Part 23 - Errand of Mercy.   Posted by The Force.Group: 0
Tfalta Dawl
 NPC, 10 posts
 Always look on the bright
 side of the light side
Sun 12 Jan 2020
at 20:12
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
"She's a little early is all.  I lived with Nuq Clade for a while, and by my calculation she would be born in about another half month.  I had planned to travel back to Yakusant about then, make sure everything went well with the birth, stay for a while, and give her some basic training.  Then I'd come back here and go to update her training every so often."

Tfalta Dawl sighs.  "I suppose the fact that she came here instead means that something went wrong at home.  I told her mother to find me if there was any problem. I would guess that her mother couldn't come, so she gave her daughter to a group of strangers, trusting them to find me instead.  That doesn't seem as if things are good there.  So bantha poodoo sounds about right."
Shard
 player, 1461 posts
 Most days, I'm tired.
 ...or drunk.
Mon 13 Jan 2020
at 01:20
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
"All right," Shard murmurs as Dawl makes the situation clear.  With a sigh, she nods in agreement.  "Yes, things aren't exactly at there best where we picked her up.  'Something wrong' is a bit of an understatement."

Haarmon seems to want to keep his distance; with a shrug, Shard continues, offering Dawl up an abridged version of the story of How The Infant Came To Be Upon The Bantha. 'And that's...pretty much it," she finishes.  Turning, she studies the baby for a moment. "She's gifted, to say the least.  More than ten of me, though that's not saying much.  I would congratulate you, but what with what's happening with the child's people, it doesn't seem quite right."

Turning back to Dawl, she raises one thin eyebrow.  "Ready to take on the responsibility?"
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 1407 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Mon 13 Jan 2020
at 04:29
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
Rhijans raised an eyebrow at Haarmon's reaction, though he said nothing, letting Shard field the explanation of the problems that had befallen Nuq Clade.

"We never saw her, but I'm guessing Nimadda was behind all the Imperial attention that was on Yakusant while we were there."  He shrugged minutely.

"I don't know anything about the Force...but the Imperials were just a little too focused on a specific section of dirt of that whole desert for me to believe it was just coincidence."  He looked at Dawl.

"She might not have been there, personally...but they seemed to know exactly where they were going."
Tfalta Dawl
 NPC, 11 posts
 Always look on the bright
 side of the light side
Wed 15 Jan 2020
at 20:04
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
"Yes, I'll take her now.  Once I have her settled in, I might swing by Yakusant and see if I can find out what happened.  I lived with these people for years.  I have contacts there, and a pretty good reputation among the Clades.  Which is why Nuq Clade are prepared to trust me to train a treasure that comes along once in... well... a very long time.  They might talk to me more easily than to strangers."

The Jedi holds out her arms towards Haarmon, and the infant laughs and reaches for her...
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 1408 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Thu 16 Jan 2020
at 06:51
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
"If you go back, be really careful about who you trust.  And if you have any dealings with the Hutt or any of his people, probably best to not let on that you know us.  The situation we left behind was pretty...fluid...but depending on how it turned out, the Hutt Syndicate could potentially have a bounty on some or all of us."  He shrugged.  To him, it was merely the price of doing business.

"And one of the other Clades attacked Nuq Clade...hit their home location pretty hard, and killed a lot of them.  They were being taken out and lined up...looked kinda like a slaver operation, almost, but the ship that was on its way down was Imperial.  They had already asked us to deliver something for them...at that point, they were still being cagey about it, and knowing what they wanted delivered, now, I understand why.  But since they had been friendly and the others were decidedly NOT, we helped them start fighting back out in the open where there wasn't much of an advantage to be had by one side or the other."

He gestured to the child.  "That's when one of them handed her to us, and told us to find you...and not to wait around to see how the battle turned out.  When we left, THAT situation was still very fluid, as well.  And not knowing which Clade was the aggressor means asking questions could be very dangerous."  The words sounded like a tactical assessment, and not advice...he was reporting the situation as he recalled it, not offering suggestions on who to talk to or avoid.
Haarmon Dak
 player, 841 posts
 Are you talking to me?
Thu 16 Jan 2020
at 21:03
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
The feeling in his mind as the baby reached for Dawl squashed whatever doubts Haarmon had. She was probably the best judge of character among them and, if she was into this, then it fine.

Truth be told, it squashed his hopes too. Not hopes, so much, but... dreams? Daydreams, anyway. He knew, he KNEW, that there was a precisely 0% chance that he would get to hang on her. And even if he did, his life made having her both impossible and dangerous (for her).

All the same, he would have given almost anything for another day. For a little while there it felt like he was... maybe... putting a little good karma in the bank to replace everything he'd withdrawn during his fractious and difficult childhood.

"You're welcome. You watch out for her. She's 10 pounds of trouble in a five pound diaper." He managed a smile. And he managed to almost believe in the smile as he handed her over. And then he tried to make it seem like maybe he forgot something and had to go, but it was a bad job. As he walked out of the ship and into the hanger, mostly he looked just like someone running away before anyone could see him tear up like a baby.
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 1409 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Fri 17 Jan 2020
at 07:23
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
Rhijans watched Haarmon walk away, his face an inscrutable mask.  He understood sentiment, even if he rarely indulged in it, and it hadn't been hard to see how quickly Haarmon had grown attached to the child, even with the knowledge from the moment they'd received her that they would be delivering her to someone else.

For now, he let the young man go.  He knew enough to know that any advice he might offer right now would be rejected...either angrily or with forced humor, but either one was a denial of the real feelings there.  It wasn't hard to envision Haarmon wishing for the kind of future which Rhijans had already pretty much ruled out for himself.  In the extremely rare chance that Haarmon would listen to his advice, the counsel Rhijans had to offer would lead the youngster in a very different direction...would, in effect, quash and maybe even kill the parts of Haarmon that made him so definitively Haarmon.

And Rhijans just couldn't bring himself to do that.  The galaxy had enough jaded cynics, already...an overabundance, even.  Someone had to carry the torch of hope...
The Force
 GM, 1092 posts
 These aren't the dice
 rolls you're looking for.
Sun 19 Jan 2020
at 22:04
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
Tfalta Dawl looks at the child briefly, as she settles into the Jedi's arms as if she had always been there.

Then she looks at Rhijans and frowns.  "The Clades have always fought each other, though the fighting has always been small scale skirmishes, out in the open, usually aimed at stealing from another Clade's scavenging teams.  An attack on a home nest isn't normal, and getting outsiders involved - Imperials, for example - is even less normal.  Too much risk that your allies would take some, or all, of your spoils."

"When I get a chance, I'll look into it... see if I can find out what's going on there.  I grew up on Yakusant, so I have an interest in what happens in my childhood home."

Rhijans Thanus
 player, 1410 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Mon 20 Jan 2020
at 01:34
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
Rhijans caught himself on the verge of a disparaging remark, and stopped it.  Everyone grew up somewhere...  The fact that her childhood home had been downright inhospitable to them didn't make it any less meaningful to her.

"Don't know if the Imperials are still there or not.  If they went looking for the kid, and Nimadda realized she's gone, there's no reason for them to stay.  But if they're still there, be careful.  They may be searching for the kid, or they may be rounding up slave labor for their part of whatever new monstrosity the Empire is trying to produce.  That shield system we sabotaged a while back was designed to protect something massive...and we only slowed them down on one system of it, I'm sure they're still working on other parts in other areas."

He shrugged.  "Not sure which possibility presents greater cause for concern.  Nimadda raising that kid is definitely bad news...but if the Empire is close enough or desperate enough to start harvesting their own slave labor, rather than contracting it out?  Things could get very hot, all around the sector."

This message was last edited by the player at 20:22, Mon 20 Jan 2020.

Juragga
 player, 634 posts
 Wookiee Warrior
 Bringing the Boom
Mon 20 Jan 2020
at 16:06
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
Rumbling and half-complaining about how he could be drinking ale right now, Juragga set about his task to repair.  Should be an easy task...

08:05, Today: Juragga rolled 22 using 4 dice and +1 pips with the WEG Classic system with rolls of 1,{Wild}6(+6+3),4,1.  Space Transport Repair.
Shard
 player, 1462 posts
 Most days, I'm tired.
 ...or drunk.
Tue 21 Jan 2020
at 01:37
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
Void.

Rhijans is covering the situation in dry details; he doesn’t require any help from Shard.  Likely her pitching in her opinions would only get in the way.  Haarmon, on the other hand…
“Good luck,” she whispers to Dawl.  A nod to Rhijans, and the older woman hurries after the vanishing back of the younger man.

Shard, herself, doesn’t really know how she feels about the Child, which is telling; never one for children, she finds an impossibly precocious child to be nothing more than a particularly helpless adult they have encountered upon their travels.  No maternal instincts are triggered by its large eyes and tiny body; she has always been spare of such things.  Haarmon, on the other hand?  Shard might say he is her apprentice, and his well-being her responsibility, should she feel like obfuscating the issue.  The truth is, he is important to her and he’s hurting; nothing else matters.

Sadly, she doesn’t have a lot of experience dealing with emotional extremes; years of hiding in the bottom of a bottle will do that.

So the older woman paces after the younger man, catching up and keeping two steps behind.  ”Hard thing,” she awkwardly begins.    Hot void, Shard; do better.   Clearing her throat, she tries again.  ”This cuts deep, doesn’t it?  You and her really seemed to get along.”

<I>Spectacular, Shard.  Just...ugh.  Do better.

The Force
 GM, 1093 posts
 These aren't the dice
 rolls you're looking for.
Sun 26 Jan 2020
at 21:05
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
Juragga's repair is fairly straightforward... a simple matter of forcing the unit back into its proper position, and securing it there.  The trickiest part of the job is handling the locking pins, which are small and fiddly for Wookiee hands.

Finally though, after about twenty minute's work, all are in place.  Juragga thumbs a stud on the side of the unit, there is a faint hum, and a diagnostic panel lights up with a series of displays showing green indicators.  After a couple of seconds, Juragga notices that his hair is standing on end. 

From somewhere near Juragga's feet, Halec Rett calls into the crawlspace, "Sounds like you got it working.  Great!  Listen, while you were doing that, I asked around.  It's like I thought, nobody here has the information you're after, but I'll be heading out within the hour.  I'll ask at my other stops, and next time I'm here I'll let you know what I've found.  Thanks for your help."

Shard goes off to talk to Haarmon, leaving Rhijans to watch Tfalta Dawl holding the infant.

The Jedi smiles and says, "She's hungry.  I'd better go and find her some food."  She sniffs, and makes a face.  "Some other things too."
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 1411 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Mon 27 Jan 2020
at 03:26
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
Rhijans gave a perfunctory nod, aware, intellectually, of what she was talking about, but lacking any sort of experience to build an emotional reaction around.

"Have fun with that, I suppose."  There was no distaste or dismissal...he really had no significant experience with children, so his words were utterly neutral.
Haarmon Dak
 player, 842 posts
 Are you talking to me?
Mon 27 Jan 2020
at 03:55
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
Haarmon knew Shard was coming before she got there. Some of it might have been the Force business. But most of it was that he knew her pretty well by now and figured she'd come to see what was what.

Which was both a relief, and also horrifying. He was grateful for the company. But he was not excited about his ability to remain... level... for any length of time.

Not for the first time, he wished he had the emotional composure of Rhijans or Rags. Whatever needed doing, those two just dug in and got it done. He'd never had to go find Rhijans and give him a hug because he was maybe crying. That's for sure. And, while he'd seen Rags pretty torn up a time or two, the big lug just made it look cool when he did it.

So when Shard came up to him, he didn't hide or run off. He stood his ground. And listened and his heart broke all over again for her attempts to bridge a gap that wasn't her fault and wasn't her making.

"Oh, sweet Void on toast, Shard, you're sounding like me." He aimed for 'aloof and insouciant' and got maybe 65% of the way there.

A pause.

"I don't know if getting along covers it. She's a baby, even if she a genius mystical space wizard baby, and babies are pretty easy to get along with."

Another pause. Maybe a sniffle.

"It was, I don't know, like I was... some kind of... doing something that was good and right, and good and right, right now this second? Babies are like that. They hungry? You feed 'em. They stink? You wipe 'em down. They always make you feel like heroes. And this was  even more so."

A frown.

"Just felt like I was doing something right for a change, I guess."

A pause.

"Thanks for checking in. I guess my exit wasn't as graceful as I'd planned?"
The Force
 GM, 1095 posts
 These aren't the dice
 rolls you're looking for.
Thu 30 Jan 2020
at 21:31
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
Juragga squirms back out of the crawl way, dragging his tools with him, and sits up.  If the information isn't here, then it isn't here.  He's just glad that Halec Rett is offering to try and find it for him - the man probably has a lot of contacts on various worlds.  The Wookiee warbles his thanks and gets to his feet.

"No problem.  I'm happy to help, and thanks again for fixing my ship."

Tfalta Dawl gives Rhijans a half bow and turns to leave.  Then stops and turns back for a moment.  "Thank Haarmon, please, for me and for her.  She tells me he looked after her well."

Across the hangar, as Dawl leaves, Rhijans can see You-Why shuffling towards him as rapidly as he can.

"Sir!  Sir!" the droid calls out as it gets closer, "Colonel Kourene would like to see yourself, and the rest of  the team, in his office as soon as possible.  He said it is a matter of some importance."
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 1414 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Fri 31 Jan 2020
at 06:01
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
Rhijans sighed, imperceptibly, and responded, "Of course it is," in a soft growl.  He gave You-Why a nod and a comradely clap on one shoulder.  "Thanks.  Coming with us?  I know you're dealing with a lot, but your input would be appreciated, for whatever it is."

He looked around, not seeing Juragga at the moment, but spotting Haarmon and Shard close by.  "Shard, Haarmon!  Any idea where Juragga is?  The Colonel has sent for us..."
Shard
 player, 1464 posts
 Most days, I'm tired.
 ...or drunk.
Fri 31 Jan 2020
at 16:40
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy

There comes a sigh, long and slow; an exhalation of pain, not relief.  Reaching out, Shard lays a hand upon Haarmon’s shoulder, light but nevertheless there. “If I sound like you,” she quietly avers, “then I’m pretty pleased.  You say some cursed smart and wise things, Haarmon.”

Moving closer, she throws one arm over his shoulders – it’s casual – and gives him a squeeze.  “Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the crap we get up to has a price – on us.  Maybe we’re doing something right for the galaxy, but people die.  Just need to look at Rhijans – void save him – to see what that can cost.”  The grey-skinned hunter has scrubbed his spirit clean of remorse – or hidden it well-away, and Shard suspects more the latter – to keep from breaking under the weight of his own deeds.  The older woman doesn’t know what he has done, but can guess; ‘bounty-hunter’ isn’t a trade in which one protects one’s innocence. “Get the chance to do something good and right – well-put, that – like protect a cursed baby, and…” Her free hand makes an absent wave in the air.

“It must feel like a gift.”

Void, how hard have I become?  I look at Rhijans, but how far behind him am I, if I need Haarmon just to remind me of this?


“I wouldn’t know a hero if one bit me,” she muses, now staring up, eyes blindly searching the past.  “But a decent, good person of solid spirit, that kind of thing I’ve seen before.  And that’s you, as well.  I wish you could have kept the child with you – become her protector, or something.  I could hand some ‘Force moves in mysterious ways’ Bantha crap to you, but…I figure you’d know I was full of just that.  Also, I couldn’t get it out without laughing at myself.”

Her lips tighten, and she leans to stare into his face.  “Life, right?  It just…”  Headshake.  “Anyway, no lesson to teach here or lecturing.  Just…talking.  I don’t have the cursed right to tell you what you should feel, or what perspective you ought to have on this.  That’s all you.  I’m just here to blather on, and maybe listen if you want to talk.”   One side of her mouth quirks up.  “I can shut up and manage that, promise.” </darkgreen>

Then she snorts, quite far from delicately.  “As for graceful exits, I’m pretty sure this isn’t your worst; I’ve fallen down stairs, and I bet you could match.”  But the amusement swiftly fades.  <darkgreen> “Nobody expects you not to feel, Haarmon,” Shard solemnly states.

Then a shout echoes and Shard winces.  <DarkGreen>"Duty calls, apparently."
  Turning her head, she raises her voice.  "Not sure, Rhijans - we'll need to comm him."
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 1415 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Fri 31 Jan 2020
at 18:43
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
Rhijans nodded at the response, starting to walk towards the pair.  "Can one of you do the honors?"  Anyone else might have sounded sheepish asking that...Rhijans managed to make it tactical, especially when he added, "I could tell him to meet us here, but if he's got any explanation for why he couldn't, I don't understand Wookiee, so I'd just have to get you, anyway."  It was one thing when Juragga was present, and there was body language and context to the assorted grunts, growls, and howls...but without any visual clues, they were mostly just noise, to Rhijans.

As he got closer, he added...in an almost-soft tone, surprisingly, "Dawl wanted me to let you know the infant was grateful for the way you took care of her."

Was there a hint of empathy in his voice?  It was hard to know...but it was a tone that he had rarely, if ever, used around anyone in the team.
The Force
 GM, 1096 posts
 These aren't the dice
 rolls you're looking for.
Sun 2 Feb 2020
at 22:20
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
You-Why follows after Rhijans, silently at first, but soon starts talking when they reach Haarmon and Shard.

"If anybody is interested, and I suppose there is a small possibility that they might be, my discussion with the Colonel was fairly successful.  That is to say, I think it was.  Or as successful as it could possibly be, given the circumstances."

The droid seems to be sliding back into his familiar sulky mood.
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 1416 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Mon 3 Feb 2020
at 18:26
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
Rhijans paused and turned to the droid.  "What makes you think we wouldn't be interested?"  The words could have been taken as accusatory, but the tone was genuinely curious and non-judgmental.
Shard
 player, 1466 posts
 Most days, I'm tired.
 ...or drunk.
Wed 5 Feb 2020
at 02:43
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
While Rhijans speaks quietly with Haarmon, Shard flicks on her comm. ++ Hey, Juragga.  If you’re there, we’re going to meet up at the colonel’s office.  You free? ++ Waiting for a response, she turns to the somewhat petulant You-Why and slowly nods.  “I’m interested, and I’m happy to hear about it.  How about you tell me what you and the colonel managed to work out?”   All true – she would like to know what You-Why is feeling, and doesn’t begrudge him his grumpy mood today.

After all, he’s heard the worst possible news: terminal illness.

“Really, You-Why.  What Rhijans says.  Let us in on what happened,” she quietly finishes, hoping for some kind of good news...or at least tolerable.  Haarmon is already dealing with a painful loss, and she wants the best for the droid.

Or at least, what You-Why considers to be the best, which is the only metric that really counts.
The Force
 GM, 1097 posts
 These aren't the dice
 rolls you're looking for.
Wed 5 Feb 2020
at 22:47
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
Juragga responds almost instantly, indicating that he would meet the rest of the group at the Colonel's office.

You-Why emits a passable imitation of a sigh before explaining, "Nobody had asked me about it until now, so it was difficult to see that there was any interest.  I have observed that when organics, and Humans in particular, are unwell, then queries regarding their health, and any efforts to improve such, are usually the first order of business when they meet somebody they know."

"As for my own meeting with the Colonel... it was quite brief.  He listened to what I said, and then told me that he would speak to somebody who might be able to help, and then sent me to find you.  He said that he might, perhaps, have some news for me when I come back with the rest of you."

Rhijans Thanus
 player, 1417 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Thu 6 Feb 2020
at 05:12
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
Rhijans got a look on his face that could have been amusement, of some sort.  It was hard to say, as he'd never really been openly amused about anything in the time the team had been together.  "In our defense, You-Why, you weren't here long enough to start asking questions.  First thing you said was that Colonel Kourene wanted to see us, and you expressed it in such a way that implied he meant right away.  Before anyone had a chance to ask you, you had already started talking about the meeting and implying nobody cared about the results."  He gave the droid an inscrutable look.

"We're only biologicals.  Our brains don't process information as fast as yours."
The Force
 GM, 1098 posts
 These aren't the dice
 rolls you're looking for.
Sun 9 Feb 2020
at 20:21
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
The droid is silent for a moment - or at least as silent as he can be with the constant quiet clicking, whirring and hissing that accompanies every movement of his servos.

Then he speaks again.  "You are right, I suppose, and I apologise for my hastiness.  I have been associated with this group for a some time now, and I have become so familiar with you that sometimes I almost forget how inferior you are."

"Ah, here we are."


The droid turns through a doorway, and into a room where Colonel Kourene sits talking to a woman who, judging by the tool kit on the floor next to her chair, is a tech.

Both look at the group as they enter, but it's clear that the woman's attention is focussed almost exclusively on You-Why.

Kourene nods, "Good... glad you got here so quickly.  Sit down, please, all of you."
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 1418 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Mon 10 Feb 2020
at 04:02
Part 23 - Errand of Mercy
A ghost of a smile flickered across Rhijans' face at You-Why's mention of their inferiority.  It was there and then gone, so quickly it might have been imagined...but anyone who saw it might have perceived it to be, not just amusement, but even some degree of fondness.

He followed You-Why into the Colonel's office, giving a nod and taking a seat when directed, turning his focus on the unfamiliar tech.