Star Wars - The Rancor Pit



The Rancor Pit
Four Hours After Meeting With The Supreme Chancellor

Celtar brought his Aurek starfighter to a halt on the empty landing pad closest to the diner. While it was probably intended for a freighter or other larger craft, the only thing that mattered to Celtar was that it was vacant and close to the front door. As he spooled down the engines and powered off the avionics and other systems, he grabbed his cane and popped the cockpit's seal. Pushing it open with his cane, he pressed the 'Lock' button on his navicomputer and climbed out of the cockpit with a fluidity and precision that told anyone nearby that he had been flying this ship for some time, years if not decades. He made the conscious choice to leave everything that he wasn't wearing in the cockpit. He wouldn't need the datapads and his blaster was concealed by his robes. Aside from his cane, he looked unarmed.

The front door opened with a woosh and Celtar strode inside without a moment of hesitation. The last time he had been here had been with Katarina and, if he knew of any other decent diners on this side of the planet, he'd have gladly recommended them. As it were, his memories of Coruscant were hazy and this was the only place he could think of to get a decent bite to eat. Plus, their drink selection was easily the best onworld. He looked around for anyone he recognized and, seeing none, made his way to the left and around the bar. The former Jedi found a booth near the back, where the sound of the kitchens would make eavesdropping difficult, and sat with his back to the wall. He always liked facing the door and it had saved him more times than he could count, both before he left the Jedi Order and in the years since.

A serving droid rolled over to him and tried to hand him a menu, though he waved it away. "I'll have a Bantha Blaster and either your Rancor Blood or your Rancor's Breath, whichever is on the special menu. I'll get a Shawda club and a Manaan slider. I'll open a tab but you can bill it to the Supreme Chancellor, I'm here on Republic business."
Corre had, rather predictably, been early, in spite of both the shaky timetable given by the pilot and the protests by Verse. Already the pair was on thin ice, given they were currently standing in the beating heart of the Republic, on the same planet as The Jedi Temple. They could ill afford to rub anyone wrong, and Corre was not inclined to test the irritable old man's limits.

She had refused food and drink, for now, though. No, she was intently digging through the datapad, focusing on the task ahead as she let Verse rest. She knew how laborious the meeting had been for her, given who was present, and despite the fact that there was noise, the steady din of the diner must have been an improvement over the waves in the Force the Grandmaster certainly gave off.

Absently, she glanced up at her fellow former apprentice, considering in silence the metal faceplate that made up the bottom half of her face. Corre often wondered how it felt, all this time later, and wondered if there could be anything more they could do to relieve that suffering. The train of thought was interrupted as Wyrton entered, and presumably, pretended they did not exist, moving past them and sitting near the back of the diner.

Corre stood soon after he settled in, nudging Verse's arm to stir her. "The pilot is here. I'm going to discuss our plan going forward. If you'd prefer to stay here and rest, you may. I just wanted you to be aware. I'll retrieve you when the talking is done, otherwise." A stiff form of compassion, but something she was sure would be appreciated.

The Sith slid into the booth in front of Wyrton, setting her datapad on the table in front of her as she did so. Back straight, hands clasped on the table, legs crossed beneath. The image of prim and proper. "Hello, Wyrton. I was hoping to make our partnership official. Will it only be the three of us?"
One thing you learned early on Korriban, if you weren't from a Good Family: how to stay aware of the world around you while you slept. Without nepotism or political inconvenience to fall back on, people who got too wrapped up in their own dreams tended to die mysteriously in their sleep before the end of their first year. It wasn't always other students looking for a leg-up in the apprentice selection process; sometimes it was parasites or predators that'd snuck in from out in the wilds which the guards (most of whom hated and feared their charges) had 'missed,' or rogue spirits from the tombs, lost and wandering and vicious enough to take their confusion out on unconscious children.

All this to say: Verse, who had lived a very dangerous life as a toddler on a half-mined-out bit of planetary debris even before her trip to Korriban, had not needed to be told that Wyrton had entered the diner. But she appreciated the gesture. And the kick in the ass to get moving, because without it she'd probably have stayed where she was until he'd gotten bored and left.

She lifted her head, blearily, glancing between Corre (who was already walking off, of course; there were limits) and the pilot. Corre was sitting down across from him. Well, no sense blocking either of their exits. Verse pushed herself to her feet, swayed slightly, and grabbed a chair from a nearby table. She dragged it over to the table, not making any effort to stop it from screeching against the floor, and sat back down. There. I'm participating. Two meetings with force-sensitives in one day, even if this dipshit doesn't know what he is. Whoopee!

At this range, and without the makeup she'd worn to the meeting, it was very clear that she was not in good shape. There were deep bags under her eyes, and faint veins of something grim stretching up from under her mask. Her hair was a thick, slimy yellow mess, too, somehow; maybe she'd tried to style it with something before coming out here and given up halfway through. Her getup, at least, seemed a little more competently arranged; she'd changed the robes she'd worn to the meeting for a slightly less conspicuous outfit, though the bright red and green clothes were stylized to fit with the bizarre design of her mask. She just looked like an ordinary gang kid, now--not so much the rogue sith.

"Evening," she mumbled. "I'm with her. Still." That was probably enough, right?
Jun had spent the last few hours roaming the streets of Coruscant. The first couple of hours saw him traveling down dozens of street blocks and even wandering around another few levels. By the middle of the third hour however, the novelty that the Republic’s capital roused within the mercenary began waning and he quickly found himself more hungry than interested in whatever it was this planet had to offer.

Fortunately for him, the words from the interesting and wise-beyond-his-years, Celtar, rang in Jun’s head: notably the ones mentioning the Rancor Pit. Just how good was this place? that the pilot chose it from the seemingly endless selections of restaurants on his planet. Obviously, Jun had to know. And with his crew being occupied for the remainder of the day, he saw little reason to not do so.

So, he hailed a cab and quickly found himself in front of the aforementioned restaurant. With it now being a good hour after Celtar said he’d be there, Jun had no expectations of actually coming across anyone from that meeting. Of course, he would be proven wrong as soon as he entered.

His eyes flickered with amusement at the sight of Celtar, Corre, and Verse. Jun glanced around the place to see if there was anyone else he recognized, or anyone he deemed worth keeping an eye out for, before he moved over to the trio’s table.

”This seat taken?”
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Oh, she recognized this one. He hadn't said much, if anything, during the meeting with the Chancellor, so while Corre didn't know what to expect from him specifically, she'd seen the way his... captain? leader? had acted, what he'd shown off. No matter how competent or confident she felt, this man, and his friends, were dangerous. She wouldn't let her crystal fall into their possession, nor Verse's.

With a glance to her sister, she stood from the booth, making room for the bounty hunter. "I suppose not. Feel free to take a seat," she said, motioning towards the now empty booth. "Will the rest of your companions be joining us, or are you here of your own accord?"

This...might have not been a great idea...I think that's...yep. Yep, I should be in real pain right now. Fraggin' weird.

Her body seemed to vibrate consistently as though Koushhk was humming with every cell of her body. Pain receptors were firing off constantly, but no one seemed to answer their calls upstairs. Death Sticks were a hell of a drug.

Her eyes seemed to refocus as a familiar sight opened up before her: the Rancor Pit. In another life, the woman had been a regular along with her mentor. Old man ordered literally the same thing every time. At the time, it had infuriated her. Now, such things failed to register a feeling through her spice-ridden mind. Well, at least she knew the food wasn't absolute garbage, and there was a faint twinge in her gut that she supposed was likely hunger. Memory being what it was, it was safer for the fighter to just eat something and vomit it up later than skip too many meals. Especially with these new implants.

Koushhk immediately regretted that decision as soon as she entered the restaurant.

This is a fucking persistent one.

A corpse sat at their old table and was visibly speaking with others. Only then did she remember the hallucination's announcement at the Chancellor's office earlier. If this was the Will of the Force, the Force could go fuck itself with Revan's lightsaber. Even worse, the rest of her body betrayed her whilst her conscious thoughts raged at this shittery. Koushhk was already at the table when her mind caught up with her seemingly-sentient-flesh.

Grabbing a stool from the bar, the prizefighter made her own special spot at the table. ONLY THEN did she realize the others were there...and actively talking to the corpse. Great, the goddamn mind-ghost had clearly attached itself to an actual person. She'd heard of such things before, of course. Horror stories of loved ones killing each other in a drug-fueled craze because they'd seen each other as mortal enemies. Mothers slaughtering their children because they were space-devils. Uncommon, to be sure, but it happened.

Well, time to make the best of a bad situation. Story of her kriffin' life. Nodding to the two women and the armored man (as she couldn't quite engage with the dead man yet), the fighter motioned for the serving droid.

Koushhk... Here...
" her vocabulator declared as she typed, "
Good... for fight. Good... for slice... too.

Oh, that's probably pain. Yep. Yep it was. Apparently the new implants didn't like her sitting on some shitty durasteel stool. Her ass and lower back especially vibrated to uncomfortable levels. Removing her helmet to reveal her heavily bandage-wrapped face, only her eyes, partially-blackened blond hair, and a small mouth slit were really visible as she lit a spice-laden cigarette in her mouth. Death Sticks were extremely illegal in the Republic, but spice was less so.

Others inside the establishment had begun staring at her, but that was probably because the Ubese fighter had removed their helmet in front of them...right?

The droid's arrival was answered with "
Week... ly... special... please... Corellian... ale... spice... d...

Some might find it unnerving for the fighter to continue using their helmet's vocabulator as it sat on the table before her, but that was their problem.

Republic's Senate Building
The table was rapidly filling and Celtar couldn't help but feel caged in as he felt his potential escape routes wither to nothingness. He made the conscious choice to avoid talking with anyone as people kept filtering in, deciding to talk all at once rather than wasting his time with each individual being. At the very least, waiting meant that they'd have to wait for him to finish talking before getting off any witty quips and, to Celtar, inconveniencing them was far funnier than giving them the opportunity to retort immediately. The serving droid returned with his order just in time for the Ubese to sit at the table and Celtar stuffed two bites of his sandwich into his mouth before he looked around the table, annoyance glowing on his face. "You're still with her," he started, pausing only to take a sip of his drink. "I couldn't tell. I've never seen you together before."

"As for her," he said, moving only his eyes to look at the woman who sat with such pompousness that she was closer to Jedi than Sith. "I think the only way you two could have come across as any more Sith-like in your approach was to pull out your laser swords and proclaim your hatred for the Jedi before attacking whoever fit the description of do-gooder." He paused, holding up a finger to keep them from talking as he ate yet another bite of his sandwich. "Lucky for you, I don't think anyone here cares so feel free to talk up how many Jedi you've killed or how many battles you've fought. Well, I say that. Don't, both because nobody cares and, more importantly, because I don't care. You're brooding and edgy, you're not interesting."

He swallowed more of his drink and turned to the obvious former soldier. "And before you ask, no, you're not interesting either. In fact, let's make a new game: If your group of choice massacred countless civilians, you don't get to talk until I'm done. If your group is focused on being so far up Exar Kun's ass that you only dress in black robes because it's cool, waves around beams of light because of course you do, and generally act like a Holonet villain from the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep, you don't get to talk until I'm done. If your group is so hooked on death sticks and spice because you need it to punch people good and if you can't string along a simple sentence without the vocabulator cutting out, you don't get to talk until I'm done. Well whaddya know? That leaves me. Good."

Celtar shot all of them glares as he took another drink and swallowed another pill. He'd need it to get through this meeting and, more importantly, this mission. "So, I hope you guys read the datapad because I've been way more focused on what fighter-girl over here had on hers and I haven't had a chance to read it. You're not getting that back, by the way, there were quite a few good recordings on there and I'm not ready to be done with it." As he spoke, he flashed a sarcastic smile. He'd been busy but not because he had been watching her datapad. He'd gone through it, sure, but he'd been too busy to actively search for information about her.

"If you have read the datapad, though that shit out. We don't need it. We need a ship and I have one on the way. It'll be here in an hour or two. Anyway, if Revan is working out of the Mid-Rim, at least for his materiel, we need to find where he's getting it all. So what do you do when you need to find one planet among millions? Why, I'm glad you asked, soldier. We don't. The Roche Asteroid Field is a good contender for resources as the Verps always put out high-quality ships and Revan would be an idiot to ignore their importance to his fleet." Celtar took yet another bite of his food, almost halfway through his sandwich. "Vanquo is a mining world that the Mandalorians looted during their time as the galaxy's resident problem child."

Celtar paused for dramatic effect before continuing, careful to speak before anyone else had the chance to do so. "Don't worry, Sithies, both sides were wrong. Anyway, their importance as a mining world means there's a good chance that Revan is getting them from there or, at least, is using it for something. Serroco would be a good option but the Mandos slagged it because they called their mom 'as ugly as a bantha,' I know because I was there. There are quite a few worlds that might be good options to investigate but the moral of the story is that the Mandalorians couldn't keep their blasters in their pants and either slagged the worlds or put them to the stake."

"There are a few others that might be worth a look but I know Revan prefers Fondor's shipyards to those of Corellia or anywhere else. And before you ask, I know because he took Fondor first and he holds it with an iron grip compared to Corellia, which I think he took both to hit the Republic and because the shipyards look pretty but not as pretty as Fondor's."

"But before we start visiting every planet that the Mandalorians haven't slagged, the Jedi or Sith haven't destroyed, and Revan doesn't rule with impenetrable security, we should visit one of the recent battle sites to look for navicomputers, ship logs, or, more important, free samples of Sith ships. If we get a few chunks of their hull, we can figure out where they were made." Celtar took another few bites of food, enjoying the silence by glaring between everyone at the table and holding up his hand to indicate that he wasn't done talking.

"And now the baby killers, Jedi killers, and domestic-violence warrant holders can speak. But don't bore me, make it interesting."
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The old man needed a shock collar. Verse wasn't going to be the one to supply one, though. Her head hit the table with a thunk, dislodging a few bits of gunk from her hair. In spite of her melodramatic posturing, though, she waited for him to finish speaking before she lifted her head and spoke up.

"Have you asked if the Republicans would be willing to part with a sample they already have...? I'm assuming there's some kind of analysis you want to perform that they haven't already done, yeah? Given how this has gone so far, if we're gonna spend weeks trapped together aboard a ship I'd like to make sure we're going somewhere we need to be first." There was also the obvious litany of catty remarks playing in her head--I know you are, but what am I, or um, actually, I don't always wear black robes, see, look at this incredibly loud and shitty outfit, or hm, wow, sure is curious how well you know Revan's history and preferences, but she wasn't really feeling up to giving anyone another chance to embarrass her today. She'd be thinking up things she could have said back to the Grandmaster for years, no doubt.

"Also, um. D'you know if they've got something that comes in paste form, or... Know what, nevermind." Back to pressing her face into the no-doubt spotlessly clean surface of the table.
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If Corre said what she wanted to say, the diner would end up a slaughterhouse by the end of the day. As it were, standing next to the booth she had just vacated, she stared down at the pilot as he went in on another of his vitriolic trades, lashing out at each and every person in front of him, regardless of if what he was saying were correct. Some part of her was impressed that he had that much anger hidden away, if unfocused. Another part of her felt giddy at the potential, of truly converting someone to her- their- cause.

The majority of her was angered. One of her hands balled into a fist, the half smirk that usually graced her face replaced with a stiff jaw. Verse spoke before her, which ended up a good thing. Corre let the slights go, for now, though she fully planned to ruminate on them later. Wyrton's plan was a sound one, but her sister brought up good points as well. Once both had said their fill, she spoke up, leaving the remarks unaddressed. "Certainly not every lead the Chancellor had gathered is worth ignoring. Perhaps we should, as mentioned, check one of their samples, then plot a course that takes us to both where the material seemed to come from, one of your shipyards, and one of our preexisting leads?"

The fighter had yet to speak beyond the vocalizer in her helmet, and as the pilot had said, she seemed to be half aware at best. Corre almost rolled her eyes at the sight. What a situation she found herself in. If this is what it took to get to Revan, if this is what it took to take the Empire for herself, so be it. She would endure, and her anger would be tempered into a fury that would fell the Dark Lord.

It was going to be a long several months.
”Just me.” He flashed her a smile before sitting down and having his attention immediately stolen by Koushhk’s arrival. He stared at her with equal parts curiosity and caution. The former on account of her memorable introduction in the meeting. The latter because of how she chose to describe herself.

Good at fighting and good at slicing.

And perfectly in place to serve as a hurdle if Jun tried to escape.

If he felt uncomfortable at that prospect, he didn’t do much to show it. He was quite relaxed, considering the circumstances, his eyes drawn more to the menu in his hands than anything else. It was only when Wryton began his speech that Jun looked up. With every passing insult, element of snark, the smirk on his lips only grew until he could contain himself no longer and began laughing once Wryton was finished.

”I’m sorry, ignore me. I wasn’t ready for any of that.” He explained in a light hearted tone as he picked up his menu. It didn’t take long for him to set it back down. ”I’ll have the Imperial City Deluxe and some of that spiced ale too.

With his order relayed, Jun turned his full attention back to the group.

”Why not just start with your lead if you got one?” He asked with a small sense of confusion. ”I imagine if the Republic found anything on their samples, they would have noted it on the datapads.”

He paused for a moment, seemingly meditating on his words before ultimately giving a shrug.

”Or, maybe not.”
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Laughter? Yes, laughter. The man was laughing at the dead man. Yep, that confirmed it. The delirium had latched itself onto some jackass who probably vaguely looked like the old man or sounded like him. Either way, fuck that guy. Koushhk made a mental note to pick up some antipsychotics before they left Coruscant though, just be sure.

Sample... bad... Republic... use... less.
" the Ubese "said" in response to the other women at the table, "
If... Republic... capable... galaxy... would... be good... er.

Having produced the datapad from the Chancellor, the fighter was now actively showing and pointing to the parts where it detailed the Sith warship materials being "strange" and their actual origin being labeled as "unidentifiable". Specifically it said that the durasteel alloys from the ship hulls seemed to be strange on a molecular level as well.

Verpine... strange... Maybe?
" Koushhk typed, "
No... Corellia... Revan... hate... Bad... work... Cruise... er... War.

The fighter then went silent as their order arrived. Whether or not she was actively choosing to not explain further or she'd lost track of her train of thought at the arrival of food and alcohol was anyone's guess. Dropping bombshells such as knowledge of Revan's preferences might be considered rude on some levels, but the whole debacle regarding the Interdictor-class of Star Cruisers wasn't exactly a secret.

Republic's Senate Building
Celtar had to stop himself from groaning as they replied, though he didn't stop himself from rolling his eyes as the two Sith and the soldier replied. He wasn't trying to hide his growing irritation with them, if anything he was trying to highlight it. The fact that they were so beholden to what little the Republic knew was frustrating beyond belief. They didn't even focus on what they didn't know and it was very rare that mysteries were solved by continuously examining the same information that had already failed you.

"Since I'm obviously not getting through to you, it's time for a metaphor," he began, finishing his sandwich before continuing. "Say we're trying to wipe out a mynock. But this isn't any ordinary mynock, this is a special mynock who really doesn't want to be caught and he has his little mynock buddies keeping them away from his den and he doesn't feed on power supplies when he knows people are around. Do we keep trying to search for him on our power lines? Do we keep looking for the den like we have been? No because we know that hasn't worked in the past and, if anything, the mynock has learned to expect it. We have to get creative. We have to come at this sideways, otherwise all of the mynocks will see us coming and leave or fight to protect their precious den."

Taking a breath, Celtar continued. "In case it wasn't obvious, Revan is the mynock and he's feeding on our power supplies. Why use the same information that has failed to help the Republic this far? More importantly, there are countless other groups running on the same information. We'll be so far behind in the search that you'll be able to say goodbye to your fortresses on Korriban, humble militaristic abode on Dantooine, or drug den on Nar Shaddaa," he said, looking at the two Sith, the soldier, and the Ubese in turn as he spoke about what he thought they'd use their reward money for. "Either nobody is going to be successful with this information or, and this is far less likely, somebody is already out there who will be."

Celtar took another swig of his drink, leaving only his Rancor's Blood left to drink. "I don't know about you guys but I don't like failing. But, as our soldier friend and our pit fighter so intelligently said, the Republic has shit intel and has failed to yield any decent results, both fighting and otherwise. If they had better information, we wouldn't have a job."

Celtar pulled his cane out from next to him and used it to slide a drink across the length of the table over to Verse, the Sith girl who had asked for nutrient paste. "This might help you relax and, if you're not going to drink it, your 'I don't know how to control my face' accomplice over there could certainly use it." He ate a bite of his Manaan slider and continued. "Don't you worry your pretty little heads if we need to be somewhere. Aren't you guys supposed to believe in the Force or something? I don't know much about Jedi or Sith, whatever the difference is supposed to be, but I always heard that you're supposed to believe in the will of the Force. If you ask me, the Force wants us to get our own samples, collect our own leads, and tread our own path."

The Jedi-turned-pilot returned his cane to his side, silently pondering and rejecting the idea of flipping up the returning server droid's tray and ruining the soldier's food before he got a chance to dig in. He was frustrated at all of them but he didn't actively hate them, at least not yet. They were, however, providing more proof that he should have simply continued to make his living as a freelancer rather than being responsible for other people. He groaned and looked around at them once again. "If we get a sample, maybe some information from a destroyed ship's navcomp, and an IFF transponder or two, it should lead us in the right direction without sticking our necks out where they might be taken off. If we don't get any of these things, we start looking elsewhere and going to the dangerous places like Fondor or Revan's front yard. That one isn't a metaphor, I figured we'd just stroll up to his door and ask him to surrender. If we eliminate the likely, we can start narrowing down the unlikely. We're searching for a burr seed in bantha dung, here, and looking through the same piles that everyone else has looked through is a good way to end up with shit on our hands and nothing to show for it."
About halfway through Wyrton's latest lecture, Verse got bored. Or, well. More bored. Bored-erer. Whatever. She grabbed one of the dataslates and navigated through to the data request form, making no effort to appear as if she were still paying attention. A few moments later, she had what she was looking for. She thumbed through reports on Imperial capital ships and fighters, her brow furrowing as she read.

"[...] don't know much about Jedi or Sith, whatever the difference is supposed to be, but I always heard that you're supposed to believe in the will of the Force. If you ask me, the Force wants us to--"

Verse forced a raspy sigh out through the grill of her mask, then raised her voice, cutting Wyrton's rambling string of insults off. "We've got access to IFF data recovered from Imperial ships--dozens of capital ships, and thousands of fighters."

Because of fragging course we do; the Republic is incompetent, but not that incompetent. She glanced over at Wyrton, noting that he was apparently trying to carry on as if nothing had happened. Again--whatever. She let her voice sink back to its usual soft rasp, directing her words at the people who might still be paying attention. "We've got a proportionally similar number of hull composition reports. The IFF tags say the ships all come from Fondor, but there's a note here saying that's impossible. Maybe it's spoofed; I don't know. Republic Intelligence thinks so; they just can't figure out why."

She began drumming the table with her fingers, tapping out a four-beat rhythm to go along with her words.

"But the durasteel used in the ships, the fighters, Sith armour, everything--it's chemically identical. Completely identical. Every single sample, the exact same." Verse glanced around the table, impassively, and set the dataslate down so that they could get a look at it for themselves.

"There's a note here from Republic Intelligence that they'd like a navicomputer recovered, but that one would need to be taken from a functional Imperial capital ship--not a wrecked one--since computers aboard scuttled ships are automatically wiped. You want try an infiltration?" She turned to Corre, gauging her reaction, and then gave the other three members of their group a once-over. They might be able to pass for a Sith's entourage, if they could keep their mouths shut. Which was apparently a big ask! Oh well. "Anything else, Wyrton?"

Belatedly, Verse accepted the drink Wyrton had offered her. She took a small plastic tube out of one of her pockets, attached it to the front grill of her mask, and inserted the other end into the drink. There was a horrible slurping noise.
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If not for Wyrton being the only pilot they had on hand, their being in the beating heart of the Republic, and currently standing in a crowded diner, Corre would have taken his head from his shoulders and never thought of him again. Before she quite knew what she was doing, she found her hands balled into fists, one of them reaching for her hip, beneath her shawl. She took a pause when she realized, and not a moment after, Verse spoke.

That distraction was a saving grace, giving Corre something else to focus on entirely. Initially, she watched over her shoulder as Verse gave out the information she had requested. She felt some amount of pride in her, that she had even thought to do this, but would hardly mention it, especially right now. "No, Fondor does certainly have among the best shipyards in the galaxy, but nothing that could produce at this scale, or rate. But maybe they're recruiting shipwrights from there? It may still be worth investigating."

The metal composition, on the other hand, she had no explanation for. For everything to be exactly the same, exactly the same, down to a presumably molecular level... by any normal manufacturing process, to her knowledge, that should be impossible. Corre took the datapad as Verse relinquished it, scrolling through as her sister finsihed her own small speech, though one much more bearable.

"A navicomputer..." Her knowledge of starships, of any size, was admittedly not what it should have been, having not been taught in piloting much to this point. It had been on the list, before Jakal's untimely death, and she hadn't had much time to get lessons. "An infiltration could work, so long as no one aboard recognizes us. By nature, we will already hold authority. We would have to hope that Revan hasn't passed down any orders to specifically bar something of that nature." He likely had, of course, but it was worth testing. Many of the Empire would fear displeasing a Sith of any rank.

Corre set the datapad down, and followed Verse's gaze to the pilot. "I believe getting our hands on a navicomputer, as Verse said, may be our most clear path forward. It would have to hold navigational data from where it came from, unless they regularly purge that information, but if they do, that would likely make maintenance and repair substantially more difficult. If you have an objection, share, but please do make it succinct, I fear my head may split open if you begin rambling agian."

Navi... computer... easy... part... tough... code... need... officer...

Koushhk only caught half of the conversation as her order arrived. She still had to move somewhat delicately as parts of her body didn't quite want to cooperate well after her surgery, but that wasn't about to stop her from absolutely demolishing the sandwich the droid had delivered. Plus, a benefit of speaking through a text-to-speech vocabulator was that she could eat and talk at the same time. The only limit was whether her own mind would allow for such a division of focus. The soldier next to her, on the other hand, seemed to just be focused on the food. Koushhk understood that.

Dank farrik.

She'd blinked too long. That must have been it. The food had lowered her defenses and the soldier's body language had walked her mind into it. Had to have been that. Well, that and the spectre of her former teacher.

See, for the others, the fighter was just sorta paralyzed for a moment...her eyes sort of glossing over as she looked ahead with a bit of a grimace...

To Kousshk, the bloodied remains of a Republic soldier blew apart in front of her as she led her men into battle with the Mandalorians in the Lower City of Taris. Her ears rang violently as explosions turned the city depths into a torrid battlefield. Blaster bolts and various other munitions flew by her as she charged one of the many Mandalorian fortifications. One of the cursed Mandalorian Neo-Crusaders popped into view, a primed thermal detonator in hand.

Another blink. The restaurant returned. The Neo-Crusader was gone. The tinnitus remained but more subdued.

Oh...oh great we're back.... back to our regularly scheduled shittery.... oh shit, my sandwich. Kriffing hell this is good.

Republic's Senate Building
Celtar locked eyes with Corre as one of her hands balled into a fist and the other moved beneath the table. He maintained eye contact with her as he shook his head, his hand adjusting slightly on his cane in preparation for an attack that didn't come. Yet. As soon as he was sure that she wouldn't try anything, he broke eye contact and looked between everyone else at the table. They weren't getting it, a fact that continued to frustrate Celtar beyond belief.

"If you want to zone out or, space forbid, your heads explode, I'll keep it simple: You're all missing the point." Celtar adjusted himself in his seat, preparing himself to leave and making sure he had all of his equipment. "You can trust the Republic all you like. I don't and I never have. A government that relies on the mysterious Jedi to solve their problems and then falls victim to the same Jedi isn't one who I trust to do the legwork needed to give us quality results. You can trust their results all you like but you'd be idiots not to verify what they've given you."

"I'm not saying we spend months collecting sample after sample but if we're going to already be at the site of a recent battle, we can snag navicomputers, samples, and as many ship logs as possible at the same time. It's efficient and, more importantly, it gets us our own results. They might say the same thing as the Republic's but at least we'll know we're going off of good information." The spacer stood and exited the booth, pushing past anyone who might happen to be in his way. Standing next to the table, he continued speaking. "And for those of you who think that infiltrating a Sith ship is as easy as flashing some old credentials, you've lost your idea privileges. If I wanted to be captured by the Sith, I'd find a much more interesting way than surrendering."

Celtar readjusted his weight on his cane, eyeing all of them with a mix of disappointment and irritation. "Feel free to keep floating the same ideas in a circle, I've got more interesting things to do. I'll be back in a few hours with our ship, I've got some tuning to do on it. If you hate what we're doing and are deadset on getting yourself killed or captured, feel free to find another pilot. If you actually want to survive this suicide mission, stick with me. I've been in more scrapes than any of you have years alive and you don't grow old as a pilot if you're not good. Be here, and ready, when I get back or I'll assume you've had some brilliant idea that got you captured."

Celtar began walking away from the group before turning around for a moment and grabbing the datapad that was in front of the Ubese. He pressed a number of keys before placing it back in her lap. "Ubese fighter, Kousshk, was it? If you want your datapad back, meet me at these coordinates in an hour and a half. I need someone who can fight and someone who can slice and, as you so aptly put it, you 'slice good.'" With that, Celtar turned and left, making his way back towards his fighter.

He popped the cockpit as he neared it, climbing into it with a sense of agility that belied the extent of his injury. He pressed a number of buttons, activating the fighter's flight systems and closing the cockpit at the same time. As soon as everything had stabilized and his pre-flight checks showed green across the board, the fighter took to the sky and Celtar was gone.
By Marka, it was never-ending with this man. The moment he began speaking, having apparently heard none of what either herself or Verse had said, Corre rolled her eyes, and did her utmost to tune him out. He was blind to the assets, and the opportunity, in front of him. No matter what either of them said would change that, it seemed, and so she let him ramble and insult and reason his way through a conversation between himself and some made up caricature of her until he was satisfied and stood to leave.

Once he was suitably away, Corre turned her gaze from the ceiling to those still gathered at the table. "He's quite lucky we're deep in Republic space. Had he done that anywhere else..." The Sith let her voice trail, shrugging her shoulders. Everyone at this table now was a trained killer, more likely than not. They all knew how a disagreement of that type would end. "Verse, I believe it would be wise for us to find new passage. I feel you agree. Once you're done with your drink, we'll go. If you intend to stay with him, Koushhk... good luck."

Then, to the other mercenary, the presumed Jedi-hunter. "You seem to know your way around these types of areas. Do you have anywhere you suggest? Your crew seemed full already, and while you seem amicable, your leader appeared more likely to attempt to kill us as opposed to fly us along." Then, a look of surprise flashed along her face. "Oh, apologies. I forgot to introduce myself, amidst... that. Corre Kesyk." She offered a hand. "You?"
Truth be told, the moment Jun’s food arrived, he had not stopped eating. That wasn’t to say that he wasn’t actively listening to what was being said at the table, but from the very first bite he took of his order, he has not made a single attempt to speak.

And so, he listened.

To each word, to each sigh, to each frustrated breath. There was no shortage of entertainment at this table. Jun watched each member with great interest, only offering any semblance of an interruption when he somewhat noisefully slurped on his ale. To his credit, he would offer anyone who looked over at him after doing so a small, apologetic gesture.

With the departure of the pilot however, much of the excitement would go with him. Or agitation depending on who you were. By now, Jun had already devoured his plate of food and with the way he was eyeing the server droid, it was obvious he was intent on ordering something else. He wouldn’t get the opportunity to do so however as Corre called over to him.

”My leader, huh?” Jun chuckled without any further elaboration. ”No need to apologize. The name’s Jun."

He accepted her hand to shake.

"Just Jun.”

Now that they weren’t a word away from strangling Wryton, he took a moment to size the two Sith up. His expression remained amiable, revealing little of his findings.

”I’m surprised you didn’t just shoot that guy.”

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This was fully a lost cause. The man's head was so far up his own ass--Force, she didn't have the energy for the right kind of metaphor right now. If Corre wanted to--no, she was smart; the two of them would be booking with someone else. Maybe with Jun's crew--oh; she didn't trust them either. Well, that was probably for the best.

As for why she hadn't tried to kill the man...

"We'll have enough people gunning for us after that little display as things are," she mumbled, slumping forward until her head was resting on the table. "How many times did that idiot shout about what we were? Why does he think I didn't come to visit dressed up in robes and k'lor'slug-bone jewelry?" She sighed. The mask turned it into a hiss, like steam escaping a leaky pipe. "We couldn't wait for him here that long if we wanted to. Not unless we really were as stupid as he seems to think we are."
Corre nodded towards Verse, backing everything she had said. The truth of the matter was, they couldn't kill him. Not here. No matter how prideful they were, no matter how much stronger they were, at the heart of the Republic, they had to play by different rules. It mattered little if they agreed with those rules or not. "Precisely. As such, we won't be staying long. We won't be travelling with him, either, as it would very quickly leave us stranded in space without a pilot," she said, a sadistic half grin flashing on her face.

Already, the other patrons of the pitiful little diner were giving the pair odd glances, whispering amongst themselves. Corre pretended to pay it no mind, standing tall and proud as ever. "I do believe we have quite nearly overstayed our welcome. Verse, if you're ready. We need to find another pilot." She looked to the other two at the table one more time, nodding to each. "Good luck on your individual searches. Hopefully, if we happen to cross paths in the field, we can share information. We do so dearly want to see Revan brought down, just as everyone else does." With that, she turned, and began for the door.