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  1. #31
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    "Congratulations!" she interjected as Siralai described her family, clearly pleased with the healthy number of children. However, when asked about her own family, Neva's smile grew sad. She found her seat again, and leaned back, eyes on the ceiling for a moment. When they returned to Siralai's they were clear and composed, though still with an amiable emotion.

    "No, not too personal. I do have family - I grew up in a very large family, actually. I know where some of them are - and I don't feel the need to seek them out - the rest, well, that's partly why I like jobs that take me off the beaten path. I am hoping to find them one day. We were explorers, you see. Nomads. Gypsies. Whatever you want to call a people who don't like to stay in one place for too long. I've never lived planet-side - I grew up living on any of the vessels in our caravan. One day, that life fell apart and I've been on my own. And while it's possible to continue to be an explorer on your own, it's just not as fulfilling."

    Neva looked over at Rossi as she finished, as though she felt the need to impart advice to the teen. She wasn't entirely certain why as what she had to say wasn't exactly sage. She finished her drink and grinned at her companions before gesturing around her. "All this suddenly makes a lot more sense, right?"
    Winner of the dubious Vaarsuvius Award for Verbousness!

    I support altruism.

  2. #32
    Siralai Mahr



    "I could help," Siralai said.

    The words slipped out more from habit than any firm plan, but as she said them she realized they were more logical than they might seem on the surface.

    "I may not have the title of Knight anymore, but I can still use the Force. Maybe I could help you find them."

    Of course, it would be difficult. Using the Force was more complicated than just pointing it at something and expecting it to come to you. It might not be possible at all. But surely for this new friend... this rare person who bothered to listen, and who had the capacity to understand... the least she could do was try.

    "I don't promise success. Only my best efforts, if the time should come that you need or want my help."
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea

  3. #33
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    No one had ever offered her help with finding her lost family, well, at least not with any sort of real plan to do so. Certainly some had said they'd 'keep an eye out' for them or 'pass along a message', which she had appreciated to some extent. But an actual offer of direct assistance to personally seek out her family? Even if she had received such an offer, Neva was sure that no one she had ever met would have offered to use the Force to find her lost relations.

    Abruptly, Neva realized that she'd been simply staring at Siralai for the last unknown number of minutes. Unwilling to keep the woman wondering how her offer was going to be received, the Zabrak's face broke out into a huge grin. She leapt from her chair and offered the Jedi her hand to grasp. If she did, Neva would hold Siralai's hand upward in hers, their forearms touching - almost as though she were about to arm wrestle her on the spot.

    "Success or no, your assistance is more than welcome. To find the rest of my tribe would set my heart at ease." Neva released Siralai's hand, then looked pensive. "When I said I knew where some of my relatives are, what I didn't say was that they sided with the Empire. They may well have use of the Force...will that put you at risk?"

    The last thing she wanted was to put the first decent family she'd met in years in danger because of choices she hadn't made.

  4. #34
    Siralai Mahr



    Siralai waited without expectation - just waited, inferring nothing from the Zabrak's extended silence. It was, after all, a decision long in coming. It was only to be expected that it couldn't be made in an instant.

    At Neva's final eager acceptance, though, the former Jedi smiled and accepted the handshake.

    "It might," Siralai said honestly when Neva asked if it would put her at risk. She exchanged a look with Trystan, and then went on, "But so might a great many things, and I do them anyway. This would not be the first time I've set out to reclaim users of the Dark Side of the Force... and I haven't been without success in that regard. Some risks are worth taking. Personally, I count family among them."

    And odd thing to say, perhaps, for one who was raised in the Jedi Temple - but very much in step with the life Siralai had built of her own choosing.

    "I will begin to meditate on it. That will take time, though," Siralai cautioned. "The galaxy is a big place, needless to say. It will take me awhile to focus in on them, especially since we have never met. I do think it is likely to be possible. Just not immediate. I will begin as we travel."

    She did so, patiently casting her mind into the reaches of space, seeking those connected to Neva. She didn't find them on the first try, nor had she expected to. But it was a start.

    After a few hours had passed, with their destination planet appearing just ahead, they would run into the first snag of their journey. A blockade of Republic ships prevented access to the planet. As the blockade came into view, the lead ship hailed Neva's craft on the standard open channel.

    "This is Republic vessel Sigma Ozia. By order of the Senate, prepared to be boarded for inspection of cargo and passengers."
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 06-28-2018 at 07:32 PM.

  5. #35
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Neva was about to protest, but closed her mouth as Siralai continued. The Jedi was willing to risk backlash from the other side on the account of a pilot she'd only just met. "Thank-you" the words were a mere whisper. Seeing that Siralai meant to make good on her promise right then and there, Neva left the Jedi to her meditations and Trystan to his fiddling. Part of her was pleased he hadn't quite figured out the puzzle yet - the other part was simply pleased that he seemed to be enjoying himself. She smiled at Rossi and left for the cockpit.

    There wasn't much to do in the way of monitoring, but Neva spent her time well. She read star maps of the region, searched her database for mentions of the planet and those nearby, and practiced listening to a new droid language she'd come across in some far-flung sector. When the ship fell out of hyperdrive, Neva was already at the helm, waiting to regain control from the autopilot. She shouldn't have been surprised to see a blockade, but Neva supposed she had hoped that the planet's emissaries would simply be waiting with open arms for the goods they carried.

    "Roger that, Sigma Ozia. This is The Wayfarer, on a mission of aid. Standing by for boarding."

    Over the radio, Neva had sounded off as protocol would demand, however she had left out a few details. Like how many people they should expect to find on board. Neva turned to find Siralai standing in the doorway.

    "It seems reasonable to expect a blockade - there are those who would take advantage of an outpost in shambles - but I wasn't sure about how transparent you wanted to be." If Siralai thought that Trystan and Rossi might become targets, then Neva was willing - and able - to take measures to prevent their discovery.

  6. #36
    Siralai Mahr



    "This blockade concerns me," Siralai said candidly. "It's not an atypical strategy, needless to say - but the placement is rather odd. Why have these ships been ordered to maintain a blockade rather than going to assist the colonists, even if only those from their own side? If it's looters and opportunists they fear, they'd be better off staying on the surface. And what exactly do they expect to find by stopping ships here? Aid goods wouldn't merit this level of military presence. So do they think a ship may be transporting something else? And if so, what?"

    She gave a little shrug. "Rhetorical questions, of course. You can't know the answers any more than I do. Until we find out more information, our best bet is to cooperate." She glanced at Trystan and Rossi and added, "Within reason, of course. You two should try to keep a low profile. Trystan will be fine as long as he doesn't talk - the accent is the only thing that gives him away as an Imperial. Rossi... you should probably find somewhere out of the way to lurk. Not hide, mind you. We aren't doing anything illegal. Simply being born a Sith pureblood is not against Republic law, much as some Jedi might wish it to be. Just try not to call attention - but don't hide. Hiding makes it seem like you feel you need to."

    Siralai's face was the very picture of Jedi calm as the Republic troopers entered the ship and began their search. Trystan looked a trifle less composed, but he did as asked and refrained from speaking to any of their unwanted guests.

  7. #37
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Though Neva felt Siralai's suspicion was justified, she hadn't seen another way around the predicament. Certainly, they could have run, but that would have put the locals in danger wherever they made landfall to dole out supplies.

    "It certainly does seem that they are looking for something. Perhaps a good place to be out of the way but not in hiding would be to stay in the cockpit, Rossi. I'll set up the console so you can study the system we're in. You don't have to actually study, of course." but it would be good to look busy she finished in her head.

    Neva stayed in the cockpit to oversee the ship coupling, then left to meet the boarding party. For one, it was customary for the ship's captain to meet a boarding party. In her hand was a copy of the hold inventory and her registration. Also - there was no way she was going to let anyone waltz onto her ship without being supervised. As the troopers entered, their commanding officer met her with an odd stare before taking her documents in hand. He grunted and asked about the hold while one of the other troopers left her line of sight and entered the living area. Neva didn't much care for the troopers splitting up, but took the officers with her to the cargo as asked, walking past the two rooms as they did so.

    "Who are these for? Crew? I don't see any listed on the manifest..."
    "My passengers. I don't just haul freight."

    Neva was a touch annoyed, and didn't hide it well. Her ship was her pride and joy, after all. She didn't take perceived sleights against it well. The officer was silent in return.

    Upon reaching the hatch, she pressurized the hold and spun the handle to release the seal. The door swung open to reveal...a wall of crates.

    "There's not much to see, I'm afraid. I tend to pack to the rafters, as it were." There would be no viewing of the goods she carried, but for the few boxes that could be snuck out from between other, larger crates.

  8. #38
    Siralai Mahr



    Siralai was not delighted that the boarding party split up either, but offering opposition seemed likely to prolong the unwanted delay, so she let it pass. She followed the group headed to the cargo hold - it was, after all, her supplies down there, whereas the crew quarters were purely Neva's territory. Rossi remained behind the closed cockpit door, seemingly actually studying the maps in earnest, and Trystan hovered unobtrusively in the background.

    The officer flipped quickly through the holopages of the manifest, then instructed the trooper to find Crate C1235. He briefly shot Siralai a challenging look, as if he expected a melodramatic refusal followed by a confession of guilt, but she simply shrugged and nodded acceptance. The supplies had been ordered via a third party dealer, not packed by the Mahrs themselves, so Siralai couldn't have said exactly what was in Crate C1235, but she was sure it was something innocuous; all the crates contained aid supplies.

    The trooper glanced around, and then made an easy beeline to Crate C1235. Siralai frowned for the first time. It was one of the small, loose boxes - easily accessible. How had he known to pick that particular container for ready access? Still, she didn't move to intervene as the trooper opened the box.

    "Sir!" he exclaimed, and turned the contents of the crate for the officer to inspect. Siralai's eyes widened as she saw that it contained three carefully packed blasters. There were not supposed to be any weapons in the cargo. Nothing of that nature had been ordered.

    "Care to explain this, anyone?" the officer asked, glancing from Neva to Siralai and back again.

  9. #39
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    When the trooper simply reached out and picked up the requested crate without having to move a single box - or even activate a scanner - Neva was highly suspicious. She never should have let them on her ship. Still, the other options hadn't been exactly acceptable when she had clients on board. She would have to accept her current course of action and move forward in it as best she could. Neva's arms were folded across her chest as she met the officer's eyes directly.

    "Why are you surprised? Blasters can be a very useful tool in a survival situation. I assume they will be used to defend refugees from wild animal attacks while outside of their city defenses."

    She shrugged, then added "As to why the label isn't accurate, I can't say. I don't open every box before loading. If the blasters offend you, confiscate them."

    The implied ending to her sentence was clear. She didn't want these men on her ship any longer. Hopefully the other trooper wasn't causing issues for Trystan and Rossi.

  10. #40
    Siralai Mahr



    Siralai had been so shocked that the shipment contained unexpected weapons that she hadn't even considered the point Neva raised - but she realized Neva was right. Transporting weapons wasn't illegal per se, and refugees might need protection from wild animals or looters in the wake of a natural disaster.

    She wondered if Neva would believe her that this hadn't been the plan, though, or would think the Mahr family had pulled an intentional fast one.

    "The contents of that crate aren't what I ordered," Siralai told the officer bluntly. She felt the truth was best here, particularly since she now had doubts what was in the other crates. The blasters could be justified, but if the next box contained something completely untoward, it would be a lot harder to explain away if she had already started down the path of convenient lies. "Captain Xolte is right, though - there are plenty of legitimate uses for the weapons, and there's no reason the refugees shouldn't have them to defend themselves against threats. We'll make sure they end up in responsible hands."

    Apparently thinking in the same direction Siralai had, the officer frowned and said, "We'll need to inspect all of the crates. Who knows what you... oops, I mean your untrustworthy supplier... might have hidden in them."

    Siralai felt a tiny flame of irritation start to burn, but she stifled it with long-honed Jedi calm. She did allow her tone to become slightly clipped to convey a businesslike intent, though she didn't sound angry or emotional. "That isn't a reasonable solution. Unpacking and repacking the contents would take too much time. If you're that concerned about what we're transporting, send an escort with us when we unload planetside. If you find any contraband, confiscate it then - but don't waste your own time as well as ours."

    The officer began to nod, but his reply was cut off by the sound of running feet. "Sir!" another trooper said breathlessly, appearing from around the corner. "There are Sith and Imperials on board!"

    Siralai frowned again. Imperials plural was an exaggeration, and neither being born Sith nor being born Imperial was against Republic law, but if that was how this was going to play out, things might heat up quickly, and as inconvenient as this interruption was, Siralai had no desire to fight - especially not people theoretically on her own side.

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