The players: Siika, Sarna, Delphine, Karinye, Lincoln, Malideus (cameo by Nazshassi!)
The Plaza -- Tier City: Valentine's World
The sheer, vertical face of a great mountain soars from the gently rolling, golden plains, overlooking the city of Tier nestled into the valley below. Its towers, marked by graceful curves and elegant architecture, are the same hue as the pale rock of the steep slopes that gleam in the sunlight, seeming to have been carved straight from the face of the mountain itself, and are capped by colorful domes that in turn mirror the azure of the sky. Through a grand archway carved of shining white stone lies a broad plaza limned on one side by a languidly drifting river fed by cascading waterfalls and glittering rivulets that follow the sharp drops in terrain from the mountain's crest. Organic designs and patterns are carved decoratively into the walls of most of the buildings, and in the plaza itself are larger-than-life statues of lithe figures in elegant and supple poses. On a typical day the plaza is busy with pedestrians, droids, and speeders that whizz past the passersby.
<N>orth leads to Ward Bazaar -- Tier City: Valentine's World.
<W>est leads to Faire Trade Plains -- Tier City: Valentine's World.
From the direction of the Bazaar walks a young woman, carrying with her a sense of smug disdain. Her body language suggests mild agitation, but with it is a confidence in the way she carries her shoulders, and the way she's talking into a small comlink in hand.
"Yes, yes. I am well aware that I am being swindled."
The voice on the other end is the chirping and warbling of a droid, buzzing and beeping in lame monotones.
"Well of course I expect it. I expect it half the time. Well, fifty seven percent of the time, averaged out over my chosen preference of worlds to work on. It would be much lower-"
//WARBLE! Bleep buzz beepity beep buzz//
Siika giggles and snorts, stopping in her tracks. Her eyes glance around, before she ducks her head low as if she's trying to hide her next words. "Well, he's gonna be awfully surprised when I don't deliver the code that prevents his nice little nav-droid from short circuiting and frying all of its critical parts."
"Oh, hush. Collateral damage. I have a reputation to upkeep!"
Yes. The strange young woman... is having an argument with a droid.
Another young girl is leaving the Bazaar, both hands cradling something wrapped in paper that looks like it must be a dessert of some type, judging by the expression on her face when she takes a bite. It's the expression of someone who's been relegated to eating barely anything but genetically-modified protein supplements for perhaps years on end. "Oh my gods, Vee, what is this?" she says around a mouthful, her gaze dropping to a small droid who mobilizes upon a singular wheel alongside her. "No wonder no one told me what I was missing."
Vee-Four beeps and whistles something simulating laughter as he winds a figure eight around the girl's feet. "Hey, don't trip me! You'll make me drop it!" she accuses, cradling her snack carefully and balancing on one foot to avoid colliding with another pedestrian. As she licks the sugar off her lips, she looks up to see this other woman arguing into her comlink with what sounds like a quite agitated droid. "Whoops, watch out for my silly friend there. He is good at getting at underfoot!" she warns.
"Hmmm." A young blonde woman, early twenties, slender with expressive features, stands in place in the center of the plaza. For a few moments Delphine Aurelia lets the breeze blow her long locks making them swirl around her slender shoulders in an ethereal manner. She inhales deeply then is on the move again. Whistling a tune in a minor chord, she wanders over to an empty bench and sets herself down. This was her routine. Wander and sense. Crisscrossing her legs she lets her hands relax at her sides and closes her eyes. With her senses she reaches out searching for something rare yet distinguishing. Something is here but just out of reach or somehow shielded from the acolyte. Her eyes open again and land on the younger woman with the very busy droid. She cocks her head to one side and watches from her distant seat. Then her comlink goes off.
"Yes Proctor?" she speaks into her hand, eyes still fixed on the girl. "Yes...something is here. I'm still honing in on it." A pause as she listens to a muffled voice. "You know this isn't an exact science?" Another pause and she nods even though the person she's speaking with can't see her. "Right, no problem. I'll check in again soon, I promise."
The droid on the other end of Siika's comlink is protesting vehemently, but Siika has already found her attention pulled away. There are many droids buzzing around this place, but she can always pick out the ones with attitude. Her eyes creep up from her sneaky posture, and when the sunlight catches them for a moment, there is a flash of something false, something mechanical, buried within the deep black of her pupils. Easily missed by those who aren't so perceptive.
It isn't until the droid is gendered that she visibly brightens, and turns around fully to face the odd pair. "Oh he'd make quite a dancer!" she exclaims, and crouches down upon her feet, putting herself closer to Vee-Four's eye level. "Come on!" she beckons, waving her free hand with a welcoming gesture. "Come on over, I don't bite!"
The comlink squawks, and Siika agitatedly looks at it. "Oh, hush, C-Q. You know I never gender the droids I'm working on. Except for you. You're special." She clicks the comlink off and stuffs it away into her tunic, looking at this one-wheeled droid with a hopeful expression.
"Ha!" the dark-haired teen arches her brows and rocks back on her heels, clearly amused by the newcomer's reaction to Vee-Four, who cranes his cone-shaped head on a mechanical neck to get a better look at his would-be dance partner. "You think you can teach him to dance, be my guest!" Sarna takes another bite of her dessert and crumbs of pastry fall onto her pristine white tunic. If she'd noticed anything off about the woman's appearance, she makes no indication of it. "Go on, Vee! Show her your moves!"
The blue and red, one wheeled-droid rolls eagerly toward Siika once he's given full permission, something approximating a melody emitting from his vocoders, and rotating in place once he finally comes to a stop in front of Siika. Meanwhile, something teases at the edge of Sarna's perception, a tickle she can't ignore, and she looks casually around the Plaza, calm but on the alert.
Tucking away her communicator into a pocket, Delphine breathes in then out again and once again closes her eyes. There. She narrows the source down to six meter radius around where the girl and droid are engaged. She couches her presence in a comforting, golden light sending warmth and assurance out across the plaza. There again. She lets her senses swirl around gently until suddenly a couple of Aqualish arguing with a Gand interupts her concentration.
"Borgo! I swear I don't have it!" the Gand says to the two other aliens. Grunts and squeals meet the Gand's statement and soon the two tusky beings and shoving the Gand until his back is against a public 'fresher wall and one of them punches the Gand in the stomach.
Delphine frowns at the interruption. The blonde woman uncrosses her legs and stands, staring down the thugs and their victim. Annoyed but determined, Delphine begins moving in their direction.
Pure laughter spills forth, Siika's eyes dancing with glee. "That's some A-class programming there, Vee-Four." She winks at the droid playfully, then lifts a slender hand to touch the front of her neck. Her eyes briefly look toward Vee-Four's owner, waiting until the young woman is distracted. Then she looks back to Vee, and opens her mouth.
Something droid-ish comes out. Not Basic and not quite her own voice, but remarkably similar, if not synthetic. The brief phrase is a compliment of course, and hopefully before anyone else can notice, she drops her hand and reaches out to pet the droid's cone-head. "I'm certain it would be you, stepping on //my// toes," she says, before rising to her feet. It takes a moment for her attention to be pulled away and back to the little droid's owner.
"Forgive me. I, uh." She lifts a hand to toy with one of her braids. "I work in droids, and-" Still unable to finish a sentence, her attention is drawn by the altercation, like so many others, and her body language suddenly tenses. "Oh my."
Vee-Four twitters with enthusiasm as his programming is complimented, and he spins a circle around Siika's legs. But when both humans are distracted away from his attentions, Vee wheeps lowly and cocks his cone-shaped head as if listening attentively.
The Nahrahm are an easygoing people, yes, but they know when it's necessary to keep the peace, and they can defend it with vigor. As the altercation between the Gand and the two Aqualish intensifies, the crowd parts in the distance to allow the passing of the local patrol on hover bikes who've already been alerted. Sarna's attention is diverted to the scene, as well, and she misses the secret conversation in Droid speak between Vee-Four and Siika. She mutters something under her breath, then glances over at them and smiles. "I work with droids, too! Well, not like, as a job, but for fun. They're great, aren't they?" She clears her throat and nods toward the ongoing incident. "It's always something, isn't it? Hang on a sec." With a confidence unusual for one her age, she starts off in that direction at a brisk pace, slowing only when she realizes that another young blond woman is going to get there first.
Delphine is to the thugs in moments as she sprints across the square to them. But she doesn't get there before the other Aqualish thunks the gand on the top of his head with a small club. The Gand crumples to the pavement, sliding down the wall into a seated position. The thugs begin rifling through the Gand's pockets.
"Ahem!" Delphine clears her throat to make her presence known. "Knock it off." She's truly more annoyed by the interruption to a lovely, calm afternoon than by their thievery. She grabs each one's collar and, seemingly impossible for such a slender young woman, bangs their heads together. It doesn't knock them out but it is enough to send them scrambling. Delphine watches them go.
"That's right! You better run!" Just then the local mounted constabulary arrive to the 'fresher building and she points after the two fleeing thugs. "That way, officers! I'll take care of this poor guy. He's gonna be okay..." she promises as the peacekeepers leave in pursuit of the two trounced Aqualish. "Aren't ya, buddy..." she says lowering down into a squat and placing a hand on his forehead. Her eyes close and she works on bringing the Gand back to consciousness.
"Nonono," Siika urges Vee-Four. "Stay here, where it's safe! You don't want to get fried by some stray blaster bolt or whatever." She hasn't had time to say much when, with wide eyes, she watches this unfamiliar woman make //quick// work of the bullying thugs. A grimace is given as one of the thugs runs right by her, arms folded up against her frame as if their mere presence might shatter her skeleton.
It takes a moment to realize that her eyes are squeezed shut, her knuckles white beneath the skin-suit. When she does, her frozen demeanor uncurls and she sighs in a frustrated manner. For another hesitating moment, Siika chews on her lip, before scowling and making for the poor crumpled Gand at a brisk run.
"Hey, I dunno what you're doing, but, I'm a doctor." Flipping a satchel from over her shoulder, she draws into the space, giving Delphine a weird look. "Okay, not, like, a //doctor// doctor, but, I know things." She eyeballs the hand pressed against a forehead. "That is //not// how to take a Gand's pulse," she argues.
Sarna stops in her tracks to watch as Delphine deals swiftly with the situation, perhaps disappointed that her help was not needed after all. A small crowd gathers around the hurt Gand, murmurs and offers of help heard in the sudden din. Sarna situates herself between the two women trying to stabilize the poor fellow and holds out her hands. "Please folks, give him some room. It'll be all right," she assures the crowd. Then, looking back over her shoulder, she catches part of the conversation between Delphine and Siika and arches a brow dubiously. "He will, right?"
Delphine's hand slides from the Gand's forehead as the bystander addresses her and her ministrations. Blue eyes look up at the strangely attired brunette with the braids and she speaks wryly. "Temperature? He got a smack on the head, not a plague bite. You know things, huh?" As the young girl arrives, Delphine addresses both her fellow samaritans. "He's gonna be fine," she says rising to her feet as the Gand begins to stir. "See...he's coming out of it."
"Whu-what...who...?" The Gand's eyes are open and he's trying to rise.
"Relax buddy. Those two thugs tried to get the drop on you. But they got legal trouble now," Delphine chuckles helping him to his feet.
The victim suddenly pats down the quilted vest he wears. "Oh thank the stars! It's still safe!" He looks nervously around at the gathered crowd, shaking a bit from his ordeal.
Delphine meanwhile looks at the other two women. "Thanks though, for running to help."
".... Huh." Siika looks from the Gand to Delphine, then to Sarna, perhaps a little perplexed. "No, //pulse//, not... not temp..." She shakes her head and takes a single step backward, reaching up to run at the little spot where her cybernetic halo meets braided hair. Awkwardly once more.
"Hey," she addresses the insectoid man with an upnod. "Check your respirator. Make sure nothing's loose. You don't wanna go all septic, breathing in too much O2, you get me?" She smiles awkwardly at the other women, before side-eyeing the Gand. "They were after something, huh?"
Chuckling at their interaction, Sarna relaxes and takes the last bite of her dessert before crumpling the wrapping and tossing it neatly into the mini-waste compressor by the 'fresher. "Crisis averted it seems," she says in a light voice. Something about the blond woman is itching at her awareness, slowly clicking into place, and she holds Delphine's gaze for just a moment, befpre Siika's close attention to the Gand's well-being gives her pause, and sensing her awkwardness, she gives the young woman a broad smile of appreciation. "Good points, indeed." She turns to the Gand. "I'm glad you and your valuables are safe. Do you have any idea who those thugs were?" she asks him.
Vee-Four, careful to stay out of the way up until now, whines a sad sound as he comes up to his human companion, and Sarna crouches down to pat him on the head. "Yes, your dancing was beautiful, Vee. I saw!"
As the Gand seems to not be dead, the crowd begins to drift away back to what ever business or leisure brought them to the plaza. Realizing she was a bit flippant and smart mouthed with the 'doctor', Delphine's expression softens. "Sorry...yeah...good point there fella. The Gand takes a moment to check his rebreather and nods then hears to inquiries about the nasty business everyone just witnessed.
"My heart," the alien says cryptically but pulls out a necklace on a golden chain with a silvery medallion laser engraved with the image of another Gand. "A days loot for them. Priceless for me," he says, dropping his head to stare at and caress the image in his hand. "But I do not know them, no. They saw me looking at it on the shuttle here."
Delphine meanwhile meets Sarna's gaze and something clicks for her as well. "Hello there," she says with a warm smile and glance down at the girl's attire. "I'm Delphine. That's quite the droid you have there," she remarks before smiling at Siika in turn.
The trinket brings a warmth to Siika's expression, and she smiles back at the Gand. "Well, at least they didn't get it," she agrees, before drawing her arms up against her frame once more, as if it were cold here. Eyes glance around with a touch of anxiety. "Even in a place so beautiful," she mutters to herself. "Maybe I //do// need a blaster."
Drawn back to the present, she suddenly seems to bear the full brunt of her presumed social awkwardness. "Oh. Yeah, names. Names are a thing. I'm Siika, Siika Gast." The name itself is drawn as if both vowels require identical beat and rhythm, though they carry no break in formation, for there is no apostrophe. "Traveling tech. Though I just might stay put awhile, if I can float the docking fees." She grins awkwardly, then gestures around. "This place is like a smorgasbord of broken poodoo in need of a good hydrospanning." A smirk is cast to Sarna's droid. "Present company excepted."
"Ah, if they were on the shuttle register, I'm sure they'll get tracked down," Sarna says kindly as she raises back up to her feet, eyeing the medallion dangling from the Gand's grip. "A token of remembrance is no small thing to lose," she murmurs. When the two women introduce themselves, she returns the smile to each in turn. "I'm Sarna Valios Starker. It's nice to meet you both. My talented droid is Vee-Four. We're both..." She shrugs one shoulder, for the first time a hint of awkwardness showing through her bravado. "...rather new here." She squints one eye curiously at Delphine, and asks her, "Are you a bounty hunter, too?"
"I thank you all," the Gand intones with a small bow. While many of his kind were hunters, this Gand was certainly the less dangerous of his species. "I think I will take care of my business here then return to the shuttle. Good day." With another small bow of his large head, the Gand slips off into the foot traffic.
Delphine's expression brightens as Siika akwardly introduces herself. "The local law is pretty on top of it here. Not like we're on Orum's Bastion or something," she says referring to the infamous space station orbiting Orum. "Just some petty crime. Despite how the locals would like to believe it doesn't exist."
"Bounty hunter?!" Delphine replies with an amused expression. "Not yet...though I suppose I might be assigned a job like that. I'm an Acolyte from the Enclave," she says as if the others might know exactly what that means. "Are -you- a bounty hunter, Sarna Valios Starker?" she asks, folding her arms casually.
A Zabrak woman - orange skin, delicate horns, not-so-delicate build - makes her way into the Plaza. It's all going too well until a speeder gets too close, resulting in the waving of a fist and the shouting of expletives. The last few words echo a little further than the rest, Karinye's contralto shout ending in, "...Of a Bantha herder!"
It is with a certain fondness that Siika watches the Gand as he departs. "You know, I'm kinda glad it was just some family heirloom, and not a heinous article destined to create lots of chasing and fight-ey fight stuff." Her expression moves back toward Sarna and Delphine. "Bad fight-ey fight stuff."
Her expression changes again, welcoming back some of that awkward behavior. It starts with the look, and evolves as her gloved fingers start to fidget with each other. "Seriously?" she asks. "A bounty hunter?" There is a decimal of disbelief in her face. "Never met one that wasn't all -" Here, she makes a mean face and lowers her voice to a growl. "Arr Arr. Me shoot you. Can bring you in cold for credits! Hah hah hah!"
Her normal awkward demeanor comes back, and she suddenly seems to feel as if she's made a critical error. She eyes Sarna's blaster, and that other thing at her hip, then looks back to Sarna. "Because... it's... totally normal for some species to not have a full mastery of Basic. That's absolutely fine. No reason to poke fun."
More expletives! A grimace. She is //not// looking that way. Nope. Not gonna. Not today.
Walking into the midst of the plaza is a tallish human, speaking into his comlink as he goes letting the hints of a smile touch the corners of his lips. "Well if they don't have contraband then you let them go. Doesn't matter if you suspect it, no evidence, no crime." The voice on the other side of the comlink sounds frustrated but is lost into a disconnect blip.
Lifting his eyes up, Lincoln takes the moment to put the comlink away and survey the plaza about, taking a moment to note some faces before starting to continue his way through a bit more, side stepping a speeder that slips past. Polite nods are given towards individuals as the man makes his way through and angles his path towards faces he is not quite familiar with that caught his attention.
Everyone's reaction to her question makes Sarna narrow her eyes and hide her frustration by putting her hands on her hips and straightening her posture to her full, if average, height. "Well, in my defense, I've only ever met one bounty hunter. And he was the only other person I've met around here who..." She hesitates as she locks eyes with Delphine for a moment, then takes a step closer to her. "Who was able to use the Force." She tips her head to one side and eyes Delphine meaningfully, then turns as she senses Siika's sudden discomfort, and her attempt at humor makes her start to giggle. "I'm not a bounty hunter, don't worry. Though he did try to recruit me!" The commotion of a near hit-and-run makes everyone glance over at the Zabrak shaking her fist at the escaping speeder. Well, everyone but Siika.
Karinye eyes the direction the speeder sped off in, then shakes her head with a grumble and moves onwards through the plaza, apparently oblivious to the commotion she's caused among bystanders. Spotting Lincoln she lifts a hand in greeting, her steps turning in that direction.
"Yes, it was less of a thing that way before," Delphine agrees with the cyber-frame enhanced Siika. "Fighty-fights in public are not my favorite thing. Too much paperwork involved," she grins before returning Sarna's pointed gaze. Tilting her head in turn, the blonde woman raises a brow. "Very good.." she says with an approving nod. The teenager was the subject of interest from Delphine's earlier scans of the plaza. Then the near traffic accident occurs and she turns towards the action. "Well...so much for a quiet afternoon in the plaza!"
From an alley, legs flow and touch and stride over uneven surfaces, reflective eyes take in the scene. Its long neck drifts down and the head shifts side to side to take in the occupants. Nazshassi rises up a bit more as it enters more openly into the plaza, eight legs picking their way smoothly along as the alien eyes the plaza a second time.
With the near crashing and expletive throwing about, Lincoln grimaces under the brim of his hat and tilts his head up towards Karinye noting her approach. "Afternoon Gladiator," he greets politely while tilt his head in the direction of the departing speeder, "Looks like some terrible drivers have come to town, lot of other folks as well. The price of an up and coming town, hmm? The quiet of the world gets disrupted." He continues to walk forward towards some of the others that have drawn his attention, the new folks. "What's the word you hear these days Gladiator?"
Visibly relaxing, Siika once again smiles in the confidence that she hasn't inadvertently insulted a potentially new client- er, uh, friend. "Well, I guess not //all// bounty hunters are raw-meat-eating plasma-heads."
Now, she doesn't exactly make any remarks about what Delphine and Sarna are talking about, but there does come an expression of knowledge, the kind of look one gives when they have more than a basic clue what the two are talking about. Regardless, she begrudgingly turns to look at the near miss, possibly the last person in the plaza to do so. "Yeah, I don't really like fights in general," she offers. Then again, she's like, the only one here who //isn't// strapped.
Her attention seems to be captured momentarily by Lincoln (the law man?) and the mouthy Zabrak. For a woman who doesn't hide much from her face, the gears are clearly spinning.
"News? Not much." Karinye falls into step with Lincoln on the way over to the new arrivals, the Zabrak almost as tall as the tall human. "More people, definitely - means more business for me, though, and better prizes in the arena. So even with bad drivers, it's only looking up. Run across anything interesting you need a hand with, Marshal?"
"She's right, it's best to avoid a fight if possible. But also best to be prepared, just in case." Sarna makes her pronouncement, offering that bit of wisdom to her new nervous acquaintance. Her approval of Delphine's methods clear when she smiles at her. The look the blond woman is giving her is curious, and a thousand questions leap to mind that she realizes are not appropriately asked here. The desire to ask them is conveyed, though, through a little tremor she sends through the Force, before she turns to eye the marshal and the Zabrak who are approaching.
Vee-Four dutifully wheels up from behind his master and his red eye blinks on and off before emitting a holo-recording of the recent events between the Aqualish thugs and their helpless Gand victim, including Delphine's deft handling of the situation. The little droid knows a crime scene and a law officer when he sees one.
Delphine's expression warms towards Sarna and she smiles broadly, sending her own assurance that a conversation at a more appropriate venue is something she desires as well. "Well, I think we've had quite a good outcome with all that today at least..." Then as she's watching the post-speeder incident her blue eyes widen. "Wait...isn't that. It is. It's her!" Delphine nearly whispers as if the world will see her excitement as she rarely displays it like this. "su'Tanarae the Mech fighter! She's amazing!"
Lincoln looks sideways at Karinye, the smile on his lips fighting to remain concealed. "I didn't know work had become that scarce you were looking for legitimate work. Hells, even I don't look for legitimate work." That part is said with a grin but further comment is cut off as he is suddenly confronted with a droid that begins relaying the events that happened earlier. Through the display the man remains quiet before he nods his head, pulling the hat off of it momentarily to wipe his brow and sigh outwardly.
"I appreciate the information, was actually one of the reasons I'd been coming down Plaza way. Rumors of public disruptions been increasing." He motions to the droid then towards Sarna, "This roller yours?"
Being prepared for a fight? It would seem that Siika does know when to keep her mouth shut. For Sarna, however, there is an expression that forms, one of awareness and knowing; perhaps, even, conspiracy.
While Delphine is more immediately drawn to the mech fighter, Siika is more drawn to Vee-Four. Her head tilts and she blinks her eyes in a absolute adoration. "Oh. My. Stars and //nebulae//." A hand reaches out to briefly clench Sarna's forearm. "He is //adorable//. Look at him!" Her head tilts toward the droid and she admonishes him. "Vee-Four, there isn't a single algorithm I would improve. You are mathematically //splendid// in every way!"
Her eyes briefly touch on Delphine. "If droids could blush. Mech fighter?"
Triggered, perhaps, she turns to look at the Zabrak curiously. "I've heard if it. Never //seen// it. It's on the list, let me tell you." Her interest remains piqued upon Karinye and Lincoln, though she hasn't yet addressed them beyond her apparent ogling.
Karinye nods politely to the group when Lincoln gets accosted by a friendly droid. She smiles at Delphine's expression, then turns that smile on Siika. "It's fun. Well, I think it's fun, anyway. A great way to liven up a dull evening, and that's for sure - and a great way to earn a few credits and a few minutes of fame, too."
Looking relieved, Sarna starts to say something to Delphine when the blond spots an apparent actual celebrity. She blinks in surprise at Delphine's excitement, and looks around trying to ascertain who is the famous person. "Wait, what's a mech fighter?" she asks, more to herself than anyone else, and scratches her head. Karinye's acknowledgment solves that puzzle, and she studies her for a moment with interest.
Vee-Four's eagerness to please is a bit embarrassing -- and so is Siika's reaction to him, but she has to laugh at the attention he's getting. Vee-Four flips off his holoplayer and makes a sound not unlike a purr as Siika dotes on him, but Sarna turns to the marshal. "Yes, sir," she says forthrightly. "He's my droid. Vee-Four. We were here when the altercation occurred a few moments ago."
Delphine's fanaticism for the regional sport circuit is clear and she just grins at Karinye. As an aside to Sarna she says, "Big...mechs like 'lifters that can punch each other and stuff. The Gladiators drive the Mechs." When the business turns to the incident with the Aqualish thugs and the Gand, Delphine quells her excitement and clears her throat, addressing the lawman professionally. "Marshall," she address Lincoln presumptively. "I'm Delphine Aurelia of the Enclave. I was the first to see the altercation and render aid to the victim."
Lincoln nods his head at Sarna's confirmation, directing his look to Vee-Four, "Well you're certainly a helpful investigator. I may need to look into finding you some extra work on the planet here with the upcoming festivals happening." He pats his pocket momentarily as if looking for something then brings his gaze back to Sarna, "Appreciate the help. I'll have a couple deputies keep their eyes out for gang movements. Unfortunate truth is with folks coming in and out of the planet of late it's harder than ever to track movements and keep up with people."
At Delphine's introduction, Lincoln looks to her and nods politely, "Lady Aurelia... that name is familiar for some reason, can't place it though..." he shakes his head to get the clouds around it free. "I appreciate you stepping in to provide aid, good deeds don't get noted often enough. I mark it fortunate nothing escelated further for everyone here's own safety."
"Dangerous," Siika adds to Delphine's explanation of the sport, "but, kinda less so, since you've got, like..." She uses her hands to emulate a mech fighting suit around her body.
"Couple of good for nothing womp-rats," she helpfully (not really) informs the constable. "Lucky for the Gand they didn't knock his rebreather loose."
A small giggle is given at Vee-Four's digital purring, before she slides her attention toward Karinye. "You know what would really take mech-fighting to the next level?" she asks. During the pause, a glimmer flashes through her dark eyes that borders on sinister. "Cybernetics."
She nearly whispers the word, as if it were something she wasn't allowed to speak of in school.
Karinye's smile turns into a grin as mech-fighting is explained. "It's a different sort of danger," she says. "Not quite as visceral as a fist-fight, but there's a lot more can go wrong, too. And when I'm not fighting in the arena, I'm doing other stuff around and about." And then a smile for Siika. "There are /some/ rules," she says. "But I'm not sure I've ever taken on someone with cybernetics who was actually any good at it."
The description of the apparently popular sport makes the teen-aged girl arch her brows. Sarna makes a soft sound and glances at Siika in agreement. "It does sound dangerous." She listens to the suggestion given to the mech jockey, and the change in tone of the young woman's voice, and a sliver of worry makes her frown for a moment.
However, Sarna visibly brightens as the marshal mentions finding her work. "That would be great. I'm getting a bit low on funds." She looks around at the crowd -- mostly composed of the local Nahrahm population, but there is certainly a larger number of offworlders now obvious amongst them. "I guess people start arriving for the festival early," she considers. "No one was harmed, though, that's the important thing."
"Well, I wouldn't say that exactly," Delphine counters, recalling the Gand being clubbed to unconsciousness and Delphine's own brief roughing up of the Aqualish before the fled the constabulary speeders that pursued them out of the plaza. "Glad to assist, Marshall," she replies to the lawman.
Lincoln nods a bit, "I'll keep it in mind, regarding the work that is. Quite a few people of late have been looking for some odds and ends. Truth is I got more people looking for work than I really have the credits to support but that's the times too." A tilt of his head towards Karinye happens then, "Karinye here has done some work for us in the past, usually if there's some more bashing of heads needing to happen but the extra hands never hurt in that regard." Looking Delphine over, he nods, "Well, the reputation I have heard makes it reasonable. And what of you miss?" He asks towards Sarna, "Just passing through for the festival?"
"That's because most cyber-tech is pretty horrible," Siika admits, perhaps with a touch of disappointment. "I mean, beyond the basic stuff, like, hands, eyes, and..." Here, she blushes and fiddles with her braids again. "... other... body... parts."
Cleverly altering course, her face brightens. "But that doesn't mean it isn't //impossible//. Usually people are just looking at the wrong parts of the science."
Hearing that work is low causes a slightly crestfallen expression to come over the visitor's face. "Is that, //all// work, constable?" she inquires. "I'm good with droids. I mean, that's what I do. Droids and computers. I figure, with the festival and all the visitors, there ought to be some work. But if not, no offense, but the docking fees..." She smirks in a joking way.
There's a beep from Karinye's comlink, and she grimaces. "'Scuse me," she says. "Nice meeting you all, folks." There's a last nod for Lincoln, and a, "Marshal," and then she's moving away. Odd snippets of conversation drift back. "How much? For that? What does he think I am, Rhodian? Tell him to take his offer and shove it..." And that's where people get between Karinye and the group, and no more can be heard.
From the West, where trees and the beaches other more natural attractions can be found near the city, a man dressed entirely in black leather approaches. He has the bearing and mien of a human, though it is difficult to say given the hood and mask that cover his features in spite of the warmth of the day. He carries a wooden walking stick, though to say he walks with a cane would be dishonest. As he moves into the festive area, contrasting with the bright colors of the local festive goers, he taps the ground with his stick from time to time, as if testing it.
Though there are many groups of people clustered and talking, enjoying the community and the benefits of the event, the man in black stops a short distance from one group and stares. There are others with the girl. A lawman. A cyborg, perhaps. Maybe a monk. But it's the teenager he watches from a distance, his hands clasped over the cane as if patiently waiting for the next dance.
Those comments get Sarna's attention, and she looks intrigued at the conversation between the cybernetic girl and the mech jockey. "You sound like you know what you're talking about," she notes to Siika as Karinye is distracted away from the group and wanders off into the crowd. The marshal's question takes her off guard, however, and she looks down at Vee-Four who bleats soulfully at her. "I'm what you might call... a refugee," she admits with a light laugh, as if she doesn't take the term too seriously. "I've arrived recently from a long way away. It's so beautiful here, I decided to stay for a while before I decide my next move." She glances at Delphine with a knowing smile. "I might have options opening up, if you're not able to find me work, Marshal."
There is a new arrival, however, to the plaza, and Sarna finds her gaze following the disturbance in the Force to see the leather-clad bounty hunter once more, standing unobtrusively at a distance. Unafraid, but uncertain of the reaction of those around her, she simply nods in his direction in acknowledgment and continues listening to the conversation.
Delphine also senses the unfamiliar presence and her gaze is drawn across the plaza. Her fair brow knits together and she shuts herself off quickly. Returning her attention to Sarna and the Marshal, she smiles softly. "I'm sure someone of your talents will easily find some honest work..." she says cryptically. "After all, between you two gals, the droids of Tier will all be in tip-top shape soon."
"When you spend a majority of your time in a place, you do stop appreciate it's elements I suppose," Lincoln observes towards Sarna before following the girl's eye path towards the figure on the perimeter. "A refugee you say? Well, plenty of things to be seeking refuge from out there. Lot of folks I speak to that come through Valentine looking for something similar." In the direction of Siika he adds, unknowing her name, "Ma'am, I can certainly ask around. We usually don't have a lot of work for technicians in our line but I do know there are a few who have taken to setting up shop around the landing areas particularly during the festival. Might be well worth the effort to make oneself available in that area?"
Normally, Siika would have something sarcastic and witty prepared in response to Sarna. The thing is, there's something about her and her Force-bearing friend. She looks toward the mech-fighter's departure with a touch of regret, before turning her eyes back toward Sarna.
With a slight tilt of her head, the young woman's voice drops. "What, you think I let someone //else// do this to me?" she asks, eyebrows rising upward in a conspiring manner.
Looking back toward Lincoln, she offers a friendly smile. "Siika Gast. I actually have a workshop aboard my ship, so, I can set up shop anywhere I land. Pretty handy, right? And if work dries up, long as I've got enough rations and fuel, I can go looking elsewhere." Here, her nose curls, however. "Starship rations, though. It's like... eating sandy bantha soaked in old frickleberry leaves. Apparently there's some good food to be found around here."
She spares Sarna the nudge, but certainly not the wink.
Her eyes finally bend over toward the figure in the distance, and her eyebrow arches. "I've got a bad feeling about this."
The nod from Sarna is all the invitation the man in black needs. He approaches at a ponderous pace, his red eyes sliding over the others near at hand. They linger a little longer on the woman with the blonde tresses and white white tunic. The man in black taps his cane twice on the ground before sliding his gaze to the marshall, then the woman with the droid-like bits infesting her flesh, a technological cancer borne bone deep. The cane strikes the ground once before the red eyes move back to Sarna and her ridiculous droid companion.
"A person can be judged by the company they keep," the man in black says, his voice a rasp. There is something odd about the way he forms his words, a subtle accent that softens the hard vowels.
With no sudden movements or glance at the possible weapons the group may bear, the man in black reaches into a jacket pocket and draws a small device. He holds it between two leather-clad fingers as though not wishing to touch it any more than he has to.
"Fifteen percent, Sarna Valios Starker."
Delphine watches the dark clad man's approach warily and moves into a position that would make defense of young Sarna easier. With a sideways glance to Siika, she confirms the lawman's suggestions. "Sounds like you'll be set up for business down on the beach. If I hear of anyone needing work done, I'll certainly send them your way." As the approaching man with his tapping cane lands nearby she raises a pale brow. Was that judgement in his voice directed towards her vocation she wonders, folding her arms before herself. When he offers Sarna the cred chip her mouth opens a bit in surprise and she remarks, "Well, that should tide you over. You want to introduce me to your friend?"
"Thank you, Marshal," Sarna remarks. "Valentine's World is a good place to find refuge. I actually came through the... the Hypergate. It's not terribly far from here."
She responds with a hearty laugh to Siika's comments, covering her mouth and doubling over. "Oh, you have no idea. I've had nothing but genetically-created protein supplements for... maybe the past two years?" she says with a grimace and a shudder. "I hope I never have to eat another one again. But my uncle keeps sending them to me -- so I don't... starve, I guess."
As Malideus draws near, she faces him squarely, one corner of her mouth turned up in a smile. "I'll take that as a compliment," Sarna says smoothly in response to his remark on her choice of company, almost haughty in defiance of his obvious disdain. She reaches out to take the device from him and then smiles, gripping it and sighing with relief. "Thank you for keeping your end of the bargain. Malideus Taliwood," she adds, sweeping her hand by way of introduction. "And as he said, my name is Sarna Valios Starker."
Delphine now has eyes for no one but the man in the faded black leather. "Delphine Aurelia," the Enclave Acolyte intones. "Pleased to make your acquaintance. Of course, you're a Hunter, then, Malideus...of the Wood is it?" she asks drawing on her limited knowledge of Telgossian naming conventions. She eyes the lawman wondering if he was aware of the other man's activities in Tier. "And you..." She swings her cerulean gaze over to Sarna once more. "...were fibbing just a bit aboout not being a bounty hunter." Delphine chuckles to herself. The teenager is certainly more than she expected to meet when she began her day on Valentine's World. The festival flags wave in a growing breeze signaling the approach of evening. "I was going to offer to buy you dinner but..." Delphine eyes Sarna's hand clutching her new wealth.
If the man in black notices Delphine's defensive posture, he does not express it. His eyes slide back to her as she speaks. Weighing. Assessing. Judging. His grip on his cane shifts ever so slightly. Two of his fingers slide behind the head of the cane, a knot of wood carved into the rough visage of a snarling wolf-hound. To the trained eye, a fencer's grip, if the walking implement weren't made of carved wood.
A subtle tension chills the air around Malideus momentarily. The bounty hunter glances at the lawman, red eyes once more assessing... but then Sarna's words land like water dousing a flame. They did make a bargain, of which the money was but one part.
"The money is not as much as the bounty promised," Malideus said, directing his words as a growl to Delphine as much as to Sarna. "If Sarna Valios Starker required assistance before, she will likely still need it now."
While Siika's nose curls at the thought of starship rations, it doesn't last long; for soon, like Delphine, she's eyeballing Sarna once again. "Bounty Hunter. Totally," she agrees, giving Delphine a brief nod. Her arms are curling around herself once more, trying very hard not to be further drawn into this conversation and thus being forced to introduce herself. There's a shiver in the air, she's quite sure of it; a frown touches her face, and she gently lifts the hem of a sleeve to reveal some kind of small computer panel, affixed to the exosketal metal that encases her wrist. With a free finger, she touches and swipes a few things, then curses quietly (and quite disgustingly) in an alien tongue.
"Oh, yes," she says, finding an entryway to warm up the conversation. "Dinner. And drinks! Hell, I'll even chip in. I got a guy who's gonna owe me a lot of money. More than he's bargained for, in about...." She checks the device again, and smirks wisely. "Five minutes."
"You." Malideus punctuates the single syllable by raising his cane to point it at Siika. It moves fast enough to create a whistle sound in the festive air. "Before you scurry off, I must know. Who did this to you, and do you seek vengeance upon them?"
Sarna is smiling crookedly, perhaps a bit smug, but certainly amused. "Now, now, I was briefly a bounty hunter's assistant. I don't know if that qualifies," she says, pressing her fingers to her chest and closing her eyes. "Though the fugitive -was- going to get away if I hadn't stopped him," she adds with a swagger.
But then Malideus's pronouncement about the bounty being less wipes away her smile. "Well, that's disappointing," she says, her green-and-gold-flecked gaze peering into the hunter's reddened eyes. "Luckily my new crew wants to buy me dinner, so I don't have to help with your newest hunt." She arches her brows as if inviting him to say he needs her help again, and then gapes at his cruel remarks to Siika. "Hey, you don't know her story, and it's none of your business, now, is it?"
Not that she's expecting to throw down with the Telgossian but in response to his adjusting the grip on his walking stick, she pulls her flowing cloak back at the waist just enough to reveal a shock baton attached to her belt, one above each of her slender hips. Her feet instinctively separate in preparation for a fighting stance and she meets the bounty hunter's red gaze with her own cool one. "There's a cantina not far from here in the Bazaar - the Tipsy Trader - I'll go ahead and get us a table..." she offers but then another thought comes to mind and she pulls a flimsi card from a pocket and offers it to Sarna. "Take this, just incase." The card has an emblem on one side and a comm address on the other but is also imbued with her own essence in the Force to assure her connection to the flimsi. "Your other new friends might distract you."
Lowering her arm and further concealing that little computer panel, Siika seems more than ready to rush off to enjoy the evening's festivities. Instead, she produces a small shriek, her arms rising up and flailing over her own face, as if expecting something to be thrown at it.
//YOU!!! We know what you did. Tell us how. NOW!!//
Its a dark memory, flashing coldly through her mind, screaming at her. When she lowers her arms, for a moment, she could almost swear that she could see them.
Like a caged animal, she stares at Malideus, but with each of Sarna's words, the stare becomes a glare. Her body straightens, and she folds her arms in defiance.
"I did," she declares. "I did it to //myself//, and last I checked, 'exacting vengeance' on yourself is out of style."
One could very much hear the quote marks of sarcasm in her tone.
"You know, there's something to be said for the lost art of subtlety," Lincoln remarks dryly, partially under his breath but manages to quickly clear his throat to stop himself from going further. "Ain't no laws or rules against bounty hunting, hence why it exists. Hell, I've taken a bounty once or twice myself as the need may come." He pauses then goes on, "That said, we certainly expect hunters to keep to their propers and not bring about collateral damage here on the planet."
The movements, flurries, subtle occurrences and Lincoln coughs gently as he looks at Delphine. A glance is thrown to Sarna, "Hypergate you say. Interesting that." The comment falls off and his eyes then go to Malideus, "From the same origin then?" Then the outburst comes from Siika and the Marshal turns his attention towards her. "Perhaps it would be best for everyone to take a breath, seek a drink or a quiet moment, yes?"
"None of you people seem to know to understand a basic wisdom," Malideus snarls. He glares at Sarna. "You draw upon the True Source, yet do not see how we are all connected?"
With the cane is still pointing at Siika as if to stab her with accusation, he turns his words back to her. "You, that have done this violation to your body. Do you not feel lessened by this act? Are you in such a hurry to return to the All-Mother that you would take the dirt and soil of the ground and put it under your skin and along your bones?"
Malideus's eyes slide to the lawman. "What law can there be when the laws of nature are so perverted. Yet here you stand. Being civil."
Finally, Malideus turns back to Sarna. "I promised you I would give you a choice, Sarna Valios Starker. A choice for you, so that I might choose as well. But the time for such hope is drawing to a close, I fear."
The teen-aged newcomer takes the flimiscard from Delphine and nods to her. "Got it," she whispers as she slips it safely into a pouch at her belt, and watches her hang back with a grim smile.
"Marshal, I think that is the best idea I've heard all day." She maintains her stance between Malideus and Siika, and is dismayed by the cybernetic woman's reaction to the Telgossian's cruel barbs. Vee-Four whirrs a path to his new admirer, a spate of staccato beeps and blats giving Malideus the droid's opinion of his antics. Sarna touches Siika's arm lightly, exuding an air of calm and assurance with her voice, and perhaps the Force. "Hey, it's okay. No one's gonna hurt you here. I promise you that," she says before shooting a withering glare at Malideus. "What choice are you talking about?"
It could be that tears would have welled up in her eyes, were it not for the implants that regulate such things. Siika is close to showing just how much venom she can spit, when the calming words of both the marshal and the teenager cause her to remain silent. At least for a moment.
She turns to look at Sarna, then back toward Malideus. A low breath comes through slightly parted lips, but when she speaks again, it is without the venom. "If you must know," she says quietly, "Without it, I'd already be there." Theres a part of her that wants to show him a foul gesture she learned on one of Telgar's moons; instead, she decides to throw him an upward nod. "What do you drink?"
Lincoln's hand drifts momentarily towards his side but he stops himself, instead resting it on his hip than dropping any lower. The man's gaze matches his tone as they drop to a more level one which carries a colder expression, "Natural Law is an undefined concept since in order for there to be any law there must be a lawgiver. Now, you may believe you know that, but as far as the written laws of this world, that don't stand for much." Then the cold tone melts and he goes back to the civil tone. "But, as the good miss here has said, no one here is going to get hurt here. Although if you don't mind, I think I'll keep myself nearby."
Through the True Source -- The Force as Sarna would call it -- the cursed can sometimes see what is to come. For a brief moment, Malideus allows the True Source to flow through him, and he sees the way the wind might blow.
_Sarna lays on the ground, her neck twisted at a wrong angle, her eyes staring unseeing at the blue sky above. Delphine kneels next to her, one arm broken. Sarna's lightsaber hums in her hand. Others lay dead around them, natives in bright garments, stained through with their blood. Lincoln is missing an eye and one arm, but his blaster is still smoking in his remaining hand. Siika is also there, kneeling, her face in her hands. Whatever wounds she's received from this fight are unclear, but there is something off about her movements. Malideus himself lays in two pieces, blaster holes revealing the flesh and blood beneath the leather garments. His cane is broken next to his failing body. His life ends, as does his quest._
Malideus lowers his cane.
"You are right, Lawman," Malideus says, his voice like the crunching of gravel. "No one is going to get hurt here. Not today. Sarna Valios Starker, you may yet get to make a choice. I will seek you out soon."
Malideus takes a step back to leave, but pauses. He regards Siika once more, his eyes softer than before. "I do not poison my body with alcohol. Something you should know, Woman of Flesh and Metal. There are those on my homeworld that can heal you. But you, too, would have to make a choice."
Vee-Four whirrs a low, sad tone at Siika's pronouncement, keeping himself in close proximity to the droid tech. Sarna gives the other girl a sympathetic look, but a stirring in the Force drags her attention back to Malideus, and her mouth drops open in surprise. Her arm lifts as if to shield herself from something unseen, and she shakes her head as a rush of unwanted, vague feelings and images of death and fear tease just at the edge of her awareness. Her large eyes grow round when she looks again at the Selas, uncertain what she's sensed, but wary even as he lowers his cane. "Fine. Seek me out. But leave her out of it," she says with a pointed finger, and then glances at the marshal. His stoic speech on the nature of the law here -- and his presence -- are appreciated, and she offers him a two-fingered salute. "Come on, Siika," she murmurs, "let's find out what they have going on at the Tipsy Trader. Have you ever played sabacc...?"
Brown eyes shift from one to the other, a keen intelligence married perfectly with the fear that has been so buffered by the energy field that Siika doesn't understand.
Her eyes remain on the marshal, an expression of appreciation at how he so eloquently defends the decision she made, while she crouches down to pet the droid that has come to her side. She turns to look at him with a quiet grin, and touches her neck with a single finger; a purring sound not too terribly dissimilar from one he made earlier comes from her voice, and following it, she winks.
She then turns to look at the darkly clad man as he addresses her one last time, and surprise registers upon her face. Surprise, followed quickly by doubt, and perhaps a flash of temptation. She watches him for a long moment, before rising to her feet and turning to go with Sarna. "Never too late to start," she quips.
Lincoln, being blissfully oblivious to the goings on of the Force or the True Source or any other term given, simply watches the ladies and the black clad figure dispersing. After all are a bit away from him, he let's a slow breath of air escape his lips and relief to touch his features. The hairs that had stood up on his neck relax once more and he takes another longer breath. "Well. That's certainly a start to the day..."
Malideus of the Wood, "Taliwood" in his native tongue, withdraws further, not quite turning away until he's more than 10 paces away. As he leaves, he taps out another pattern on the concrete. Two taps for the monk. One tap for the cyber-girl. A long drag and a brief tap for the lawman.