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  1. #21
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    "No problem - it's funny how many people don't like things like red skin or horns sticking out of heads. It's a testament to how little of the galaxy they've seen." Neva grinned and pointed at her own head. "Luckily, travel is a cure for many such ailments."

    The approval to lift off winked across the primary screen and the Wayfarer rose off the platform in reply. Before long, they were out of the spaceport and winging their way toward the atmosphere. Neva took a bit of extra time getting there, flying at a slightly reduced angle so that Rossi could see as much of the planet as possible. She doubted they'd fly over their home, but the idea of that always seemed to excite new flyers. Once through the milkiness of atmo, Neva swung her seat to face the screens on her left.

    "I took the liberty of programming our route through hyperspace before you arrived. We'll be underway in a minute, so have a good look."

    The Zabrak's fingers flew over the console, setting in the multiple coordinates needed to reach the far-off planet. Once completed, she shifted her seat back into the forward position and locked it in place.

    "Here we go - this is my favourite bit." The way the stars bent as the ship jumped into hyperspace, that is. She always got a bit of a rush watching it, no matter how many times she experienced the jump. Of course, it only lasted a matter of fractions of seconds before space became a simple cold blur. Neva sighed and unbuckled her harness. "And we're away. You can unbuckle now and roam wherever you like."
    Winner of the dubious Vaarsuvius Award for Verbousness!

    I support altruism.

  2. #22
    Rossi



    Rossi craned her neck to see as much as possible as they took off. It was impossible to pick out their apartment among the scores and scores of them in the capital - even with the trees and shrubs her mother was patiently growing on the terrace, an unusual sight in the urban sprawl of Coruscant - but some other landmarks were more recognizable.

    "Look, the Senate Tower!" Rossi said, pointing to the most obvious one. It was the central point of the planet metropolis, and almost impossible to miss. "My mother's sister works there."

    She hadn't put much thought into her phrasing - mother's sister rather than aunt - but it was accurate. Rossi had never actually met Senator Mahr, or the previous Senator Mahr, for that matter, even though they were her adoptive aunt and adoptive grandfather respectively. Even Siralai herself rarely saw the rest of the Mahr family; having been raised in the Jedi Temple from toddlerhood, Siralai had never quite managed to overcome the emotional distance that had grown between them, even now that the physical obstacles could be removed if she so chose.

    Rossi would never have admitted it, but she was a little scared when the ship jumped to hyperspace. She hadn't traveled enough to be used to it yet, and her hands balled into nervous fists as they made the leap. After it was over, though, she had to admit it was a bit of a rush.

    "That was fun!" she said with a shy smile.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 04-11-2018 at 05:47 PM.
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea

  3. #23
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Neva had found herself smiling more than usual on the way off Coruscant - it had been awhile since she'd had such an enthusiastic passenger. While she could tell that Rossi was nervous about making the jump to hyperspace, she was pleased at how well the teen had handled the new situation. Yes, this was going to be a good trip.

    "I'm glad you enjoyed it! It never really gets old for me, either." The Zabrak led the way out of the cockpit back to the living space and stepped behind the counter of the small kitchenette. Neva grabbed an irradiated fruit drink from some nearby planet and pulled out three more cans while she was at it. These she left on the counter - if anyone wanted one, it was clear that one would be available - it was equally clear that they were expected to help themselves. She pressed a bump on the top of the can, which subsequently opened a small hole on the other, and took a sip.

    "Well, we're away. We should be arriving at our destination in about fourteen hours. You're welcome to any of the places I've shown you on the ship - and to whatever you can find in the kitchen."

    Neva didn't always sit and socialize with the people she was ferrying. To be honest, it was refreshing to have interesting company. She flopped backwards into one of the brightly coloured shapeless bag 'chairs' while reaching up to snag an odd looking metallic object from a nearby nook. Neva tucked the drink in beside her, then pulled out her multitool and started fiddling with the trinket. It wasn't that she was disinterested in her clients, she just liked to have her fingers busy. She was, in fact, almost bursting with curiosity, though Neva was mature enough to be courteous.

    "So, this aid mission. I had assumed you were going on behalf of the Order, but if you're not a Knight, should I then assume that you are funding this aid mission on your own?"

  4. #24
    Siralai Mahr



    "The Jedi Order doesn't typically fund aid missions regardless," Siralai explained. "The Order may provide personnel in the form of Jedi or support staff, but they simply don't keep sufficient monetary reserves on hand to provide credits or goods. Half of our funding for this particular mission comes from the Republic - with the stipulation that it will go to their colony only, and not be used to assist Imperial settlers. Our family will be making up the difference so that we can help both colonies equally. Fortunately it shouldn't be too financially costly."

    Siralai's tone was matter of fact about all this. In her eyes, money was not worth hoarding. The only purpose of money was how far it could go to help people. Spending it this way seemed logical and normal.

    "You do make a good observation, though - my unusual relationship with the Order does mean a deviation from the usual command structure. The Order is aware of the mission, and to the extent they can do so apolitically they wish us well, but we do not act on their behalf or have any sort of official sanction. We're just private citizens donating time and money of our own free will, not working for anyone else."

  5. #25
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Neva was genuinely surprised that the Jedi weren't in the business of funding aid missions. It seemed like they helped a lot of people, mitigated peace talks and fought for the rights of various peoples. It hadn't crossed her mind that they weren't gaining financial support from sponsors or the families of those they trained at their schools. Every other well-known organization seemed to be around simply to make money. She wondered what made the Jedi any different...or if they really were different. Siralai was only one person - not a full Knight - and clearly a philanthropist. She would be the last person that should find out that the Order was sitting on pots of credits, that is, if the Order wanted to continue to sit on those credits. Neva may have had her suspicions about the true intentions of the Jedi Order, but she had no reason to doubt Siralai's words.

    "Your resolve to assist people in need is admirable." Neva said, with some amount of said admiration in her voice. "I have met a few people who would spend as much to help a friend, but an extraordinarily few who would do so for strangers. Do make a habit of swooping in with aid with or without the blessing of the Order or the Republic? If so, you should keep my comm for future reference!"

    She grinned, but quickly added, "Though I am not based out of Coruscant, I am certain I could make myself available in a reasonable time. As it turns out, the galaxy is really not that big."

  6. #26
    Siralai and Trystan Mahr



    Siralai and Trystan exchanged a smile when Neva asked if swooping in to help people was a regular thing.

    By way of explanation of the look they had shared, Trystan told Neva, "She absolutely does. That's how she ended up with me, in fact. She swooped in to save the life of an injured enemy pilot. And here we are."

    'Here we are' meaning a lot of different things, in this case. Alive. Married. Together on this ship. About to embark on another mission that was intended to save Imperial as well as Republic lives.

    "And what about yourself?" Siralai asked. "Is this commonplace for you? I realize a job is a job, but you didn't hesitate when you found out it was a humanitarian mission, or who we would be aiding. Is this a routine trip for you?"

    Either way, at least based on how things had gone so far, they would certainly be eager to work with the Zabrak pilot again. It wasn't that common to find people who were both brave and open-minded, and Neva seemed to be both.

  7. #27
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    It was always nice to find out that someone was consistent. Too often, people changed their minds, their allegiances, their faith, with barely a second thought. Neva appreciated someone who stuck to their principles, even when it was unpopular.

    It took a moment of thought for Neva to form an answer for Siralai. "Well, in a way, it is. I prefer to take runs to border planets and areas of the galaxy I haven't been before. As soon as I could afford my own ship, I stopped making scheduled runs. I grew up a nomad, you see. The Zabrak are explorers at heart and somewhere along the way, my ancestors chose to never go back to living on a planet. Growing up, we were always in a different sector - makes it too strange for me to stay in one place too long." Neva chuckled, "So really, most of why I took the job is that I like places that are out of the way. Humanitarian aid isn't something that comes up a lot, so it is something new too. Whether the people being aided are Republic or Imperial doesn't make much of a difference to me. I consider myself non-partisan."

    She knew the last statement wouldn't count toward her popularity score with the Jedi, but it was true. Choosing sides had ripped her family apart. Neva was aware of the sides and the differences, and it wasn't that she didn't care, but she considered it her free will choice to follow her own moral code. Just like it was each planet's choice to join the Empire or not. If that meant not picking one side over the other, then so be it.

    "I am glad you are aiding both colonies. That is what made me happy to take this job. Otherwise, like you said, a job is a job." The Zabrak's eyes met Trystan's. "You seemed at home on the space port floor, and you said you were a fighter pilot? What do you keep yourself busy with these days?" It was genuine curiosity. Pilots rarely stopped being pilots...she would know.

  8. #28
    Trystan Mahr


    The Jedi might not consider being non-partisan a positive, but the Mahr family certainly did. It wasn't that they were supporters of the Empire. Quite the opposite. Trystan had lived under that regime, and knew how oppressive and repressive it was. He knew what it was like to live in fear. The Imperial government and the ruling Sith did not represent everyone the Empire held dominion over, though. Half the galaxy was under Imperial rule, and in the Empire, service was compulsory. A civilian or even a soldier who happened to live under Imperial rule surely couldn't be judged evil simply because of where they happened to be born. Siralai and Trystan knew this all too well - and it was reassuring that their new friend was on the same page.

    Even so, Trystan tensed ever so slightly when Neva brought up his Imperial military service. This was a topic that came up frequently when he met new people, and the questions that followed were usually pointed and accusatory. He relaxed again, however, when he realized that the conversation would not be taking that turn.

    "My friend Jasper and I run a repair shop on Coruscant," he replied. "We mostly fix speeders and light spacecraft, though we get calls for bigger jobs from time to time. I still pilot occasionally - mainly for Siralai, if she needs me to - but I'm mostly planetside now. Once we realized we had a baby on the way, we didn't feel it was a good idea for both of us to be in risky lines of work. There are no guarantees in life, but we wanted to minimize the chances of leaving our kids orphaned, and what Siralai does to help people is more important."

    He added with a small shrug, "Truth be told, I don't miss it all that much. It wasn't a life I chose. I did well on some exams, so I got assigned to flight school - end of story, really. I never had a passion for battle. The life I have now is one I was able to choose for myself, and that's worth a lot to me."

  9. #29
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    It was hard for Neva to imagine being a pilot simply because one tested well in the subject. For her, flight was life, and many of the pilots she knew were so because of their love of flying. Of course, she understood that people each had their own set of virtues and callings - clearly flying wasn't one of Trystan's simply because he was capable of doing so. Besides, she approved of his philosophy of a life chosen is a life well lived.

    Neva tossed the piece of equipment she was working on to the man across from her with a grin. It was surprisingly heavy, now warm to the touch from Neva's body heat, and shone a dull brassy colour. Small coloured pips dotted the surface of the roughly cylindrical token.

    "Well, we pilots don't get far without mechanics! If you love what you're working at, all the better. Maybe you can lend me a hand with this little do-dad." She allowed him to inspect the object for a moment before stepping out of her chair and following its flight to point at certain parts.

    "I picked it up on Toprawa. Trader was mum on what it did - so of course, I had to buy it. As far as I can tell, this part here is a release mechanism, but I can't get it to open up. There's a port here for a power source, which I've supplied. And over here...I can't tell for sure if these plates are supposed to be loose, or if it is part of the thing."

    Neva leaned back and sipped on her juice. "I've been fiddling with it for over a year now. I'd hate to break it just when I might be near to finding out what it does. Any thoughts?"

    She didn't expect Trystan to know what it was necessarily, but she knew a mechanic would likely appreciate the mystery. In the meantime, Neva turned to Siralai. "So, how old is the little one?"

  10. #30
    Siralai and Trystan Mahr



    Trystan's attention was instantly engaged by the puzzle. He weighed the object in his hand for a moment, and looked it over efficiently but thoroughly with what was clearly a practiced eye.

    "I've seen something like this before," he said. "I don't want to jump to conclusions, but it seems similar to... If you just added a tensioning rod on this end you could apply moderate pressure to the plate... I think I have schematics in my holo, so let me just see..."

    Trystan was no longer speaking in complete sentences. Nor in understandable ones. His brain was fully in engineering mode, and he would need some time to tinker before he had something to present that would be useful to anyone situated outside of his own head.

    Siralai just smiled. She had seen her husband like this a lot, and she found it endearing, if occasionally a tiny bit exasperating.

    "We have a total of four children," Siralai said. "Rossi, of course, who you've already met. Her biological brother Shalmus - we adopted him too - is twelve. The baby I mentioned being pregnant with is Maialin. She's seven now. How time flies. And our youngest, Ebben, is five."

    It was unusual for a Jedi to have children at all. Let alone four. Let alone adopted children too. But Siralai was of course no ordinary Jedi.

    "Do you have family, Neva?" Siralai asked. "If the question is not too personal, of course."
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 05-24-2018 at 05:53 PM.

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