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Khulbe's Palace - Khulbe



Khulbe let out a low chuckle that echoed around the room and brought uneasy smiles from the slave girls seated in front of the throne. A Hutts moods and emotions were a virtual mystery to most beings; but for those in the Hutts household who had known him most of their lives, the laugh was an unpleasant one.

"Thank you for the science lesson, Jast." The Hutts eyes narrowed to slits as D400 translated. "I wasn't sure how the process worked."

Sarcasm was not something lost on Hutts and Khulbe was annoyed. Kyber was not unknown to Khulbe, he did traffic most anything you could think of it when it came to mind altering substances. Though he supposed Jast might be reeling off the information in an effort to sell Khulbe; there was no way Jast would know the extent of the Hutts business.

The idea of stealing the Trithemeus Reaction on the other hand... He liked that. The thought had occurred to him before but he had not found someone he thought capable of making it happen. But now... Jast was not a real thief, not that Khulbe was aware of, but he did have quite a history.

"I find this proposal intriguing." Khuble settled back, his huge tail twitching slightly. "I think you already have a plan if you have come this far. I will hear it."

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Khulbe's Palace - Jast



“You’ll forgive my enthusiasm, Khulbe, but I do love it when the sales pitch and the science are the same thing,” Jast answered. “Nothing sells like the facts.”

“The plan, though, that’s a good question. This isn’t too different from anything I did with the Service. Information extraction and data jobs were my line of work before we met,” he explained. The circumstances had changed significantly in the meantime, however. With the Strategic Information Service, the Galactic Republic’s intelligence apparatus, he had all the resources in the galaxy to support his operations. Intel, assets, fireteams, professional slicers, the works. Jast pulled a hand-rolled cigarra from his jacket pocket and lit it, taking a drag as he mulled worked his way into this next, critical step in the negotiation. Nothing went with brandy like nicotine.

“The fact of the matter is that I’m in the unfortunate position of working as both operator and analyst these days,” he explained, “which makes the job tough. My team and I have some intel to work with, enough to give us a start. We have some connections on Ord Mantell that could lead us in the right direction, but my first thought is to bring in my friends at Coronet Analytica, see if we can get some more intelligence on the situation before we make a move. Once we determine what we need to grab and where, my team and I go in and grab it. Could be a data file, could be personnel, could be Trithemeus himself.”

“But we can’t do go anywhere or grab anything as long as we have this pseudoteth on the Raven,” he said, taking a long drag on the cigarra. “Heavily regulated product, like I said. We pull in on some of the worlds we need to stop at, law enforcement will arrest us twenty minutes after we land. So, if you’ll buy that off us—and I’ll give you a discount on it, say 60% of value—you can free us up to chase leads on the chemist.”

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- - -


The Raven Trespass - Boqorro



“It’s not refined,” Boqorro said. “We know what that would do to you. This," he continued, pointing to the bag of clear fluid to which he and Val had connected the Zelosian via plastic tubing, "is mostly water. Just enough glucose in there to wake you up after a week or so out of the light.”

“You said your name is T’a,” he carried on. He folded his arms again and leaned back against the airlock’s frame. “So, T’a, where were you trying to go when you stowed away on my ship?”

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Raven Trespass - T'a



T'a relaxed marginally with the other man's forthcoming response. So they did know what they were doing. She had no way of knowing what anybody outside of Zelos II knew of Zelosians and didn't want to assume they had that information. Still feeling an odd tingling from the IV, she tried to prop herself up into a half-sitting position, one leg still flush with the couch. "I leeft Zeelos II beecause me grandmother died. Eet was beeter for me to leave beecause our village was about to fall to mineers, and I am no fighteer. I admeetedly deed not have a destination in mind wheen I began hopping sheeps. I am sorry. Ees there enything I can do to make eet up to you?"

She sat up a little farther, crossing the bent left leg over her right leg. All throughout her speech, she kept her green eyes nailed onto her interrogator's, trying to see if, first, he even understood her words, and lastly if he meant her any harm. She was terrible at reading people, but that didn't stop her from attempting to divine if her words struck him the wrong way. Her eyes flicked to the needle in her own arm, that being her only remaining defense, one which would probably hurt like hell to use.
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Khulbe's Palace - Khulbe



"60%. So generous." D400 translated the Hutts speech swiftly, the emotionless mechanical tones failing to convey any hint of sarcasm or interest in the Hutts voice. "How about this. Since you're so desperate to get rid of it, and I am such a generous being, I will take if off your hands for 25% of its street value."

The Hutts eyes gleamed and he held up a hand to forestall any response from Jast. The courier would only have come to Khulbe as a last resort and it was unlikely they would find any decent buyer for the goods given their legality. And once one Hutt turned you down, the others tended to follow suit.

"To make it worth your while, however, I will pay you double the value when you bring me the Trithemeus Reaction. I will pay you five times the value if you bring me a living and unharmed chemist along with it."

He was offering up a small fortune, easily enough to make some major modifications to the Raven Trespass. It was an older model craft and though Khulbe had seen the upgrades done to it, there was always room for improvement. He sensed, rather than saw, Telsa sit up a little straighter as his words were translated.

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Khulbe's Palace - Jast


Jast took another long drag on the cigarra, mulling over the Hutt’s offer. The upfront payment was less than he’d like. The twenty-five percent only came out to some seventy-five thousand. Considering the lengths he and the crew had gone to obtain it, it wasn't fair consideration for the services provided. Piracy was out of their usual area of operations, and this pseudoteth job, stolen from a Golden Mynock Chemical freighter mid-transit, had put them out of their league.

The back end of the offer was very good, though. Too good to pass up, he decided.

“That's a fair deal, Khulbe, we can work with that,” Jast answered with a smile. “I’ll take it. We'll offload the pseudoteth with your ground crew before we leave.” He wasn’t a fan of accepting an offer so early in the negotiation, but the back-end was good enough to make the low up-front worth it. There was some uncertainty to actually receiving that money, but the Hutt had never failed to follow through when Jast delivered on his end on the bargain.

And with the pseudoteth in the Raven’s hold, he didn’t have much in the way of options anyway.

He finished his glass of brandy and stood. “Good doing business with you, as usual. Anything else I can do for you?”

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- - -


The Raven Trespass - Boqorro



“Hm,” Boqorro intoned. It was plausible enough, he figured. All the same, the captain had his enemies, now more than ever. Imperial Intelligence, Pyxis, certain Hutts scattered across the Outer Rim. Any one of them would be willing to track down the Raven. His spot on the ship had opened up because his predecessor had died on Nar Shaddaa, engaged in a shootout with Sith intelligence operators. They were in a dangerous line of work, made safer only be their efforts to minimize their risk of exposure to their adversaries.

Jast believed they'd gotten away clearly, and it seemed they had, but Imperial Intelligence was not so easy to dodge. Some Cipher Agent, somewhere out there, had a file on their Nar Shaddaa deal and a vested interest in finding the Raven and her crew.

He brought his thoughts back to this Zelosian girl, unlikely Imperial spy she was.

“Ship’s never stopped at Zelos,” he said. “What were you doing on Ord Mantell before you jumped on with us?”

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Raven Trespass - T'a Tarinai



T'a stared back at the man, immediately replying, "E had flown in from Zelos II. E ran out of credits. There was no time or courage to ask you if I could pay my voyage. Eet was eether your sheep or an Imperial sheep, and as I have seen what people who love the Empire have done to my village, I rather stowaway on your sheep. If you think E am a spy, by all means, leave me behind on this planet. Ee'm sure E can get work here somehow. That said, what ees the name of here actually if you don't mind me asking? How far did we travel? E had no way of telling time down there."

Well, she thought, wishing she could melt into the floor and out the engines from embarrassment. I can't tell what's going to come of this, but I have the feeling whichever way it turns out, I'm not going to like it. Her pale cheeks burned with two vivid green spots in a spot on Zelosian blush and she lowered her head shamefully.

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Khulbe's Palace - Jos'rizud



Jos shook his head inwardly as the human and the hutt went back and forth. The familiarity of the two reminded him of just how well they knew each other. The deal almost seemed fair by the time it was struck and the two toasted each other, Jast with his brandy and Khulbe with some foul smelling brew found on Nar Shaddaa that only a hutt could enjoy.

"Khulbe invites you to adjourn to your ship, and then to your rooms. Dinner will be served in the throne room this evening. Please advise a staffing droid of any allergies or favourite dishes." Jos glanced to the droid as it translated Khulbes next rumble and he felt his eyebrows rise. The human must be more of an asset than he had originally thought.

His gaze travelled back to Nima where she sat, perfectly still, in front of the two. Jos half expected Khulbe to offer one of the prized dancers as personal entertainment for Jast after dinner; but nothing more was said as the human stood, nodded to Khulbe, and strode toward the hanger door.

Jos threw one more glance Nimas way, hungrily devouring her long legs before turning to escort Jast back to his ship. Before the blast door closed behind Jos, he heard D440 ordering Nima and her cohort to prepare for an evening of entertainment for Khulbe and his favoured guest. He did not see the Hutts eyes watching him, noting the attention he had paid to Nima.

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Khulbe's Palace - Telsa


Telsa, now relieved of her case of contraband, strode out onto the landing pad and toward the ship, hot on Jast’s heels. “That went well,” she suggested. The captain nodded.

“Better than I expected,” he replied. “Say one thing about Khulbe the Hutt, he gives you a fair enough deal,” he said, striding up the Raven’s boarding ramp no sooner than it touched down. Like Jast, Telsa had been no fan of the 25% up-front price, but the back-end reward for bringing in the chemist, or even just the formula, was more than enough. It put them in an interesting position. It freed them up to travel without issue, served as marginal compensation, and gave them more than enough reason to go on a bounty hunting expedition. That said, this was an expedition that put them up against one of the most powerful criminal enterprises in the Mid Rim.

“This is Pyxis we’re talking about, though,” she cautioned, hoping to raise the issue sooner rather than later, but Jast was already engaged, mid-conversation with Val, who had been standing expectantly at the top of the Raven’s boarding ramp.

“I will tell you all the details as soon as you tell me why the hell we have people falling out of my ship,” he answered their blue-skinned mechanic.

“There must have been some sort of issue with the lock on the external hatch down there. I’ve been looking into it,” she offered in return, but even as she spoke he turned down a corridor, following Boqorro’s voice.

Telsa came to a stop, hands on her hips as she followed him with her eyes until he was out of sight. She looked at Val, who hit a button on the side of the rampwell. After answering her touch with a heavy chunk, the ramp ascended. “He’s not happy about this one,” Telsa said. Val waved a hand as she waited for the ramp to finish closing.

“He’ll get over it,” she answered easily. Val and Jast had a long working relationship. Jast had never given her the story in full, but from what Telsa had pieced together Val had been a farm girl on Ryloth, repairing agricultural vehicles when Jast picked her up. Why exactly Val had signed on with Jast—why Val was working on a Rylothian farm after graduating from a Core Worlds university with a degree in mechanical engineering—Telsa had never figured out. There was some kind of story there, she figured. Point was, they’d been flying together for three years and then some, and trusted each other implicitly.

“Yeah,” Telsa agreed. “We got a good deal,” she continued, appraising Val of the situation. “I’m going to prep the valves for release so we can off-load the cargo.” She moved for the cockpit. Val followed, the Twi’lek’s nose down in a datapad as she considered what looked to be a readout of the Raven’s internal sensors. “So, who’s our surprise guest?” Telsa asked.

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- - -


The Raven Trespass - Boqorro



“And that’s all I got out of her,” Boqorro finished, having relayed his conversation with the prisoner thus far in full. Jast nodded, regarding the Zelosian with pursed lips and narrow eyes.

“Thanks Boq,” he answered. Boqorro nodded and took his position against the wall. The captain turned in full toward their pale, green-skinned prisoner, who still sat on the chair Boqorro had commandeered from the mess. “T’a? That’s your name? My friend here tells me you speak Basic. Is that correct?” After receiving an affirmative response, the captain pressed on.

“Perfect. Now, T’a, you are on Nar Shaddaa, at the primary place of business of one of the most feared crime lords in all of Hutt Space. You’ve broken the laws of both the Galactic Republic and the planetary government of Ord Mantell by trespassing on my ship, and you've offended my sense of hospitality by complicating a tremendously important business opportunity for both myself and my crew. So, what am I supposed to do with you? Because the way I see it, I can fly you back to Ord Mantell and hand you off to the local law enforcement authorities there, or I can dump you in an alley here on a planet with one of the highest murder rates per capita in the entire galaxy. I'm not sure I would feel particularly terrible either way.”

Boqorro smirked as Jast finished his little speech. Boqorro wasn't much for words, but he appreciated the captain's affinity for them. Of course, Jast was far more bark than bite. In Boqorro's experience, you watched out for the quietest people in the room. Those were the real killers.

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Raven Trespass - T'a Tarinai



T'a gave the captain a droll stare, or at least it might've looked droll had the sugar water not been making her look like a queasy human. Perhaps she was simply queasy from the options presented to her, neither of them particularly appealing. Whatever her gastrointestinal condition, the stare she gave at the captain was one of curious study; the neutrality of it tinged with fear.

Changing the subject slightly, she intoned, "Weel, E am very good at fitting eento tight spaces. E am also handy with a heedrospanner. E assure you E deserve what E get, since E had no particular destination or grand mission een mind. E hope to conveence you otherweese." She reached into the brown leather fanny pack at the front of her waist, pulling out one such device. "E suppose you wonder how E was able to access your landing gear from the outside weethout treegering the emergency weight deestribution alarm?" She twirled the hydrospanner for effect, then set it down next to her, raising an eyebrow all the while.

This was partly bullshit, considering all she had to do was cut three wires, then manually trigger the lift-up gear sequence when liftoff was achieved. A public terminal on Ord Mantell had shown her a holographic diagram of the basics. She did have a knack with machines, but T'a had not the frankest idea what her limits were. If the captain ordered some sort of test of her abilities, with another mechanic on-board to check her work...

T'a didn't even want to ponder the consequences of raising the wrath of this man. Suddenly her chances of survival seemed pretty slim at best.

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The Raven Trespass - Boqorro



“You’re good with tools and know how to mess with a starship given access to the right places,” Jast said coolly. “Sounds like you might be a dangerous person to keep on a starship. I’d hate for us all to wind up smeared across a few lightyears’ worth of space because you stuck a hydrospanner in the fuel intermixer. Dropping you off in an alley somewhere is sounding like the better option.”

“Captain,” Boqorro interjected, “we have restraints. We can hold her safely until we get back to Ord Mantell.” Jast was not a killer, at least not like the sentients Boqorro ran with while working for Vaga the Hutt, but he wasn’t someone to take lightly, either. The captain had served with the Republic Army for years during the Great Galactic War, he knew, and fought the Empire on a dozen worlds over the course of his service. He’d killed a lot of people and seen a lot of people killed in that time. On the wrong day, Jast was a very dangerous man. If Jast's tone said anything, this was looking like a wrong day. “Perhaps we should step out for a moment,” he suggested.

“Yeah,” Jast said, straightening up. The captain rolled his shoulder and stepped out of the airlock. Boqorro followed, and the captain hit a button on the control panel. The doors hissed as they closed shut. Boqorro pressed the intercom, ensuring it was off so that their prisoner would not overhear them. “Stressful day,” Jast said, running a hand through his hair as he looked up at the security chief.

“Mhm,” Boqorro intoned. “You told me to bring this girl back on the ship. Why was that?”

“You know what they’d do to her if we handed her over,” Jast answered.

“You’re not going to leave her to die in an alley,” Boqorro said. "Not after that." Jast nodded, turning to look at the Zelosian through the viewport.

“No, I’m just,” he said, looking for the word, “heated. Don’t like having guns in my face, Boq, same as anyone else.”

“You’re still alive. I’m still alive. Telsa and Val are still alive,” Boqorro answered, “and this girl is not languishing in a cell. And we got the deal done, I think?”

“Yeah. We did,” Jast said, moving a hand to rest on his hip. “Yeah. Search her. Thoroughly. No commlinks, tools, anything. If she has anything that resembles a datapad I want that for inspection. Then give her a bunk. If she comes with us off-world, we’ll confine her to quarters. If she wants to stay here on Nar Shaddaa, that's fine too.” He exhaled deeply. “Telsa and I have a date with the Hutt later. You take care of this, we’ll take care of that. Alright?”

“Understood,” Boqorro answered, and Jast turned and made way back toward the cockpit. After he turned the corner, the tall, coal-skinned security chief manipulated the airlock’s console. The doors slid open with a hiss. Boqorro smiled broadly at the Zelosian. “Welcome to the Raven Trespass.”

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Raven Trespass - T'a Tarinai



Something about the way the grinning dark security chief said "Welcome to the Raven Trespass" made T'a shiver both visibly and internally. Her auburn hair flitted away from him, the source of the psychological stimulus of the "I'm saying hello to you, but I really don't want you here" vibe she was perceiving. She supposed this was a better response than she could have expected. The already raised eyebrow slid higher as she asked carefully, "Wait just like that? You're not going to deport me?" Immediately suspicious of something that seemed to come far too easily, she continued, "What ees the catch? E don't have to entertain you or something? Like E said, E'm not very good with people. What do you eexpect een reeturn?"

At the moment, her hair made T'a look like she was facing a wind tunnel with Boqorro holding the place of a turbine. She tried to will it to stop, but sadly she was having a bad hair day. No surprise given how many days she had mistreated it, having never particularly cared for her hair all that well in the past beyond a daily luke warm sanisteam.

Thus, she had to sit there, enduring what she thought might be a glare, but couldn't really get an accurate read on the big fellow. If he were a machine, she could just look at his wiring. She pushed that image out of her mind as quickly as it appeared, blinking and again trying to shove down her wild flyaway hair into submission. The green spots on her otherwise pale cheeks deepened as her fists clenched.

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Khulbe's Palace - Nima Tarkona



Nima sat quietly at the foot of the dais for the entirety of the meeting between Jast and Khulbe, focusing mainly on their conversation as her eyes wandered about the room. Eventually they had settled on Telsa, who was obviously uncomfortable with the company she found herself in. It made the Twi'lek smile. The woman would have to do better than that if she was going to keep accompanying the captain on his business ventures.

Overall, Nima was impressed with how Jast handled himself during their talk. He seemingly knew how his way around the Hutt, succeeding where many others had failed to do so, but she wasn't expecting the drug pitch. Honestly, she had no idea what the human male was bringing to the table, however, she was still surprised that the one who stood up for a complete stranger was coming to her Master with a substance that will potentially enslave the minds of it's users. She knew Kyber as many of the girls used it, including some of her friends when with their partners of choice. It is forbidden of course but even in a Hutt's palace, there will always be those who think the benefit outweighs the consequence of breaking the rules or that they can get away with it. She has seen others become addicted to the sensory high and it was not a pretty sight nor something she ever wished to experience. With a stronger version available, that addiction will become more prevalent which in turn, would make Master Khulbe even more wealthy should everything succeed as he hopes.

After coming to a pact, the negotiations ended with a dinner invitation. Nima stood with the rest of the girls to see their guests out and receive further instructions for the evening, not realizing the attention she was receiving from the main doorway. The women collectively bowed before leaving and departed in a flurry of cloth and excited whispers. The lethan Twi'lek wasn't in much of a talkative mood, barely adding any substance to the conversation being spearheaded by the other women of her group as they made their way back to their quarters. They talked shamelessly about how they found Jast attractive, speculated his relationship with his female companion, and overall were excited about this new Pink Kyber. The only one of their group who even noted Nima's mood was Ehottecri, as she also was hardly interested in the main conversation. The two women were virtually two sides of the same coin and their friendship was more substantial between each other than with the other women of their troupe.

"A credit for your thoughts?" asked the Togruta woman.

The question coaxed a soft smile from Nima, but she wasn't ready to speak with the other woman as she was still trying to figure out how she felt about the whole situation with the captain herself. "Maybe later Ehottecri? I'm still trying to sort through these thoughts myself." Ehottecri did not press the matter further as she knew Nima would open up to her when she was ready and instead comforted her friend as they walked back to their rooms, wrapping a friendly arm around Nima's shoulders in reply to the Twi'lek's request. She took deliberate care not to crush her head tails.

Once back in her quarter's Nima crashed onto the bed, her crimson skin a stark contrast against the white sheets, and slowly emptied her mind. She had some time before she was needed back at the throne room for dinner but the rare-skinned woman wanted to make sure that she would be focused on the task at hand, so she took the time now to meditate. As soon as her mind cleared, she focused on one singular thing:

"What should I wear?" she asked the room, turning her head to rest her golden eyes on the closet door before eventually sliding off the mattress.

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The Raven Trespass - Boqorro



“He didn’t say much about that,” Boqorro answered the Zelosian. He moved into the airlock and knelt to search her, set on confiscating her tools, electronics, and so forth, per the captain's instructions. “I think just don’t cause the captain any more trouble. He’s willing to take you off-world or leave you here on Nar Shaddaa, according to your preference. I think this world is not a safe place for someone like you, though.”

Boqorro had spent most of his life on Nar Shaddaa. Even before moving into its underworld, he had known it to be an incredibly dangerous place. He’d seen more than enough dead vagabonds in alleyways to know T’a wouldn’t last long on the Smuggler’s Moon.

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- - -


The Raven Trespass - Jast



Jast entered the cockpit just as Telsa closed out a call with Khulbe’s dockworkers. “Off-loading the cargo now, captain,” she informed him over her shoulder.

“Thanks. Are you ready for our overnight?” he asked. Telsa swiveled in the seat to face him.

“I don’t know if I’m up for this one, captain,” she said, tucking a blonde lock of hair behind her ear. “This isn’t my scene. I don’t mind what we do here, obviously, but this job, these people?”

Jast nodded, thumbs in his pockets. “I know what you mean,” he said, regarding the floor for a moment. “Let’s just take this one step at a time and see where we come out tomorrow.”

“Jaren, I shot down an Imperial gunship for you. We got in deep with spice dealers. We committed piracy. Now we’re looking at taking on a major cartel, and if we don’t follow through on that we’re making an enemy out of a major Hutt,” she said. She leaned back in the pilot’s seat, fixing her eyes on the cockpit ceiling. Jast sank into his seat on her left. “When I left the civilian life behind, I didn’t plan on making it so I could never go back. I’m afraid, Jaren. I’m scared if we keep running like this we’re going to get to a point where we can’t stop running.”

“You can go back,” Jast assured her.

“As a wanted criminal? If we live that long?”

“I mean you can go back now. Our next stop is Coruscant,” Jast replied. Telsa looked at him, her cool green eyes meeting his. Despite her words, she was composed, collected. It’s what made her an ace during the war, and the best first officer he could ask for. But he knew her words said far more than her face. “You’re not wrong,” he admitted. “We have a lot of people out there with reasons to take a shot at us, and this is going to add people to the list. If it’s too much, you can get off at Coruscant. I wouldn’t blame you. I can talk to Jacen about setting you up with Coronet. Or the Service, even. Whatever you like.”

She looked away, maybe rolled her eyes. Smiled, almost defeatedly. “I’ll think about it,” she said. “Give me twenty minutes to get ready. I’ll see you by the ramp?”

Jast nodded. “Sounds good.”

Twenty minutes later, Telsa arrived at the rampwell, bag over her shoulder. She gave him a smile, and Jast hit the button. The ramp began descending with a groan. Once it finished, they descended, bound for Khulbe's palace.

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Raven Trespass - T'a



T'a shook her head slowly, not quite believing the seeming genuineness of the man's words. She thought she sensed sarcasm mere moments before, but now that was gone. Replaced by what though? Acceptance? Surely not so soon. That was impossible. Part of T'a really didn't want to feel indebted to these people. That same part of her wanted her to go back to the authorities on Ord Mantell, turn her in, and face the consequences. She had disrupted the natural balance of these peoples' lives with her very presence and choices. Her grandmother would indubitably be rolling over in her grave if she could.

As Boqorro removed the last of her belongings, namely the leather toolbelt she had scavenged from her grandmother's basement over the years, she looked down at him and asked the question. "E...what about the port authorities here on Nar Shaddaa? Who ees in charge? E deed come all the way across the galaxy to discover me potential. Maybe eet ees really justice to see if E can survive on harsh planet weethout help? What you are doing does not seem fair for you. I do not deserve eet."

What in the sap are you doing? she screamed at herself mentally. They're letting you off easy! Why are you sabotaging yourself? Stupid stupid stupid! Shut your vinehole! Yet the words were out there and she could not take them back. "Why take a chance on a total stranger?" she finished, kicking herself. Curiosity killed the carnations, her grandmother always used to quote. Still, it was one of those burning questions that she just had to ask, for better or worse. She had come this far with no regrets, might as well keep it going. Images of cleaning deck tiles with a toothbrush warred in her mind with wandering the streets of Nar Shaddaa a free woman. Was her fear really that petty? It's not like her grandmother never worked T'a a day in her life. She worked T'a to the bone most days, picking garden vegetables, weeding said garden, maintaining their singular moisture vaporator, and countless other odd jobs of the family cottage. What was so different about a starship's odd jobs? Maybe it was the fact that it wasn't HER very own starship. That pipe dream seemed to be getting progressively further and further away as she sat there helplessly tethered to a needle in her arm as the last of her worldly possessions disappeared from her sight. T'a wondered if she would ever see them again.
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Khulbe's Palace - Zura Lom



Zura Lom stood patiently in front of Khulbe, hands folded behind her back, shoulders straight, and gaze level as she met the Hutts dark gaze. She had once loathed the creature more than anything she thought possible and only taken a job from him to smuggle some spice when she was desperate. To her surprise she learned, much as Jast had, that Khulbe was not your average thug. He was smart, played the long game, and turned a tidy profit all while avoiding the attention of law enforcement of most major planets.

"What news of Yesolb?" The Hutt asked. D440 did not translate, Zura understood Huttese perfectly well and Khulbe understood basic.

"Our latest reports indicate that he has begun to move in on our operations in the lower levels of the city. I have a team standing by to retaliate but I wanted to ensure you approved." Khulbe might be a more generous and intelligent Hutt, but that didn't make him anymore merciful to failure. It was always better to wait for his direction than to assume something.

"No, let him gain ground. Use that time to try and track his source of spice. When we hit back I want to ensure we roll up all of his operation, not just the low level street thugs." Khulbe had eased back slightly so that his stomach rounded out and she watched the slow rise and fall of his chest. He was a large creature, though small by Hutt standards.

"I already have a lead that it is coming in via a pair of Corellian brothers. I don't have any names yet, but I should by the end of the week."

The Hutt gurgled and his mouth widened into what passed for a Hutt smile. "Excellent Zura. You never fail to impress me and your initiative is welcome." The big eyes rolled around the throne room, taking in all of his subordinates. Some suddenly found the ground very interesting while others met his gaze with a grin. There were those who could be trusted to do what needed doing, and those who could follow orders well. It was a good mix.

"I am ever willing to reward a skilled employee. After our evening festivities, take your pleasure with whichever of the girls you prefer."

Zura licked her lips and bowed low to the Hutt before backing away and heading toward the exit. She was already knew who she wanted, Ehottecri, the Togruta. The girl liked some rough fun, as did Zura, and it was not often that Khulbe so easily allowed access to her. Jast must have made the Hutt happy indeed.

Khulbe, meanwhile, had settled even more comfortably onto his platform, closing his eyes and thinking over the days events. He could hear the bustle began as slaves moved in to begin setting up the dinner. They maintained a respectful quiet though a few whispered and giggled with each other. Khulbe did not bother to correct them. Happy slaves were productive slaves and he did not see any reason to make an enemy in his own household.

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Khulbe's Palace - Nima Tarkona



Nima stood once more in her closet, pondering over what would best fit the occasion and her master's guest. Appearances were important to Khulbe and so they were important to her. Her survival in his world counted on her ability to be useful to him. She thought of their guest objectively, reflecting upon his interactions with her, how he carried himself, and his deeds.

The captain had morals, for what they were worth, and didn't care too much for what she had worn to greet him. He had treated her like a colleague rather than a sexual object and had ignored her bare skin. During their meeting, all that mattered to the man was his pitch to Khulbe and seemed to focus on little else. So, he most likely wouldn't care much for the more revealing articles of clothing in her closet and thus she ignored those. Nima turned to her more modest pieces, her slender fingers running across the various expensive fabrics until she found something she would be satisfied with.

It was a simple dress. Long, flowy, and made with black satin material. It was a "bandage style", where the woman wearing it could arrange the top portion how she wished. The logo on the inside material indicated it was from Scarif Styles, a company Khulbe had been recently making a lot of purchases from to outfit his girls.

"This will do..." she uttered to herself.

Before grabbing the dress, she took off her gold plated bikini and in it's place she put on laced undergarments that matched the gown, but only the bottoms. The dress itself was enough to support her chest. She pulled it up to her waist, letting the rest of the fabric fall to her feet, and grabbed the long twin strips of fabric that were to make the upper portion of the ensemble. She brought the strips over her shoulders and pulled one over the other so that they crossed snugly across her shoulder blades before bringing both pieces of fabric back to the front to cross underneath her bust, creating another 'x'. She then brought the strips behind her and tied them together in a simple bow that rested on her waistline. She made final adjustments, making sure that her breasts were covered and that the her bow was secure. If it were to come undone, there wouldn't be much keeping the dress on.

Nima wasn't one to care for accessories, but she decided to put on golden metal cuffs around her lekku and a simple matching headband to complete the look. The shoes she kept the same, choosing comfort over an actual heel as this was not the occasion for it. Satisfied with her choices, she left her room to wait for the other girls in the main lounge of the slave quarters. It was of course a spacious room, filled with numerous round sectionals that were built into the floor to provide each group with their own semi-private area complete with a domed hologram projector that would contain audio for each specific group. The Twi'lek was the first of her troupe to be ready for the night, so she made herself comfortable on one of the unoccupied sofas. Not long after her arrival came Ehottecri, who was dressed similarly to Nima, but her dress was an emerald green color. It wasn't a surprise to the crimson skinned woman that her closest friend came to the same conclusions as she did, she used to be number one for a reason. Then came Ona, dressed in an acceptable medium sleeved cocktail dress that was form-fitting and came to her knees. It was a lovely maroon color. The last to arrive was the trio Ash, Iuric'piti, and Uovic'riti, dressed in matching dark grey deep v-neck dresses with thin shoulder straps.

I guess this is as modest as they'll get, she thought to herself. Aloud she praised each woman for their choices and proceeded to direct their party to the throne room where dinner was soon to begin.

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Khulbe’s Palace – Jast



Jast adjusted the jacket one more time in an attempt to make it look more… something. Formalwear was not a look he was used to seeing on himself. Cleanly shaven, staring at himself in a navy suit in the ‘fresher mirror, he found himself to look like another person entirely. It wasn’t a terrible way to look, he decided, and stepped out into his rooms.

The suite Khulbe had prepared for him was exquisite, which wasn’t a word that came to his mind often. Jast had stayed in some nice places—and some that were very far from nice places—but he could not think of one hotel room or suite that compared to the opulence of Khulbe’s palatial estate. Rich cloths of crimsons, whites, golds, and blues; a bed, softer than a cloud and perfectly comfortable, that could fit four or five people his size; a fully stocked bar with whiskeys, brandies, and gins from across the galaxy and crystal tumblers to match; marble surfaces, gold trimming to every fixture.

He moved for the liquor, pouring a couple of fingers of a pale blue liquid into one of the crystal tumbers. His commlink buzzed as he considered the bottle, and he answered. “I’m at the door. You ready?” Telsa asked.

“Yeah, come in,” he said. The door slid open with a wave of his hand over the marble counter’s electronic sensors.

Jast heard her step in, heels clicking on the tiled floor, and looked up to find her garbed in a red dress, tight, sleek, and elegant. He was suddenly conscious of his gaze.

She flashed a sparkling smile. “Never seen you in a suit before,” she said, approaching the counter. Jast slid the tumbler toward her and poured another for himself.

“I’m trying it out,” he said, finishing the pour and holding his glass up. The crystal tumblers came together, and he took a sip. The blonde pilot tested it with a probing taste, and then tipped the glass back. “You look good,” Jast said as she set the empty tumbler down.

“You too,” she said, and stepped in further to explore the room. “This is incredible.”

“Yeah. Must be good to be king here, I guess,” Jast answered, leaning against the counter. Telsa ran a hand across the bed’s plush covers, her wandering eyes settling on a series of art pieces hung across the walls. Jast wasn’t one for abstractionist art, but he assumed they were valuable pieces. It would be odd if they weren’t.

“You’re lucky you’re cute,” she said, looking back at him over her shoulder, “because I like expensive things and he’s way richer than you.” Jast laughed, and poured another half shot of the blue liquor.

“Just let me know and I’ll stick one of those in my bag on the way out,” he said.

“Don’t tempt me,” Telsa replied. “Don’t get drunk, we have a date,” she added. He tossed the shot back quickly and set the tumbler down.

“Right. After you,” he said, and followed her to the exit. As they made their way into a vaunted corridor that matched his suite in design choice and luxuriousness, he wondered if they’d just been flirting.

- - -


The Raven Trespass – Boqorro



“The captain's orders are the orders. As I said, you are free to stay aboard or go, as you please. You haven’t committed any crimes here though, so the local authorities wouldn’t have anything to do with you,” Boqorro explained. "Aside from sell you, perhaps. The criminals and law enforcement here on Nar Shaddaa are often not so different." Having relieved her of her possessions, moved his hands to the IV. “You have access to the ship, now, so no need for this. You are free to visit the galley.” He wasn’t quite sure about the Zelosian diet, but the Raven was fully stocked on general provisions. If nothing else, they had water. He removed the shunt from her arm and set it aside. He stood and offered her a hand to guide her to her feet.

“Most people on Nar Shaddaa looking to fulfill their potential leave Nar Shaddaa,” he added. “I wonder what Zelos must be like. You have a sense of optimism that I think you will find does not suit this world. I lived here a long time. I think you should trust me when I tell you it is better that you come with us, wherever we go next. I think there are many better places in the galaxy for you to be than here.”

“Sense of optimism” had not been the first phrasing that had come to his mind. “Stupidity” might have been closer to what he meant, but he kept that to himself.
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Raven Trespass - T'a



Optimism was not the first word that came to Tia's mind either as Boqorro undid the IV, rather roughly. There was nothing optimistic about her future. A thin dot of green sap, richer in color than before but still on the pale side, oozed out and T'a folded her arms quickly to hide it from view. Bandages are for the weak, she told herself. She could not afford to look any weaker or pathetic to these people. What sort of person put a bandage over a hole that tiny? Uneducated or not, she was still a person, and the look that Boqorro was giving her right now - was that disdain or outright disgust? - set her teeth on edge. She realized that Boqorro also asked about her homeworld, but figured he probably had better things to be doing right now, and a history of her homeworld could come at a later date. She may already have bored him with the short lecture on her species's diet.

"E eat like anybody else eef eet suits me. E am not picky," she replied after a short, quasi-awkward pause. "Eet can be sun or food or both." Studying her feet, she shuffled the digits, not willing to let slip that prolonged conversation and caring about the feelings of other people irked her increasingly much the longer they went. "E'll accompany you for a job or two if you truly have me, but only to repay me debt. Eef E do something you don't like, feel free to kick me out on whatever habeetable world that suits you. E may not look it, but E will survive and be euseful." Her tone, firm and unyielding, brooked no doubt, at least in her own mind, whatsoever of her resolve.

Looking around the available space, she inquired, "Wait, where deed the captain go? E thought he said we were leaving here soon? Or is he steel aboard the sheep?"

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Khulbe's Palace - Khulbe



The throne room had been completely transformed for the dinner. Long purple silken curtains had been lowered from the ceiling, curving down to be secure to the back of comfortable lounging couches that matched Khulbes. All lights beyond the curtains were shut off and the screens that normally kept the bright sun from blinding those in the throne room were drawn upward so that moonlight poured in to glimmer off the white washed walls, fading away into darkness near the floor. The loungers, one per guest, had been carefully arranged around a series of small tables that bore a great number of delicacies from around the galaxy. Khulbe had done his homework on Jast and there was no shortage of delights for the courier.

No space for dancing had been created, this was not that type of party. Small stools had been placed for the slave girls to occupy when they arrived, carefully placed around the edges of the meal so that their mere presence would be felt but no intrude on the meal. Many Hutts preferred wild parties and loud music, and while Khulbe did not mind it from time to time, he sometimes enjoyed an evening of stories from beings whose adventures he could never share.

The slave girls arrived first and were inspected briefly by Zura before being directed to their positions. Nima was sent to sit at the Hutts side. It was a small mercy he was not a handsy type and actually made an effort to bath so that his faintly dank smell was mostly disguised by the scented candles that burned in small pots scattered about the gathering.

When Jast and Telsa arrived they were offered their choice of a lounger before Zura joined them. She was the only one carrying a weapon. No other guards could be seen but Khulbe was certain Jast had sensed the presence of the Defel moving through the darkness. It was not a threat, more of a promise, of violence should anyone act out. At least it was subtle than Gamorreans.

"Jast, Telsa, please, enjoy." D440's mechanical tone was in strange contrast to the intimate scene. "I would love to hear of your journey here, and of your passenger."

Zura's lip twitched as she turned her gaze to the human. She had been wondering when the unexpected guest would be brought up.
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Khulbe's Palace - Nima Tarkona




A soft chorus of gasps resonated from the group as the girls entered the throne room, amazed by the scenery laid out before them. Being in Khulbe's select group of favorites, or just being his slave in general, meant these girls got to see more than most but that didn't mean they couldn't be awed by the extravagance of the palace. After being allowed a brief moment to appreciate the view, the girls were approached by Zura. Very few were immune to a weapons search when they're in the presence of Master Khulbe and that did not include the slaves. The Falleen woman made quick and efficient work of patting down of all the girls except for Ehottecri. She was searched like the rest of them but Zura's hands were softer, more intimate in the way they explored the Togruta's body for potential weapons. The two women exchanged the same heated look, one that spoke of knowledge of the other in the most intimate of ways possible. Nima assumed Master Khulbe's second in command was rewarded with a slave of her choice as that would be the only reason for such a public display.

With her search complete, Zura directed the girls to their seats and Nima's place was at her master's side. The twi'lek bowed and greeted Khulbe before claiming her spot at the stool provided for her. She settled down gracefully, crossing her ankles beneath her and resting her hands on her lap, her back straight. She was embraced by the Hutt's musky scent but she adjusted quickly, having become more accustomed to his aroma during her time with him. Though the scented candles were a welcomed help.

Her golden eyes surveyed the feast before her, taking in all that her master chose to serve their guests and ignoring her own empty stomach. She scolded herself for not grabbing something earlier and hoped her belly wouldn't betray her. She averted her gaze from the lavish meal only when Jast and Telsa joined the party and offered them a welcoming smile. It almost faltered at the mention of the incident at the hangar during her master's greeting to his guests. The prospect of huge profits weren't enough for the Hutt to forget the intruder on his property.
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