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The Path Ahead

Posted on Tue Oct 23rd, 2012 @ 4:41am by Thane & Bomoor Thort & Berry & Kip Hoddai & Sev Rezer & G2-O7

Chapter: Chapter I: Web of Fate
Location: Red Raptor
Timeline: Day Two, Late (After "Rapid Departure")

The lounge of the Red Raptor was fairly sizeable for a ship of its class. Across the back wall were an array of fitted tables and chairs for recreation and relaxation. The room also served as the ship's Galley with all the basic utensils in a small kitchen unit. The food cupboards were full of mostly dehydrated food sachets - the ship's previous owners were seemingly not connoisseurs of cuisine. In the centre of the room was a large dining table with various mis-matched chairs surrounding it - it was dirty and worn with names and words scratched into it, some of which were rather unpleasant.

Bomoor paced around the table, occasionally looking towards Berry who was currently jumping about on the chairs. He wondered how he had got here, travelling on a smuggler's ship with an odd force-sensitive girl, a mysterious Devaronian and the Mandalorian he was sent to eliminate. Not to mention his best friend and fellow Jedi who was currently in the Medical Bay treating the wounds he suffered at the hands of a dark Jedi.

"Stop fooling around!" he shot towards Berry, "I'm going to check on Thane. Just stay here until I get back."

Berry froze on the current chair she was sitting on, brown eyes wide at being boomed at by Boomy. As soon as he left she resumed standing, scurrying, and sitting, making sure she found the chair that was juuuust right.

Bomoor walked out into the corridor and wandered in the direction he had seen the G2 droid take Thane. As he approached, he felt a disturbance. Something dark and powerful. He had sensed it earlier but had assumed it was Axion and the darkness that shrouded Grogga's palace. Now, isolated here in space, it was clearer - calling out from the room at the end of the corridor. Bomoor put his hand on the door panel and the door slid open to reveal his friend sitting on a medical bench.

Thane had his shirt off and wore a large Bacta patch across one side of his chest, assumably where he had absorbed Axion's lighting attack. He held the patch with one arm. He still looked rather unwell but better than when Bomoor had seen him earlier.

"Ah..." the Ithorian exclaimed, "There you are. What did you find in there? Is there a medical droid?"

Thane visibly lit up at the sight of his friend, but his ironic tone was withering. "If only," he grumbled, rising from his sitting position on the biobed, grimacing with the pain. Whilst the thrill of battle and adrenaline had served to mask the pain at the time, the burns had since begun to grow increasingly harder to ignore, and even the bacta patch left him with a sizeable amount of pain to stomach.

The Human picked up his white undershirt and winced as he threw it over his head. Unlike his singed red spacer's jacket, which was settled over on one of the chairs, it did not have the strong aroma of smoke engulfing it, and Thane visibly ignored the piece of clothing, not wishing to let any attention be paid to it. As he gestured over to a panel on the other side of the medical bay, a smaller patch could be seen on his weapon hand, where some of the red lightning had licked at his flesh there, too.

"It seems we weren't lucky enough to steal the ship's doctor," Thane said, himself making a comment about the fact they had kindly relieved Grogga of his spice-running cargo ship, "so we've been lumbered with a hologram of a medi-droid, and not a pleasant one at that. Sounded almost neurotic, the way it kept querying whether I needed surgery, insisting I should go and see - and I quote - 'a real doctor'." He let out a scoff. "Machines."

Aside from the terminal that housed the data and machinery for the medical hologram, a few other computers were built into the walls and a desk, littered with equipment for both diagnosis and treatment, but the most prominent feature of the bay was the large bacta tank at the rear, large enough to house some of the biggest humanoid sentients. Anything larger probably would not be on a vessel such as the Red Raptor, and so such a tank was not needed; this would serve their purposes perfectly.

Bomoor walked over to his friend and laid a hand on his shoulder, ensuring he did not touch a painful area of skin, "You will heal. I myself am pretty exhausted. There are several quarters for sleeping along the central corridor if you need some sleep later. Just try not to sleep next to Bería's room if you want to get any rest at all."

Thane sighed. "It's been a very peculiar few days, Bomoor, my friend," he said, finally stepping over to grab his jacket, although he held it at his side, "and whilst I'm sure you and I have a lot we could be talking about right now, we've more important things to be dealing with: Kip and Mandalore the Ego." It was clear from how he was speaking that Thane was tired. Several battles - many of them involving saber-wielding opponents - had left him drained, as well as confronting a dark part of his own past, which had opened wounds he had forgotten he had.

As they walked out from the medbay, Thane looked quizzically about, and picking up on what his friend was after, Bomoor led him to a series of rooms down a corridor, each facing another room on the opposite side. Clearly, a couple had already been claimed, and so Thane made a quick decision on an unoccupied one and threw the jacket onto the bunk inside.

Then leading Thane into the recreation room, he saw the others had already arrived, bar Sev. Flashes of annoyance and curiosity grew within him as he regarded Kip, but a part of him was pleased to see Berry in one, healthy piece, and he settled himself into one of the outermost chairs, which required less moving (and therefore less pain).

"Lady and gentlemen," he began, leaning over the tarnished table, loud enough so that Sev would hear in the cockpit, "this has been a ridiculous series of events, but, as the Jedi say: the Force works in mysterious ways." Thane's voice, as it often was, was thick with irony. "But regardless of whether we are together or not, it seems we have something of a common goal: Axion." The name was almost a curse.

"Nah," Kip said over his shoulder at the galley, having opened several packets and small containers, he had three pots working with contents in them and a fresher turning something brown and unappealingly like packing materials into foliage and fruit-looking stuff. The smells coming from that area smelled of noodles or dumplings, some sort of spicy something, rich earthy proteins and a pungent sour something. "I ain't after Axion, you are. So you want Axion and I got the way ta track 'im. Plus, I can fly, I can nav, I can fix stuff and I can really cook."

Berry's fiddling with the carvings in her chair immediately ceased. Her head whipped toward Horns Guy, eyes wide and shining. "You can cook? What kind of food? What are you cooking right now??" tumbled out of her mouth before she drew in a breath. Maybe he was better at it than Najis!

"Reptile stew over Corellian green noodles with spicy predal and flash pickled chuku," Kip explained, pointing to the different pots. "Salad and fruits for our Ithorian friend Bomoor."

She grinned excitedly and clapped once before looking over at Pale Guy, smile fading slightly. He looked a bit better...still super pale. But not Super Pale Guy. "Yeah I don't really like Ax Guy...he's a real piece of fish poop." She paused. "No, shark poop." Sharks were meaner. A small frown actually appeared on her face as she gazed at Thane again, as if trying to see something. Was Ax Guy the hooded guy in The thought left her head as the smells in the air took up room.

"Hold on," Bomoor raised his voice and looking towards the Devaronian, "I think there's one thing all of us want to know first of all. Mister Kip, wasn't it? Who exactly are you and how do you know so much about us?"

"It's because he's a Flamewalker. And Flamewalkers are good at knowing things before they kill you. I have met a few of your type before. It was not pleasant for anyone involved.", said Sev Rezer entering the lounge. "The ship is on automatic pilot", he said, walking carefully towards Kip. "You saved us and that's not usually what Flamewalkers do. More important than what the Ithorian asked is this: What do you want with Axion?" The Mandalorian leaned on the bulkhead, ten paces from Kip.

Thane answered for the Dev. "The Kaiburr crystal," he said, "or at least a shard of it." He avoided wrinkling his nostril at the smell of some of the food Kip was brewing; whilst some was welcoming, others offended him slightly. "I thought I could sense a connection to the Force within you, 'Flamewalker', weak as it may be. So, you still have reason to work with us; there's no need for us to bring you to attention with the Council, in their almighty wisdom, but there are a few matters to deal with." The Jedi Guardian leant back in the chair, throwing his booted feet upon the table, which was already in need of a clean. "Firstly," he went on, raising a single burnt finger, "we need to cover our tracks. Given the abilities both Kip and Sev have, it should not be hard to change some of the registry details on the ship. The name is of little consequence, but it's best we make it clear this ship is now ours."

Flexing his bacta-bandaged hand before raising the next finger, he went on. "Secondly, we need to decide on a destination. I think Bomoor will agree: we should head to Coruscant. There are some things we will need to discuss with the Council about our mission, and how the directives have changed. Regardless of what they say, it's imperative we hunt down the Cult of Axion, as well as these shards before Axion can get hold of them." Thane let his eyes set upon the Mandalorian. "We also need to make clear Rezer's role in the mission, and what he is worth; if we don't make it clear to them, they'll just send more Jedi to hunt you down. And whilst I'm certain your abilities are more than a match for whatever 'ignoble and misguided' Jedi they send your way, we should get you off their radar."

Berry pouted slightly as she stared at Eye Guy's eye. She still had to see lasers! Those other Jedi better not make him leave before she got to see it.

Kip just shrugged, admitting nothing and ignoring Rezer as he continued to make the meal. He opened the pot and tested the noodles and then with deft and showy movements flipped out bowls and rolled them down his arms onto the counter to be placed in a line. A ladle from one pot, a wad of noodles from a second and a ladle from the third with a bunch of translucent shredded something from another where the sour smell had come from. Lids went on each as the ingredients went in and Kip popped toasted bread out of the warmer and set them on small plates next to them, putting the vegetable and fruit artfully arranged in a large bowl for the Ithorian.

He turned and set out the meals and eating sticks, each of them identical except, of course, for the artfully arranged and colorful vegetation for Bomoor. Tumblers with a large pitcher of cool tea went down int he center of the table. "Its edible now," he pronounced.

Rezer watched Kip for a moment before addressing Thane. "I don't care about your Order, Jedi, but you're right. I don't need more Jetii following me around, forcing me to kill them without reason. I did what I had to do and I do regret it. Now, if your Order insists in locking me up, then I'll have no option to go hunt Axion on my own. As for you, Flamewalker... You can ignore my question, but don't ignore my warning: Betray us and the last thing I'll do is kill you."

The Mandalorian looked at the food. "No matter how good a cook you are", he said seating himself at the table.

Berry looked so happy Eye Guy was joining them and so in celebration dove for the bowl lid, smiling excitedly as she grabbed for the sticks and poked around in the soup stuff. After failing to pull noodles out, she ditched the sticks and lifted the bowl to her face. "MMMRF" came a cry at the temperature, and she promptly set the bowl down and clapped her hands over her mouth, looking around with wide eyes to see if anyone saw, her cheeks slightly flushed from the heat (but certainly not from embarrassment...well, maybe a little). From behind her hands she stuck out a tongue and licked the soup liquid on her lips, eyebrows shooting up. Mmm!

"Its not as spicy as my mother's," Kip demurred a bit, picking up his bowl and stick and using them efficiently, "but it's hot enough for me without killing any of you. The bread takes the edge off, by the way, in case someone feels I'm torturing you unduly. The tea isn't the right kind but I was lucky to find anything in there," he turned and jerked his chin at the cabinets of the galley. "I'll get real packs when we're somewhere civilized, maybe some caf and djando, if you've a taste for those."

"I don't know if I do but I wanna find out!" the part-Aquar blurted with glee as her hands flew off her mouth. She couldn't wait to tell Najis about this. Luckily she was quickly quieted with the slightly cooler noodles, and the sounds of munching (and panting from the spice) filled up the brief welcomed silence.

Thane looked at the bread and then to the bowl of noodles, finding the finished article actually looking quite appetising. Carefully lifting some of the food into his mouth, he was instantly hit by the flavours, pleased at what he was consuming. "It's not half bad," he admitted quietly, spooning more of the noodles into his mouth, and mopping up some of the juices with the bread (which was not as nice). Nevertheless, it was impressive for Hutt Cartel rations, as Kip had confessed.

Bomoor looked down at the green selection Kip had paced before him - they were not the freshest looking vegetables, but he was surprised Kip had managed to find anything not freeze-dried on this vessel. While on Öetrago, the herd members simply ate with their hands but Bomoor's life on Coruscant had taught him that the civilised Ithorian uses utensils. He plucked several leaves with a fork and brought them to one of his mouths. Kip had draped some kind of sauce over the leaves, which seemed to add an extra tang to them, which was fairly appealing as Bomoor chewed the food up with the large muscles in his trunk.

"But we're agreed, then?" Thane said in a conclusive tone. "We will set a course for Coruscant. Regardless of whether the Jedi Council gives their leave or not, we will go after these shards and the Cult. Whilst planetside, we can gather whatever supplies we need, and we can be sure to have the Raptor properly dealt with." The Jedi ate another mouthful. Whilst his suspicions about Kip had not gone entirely unabated, he did not sense or expect any malicious intent from him. "The damage dealt to Grogga should keep him off our backs, and I doubt Zorbo will be in any rush to make a move." Giving the Devaronian a short glare, he could not help but admire what had occurred to the younger Hutt's prized casino and hotel.

Bomoor was concerned, the council was bound to disagree with their course of action and what then? Would leaving the order really be the best option? "This is a clouded path," he addressed the table but Thane in particular, "I'm not saying its wrong path but we must be cautious that we do not lose ourselves in some great crusade."

He pushed his plate away, "Thank you Kip," he nodded to the Devaronian, "If you will all excuse me, I shall retire to my room."

He stood up and plodded out through the doorway, which he closed behind him.

"And I'm the anti-social", deadpanned Sev, without even raising his eyes, as he ate.

Berry giggled as she slurped the rest of the soup down. "With a cool laser eye."

With a withering look, Thane looked up from his bowl at the young Near-Human. "Bería, you know..." After a few seconds of looking at her expression, he decided against whatever he was going to say. He let out a heavy sigh and looked back at the noodles, as if they would give him more sense. "Never mind."


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