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Old 08-29-2012, 12:47 PM   #11
machievelli
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Part of the reason I created the Kreelans is for the part you're about to read. Except for some underage drinking, suggestive language and a card game with cash involved, nothing else really needed it.

Expanded dance repertoire.

Atris nodded to Zulik as she and Rasa who had proven excellent at accompaniment accepted drinks. They sipped the tart juice as the Twi-Lek boy counted. “That's a hundred so far. Split two ways that's fifty each.” Rasa sighed, playing idly with the coins as he drank.

“I need at least 200 of my own to get home.” Atris commented.

The boy snorted. “You're going to Echana, we're going to Sleyron via Nar Shaddaa. Even if I have us all in stasis tubes, it's gong to be almost a thousand.” He looked at the Twi-Lek girls. “does this training of yours extend to more than one dancer?”

“It is not a dance for entertainment, Rasa.” Atris replied. “Among my people this is part of our religion. Our dance is part of our prayer to the goddess.”

“So you only dance alone? Not two or three?”

“Well of course we have dances with more than one. But it takes years to learn them.”

Rasa clapped his hands, and the girls, Zora and Kaliea leaped up. Each took a length of wood, then stood facing the same direction. They began with the first sword kitra she had done, and while she wanted to criticize, they had picked it up pretty well. She watched them, as did the crowd. They weren't up to the proper snuff to be sword dancers, but they could be in time.

Wait, they didn't need to be proper sword dancers; this was prayer for her, but to them it was merely a dance they hoped would earn them some money. If she were to pray, using their efforts to showcase hers...

“Can the girls handle two blades each?” She asked. He didn't reply. Instead they each picked up a pair of wooden dowels, and Rasa set the stage with a flurry of piping flute notes from his synthesizer. They faced the crowd at the ready, and he began one of the tunes he had used a few minutes before when she had done the Abattis, a kitra assuming attackers surrounding the dancer. However while she had started slowly, and only moved faster when the music did, they began at what she would have considered the middle of her own rendition.

The movements were not flawless to her eyes, but each girl matched the other as if they were mirrored images, their 'swords' protecting against at least three separate attackers. She was amazed by how well they did move, then chided herself. Among the Twi-Lek dance was as important as the sword was to the Echani. As her people would strive their entire lives to master a blade, these girls would strive to become the best at the dance; and if you convinced them to use a sword as part of it, it would become part of their dance and they would master that.

The music ended, the girls freezing into immobility. There was a flurry of applause, followed by more credit coins. At a word they snapped to something that might have been called salute, one blade up against their shoulders, the other with arm slightly extended, the second blade across their bodies, touching the upright blade, freezing again.

Atris went to the pile, and selected a pole a little taller than she was. “All right, girls, here's what we are going to do...”

Giving it that old College try...

The younglings poured out of the cantina, and Marai pointed toward the space filled with low buildings to the west. Kavar breathed a sigh of relief. All they had to do was get to the transit center...

Yeah right. He snorted to himself. Hopefully we can still get to Atris in time, but what then? We still have to get back to the temple unobserved. That only leaves me explaining why I took Master Sunrider's car on what is obviously a joy ride and not only lost it, but explaining how it got shot up. What else can go wrong?

There was the whooping of a siren, and he looked up. Something was coming fast, and he almost dived for cover until he saw it was a tow truck he knew he had seen before. There couldn't be two trucks that had been shot up like that!

It came down hovering on it's grav coils, and the door opened. Corlos sat there, grinning like a maniac. “I knew I'd find you!” He shouted.

“Keep it down, please!” Kavar pleaded as the others gathered behind him. “We've had other problems tonight.”

“I am sorry about the problems I caused you.” Corlos replied. “I got away from the constabulary long enough to drop the car at the garage as I promised. Since the blast damage was my fault, I told my friend I'd cover it. He should have it fixed in about an hour, and all you have to pay for is the cost of the replacement coil.”

“That's great!”

“Yeah, just hand him fifty credits in cash and you can get the car.”

Kavar stared at him, mouth moving like a beached fish. “I knew it was fifty credits, but I don't have fifty credits in cash! None of us do!”

“Can't help you there. What is that?” He had looked up at a shout from a couple hundred meters behind the kids. They looked back at the huge man Slade they had seen in the chop shop. He was pointing in their direction, and the boss was with him, signaling angrily as he spoke into a comlink.

“That's our other problem.” Malak commented. “We run?”

“You had to ask?” He and Revan took off toward the college.

“I can help a bit with this.” Corlos said. “Scoot.” The truck lifted, spun, then charged like a missile on their back track.

Kavar tossed Bastila up on his back again as he and Marai began trotting after the younger pair. “How much good is he going to do?” He asked as someone among the thieves following them opened fire with a slug thrower.

As if in answer, a dozen constabulary patrol cars lit off their lights and sirens, diving after the truck. Obviously he had broken pursuit, but they had been watching for him like a Hawk bat that was waiting for a granite slug to crawl out of concealment. Now they not only had him, but whoever was firing as targets, and as the cars on the ground began to frantically run for cover, other had started shooting, and added themselves to the target list.

But some were smart enough not to shoot, and two of them were chasing the younglings.

Kavar had not even bothered to tell the younger kids to look for somewhere to hide this time. Unfortunately this wasn't a two or four lane street with solid walls around it, it was what would have been a residential area in any other city, two lane streets with small single houses set back, making it as wide as a three lane road, but most of it broken by trees, fences, hedges, and other personal gear. He saw Revan leap, catch the upper pole of a child's swing set, and using the Force throw herself over a parked car and the fence beyond it to land on the next yard. Malak used a wide spreading tree, shooting to the top like the primate Childers described only to pause for a moment, then yell at Revan, pointing. The girl paused, then waved toward the following pair, running toward and across the street.

Kavar had to trust them, they didn't have time to think about what they were doing. “They're getting close!” Marai shouted.

“Can't stop that!” He screamed back.

The girl stopped, holding her hands in front of her face. Kavar skidded to a stop. “What are you doing?”

Marai looked at the small balls of the force she had created. “Making an impression.” She replied. She turned, and as she swung across, each ball shot from her hand as if they were bullets. Across the street house windows shattered, and alarms went off. Then she turned. The lead car was only about a hundred meters away, and she stood, hands out, eyes closed. Then she closed her hands as if grabbing, lifting them up and to her side. The right forward grav coil on the car suddenly ripped off, flying away from the car, which hit the street skidding at that loss. The following car screeched to a halt. Behind them some of those constabulary cars had lifted and were turning in their direction.

They ran. “I've seen you do that ball trick before.” Kavar said.

“The nice part is when the constables come, they'll find broken windows, but no projectiles.”

“And how did you rip off their coil?”

She shrugged, giggling. “What can I say? I've always been good with my hands.”

The building the younger Jedi had marked was brightly lit with a lot of people now standing outside watching the free show put on by tow truck, thugs, and constables. As Kavar came to a stop, letting Bastila down again, he noticed that instead of being dressed in casual clothes, these people looked like they had stripped sheets from their beds to come out here and stand. Or why everyone appeared to have drinks or snacks in their hands; unless watching police pursuits was a spectator sport.

“I'm hungry.” Bastila said.

“I thought you were Bastila.” Kavar said without thinking.

“I am Bastila.” She replied with the look you would give any smart ass. “But right now I'm hungry too.”

“Maybe we can liberate some snacks.” Marai suggested. Both Revan and Malak had already disappeared into the building.

“If nothing else, we can go to ground until that is over with.” Kavar motioned. Far above them there was a flash of light, and an aircar spiraled toward the ground in flames.

They went in, and found it was almost as crowded inside. Music was playing, but low enough that the neighbors wouldn't complain. Like outside, everyone was wearing early bedding.

A young man with a braided set of tree branches sat by the door, swaying slightly. “Welcome to Lambda Ro's reopening toga party.” He slurred to the pair. “Drinks and the buffet are in the back. Dancing outside under the light show, and there's a pazaak game upstairs.” As he mentioned a direction, he pointed, each time almost falling off the stool.

“Lambda Ro?” Marai asked in a whisper.

“Fraternity house. I hear they accidentally burned down their old house a couple of months ago during another party.”

“Let's hope they aren't going for a repeat performance.” Marai commented. “What's with the clothes, or lack there of?”

“Back about two millennia before the Coruscanti got into space they had an ancient empire where this is the way they dressed.” Kavar waved at the crowd. “They were also known for partying to excess.”

A girl came by with a tray loaded with drinks. She held it out, and Kavar's raised hand stopped the other two. “They're too young for alcohol.”

“Are you sure?” The girl asked. “They could be Kreelans.”

“Not Kreelan. I'm Bastila.”

The girl looked down. “Oh she is so cute!” Kavar found the tray thrust into his hands, and the girl snatched Bastila up off the ground. “It's way past your bed time, honey.”

“I'm hungry.” Bastila said.

“Well I'll take you to the buffet, and we'll take care of that right now.” Before either of the others could comment, she pushed through the crowd.

Marai watched her go, then looked at her elder. “That's been taken care of. How long do you think we should hide?”

“Half an hour, maybe a little longer.” Kavar looked, but couldn't see his other half liter sized charges. He decided. “Mingle, eat if you can, don't drink anything alcoholic, and I'll come and get you when I think enough time has passed.” She nodded, then headed for the buffet.

Freeform

The sword was pure, the music brisk. Atris danced, blindfolded in the midst of mayhem. She was using her ritual brand, and her two opponents dodged beyond it's sweep, striking at her. But she, the sword, the dance and the music were one.

The music stopped, and she held her pose effortlessly. They had been at this now for hours, and the girls had improved rapidly. That was the 19th kitra, and she felt as if she could go on forever. The applause began and she stood tall, pulling free her blindfold. Coins spattered down with the younger Twi-Leki boy snatching them up to add to the growing pile before Rasa. The girls were breathing heavily, but they took their bows in the glow of their perspiration.

“How many more of these Kitra do you know?” Rasa asked.

“There is only one more, though there is a dance I have wanted to try.” Atris replied. “But our audience has been replenished as it has flowed away. We could go back to Kitra 7 without repeating for our watchers.”

He spoke to the girls. “They can do a couple more, but 7 is one of the last ones with only one person, correct?”

“The first ten are singles, the next ten are pairs or groups, yes.”

“They can go for two more then.”

“Oh no.” Atris shook her head. The dance I spoke of is from a ballet based on a legend. It is called Kitran Kashin She, the Shadow Defeated By Love.”

“Sounds interesting.”

She explained the Kashin Dra, the shadow warrior. “The ballet is almost as old as the legend itself. The Shadow warrior has attacked the village, killed and wounded a number of warriors, including her brother and father. The young girl goes into the darkness to face the horrible monster in the name of vengeance. But when she finds him, she sees it is but a man bearing a horrible curse. Her weapon is struck from her hands, and she must bring the cursed warrior back from the brink using only her dance and love.” She blushed. “I have done part of what the girl did in the legend. Ever since then, I have wanted to dance it.”

“Then it would be perfect.” He pointed at the pile. “A couple more like that last one, and we'll have enough for you to get home at least, and a couple after that, we'll have enough.”

“You said you were all under contract.” Atris said. The term had bothered her when he had.

“Yes.”

“Then why didn't your employer send enough money to bring you to him?”

“You know how the Hutt are. I could have sent my sisters off with what he sent, but I wanted to make sure they arrived.” His face clouded. “Some of the Hutt are criminals and slavers. They could steal them away, say they never arrived, and refuse to pay. But if we are there,” He motioned toward the other boy, “they cannot.”

Atris sighed. She knew the Hutt could still steal the girls away. Just make sure the boys never woke up, or were sold elsewhere. But they had told her of the poverty of their own family. If there was even the chance that this Hutt was honest, their family would be repaid.

She sighed, motioning toward the girls, and explained the last Kitra's movements.

Debate and delivery

“No, that isn't the way it is done.” Kavar said as he sipped his drink. “The Jedi aren't hired guns of the Republic Senate. And they are not heroes of the outer planets. They are neutral, taking no sides. That is what makes them excellent for negotiating.”

“That's shlackt.” The student replied. “In sociology Professor Kran points at the Corellian Corporations building their new factories on Mengis II. They came in a century ago, threw up factories, polluted the air and water, and finally the people had to blow one of them up to gain their attention.”

Kavar shook his head. “I studied that incident at the Cornet Temple on Corellian.” He set down the drink to use his hands to count. “Point one, the surveyor team that had done the initial survey had ignored a microbe called by them, simply Mengis Spirochete 10A. It grows on the edges of volcanic sites both in the atmosphere and oceans. Because it is anaerobic; it doesn't grow well in an oxygen atmosphere, it is rare outside the oceans, or in any well oxygenated water.

“The surveyors did record that fluorine and sulfur are rare elements in that atmosphere; in fact there is more gold on Mengis II than sulfur, more platinum than fluorine. When Mengis II was approached by the Corps they were ecstatic that anyone in the core would consider their world as a production center; all they had before that was farming, and had not as yet found the Follva berries used in Mengis wine and brandy.

“The company that did the environmental impact report didn't know about Spirochete 10A, so they never took it into account. After all, would you expect something as rare as say the Granthis worm of Alderaan to be taken into account when checking an entire planet?” He looked at the faces. “There are more people on Alderaan than Granthis worms. After all they live about five thousand years, and reproduce only once every two centuries.”

They nodded at his explanation. “So the factories are set up, and suddenly the atmosphere and water have fifty times as much of those rare elements as before. Spirochete 10A goes through a massive reproduction cycle, and thirty years later, have gone through almost fifty thousand generations, and mutated into something that can attack the farm animals the settlers brought, which caused he Mengis Plague. It wasn't for another ten years that anyone thought to blame the factories, and the firebombing was at the height of the Plague itself; more likely some terrified farmer striking back at what he thought was the cause rather than a reasoned attack.

“Exar Kun was one of the Jedi sent on that mission.”

“The Sith lord?” One of them gasped.

“He didn't fall to the Dark Side for ten years more.” Kavar told them. “He was an apprentice on his first Padawan assignment, like I am. But he was the one who discovered the cause of the Plague, and knowing that, they were able to find a cure for it. The corporations immediately began the process of cleaning the contamination from both air and water, and began using substitutes for those elements in their processing.

“But as the toxins were removed, the Follva farmers that had sprung up during the height of the pollution began to complain. Again, Kun discovered that the berries needed traces of sulfur to grow to the size and ripeness needs for making the wine. So other corporations began manufacturing fertilizer with enhanced sulfur, and everyone is now happy again.

“But it was a Jedi team sent to negotiate that made those discoveries. Without us there would be civil war there.”

“All right, sometimes the Jedi aren't interfering.” The original questioner admitted.

“If only they would help others as much.” A woman commented. The group at the table looked up, and two of the men leaped to their unsteady feet, saluting. Of course, if they had been in uniform instead of togas, it would have looked smarter.

“Captain Dodonna! It's good you came.” One of them said. “Have you found the bar and buffet?”

“Yes, Silen, I have.” The woman looked at the young Jedi. She was dressed in a crisp Republic Navy uniform. “And you are?”

“Padawan Kavar from the Jedi Temple.” Kavar stood, bowing.

“And how do you feel about the rising unrest beyond the Republics border in the Outer Rim? The aggression of the Mandalorians on their neighbors?”

“It is a serious problem, and will grow worse if something is not done.” Kavar admitted.

Her eyes locked on him like gun turrets. “Is that the response of your Order? Of is it your own opinion?”

“Mainly my opinion, Captain.” He replied. “While the Jedi are investigating, we are hampered by the fact that outside of the Republic itself, we have limited authority. We cannot go into a planet under siege and negotiate unless asked, and too many outside the Republic share the beliefs of these.” He motioned toward the others at the table. “That we're nothing but meddlers who have our own agenda, or will spout the Republic's instead of finding out how to help.”

She clasped her hands behind her back, rocking on her heels in thought. “I wish I had access to your archives in this matter, young Padawan. Even without the direct help of the Jedi, that would assist the navy in threat analysis. But the Jedi have been unwilling to assist in that regard.”

“Because if we helped even that much some outside the Republic would claim we are helping you prepare for a war that can be avoided.” He considered. “If someone who is being assigned along that border were to ask, perhaps they would allow that person to check the files, provided they are not merely handed over to ONI when it happened.”

“Yes.” She rocked for a moment. “I have been assigned to a task force in that region of space; I am leaving in fact two days from now. If a young Padawan were to ask the masters...” She left the question unasked.

“I could put it to my own master, and ask her to speak with the Council.”

“Good.” She clasped her hands in front of her. “Which begs the one question I have not asked. What is an underage Padawan doing at a fraternity party fifty kilometers from the Temple? Even as all those senior to him are meeting with the Senate?”

Kavar explained all of the trials and tribulations he and his fellow younglings had gone through. The woman nodded, then lifted her com link. “My aide is bringing my car around to the front. Gather your minions and he will drop you over at the transit center. Unfortunately, I cannot help with your financial problems, an officer assigned to the Reserve Officers Training for the college is not that well paid, and until I assume command officially, I am on half pay. But I can help you that much”

“Thank you, Captain. I'll get them.” Kavar stood, headed for the buffet. Since none of the others had found him that seemed the best choice.

Bastila was sitting at a table, surrounded by students. They were all trying to cheer her up, and someone had gotten her a glass of blue Nerf milk.

“Didn't want to be a Jedi.” She said morosely. The students made sounds of commiseration. “Wanted to stay with my father. Even if his new wife didn't like me.”

“That was mean, sending you away.” One of the crowd said.

“Thought I was getting between them.”

“What a-”

Someone shushed the speaker. “She went on for fifteen minutes about using swear words when we found her sitting alone. Please, we don't need further explanations.”

“What a... nasty person.”

“Listen, do you want some more milk?” A girl asked, the same one that had brought Bastila back to the buffet originally. As if it were something stronger, Bastila merely held out the glass silently as the girl poured. “We're out.”

“Yeah, it's not like milk grows on trees.”

“Doesn't grow on trees.” Bastila replied with that infernal logic of hers. “You get it from Nerf. They're animals.” She sipped, then saw Kavar. “Want to go home.”

“We've got a ride, we'll be back at the temple pretty quick.”

“Not the Temple. I want to go home!” She began crying, and those around her patted her on the back, and looked daggers at Kavar.

“Listen we're not going to finish this conversation with her tonight. Can you watch her until I get the others?”

“Are they babies stolen from their families too?” The girl with the empty milk bottle glared at him.

“She was not stolen.”

“No.” Bastila said gulping. “They gave me away. They didn't love me enough!” And began bawling again.

“Go get the others.” The girl said in disgust. “We'd finally gotten her to quit crying until you showed up.”

Without a word he left. This was obviously going to be a problem with Bastila for quite a while yet. He moved toward the stairs. What could have caused her to break down that badly?”

“It's all due to unfocused sexual tension.” A voice said as if in answer. He froze. He knew that voice, and wondered why it came through a closed door. He pushed the door open. Malak was sitting beside an attractive girl in a toga that had no chance of concealing that she was mammalian. Hell, you'd need a tent to conceal that fact! Her blue eyes were focused on the boy as if he were the font of all wisdom, her long blond hair falling forward in another futile attempt to conceal her sex. Yet the boy's eyes looked into her own.

“So Roga is saying I am too easy with others because he's unfocused about our relationship?”

“Exactly.” Malak replied. “He wants a closer relationship with you, but he's jealous because you don't give all of your attention to him when you're out together. You're such a naturally friendly and bubbly person with everyone.”

“You're so smart.” She hugged him, and Kavar sighed as he noticed that the instant the girl couldn't see his eyes, he was staring at what he had been thrust into. “I think you've helped me so much. Isn't there something I could do to... repay you?”

“Since he's not Kreelan, that would be no.” Kavar said interrupting, he hoped.

The girl looked up at him, then at Malak. “You really are only thirteen?”

“Fraid so.”

She hugged him again, and again his eyes locked on his target. “When you're older, come see me.” She took a piece of paper from a pad, jotted something down, and handed it to the younger boy. “Take care of him for me.” She told Kavar as she released her death grip. "I have plans for that day.”

He gestured, and Malak walked from the room after waving to the girl. Kavar motioned, and they headed toward the stairs. “We have a lift to the transit center. Where are Revan and Marai?”

“Marai is upstairs, and Revan is near the bar.”

“Let's get Revan first.” Kavar shook his head. “Is sex all you think about?”

“Of course not.” Malak replied equably. “I do have to study, practice with my light saber, and meditate. So I can't think about sex every second.”

“So it's what, third?”

“No, it's first. But that's why I'm so good with a lightsaber, because I focus all of my frustration there.”

Kavar shook his head. He saw Revan, and froze in shock. The girl had a thimble sized glass, and as he watched in horror, she poured it down her throat. She stood there, rolling the taste around in her mouth. “Nice. A bit acrid on the aftertaste, but all in not not bad.”

Kavar pushed his way through, and saw a boy at the bar pouring something. “This is tihaar.” He handed it to the girl in satisfaction. “Try that.”

“May I ask what the hell is going on here?” Kavar asked in a growl.

The boy looked up. “I just saw this Kreelan girl standing here, and I'm introducing her to some of the better drinks.” From the shady look on his face, Kavar knew why he had begun that introduction.

“h'llo, Kavar.” Revan said, then the Tihaar followed whatever else she had drunk before.

“She is not a Kreelan.” Kavar rasped.

The boy stared at him, then down at the smiling girl who was holding out her glass. “Oh Fierfek.”

“That is a Mandalorian word that means-” Revan began

“Revan.” Kavar interrupted. He bent down. “How many drinks did your friend give you.”

She looked at him, then raised her hand and began counting her fingers silently. “Six?” Kavar turned, but the seducer had consider discretion the better part of valor and fled for his life.

Kavar motioned, and Revan set down the glass, and followed. He only hoped Marai wasn't causing mayhem like the others.

He found Marai sitting at a pazaak table, with cards in front of her as she looked at the angry man across from her. “Stand.” She said.

The player flipped up his cards. “Natural 19. Beat that.”

“Marai, we have a ride-” Kavar stopped talking as the girl raised her hand. She flipped up her cards. She had a twenty.

The player glared at them, then at her, “You cheating little Kreelan-”

“She is not a Kreelan!” Kavar roared. “She's a Jedi youngling, and is exactly how old she looks!”

The man stopped, “She's fourteen? And a Jedi youngling?” Kavar nodded. “Then she's a cheating Jedi-”

“Face it, Wustrum.” One of his fellows said. “Even Jedi can't magic a better hand. It just helps them not ride a losing one down in flames. Any one good with math can do that.” He leaned down, pushing the pile of credits over to Marai. “But it sounds like you have to leave, so take your winnings and go.”

Marai stood, raking them in, then handed them to Kavar. “Enough to cover the grav coil we have to buy. It's the only reason I got into the game.”

Kavar took them. "Fine! Between you gambling, Revan drinking, Malak trying to seduce someone half again his age by giving advice to the lovelorn, and Bastila crying about going home again, I have had just about enough.” He stopped. “Where's Revan and Malak?”

“While you were running off at the mouth about us, Revan turned green, and ran off to the fresher with Malak in tow.”

Kavar stormed out of the room and down the hall to the fresher, where Malak was chatting with another toga clad woman. “Malak, we're going to have a long talk about you when we get to the temple you thirteen year old boy.” The girl looked astonished, blushed, and left quickly. “Honestly, if that's the first thing you think about that talk is coming way too late.”

The door opened, and another girl stepped out. “If your waiting for that girl throwing up at the toilet, you may have to wait a little longer.”

Kavar merely stood there, gaping. While everyone else had merely torn sheets from beds, this girl seemed to not have bothered, and was well, just say not wearing a sheet. Or anything else for that matter. She gave Kavar a sweet smile, then walked away and down the stairs.

Kavar felt something hitting him, and turned as Marai's index finger thumped against his forehead this time. “What is it, Marai?”

“You can't blame him when his role model had his tongue down around his ankles.”

“Oh shut up.”


'To argue with those who have renounced the use and authority of reason is as futile as to administer medicine to the dead.' Now who said that?

From the one who brought you;
What we die for...
Acceptance
KOTOR excerpts
Star Wars: The Beginning
Star Wars: Republic Dawn
Return From Exile

Last edited by machievelli; 08-30-2012 at 10:47 PM.
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