated his middle name, she knew that but he was wise to her games and chose to take the high ground.

"Is the boss in? Need a quick word."

"He's busy..."

"I can wait." And he did, making as many obnoxious noises as he could just to piss her off.

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Re: Four Little Questions

Post  Thalia Rhose on 9th January 2014, 09:22

Bertran had been silent for some time, thinking over Thalia's last words. It hadn't been a request, not really, and given the fear Bertran seemed to hold of her father, Thalia was attempting to channel her inner bitch and glared at him as he thought. He seemed nervous, though given how ugly a Rodian's face is it was somewhat hard to tell. Thalia waited in silence, and grew irritated as that silence was broken; first by a muffled conversation from the waiting room, then by a series of irritating noises.

Bertran's face lit up at the interruption.

"I have a most excellent idea," he said, his Basic slipping in his eagerness to get rid of the tall blonde who had managed to get so much out of him for free. "You need a job, Miss Rhose, and I need a substantial sum of money in order to obtain what you have requested. You must understand that obtaining the names of your mother's murderers-" she tensed at the word "- will be expensive, difficult, and dangerous. As such, you will do a favour for me." He gestured to the doorway from whence the irritating noises were coming.

"Out there is a frequent... client of mine. He will be able to help you find work, I have no doubt. In turn, you will keep an eye on him. Make sure he actually does his job without causing too much chaos. You must have noticed his natural talent for being annoying."

"I had, rather." Thalia grimaced but squared her shoulders. From her mother, she had inherited enough determination to scale mountains and cross galaxies. This was going to be useful now. "Fine. You had better not cross me, Bertran."

"I wouldn't dream of it." He watched her go with greedy eyes.

Thalia crossed to the doorway and exited Bertran's slimy, shadowy room. In the waiting room was an extremely irritated receptionist - Thalia could see her reaching for the blaster beneath her desk - and a man. He was older than she was, though that wasn't hard given that she was barely an adult herself, with brown hair and a chirpy grin. Thalia stared at him coolly until she caught his attention.

"Hello," she said calmly. "I have been reliably informed that you may have work for me."
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Re: Four Little Questions

Post  Nik Woverius Rillians on 11th January 2014, 05:17

"I see what you're doing Deborah," Nik said to the receptionist. "So you have to ask yourself one question; Can I duck and run quicker than you can pull the trigger?" For some utterly unknown reason Nik Woverius Rillians thought this sounded exceptionally cool. Thankfully they never came to finding out, as they were interrupted by a girl.

"Is it my birthday?" Nik asked immediately. "Danika, is it my birthday?" The receptionist who was at this point wishing she had something larger to kill him with-like an AT-AT-tutted and went back to her work.

"Dunno where you got your information from," The Corellian said addressing Thalia although he knew precisely where she had. It didn't take a genius to work that one out. One day he'd write Betrain a very lengthy and angry letter. In blaster bolts. "No work here, I'm just saying hello to Danielle. We're old friends. Can you tell?"

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Re: Four Little Questions

Post  Thalia Rhose on 11th January 2014, 08:33

If she hadn't been so upset, Thalia would have laughed at the cheek of the man. He was, in a very odd way, slightly charming, and clearly an expert at rubbing people up the wrong way. Since Thalia had little patience with- with whatever her name was, she couldn't care less how annoyed she got. Thalia chose to blank her completely, leaning against the wall, arms folded.

"Oh, I see how it is," she said drily. This man, whoever he was, had trouble written all over him. Whether he went looking for it or whether it simply happened to find him was yet to be seen. At least she knew she wouldn't have a quiet life if she followed Bertran's advice, took his deal and kept an eye on the erratic honest businessman before her.

Did she even want a quiet life? Peace and quiet meant time to think, time to process what had happened. Time to lose the sharp edge of anger that was currently the only thing keeping her going. Time to reflect on the futility of revenge - even if she killed every last man involved, it wouldn't bring her mother back.

No. She needed the anger. When she had time to herself she would grieve and cry until she had no tears left. For now she was alone in the universe and it was a very big place to find yourself lonely and friendless. Anger would keep her guard up.

"I think you do know where I got my information from," she said, keeping her voice level. "Let's not be coy about this. Bertran wants me to tag along with you on a few jobs. I currently find myself between worlds, as it were, and am in need of some funds. If you don't have room for me, argue with him." She gestured to the door next to her, waiting calmly for his response.
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Re: Four Little Questions

Post  Nik Woverius Rillians on 11th January 2014, 09:25

Coy? Nik suppressed his laughter at such a notion. He'd be a much better criminal if he wasn't so direct with his associates. Subterfuge, however, seemed like a hell of a lot of work and that didn't sit well with him.

"Okay, first off. That Rodian sith lover-" He turned to the secretary. "-No offense to your boss-" Now back to Thalia. "Is not my lord and master, I do the odd job and occasionally he gets a cut. That's about the extent of our relationship. He doesn't dictate to me...welllll sometimes he does, if he has a few heavies but that's beside the point! Why would I even consider dragging you along? Can you even shoot? Crack a safe? Fly a ship? Repair an engine?" In all fairness, Nik thought, nor could he but that wasn't the best thing to let slip.

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Re: Four Little Questions

Post  Thalia Rhose on 11th January 2014, 10:23

Nik evidently wasn't as foolish as he let on, or if he was, he was good at covering it up. They were fair questions, asked politely and with excellent manners, and as such Thalia responded by snatching up the blaster so discretely hidden by the idiotic receptionist, and shot it, aiming slightly to the left of Nik but hoping to singe a few hairs as she did so. She tossed the blaster back at whatever-her-name-was.

"I can fight well enough," she said, her tone implying that Nik was lucky she hadn't wanted to hit him. "I was brought up fighting." Admittedly her mother had focused on self-defence, but Thalia was no fool and knew the old adage about the best defence. "I can pilot a ship if I have to. It might not be a smooth ride but it'll get you from A to B." Sometimes by way of C, D and E if there was a collision, but she kept that to herself. She knew the basics, anyway; her mother had been a pilot and mechanic and somehow in an environment like that you picked a few things up here and there. "I know a few bits about engines, although of course I bow to your apparent expertise." She bowed, not quite mockingly but it was a close thing. "As for cracking safes... I have had a relatively law abiding upbringing thus far, sir, however I am eager to learn and open to suggestions."

She let his comments on the Rodian slide. He hadn't impressed her much, either, and she certainly wasn't going to jump to his defence. She also wasn't going to tell Nik that Bertran wanted her to keep an eye on things. She wasn't quite sure how well spying sat with her.

"You don't have to help me out, of course," she added. "If you're not enough of a gentleman to help a young woman, lost and alone on a world such as this..." Thalia debated trying to look innocent and decided against it. She couldn't look innocent if she tried.
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Re: Four Little Questions

Post  Nik Woverius Rillians on 11th January 2014, 11:00

"I should have really seen that coming." Niks voice was so high pitched from fright that he was pretty sure he heard dogs barking in distress four blocks away. He coughed, cleared his throat and tried to ignore the smell of burnt hair wafting about his face.

Manliness restored.

This was the strangest job interview he had ever conducted-being his first-but then again when didn't everything around him have an element of strange? He couldn't recall a moment since leaving Coronet where he wasn't utterly flabbergasted at the situations he found himself in.

"Oh don't give me that rubbish," He scoffed with a smile. "Anyone who can shoot like that doesn't need some Jedi Knight to come and save them. Besides, those robes make me look fat." He added as an afterthought. "You're hired, may the gods have mercy upon you."

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Re: Four Little Questions

Post  Thalia Rhose on 12th January 2014, 00:54

OOC: I think we can wrap this thread up, more or less Smile

Thalia couldn't help herself. His reaction to her shooting, followed by his quick comeback and smile did the unthinkable: it brought a broad smile to her face. She hadn't smiled in several worlds and the action took all the stress from her face, adding a sparkle to her deep blue eyes. Bertran might be a creep, but at least he knew how to make life interesting - and she had a feeling that this character could make things very interesting.

"I'm Thalia," she said, stepping forward and holding out her hand. "Thalia Rhose. It's a pleasure to be hired by you. Try not to get me shot at too often, okay?" Somehow, she thought that getting shot at was par for the course. He seemed to attract trouble the way a cantina on Tatooine did.
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Re: Four Little Questions

Post  Nik Woverius Rillians on 14th January 2014, 00:17

OOC: Works for me! I just picked a random shady location. If you want to devise a scheme for a follow up then lemme know Smile

"I'd hate to lie to you on your first day." He grinned and bid a fond farewell to Gloria. She barely noticed his absence. "I should probably apologize about the mess before we get to the Rusted Lady. There hasn't been a woman on board since the Valorum administration." Okay so he had lied on her first day but his father had always said if you didn't have virtue at least fake some.

The ship was not what you would consider pristine. Some would go as far to say aged, others that it shouldn't fly while more would marvel at how not on fire it was.  Nik tried hard not to think about any of those, since he'd picked up the old XS-800 freighter. It had seen better days but then again it had seen a whole lot worse since he'd managed to get her running after that unfortunate incident with the pirates a few month prior.

"Here she is." Nik said with less than a thimble full of enthusiasm. "She doesn't look like much but she'll probably make lightspeed. Or explode, she's tetchy like that." The boarding ramp hissed down at his command and his boots clunked upon the metal. "Spare bunk that way, refresher that way, cockpits that way." His hand pointed them out lazily as he shed his flight jacket, leaving it in a heap next to a set of four lockers.

"Get settled in! Next stop Fort Nowhere!" Nik called out as he moved merrily toward the cockpit.

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