Tipsy Trader -- Tier City: Valentine's World
Inside the Tipsy Trader, the stone walls are painted a bright turquoise reminiscent of the Great Western Sea itself. Around the perimeter of the circular room are alcoves with booths, marked off by tasseled, draping curtains in various competing colors that sparkle with embroidery and beads. Round, colorfully-woven rugs decorate the tile flooring and absorb some of the ambient sound created by the usually festive crowd.
The central feature of the cantina is the bar itself, circled with stools for patrons and boasting a display of exotic liquors in decorative bottles arranged to tempt the thirsty crowd. Above, the ceiling is flecked with patterns of light cast from several lanterns hung at intervals around the room. To the right of the entrance is a small stage with tables gathered in front of it where musical performers put on a show several times a day.
The Players: Delphine, Sarna, Siika, On'Tina, Trina
Delphine, as promised, has garnered a booth inside the Tipsy Trader - the nicest Cantina you've ever seen. She's sipping on a pink drink and considering options from the menu that is on a datapad embedded in the table.
Preceded by her Vee-Four, who comes wheeling in at an excited clip, Sarna makes her way into the cantina and takes a moment to get her bearings. It's busier than usual with all the festival goers who've poured into the establishment, and the Nahrahm locals are joined by a variety of beings from various other worlds. Sarna is not quite used to the din of so many people in one enclosed place, and frowns as she winds her way through the masses in search of...
Delphine. She's seated in a booth, and Vee-Four is there before Sarna can reach her. The little droid bobs his cone-shaped head up and down and bleats a greeting as Sarna approaches at a leisurely pace. "Hi," she says to the older woman, sliding into the booth before being asked in an effort to get out of the flow of the crowd. "I was hoping you'd be here." She tucks a lock of dark hair behind her ear and hesitates. "I'm not sure how to start..."
Delphine looks up from her menu pondering as Vee-Four bops his way over to her. She smiles broadly, excited that her new find has come to speak just as she'd hoped. She moves her glass to the side as Sarna slips into the booth with her. "I told you I'd buy you dinner," she reminds the teenager in a warm and friendly manner. "I've been taught...and I always find it best...to start at the beginning. In fact...I can start." She takes a moment before continuing. "Since you're new here...on the world I'm from, Vait, is a collective of talented beings...like you and I...where we practice and train...discuss and debate...as well as find work outside the Enclave. Assignments. I specialize in contracts and uh...interviews," she says with a slight euphemism at the end. "Now your turn, Sarna."
"Right." Sarna looks down at Vee-Four who's standing guard in front of the booth, then folds her hands on the table and meets Delphine's gaze. "Well, I've been here on Valentine's World for a little while. I came across through the Hypergate on a ship with a small crew. Everyone has pretty much gone their own way, and I decided to stick around here... for now. It's so beautiful, and I find that I... I rather like being around people." She tilts her head to one side and considers Delphine's own words. "Are you a Jedi, then?" she asks curiously, leaning forward in her seat. "Is there a Jedi Temple on this planet Vait?"
Amongst the growing crowd, a new face joins the masses, but it's buried in a proverbial book. A data pad, to be more precise, with small green text scrolling past at a medium pace. It isn't until Siika nearly collides with an Ithorian that she seems to come back to the planet's surface, with a quick jerk of her head upright and a halt to her steps.
"Ack!" Her hand touches the pad, stopping the scrolling of text and photos, before putting up a friendly hand. "//Pardon me,//" she tells the Ithorian, using his native language. "//I am being foolish.//"
The Ithorian grunts and moves out of Siika's way, allowing her to make a beeline for the bar and one rare empty spot where she might place and order. She chews on her lip, trying very hard to be present and not distracted by the file she has open.
Delphine regards the younger woman curiously. "Jed...eye?" she says curiously. "Uh...no? I don't know what that is." The blonde woman considers the girl a moment but can only answer, "And our place Vait, as well as our group, is called The Enclave. It's not a temple. We don't worship anything there. It's a place of learning and meditation. A place to train and learn methods from the Proctors...our teachers..." Then she places her hand on her chest to indicate herself. "I am an Acolyte. If you chose to join us, you'd be a Novice to begin with. Though...I suspect you'd move up quickly," she notes having felt Sarna's strength.
"Oh, that's what the Temple is, a place to learn and meditate," Sarna explains earnestly. "We train in the Force and lightsaber combat. Though..." she trails off, "I've never actually been to the Temple. I was trained on board our ship in the ways of the Jedi." A smile spreads over her face as she goes, an air of pride and wistfulness in her voice. "The Jedi Order uses the Force for knowledge and defense. They kept the peace in the Old Republic for a thousand generations."
The bit of commotion between Siika and the Ithorian gets the girl's attention for a moment, and she glances over with arched brows, then back to Delphine. "Oh, that's our friend from before," she says, perhaps using the term a bit too freely. "But she looks busy." Sarna cranes her neck to get a better look, then bites her lip and sits back.
Well, the bartender has his hands full, so of course, Siika has gone back to her reading! This time, the text is scrolling past much faster, her eyes dancing left and right as if she were absorbing the material much faster than should be possible.
Unfortunately, it doesn't last long.
The young woman suddenly grimaces. She bends at the waist, clutching at the mechanical halo encircling her head as the datapad clatters to the ground.
"Uuurrrgh! Karabast!" She reaches down with a hand and snatches up the data pad, glaring at it through clenched eyes. "Blast it, I lost my place!" she exclaims.
On'Tina seems to eventually wander into the cantina, taking a casual look around at the colorful surrounds. She gives the decor a once over and then puts her hands in her pockets and seems to eye up the clientele, studying with a passing eye who seems to be working to get the furthest into their drinks and listening to the various snippets of conversation. She pauses, her lekku flitting at the sudden noise and she looks down at the dropped datapad.
"Well...we're neutral politically. So the Jed-eye..." Delphine says drawing out the unfamiliar word. "...sound a bit different from the Enclave. But...if you'd like, I could be your patron and show you around. It's entirely up to you but you'd at least start out with a place to live, three square meals, and the chance to make some credits." There is nothing deceptive in Delphine's words and she continues to exude a warm presence. At the clacking of the datapad on the floor, Delphine looks in Siika's direction and clucking her tongue at the cybernetically enhanced young person. "Oh dear...your other new friend is a little clumsy," she says with sympathy. "Think about what I've told you. Should we invite her to dinner?"
The young girl leans back into the seat and considers Delphine. Her fingers drum restlessly on the table, and the gears turning in her head are almost visible in her hazel eyes. "It's not the worst offer I've ever heard," she admits. With a nod of her chin, she accepts the offer to consider, then leans forward and folds her arms across the table. "I think we should," she whispers, and before the words are even out of her mouth, Vee-Four is beeping in glee and buzzing through the crowd to find his favorite admirer. Patrons move out of the way and shout their opinions of the little droid, but he seems unaware of any dissatisfaction in the crowd as he reaches Siika and practically bounces in an attempt to get her attention.
Still seeming a bit winded, Siika takes her datapad in hand and is close to rising to her feet, when Vee-Four comes into her blurry peripheral. This seems to immediately brighten her mood, and she turns to the ground, still crouched down to be on the droids level.
"Well hello, handsome!" The cybernetically enhanced young woman reaches a hand out to pet the droid's cone, smiling through whatever it is that ails her. "Well, it's good to see that you are alive and well." She giggles a bit, and reaches with a free hand to adjust something on her cybernetic halo. "I don't suppose you can help me decipher Advanced Theory of Micro-Nuclear Fusion, eh?" She giggles again, then pats the droid once more. "Let me get a drink, then show me where your guardian is?"
On'Tina flits her lekku back and forth lazily at her back and eventually makes her way over to the bar and slides into a stool. She turns her head to watch the trail of the droid but seeing or hearing that he's got company, she seems to lose some sparkle of interest. She upnods towards a blue bottle of something behind the bar gives a sign for 'two' and then settles in and waits. She digs through her pockets for pieces of paper and looks a few of them over and refolds them and rubs a hand back and forth at her forehead.
Delphine flicks a please eyebrow towards Sarna letting the offer lay for now. She watches Vee-Four act as social director for their table by grabbing Siika's attention. "I'm here for the entire Festival. Then I'm headed back the Vait, if you're still interested in visiting..."
Sarna leans on one elbow and purses her lips. "I will consider. I'm curious to see what other worlds are like. I have to admit, it might be hard to beat this place," she chuckles, looking over the crowd but thinking of the natural wonders the planet has to offer, things her mind could barely comprehend when she first saw them. "Vee-Four, are you...?" she calls out.
Vee-Four, flipping his head in the direction of his name being called, hoots a query, then looks back at Siika. His motors whirr loudly, compensating for his slower mode of travel as he attempts to lead the cybernetically-enhanced woman through the crowd and to the booth occupied by Sarna and the Enclave Acolyte.
"Ah, there you are. I hope you asked Siika if she wants to join us for dinner!" Sarna says to the little droid, and then shoots a wink at her new friend across the table.
On'Tina seems to wait for her drinks to arrive and she gives them a bit of a skeptical side-eye but eventually picks one up and drinks at a go. She sniffs in with a wince, "I think licking the fusilage would have been a better choice ... " and she coughs, much to the amusement of some of the regulars sitting nearby. She slaps her lekku against her back twice at a jab, the universal Twi'lek silent 'Go die in a hole' salute and then she turns around to look towards some of the new comers.
Finally finding her footing, Siika cranes her head to see where Vee-Four is headed. "Okay, okay, just, just gimme a sec, okay?" She tells the droid, before banging her fist on the bar to get the tender's attention.
"Hey! Man with beard!" She grins coyly, getting the bartender's attention with ease. "One Twin Suntan, and another three of those stim sticks. I know it's the wrong name, but, you know what I'm talking about."
After a moment, and a plopping of three credits on the counter, Siika is winding her way through the crowds to find her way to the booth occupied by Delphine and Sarna.
"So, your absolutely splendid droid told me that I should come over and join you two." She smiles in an awkward manner, clutching the datapad close to her breast while holding the drink and the trio of stim-sticks with the opposing fingers. "I... really, wouldn't impose, but, Vee-Four //insisted//." The awkwardness drains a bit, and she looks down at the droid. "It's really hard for me to say no."
Delphine leans toward Sarna in turn at their booth table. "Why do you think I come here? I really love this place too but..." She sits back in her seat. "It's not home, you know?" As Siika follows Vee-Four to the booth, Delphine offers a friendly was and a smile. "I don't know about you two, but I'm starving. They have the best nerf burgers here!" With that she punches her food order into the table comp and looks at her table companions. "Nerf burgers all around?"
Some flicker, however brief, shows in Sarna's eyes when Delphine mentions the word "home." She swallows hard, and then the look is gone and she is smiling brightly. "Oh. I love the nerf burgers here. I could eat five of them," she says, as if that is perfectly normal.
Vee-Four is obviously smitten. That electronic purring is emitted from his vocoders as he pivots to make sure that Siika is coming, effectively rolling backwards the last of the distance to the booth. Sarna laughs with delight, shaking her head, then winks at Siika as the awkward girl makes her approach. She scoots over and pats the seat beside her, making room for the newcomer. "He can be quite insistent," she admits. "Will you join us for dinner? I think you met Delphine before. We were just chatting about her Enclave. Is that what it's called?" She steeples her fingers and holds them in front of her face. "I'm starting to realize that no one has heard of the Jedi around here."
"Oh my stars and nebulae." Siika is practically swooning at the concept of a real meal, made of real meat and real grains. She plops down into the spot next to Sarna, her eyes bright with rabid anticipation. "So much better than the starship rations I had for breakfast //and// lunch. That's a big 'yes' from me."
She seems suddenly distracted, and pulls the satchel from around her back with a bit of awkward adjustment of her frame, accidentally knocking boots with both Sarna and Delphine in the process. "Oof. Sorry. One second." Once she has the satchel properly in hand, she dumps the datapad into it with no lack of glory, then shoves the satchel down between her knees for supposed safekeeping.
"I -" Siika starts to say, when something seems to catch in her throat. She looks from Delphine to Sarna, her eyes blank for a moment, until her hand finds its way to a small dial on her cybernetic headpiece. Following a small adjustment, she breathes a quiet sigh of relief, before once again looking between the two.
"I have heard of the Jedi," she admits, and does so without any sort of bravado. A spare hand reaches down to pet Vee-Four under the table as she adds, "From beyond the Hypergate, right?"
"Sheesh!" Delphine exclaims a little exacerbated after entering all their food orders and paying in advance. "I've never heard people talk so openly about the Hypergate before. I wasn't even sure it was real!" She takes a sip of her pink drink. It was kind of nice just hanging out with other young women, being only a few years older than she guessed Sarna to be. When Siika bumps her it jostles her drink and she lets out a raucously loud and high-pitched laugh. "Whoops!" Then when the Jedi are mentioned again she turns her scrutiny on Siika. "You have?"
Escaping the brilliantly colored Nahrahm outside, with their festive garments, raucous music, and general elation, Trina slips into the Tipsy Trader cantina and finds... garrshly colored walls, the hum and buzz of raucous customers, and a different sort of exuberance. She turns on her heel and has a hand on the door handle when she stops herself.
"Breathe," she says under her breath. "This will be fine. Just get yourself a drink and then find a quiet booth."
Turning back to the main, circular room, Trina sees that neither of those tasks will be easy. An overworked, bearded bartender attempts to service three customers at once but receives a trio of angry complaints as he keeps none of their orders straight. A line of customers forms a fleshy wall between Trina and the libations. At the sight of the crowd, Trina finds her throat suddenly dry.
Then there's the booths. A quiet booth? Maybe under normal circumstances, but the festival has obliterated normalicy and deposited the crumbs and shards right here in the cantina. There are no empty booths, and nothing is quiet in the room. Not even the walls.
Moving to get into what Trina thinks is the back of the line for the bar, she stops and pulls back, momentarily distracted from the stress and chaos of the crowded bar. She kneels down and extends a hand to towards Vee-four like someone coaxing a puppy.
"Look at you, little guy! Who's a good fella? Is it you?"
Commiserating with Siika's opinion about space rations, Sarna nods vigorously, ignoring the rumbling of her stomach, and then joins in the laughter as pink liquid is sloshed from Delphine's drink. "Oh. What is that?" she wonders, noticing the pink beverage for the first time. But she gets distracted from that notion quickly once the Jedi are brought up, and she can't help but do a double take at Siika. "Really?" If the people at the Enclave didn't know about the Jedi or the Hypergate, it's surprising that Siika would. But who knows what her background may be. She casts a look at Delphine as she pronounces her disbelief, but then whispers under her breath, "I was in the Hypergate almost my whole life," as if she can scarcely believe it herself.
Vee-Four is startled at first when a stranger tries to get his attention. His head pivots back and forth between the booth he's vigilantly guarding, and the woman beckoning him closer. He beeps and bloops inquisitively, then rolls a little closer to Trina.
"Sorry!" Siika exclaims, upon recognizing the tragedy she nearly caused with Delphine's beverage. Instinctively, she grasps her own orange tinted drink, half expecting it to spill as well. "Sorry," she adds in a quieter demeanor, before talk of the Hypergate and the Jedi brings a fresh brightness to her face.
"Well of course it's real," she answers, excitement flashing through her eyes before recognizing the scrutiny in Delphine's look. She's silent for a moment, before a touch of defensiveness enters her visage.
"I don't just sit around and tweak droid tech all day," she admits, looking between Delphine and Sarna. "I monitor a lot of transmissions." The confession seems mixed with both shame and pride, a curious concoction that draws an awkward look on the cyber-girl's face. "Lot of it makes no sense though. All kind of mixed signals. Like trying to re-wire a droid's had one too many memory wipes."
Looking between the two, Siika chews on her lip for a moment. The antics of Vee-Four tempt her to drop the conversation and dive head first back into droid world, but there is a weight upon her that she cannot quite explain. A long-suffering look is given to the droid and the woman he is encountering, before she looks back to her boothmates.
"Lot of conflicting stories," she admits. "Some say they were the saviors of the galaxy. Others, a plague to be wiped out. It's... weird. Very hard to decipher, from what sneaks through. One thing is for certain. The Jedi were... controversial."
Her head suddenly snaps back toward Trina, as if she just recognized something she saw a moment ago. A slender, cybernetically-enhanced hand rises to her chest, and she finds herself all but staring at the woman, lips parted in a quiet gasp.
On'Tina sighs as she looks at the line of customers that continues to grow and she unwinds her legs from her stool and stands. She unbuttons her sleeves and pushes them up towards her elbows, considers the crowd for a moment and unbuttons the top two buttons of her jumpsuit and smirks. She looks aside to the clearly overworked bartender and murmurs simply, "Twenty percent ... " as she steps around the counter and when he doesn't directly protest, she sets to work. She whistles sharply between her front teeth with a call, "Complicated rainbow farts and nonsense that line ... simple things over here ... "
When the diminutive droid is within arms reach, Trina continues to coo at Vee-Four like he were a small animal while her hands move over him on their own accord. She brushes a bit of dust away an optic. Nimble fingers probe and assess externally reachable actuators and cooling vents... less the affectionate attention one might give a pet and more like a technical exam.
"You're in good shape, aren't you?" Trina says. She pats the small droid affectionally. "You must have someone that really cares for you."
Trina straightens to her feet and looks back towards the line, only to find that it has moved on around her. Was she ever at the back of it? She shakes her head and looks back towards the exit.
The girl who thinks of herself as a Jedi listens with rapt attention to Siika. Their drinks are served, and she looks into the pink concoction with curious eyes, and then takes a first sip. The fire that burns down her tongue and throat makes her smart and gasp, and she shakes her head back and forth a couple of times. "Whoo boy. That's... that's alcohol, isn't it?" She clears her throat, and looks between Delphine and Siika. "Things have been controversial, especially in recent history. But a lot of it is over-inflated nonsense. They certainly did not deserve to be eradicated from the galaxy, like the Empire tried to do." But none of that history matters here, not in -this- galaxy. "So much knowledge was lost. But my uncle wanted me to learn as much as I could, to be like a true Jedi of old." She lifts her chin proudly and raises her drink, and then grins at the ruckus at the bar, noticing the Twi'lek who looks like she's ready to show the bartender how it's done. "I like her," she says with a chuckle. "Watch, the line will start moving now!"
All at once, she realizes that Siika's attention has been drawn away to a newcomer who's beckoning Vee-Four over. Her brows arch in surprse at the sight of the woman and she smiles crookedly. "I trust his judgment," she calls to Trina. "Are you looking for a seat?"
Siika's attention seems to drift from Trina to the establishment's newest bartender, back to Trina, to Sarna, back to Trina, to Vee-Four, then back to Sarna. It bears the resemblance of a computer close to overloading.
In response, she lifts the orange drink and downs half of it in one long, long gulp.
"Ugh!" she exclaims, setting the glass down with some bravado. "Errngh. That's..." A cough. "That's as horrible as it is delicious." She eyeballs the beverage with no shortage of suspicion. "What is //in// this dreadful concoction?"
Once again, her attention seems split between multiple places. However, she seems at least for a moment to be irrevocably drawn back to Sarna. She leans a bit closer, speaking quietly. "None of that matters here. Not really. Not anymore. Take it all with a grain of spice, right? Trust me, it's... just trust me."
Cryptic as it may seem, she turns her attention back to Vee-Four and Trina. When Sarna offers a fresh seat, the one vacated by Delphine, her expression seems to brighten. Hesitantly, as it may be, but bright nonetheless. "Hey," she calls to Trina, "If Vee-Four says yes, then //we// say yes."
On'Tina works on filling up drinks and serving them across the bar. Chittering this and that in various tongues as words are tossed about. But it's the phrase 'grain of spice' that makes the Twi'lek look up and twitch her lekku about but seemingly eventually realizing it's simply a turn of phrase she settles back down and goes back to getting people moving. When things calm down she 'helpfully' assists one overwhelmed fellow to the doorway and brushes her hand by him and pats him on the back as she shows him out the door. A hand brushes by her pocket and she returns to her spot.
At the Twi'lek's command, the line at the bar undulates, the mass of bodies shifting together, then shifting again. The tension of indecision resolves and a few parties separate to take advantage of the added output from the bar.
One particularly tall Nahrahm, with long black hair and a forehead that slopes more than most of his race, steps up in front of On'Tina. Either out of confusion, malice, or bad humor, he says, "I'll have one uncomplicated rainbow fart, please."ooc
Trina looks towards the booth belonging to the droid's owner, and her face lights up as if she's found salvation. She smiles, her eye moving from Sarna to Siika. Then she bows to Vee-four once again.
"What do you think, friend? Can I join your crew?"
When Vee-four looks back towards Sarna and scoots ever so slightly in the direction of the booth, Trina takes it as invitation enough. She moves in, sliding in next to Siika, her unshod feet momentarily connecting with Siika's boots.
"To think," Trina says with a smile. "I actually used to LIKE crowds."
Sarna wrinkles her nose with worry at the way that Siika's attention shifts almost erratically. She can't but wonder if there's a glitch in the girl's processors. But her advice is sound, once the cybernetic girl meets her gaze and gives her opinion of Sarna's rather strange situation. "Yeah," she blows out a breath and stares down into her drink. "A grain of spice." Perhaps it's better not to mention her origins at all, judging by the reactions. Her lovely brow furrows with worry and she takes another sip of the Pink Nebula. As the alcohol hits her head, she giggles and wobbles from side to side, raising the glass to the newcomer joining them. "Hello!" she greets, lifting her voice to be heard over the crowd. "Vee-Four is very good at making friends. And we had a spare seat." She bobs her head and looks at her little droid companion. "You already met my buddy Vee-Four. My name is Sarna. This silly nerf is Siika."
"I am not a silly nerf!" Siika exclaims, her words coming with a sloppy sing-song nature that suggests the drink may be hitting her harder than she'd intended. An elbow juts out to jab lightly at Sarna's midsection in a friendly manor, but when she feels the light clunk of metal against her boot, her attention is immediately drawn toward their new companion.
A stray hand reaches for one of her stim-sticks (akin to smoking an espresso), and she lights it with a click of fingers against the far end of the roll. Nothing fantastic here; the stim-sticks are designed with a friction-induced lighting mechanism, forgoing the necessity of carrying an igniting mechanism itself.
"You're a lover of droids," Siika observes, fixing Trina with a look that suggests a drunken subtext that she's sure to blow open in about 1.2 seconds. Those seconds pass in the span it takes her to draw a drag off her stim-stick, at which point she grins mischievously. "I like your tech," she offers. The compliment comes with a flex of her fingers, encased in skin-suit as they are, which also reveals the exo-skeletal mechanical enhancement that seems to mirror the bones of her wrist and fingers. "Some people consider it a bastardization of the human body," she remarks, before giving Sarna a meaningful look. "I say they're full of bantha poodoo."
After taking another drag from her stim-stick, she reaches a finger up to her neck, pressing on a spot where her larynx would be. She leans over to address Vee-Four, but her words come out in a mechanical droid-ish, requesting with a few pops and buzzes that the little droid invite the new bartender to join them, as well.
Mischief is certainly afloat. It follows Siika like a gravity well.
On'Tina gives the most sweetest sugary smile to the Nahrahm really laying into her upturned Rylothian accent as she leans across the bar and probably providing the evening's free view of entertainment, "Anything for you ... " She turns and then pours him a drink and clearly overcharges him from the last person who asked and just smiles, her white teeth all but aglow against her charcoal skin. She waits for him to toddle off and then seeing things are calmed enough, takes her promised cut of the till and then wanders back away, buttoning her shirt back up as she goes. Adjusting her goggles on top of her head and then wanders over the table where the other ladies are sitting.
For a moment, Trina's expression is open and warm, almost childlike. She hears the words from these fresh people at the booth, their voices affected by the drinks they've imbibed, and Trina looks at what remains in their glasses. She doesn't think about the auditory algorithm processing their speech patterns, analyzing in the back of her mind the probabilities and percentages of their intoxication. For just a moment, it's like she's Trin Corina again. Sitting in a bar between matches. Drinking and making friends.
Then the content of Siika's words register. The hardware. A bastardization of the human body. Bantha poodoo.
Trina's eyes trace Siika's own hardware, from the bone-deep augmentations in her arms, to the intricate work of wires and techno-magic planted at the base of her skull. Trina raises one of her hands -- her metal, inhuman hands -- to the back of her own skull. No hair, there. Never again. Just chrome, protecting and hiding some of the implants wet-wired into her brain and hooked into her nervous system.
"Thank you," Trina says, her voice thin. "I... I like your hardware, too." Her voice gains some strength. "I guess I've always liked droids, even before the-- even before."
She turns, her eye widens as On'Tina approaches. She takes in the Twi'lek's striking red eyes and darkly marked lekku. A person. Flesh and blood. Trina smiles at the Twi'lek and scoots closer to Siika to make more room at the booth.
"You should join us!" Trina blurts. She shakes her head, remembering the protocol. "Er... if Vee-four says so, of course."
Vee-Four looks back and forth between the would-be Twi'lek barkeep and Siika, uncertainty registering in the beeps he emits. When he decides to move off on his errand, it seems that she is already approaching, and he begins zigzagging a figure eight around On'Tina's legs as if herding the rest of the way to the booth.
"Vee, that's -- that's not how you invite someone over," Sarna says with a sigh, pinching the bridge of her nose. "Forgive my droid. He's as silly as Siika. But he says to join us!" She winks at her new friend, and her face grows more serious as the cybernetic girl mentions the dark-clad stranger and his backward beliefs. "Forget him," she insists. "Bantha poodoo is right." She wraps both hands around her nerf burger and lifts it to her face. As she takes a bite and starts to munch, oblivious to the tension in the air. With a nod to Trina she swallows and shrugs her shoulders. "I don't see what the big deal is. My uncle is a droid."
On'Tina keeps her hands in her pockets with the air of someone used to not making sudden motions around strangers. She flicks her lekku gently as she looks down at her feet as the droid zips about, "I fear that I speak a bit of many things but ... I can't repeat Binary ... " and she smirks a touch. She sits after making sure Vee-Four has moved out of the way, she sucks in between her teeth at the idea of a droid being someone's uncle but doesn't ask. She reaches into the rucksack at her back and gets out a curious local fruit and bends down to get a little knife from her boot and then sits and peels the fruit slowly and eats bits at a time off the side of the blade.
There comes a flash of warmth, but it is short lived. It would seem that Siika, as well, has a 'before' story, one she hasn't shared in some time. One she's not likely to share now. The flash of darkness prompts her to look down at the table, before the compliment sets in, at which point she lifts her eyes toward Trina with a subdued brightness that words would otherwise spoil.
"Thanks," she tells Trina, before looking toward Sarna with a curious expression.
"He's hiding something," she says, a momentary sobriety cutting through the haze like a hot knife through blue butter. Siika doesn't explain this, but she seems deeply convicted by the statement. Another conversation for another time, perhaps.
On'Tina's local fruit reminds Siika of just how hungry she is. Distracted, she takes a bite of her nerf burger, and brown eyes close momentarily as she savors the real meal.
"I'm Siika," she tells the newcomers, a smile in her eyes while words come muffled by the food in her mouth. "This is Sarna, and that magical piece of droid is Vee-Four." A pause and a swallow. "No one's uncle, at least not that we know of."
Siika's eyebrows waggle. Techie humor. You either get it, or you don't.
The very idea that Sarna has a droid uncle is too much for Trina to resist. She leans forward, reaches out a hand, and presses a cool finger against Sarna's arm. Flesh and blood. No sense of electrostatic resistance. Human, as far as Trina's senses can tell. As Trina leans back in her seat, her eye drops to the mostly empty glass of alcohol in front of Sarna. A more obvious explanation for the comment presents itself.
The presence of the knife elicits another sort of reaction from Trina. Rather than flinch, she freezes, her mechanical eye focused on the blade as the Twi'lek moves the dagger towards its target. It's not until it bites into the flesh that Trina resumes a more natural posture.
Introductions. She'd missed the previous round. It would be too awkward to let another set of name exchanges pass her by.
"Trina," she says with another wan smile. Just Trina. "The Festival has been quite something, hasn't it? I only just arrived a few hours ago and it seems like everyone on the planet is parading around in party sheets."
On'Tina ponders and says, "Who is ... 'he'? Overly opinionated man with questionable fashion taste and unable to properly talk to girls ... you might need to whittle that down ... that describes half the Regency ... " she snorts at that and continues to work through her fruit. She pauses as she sees Trina react and she seems to hold her breath for the moment the other woman focuses on her but then her shoulders relax. "On'Tina ... " offering her own name.
If a droid could blush vocally, then Vee-Four is doing it. He makes an electronic ahhhhh-ing sound and practically rubs up against Siika's leg out of appreciation. Sarna continues to take bites out of her burger, but somehow becomes aware after a moment that her comment was not exactly met with understanding. She watches the Twi'lek deftly carve up the fruit, chuckling lowly. "Welcome to the party, On'Tina," she says, lifting her voice so she can be heard over the din.
Siika's offhand comment catches her offguard, however, and she dabs at her mouth with a napkin. "He... who... what?" she asks Siika, tilting her head to the side as her new friend's conviction blazes across her awareness. Feeling her touch, Sarna glances at the hand on her arm, then gives Trina a puzzled look. Her speech is slightly slurred, but she's coherent enough, and smiles crookedly around the table. "No, Vee-Four obviously is not my uncle. But my uncle wasn't always a droid, either." As if that cryptic statement made any sense, she sucks on the straw of her Pink Nebula until it makes an obnoxious sound indicating she has finished her first alcoholic beverage. "The festival seems great. I'm hoping there's going to be some musical performances. Have you ever seen an actual concert before? It must be amazing..."
"Party sheets," Siika agrees, and gestures with a stim-wielding hand toward Trina in whole-hearted agreement. "Might even spend some of my hard earned pay on some." A knowing grin follows this statement.
Mention of the Regency chills Siika's grin into a flat line across her face. She looks from On'Tina toward Sarna, then down toward her unfinished drink. A long drag of her stim-stick is drawn, a brief smile given toward the cooing droid that is rubbing up against her leg. Odds are, the hidden cybernetic exoskeleton can be felt beneath her trousers, suggesting a sort of kinship with the synthetic that Vee-Four can recognize.
Still, her cryptic response deserves some sort of answer. The stim-stick glimmers with white, crystalline nature as it's drawn, a thin black plume of smoke coming from Siika's nose as she exhales the mild narcotic. Then, she turns her attention upon Sarna, considering for a moment just how to answer her query.
"My condition can't be healed," she tells Sarna. "Either he's lying, or his people are withholding something from the galaxy." Intoxicated as she may be, the very confession seems to sober her beyond her comfort zone. Naturally, she reaches for her drink and downs the rest of it as if it were a shot.
Trina raises her arm and turns her wrist, her human eye finding a patch of mirrored chrome on the back of her hand. The reflective surface takes on the color of the flesh of her face. She stares for a moment at her reflection while behind her eyes, Sarna's choice of words repeats in her mind: wasn't always a droid.
She lowers her hand and rests it on the surface of the table. She still has no drink or food of her own, but it was the company she hungered more than physical sustenance. Trina takes a moment to look at each of her temporary companions at the table while she thinks of an answer to Sarna's question.
The answer is at the tip of her tongue. She could talk about how the upper leagues would have huge half-time shows. Very much like concerts. Then there were the bands that might play in the lower leagues, but they didn't have any fancy lights or pyrotechnics.
She opens her mouth to say all this, but it dies on her tongue with Siika's words.
"Healed?" she asks. She looks back to On'Tina, imagining the knife in her hand as some kind of scalpel. "Do you know what she's talking about?"
On'Tina wipes off her knife on her pant leg near her knee and then slides it back into the side of her boot and says, "Nope ... " and she looks over the three other women, "But ... I also don't ask questions I don't want the answers to ... especially when I'm not being paid to ask them. And I've overheard just enough to know there's a bunch of 'above my paygrade of zero' floating around this table." She sniffs in and shifts her weight in her chair.
Leaning toward Siika, the young erstwhile Jedi blinks a few times in an effort to clear her vision, and Sarna reaches out to grasp the other girl's hand. "Perhaps," Sarna says quietly, close to Siika's ear, "or perhaps science and medicine do not have a cure for your condition. But through the Force... it could be a different story."
She rolls her shoulders at On'Tina dismissive tone, and sits back. "But I wouldn't trust -him- to do the healing. Besides, there's nothing wrong with needing technological supplementation. It doesn't take away who you -are-, hmmm?" With a meaningful nod to Trina, she gestures with one hand. "I'm sure that you would agree. Whatever this... Regency says."
Eyebrows rise at Sarna's quiet words, though the fragment of hope is tainted by a touch of loathing. Siika's eyes turn downward, before drifting toward Trina. "We are what we are," she says, then forms a smile. "And we are //beautiful//."
Sitting upright, Siika defiantly takes another drag from her stim-stick, and now turns her attention upon On'Tina. "Above //all// our paygrades," she agrees. "I say, we forget all of that, and we talk about..." A pause, her eyelids lilting. "... we talk about, festivals, and festive festivities."
The drawl becomes evident, as it becomes clear to all at the table... Siika Gast is apparently a lightweight.
The Regency. Whatever else they might have talked about, Trina knew what it meant The Regency became part of the conversation in these parts: it was time to say goodbye. Like the nerf burgers Sarna and Siika enjoyed, the companionship and conversation served as a satisfying meal, messy in all the right ways, and satisfying. But any meal can be spoiled when it gets cold, and The Regency could be like ice.
With the Twi'lek on one side and Sarna and Siika on the other, Trina has no obvious path of escape.
"Beautiful," Trina repeats. Then, dispensing with any notion of propriety or self-respect, she plummets beneath the table, twists between the table legs and occupant legs, shimmies past Vee-four, then pops back to her feet. None of the maneuver is particularly graceful or attractive. But it is expedient.
"Thank you all for the conversation. Until we meet again..." She trails off as she backs her through the crowd towards the door.
On'Tina looks down at her hand a moment and rubs it on her knee, "Well ... I know there's traders coming in from here there and everywhere ... worked my way through the pure joy of bureacracy signing up with the locals to translate. What all they are bringing in, not sure yet but ... someone before mentioned good eating so ... there's always that to look forward to ... " but then she's looking down as Trina crawls past her legs and she looks down murmuring something in surprised Ryl and then adds more quietly, "Another time ... "
Sarna takes interest in On'Tina's summation of what to expect in the coming days. She cups her chin in her hand and drags the pad of her thumb across her lips, inhaling some of the smoke that drifts over from the stimstick. "Oh, you're a translator, then. Hey, I'm always in favor of good eating."
She gives a start as Trina finds it necessary to escape in a rather hurried and unexpected manner. Frowning, she glances at Siika, color rising into her rounded cheeks. "Was it something I said?" she says in a rare moment of self-consciousness. Perhaps conversation topics around here are more sensitive than she might have imagined. "I should probably get going, too, I think."
Vee-Four makes a sound of protest, but Sarna shakes a finger at him and he quiets down. "I hope everyone enjoys the festival. Look me up?" She starts to scoot across the bench and chuckles apologetically at Siika.
On'Tina stands up as it seems the party is breaking up and she scoots out of her seat. She clears her throat tilts her head to one side, left lekku flicking upwards in a 'goodbye' gesture and waves one hand then she puts her hands back into her pocket and wanders off somewhere, looking deep in thought about something or another.