One month after the events on Coruscant.
Shadie closed off the holocall and smiled up at Knarf; she had been talking to Brenum and Trylia. She was glad; her friends would come and pay them a visit after their affairs with the Chiss Ascendancy, before going to Tython.
‘What did Brenum say that Cathar’s name was again?’ asked Knarf.
Shadie thought a moment. ‘Zae-something, Zeen-something, Zoon-something?’
‘Zaereg,’ said Fane through the transparisteel window, standing outside and looking in. He smiled. ‘Can I come in?’ Shadie motioned for him to enter. ‘Mandalore finally gave them authorisation to land on Mandalore?’ said Fane, once he was inside the house.
‘Yes, I heard’ replied Shadie. ‘Every member of the crew has been checked and verified. Their files and records were double-checked and triple-checked, and cross-checked, cross-referenced. They’ve all been approved. Seems none have a bounty on their heads, yet.’ She laughed. ‘They want to meet with us and discuss.’
‘Discuss what?’ asked Fane.
‘I don’t know, they didn’t say; just discuss.’ She paused. ‘How are you feeling, Fane?’
‘Still a little shaken from last month’s events, but Gourd is definitely dead. No dreams, no episodes, no visions, no weird sensations in the Force. And I still don’t know why or how I had that strange connection with him, despite its purpose at the time. I guess I’ll figure it out at some point.’ Fane shrugged and changed his tone. ‘How about you?’ Fane had directed his question more at Knarf. ‘I know Kelbourn was close to you.’
‘Well,’ said Knarf, ‘when I first met him, I didn’t think I’d come to enjoy the guy’s company. He was a pain, but he was a clan leader and he extended to me the same friendship he’d extended to his clan mates. He saved my life, or helped me stay alive, on more than one account. I just wish I could have done the same for him.’
‘I understand. There was no way we could have detected Relsor’s deceptions in the Force,’ said Fane.
‘Anyway, you want to come along? We’re meeting the pirates at the tavern,’ said Shadie.
‘Oh, uh, no, I can’t, I’ve got…things…’
‘To avoid,’ teased Knarf. ‘What’s wrong? Scared the Twi’lek waitress is going to humble you again?’
Fane looked like he was feeling awkward. Lashika had been a skilled warrior and their friendly duel had embarrassed Fane, but sharing a drink ought not to have the same effects as being defeated by a Mandalorian. Shadie felt it had been a good lesson for Fane; that he should never assume to know his opponent’s skills. She looked at him in an encouraging manner.
‘Come on, you owe her a drink,’ said Knarf. ‘Just one drink.’
‘She’s not exactly my type, to be honest,’ said Fane, admittedly.
‘Then it’ll be a friendly drink,’ said Shadie.
‘It’s afternoon, she’s probably not even there,’ protested Fane.
Knarf came up beside him and stuck his neck out. ‘You’re coming along, and you’re having that drink. Brenum had me promise I’d make sure you did.’
‘Fine,’ Fane said, raising in hands in defeat, ‘I concede. But then you owe me a drink.’
* * *
The tavern was busier than usual at that hour, only because it was full of pirates and criminals. Shadie spotted the Cathar at the far end of the tavern, sitting with a few other pirates at a large table, waiting for them. Lashika walked up to Fane.
‘It’s nice to see you, Jedi,’ she said to him, her red lekku swaying slightly. ‘We’re a bit busy at the moment, but I’ll be on my break soon.’ She winked at him. Fane seemed more awkward than he had earlier.
‘Aha!’ exclaimed Knarf. ‘I see Talyc has made himself right at home, getting acquainted with some of the pirates.’ He laughed.
Talyc was sitting at a table surrounded by women, many of them aliens. He had his arms around two of them and was caressing a Twi’lek’s lekku. Shadie shook her head, laughing.
‘He’s always got a crowd, that one,’ she said.
Fane frowned and look down. Then, he gently caught Lashika by the arm.
‘Then let’s have that drink at your break,’ he said.
‘Give me a few more minutes and I’ll be all yours.’
Shadie walked to the table where Zaereg sat. He stood.
‘Hello, Zaereg,’ said Shadie, extending her hand and shaking his. ‘It’s nice to meet you. Brenum and Trylia have spoken quite a bit about you.’
‘Yes, Trylia,’ said Zaereg, ‘a shame she’s not here.’
‘I’ve got to say, you look very prim,’ she teased. His mane was exceptionally well kept.
‘You mean I look prim for a pirate,’ he replied with a wink. He motioned for them to sit. ‘The reason I wanted to speak with you is because we helped your fellow Jedi, and therefore helped you in a sense, by providing some valuable information, which from what I gather helped you defeat this Chiss Sith guy, Gourd.’
‘Yes,’ replied Shadie. She saw Fane sit down at a table as Lashika joined him. Shadie turned back to Zaereg. ‘It contributed to our success, for which we are very grateful.’
‘Except now we’ve got his nephew to deal with,’ said Knarf, ‘who’s apparently more powerful than Gourd was.’
‘I see,’ replied Zaereg. ‘Look, I’m willing to join your fight… For a cost. And then there’s compensation for helping you out earlier.’
‘What are you interested in?’ asked Knarf. ‘I’m sure we can accommodate you somehow. There are several forms of exchange, other than credits, like protection, weaponry…’
‘You’re a slicer, are you not?’ said Zaereg, interrupting enthusiastically.
Shadie’s attention drifted from their conversation. Zaereg seemed very interested in codes and slicing hacks, and if Knarf could provide that in return for their aid, it would free up some credits and weaponry for Mandalore. This meeting was not a Republic approved meeting per se, so everything had to be according to Mandalorian terms and standards.
Shadie focused on the conversation between Fane and Lashika.
‘Well, I’ve seen your fighting style,’ Lashika was saying. ‘It’s pretty impressive. Mind you, I’m not easily impressed, so when I say I’m impressed, I mean it.’
‘Thanks,’ said Fane. He kept glancing away.
Lashika crossed her legs and leaned in closer, placing her elbows in a criss-cross on the table. ‘So, are you bored with me yet?’ She sounded like she was joking.
‘I’m sorry, I just…’ Fane stammered. ‘I’m distracted.’
‘It’s just, to be honest, you’re not really my type,’ said Fane.
‘Is it an alien thing?’ she asked casually. ‘Are you only into other humans?’
‘No, not at all. Aliens are beautiful,’ said Fane. ‘I just…’ He swallowed. ‘Jedi duties.’
‘I understand,’ replied Lashika. ‘To be honest, you’re a bit young for me. Him, on the other hand,’ she motioned towards Talyc with her head, ‘now he’s something.’
Shadie looked at Lashika, at Fane, at Talyc. She didn’t want to look like she was eavesdropping, so she looked at Zaereg and nodded agreement, having no idea what she had just agreed to or about. She turned her head slightly, extending her senses to hear more clearly.
‘With all the ladies he attracts, one would think you’d have already had, you know,’ began Fane.
‘You know, no matter how much I try…’ Lashika shook her head. ‘Maybe today will be the day, eh?’ She smiled at Fane, winking, and put a hand on his. ‘I enjoyed our drink, Jedi. Don’t let your duties dictate your whole life to you. Live a little, eh? You’re a nice guy, and a good fighter. I hope to hang out with you under more…’ She seemed to search for the words.
‘You can put it that way. Anyway, my break’s over. I’ll see you around.’
Lashika stood and bent over to give Fane two friendly kisses, one on each cheek. Then she walked over to Talyc’s table, bending towards him, and whispered something in his ear. Talyc smiled as he beamed up at her. He looked at Fane and lifted his glass.
‘That’s amazing! Isn’t it, Shadie?’ Zaereg’s voice brought Shadie’s attention back to him and Knarf.
‘Uh, sorry, what?’
‘How Knarf fooled the Sith, pretending he was all dark side and just let them teach him some of their tricks,’ said Zaereg.
‘Yes. Don’t ever do that again, my love, okay?’
‘I promise!’ replied Knarf, as they both smiled at each other.
‘So what happened after, how did you let Shadie know you weren’t all Sith-like?’ asked Zaereg.
Shadie let the two talk. She stood and took a seat next to Fane. She put a hand on his back. He stirred, startled, and then relaxed again. ‘What’s the matter, Fane? Why are you sulking?’
‘I’m not sulking.’
‘A monkey-lizard could walk in and know you were sulking,’ she said.
‘Am I that obvious?’ asked Fane. Shadie nodded. ‘I’m not sulking.’
‘Then what are you doing? A beautiful Twi’lek spends her only break of the day with you and you’re not interested? Jedi duties?’
‘Master Eidahs, how very un-Jedi-like of you,’ he giggled. Shadie laughed. ‘Fine, I’m pining.’
‘Oh? And over whom might you be pining?’
‘No one,’ replied Fane. ‘No one who would take notice, so don’t you take notice of me.’ He sighed. ‘No, I need to focus on my Jedi duties. Right now, that means helping your man find himself an appropriate focus crystal, talk about focus.’ Fane stood and walked to Knarf and Zaereg. ‘Sorry to interrupt, but I need to borrow Knarf. We need to go crystal hunting.’
‘Crystals? For lightsabers?’ said Zaereg. ‘You’re not going all the way to the other end of the galaxy for that, are you? Save yourselves some trouble, I’ve got crystals.’
‘You do?’ said Shadie.
‘We’re pirates!’ Right, they were pirates. ‘We’ve got loads of them,’ said Zaereg.
‘Got any of a more orange type of colour?’ asked Knarf.
‘You know,’ said Zaereg, cocking his brow and leaning forward on one elbow, ‘add a few more slicing encryptions and base codes to the mix, and I think I might have just the thing.’
* * *
‘So what’s our next move, Relsor?’ asked Perce.
‘I’m not sure to be honest,’ replied Relsor. ‘The Force is clouded when I extend my reach towards Coruscant.’
‘Are you certain the Jedi were doing something to slice, or whatever you want to call it, into your Force alterations?’
‘I’m certain,’ said Relsor. ‘I lost my hold on it at the Temple. Someone somewhere was doing something. The illusions broke and then I could no longer create any. I had no problems creating a dozen illusions at the same time when I met with the Dark Council of the Sith Empire.’
Perce sat back in his seat. ‘Knarf can slice into my codes. The Jedi can slice into your Force codes.’
Relsor laughed. ‘You sound too technical, Perce.’
‘Apologies, my Lord. Your Uncle had me working for the Republic a little too long. I had to be a secretary for the Senate for a whole year before I became the Supreme Chancellor’s advisor. Kromus was still alive when we began putting this plan in place. We thought we would have it all, the Empire, Coruscant at my rule, and now it’s all gone to smoke, thanks to Knarf and Shadie and their friends.’
Relsor sensed the dark anger swelling inside him. ‘You itch to be at your full potential.’
‘Oh, I was itching, yes. It felt so good to unleash my powers on the Supreme Chancellor.’
‘What do your agents report?’ said Relsor.
‘Supreme Chancellor Emain has recovered and retaken his position. He has appointed Jedi as his bodyguards.’
Relsor frowned. ‘Any chance we may be able to send anyone to Mandalore?’
Perce shook his head. ‘Not in the state things are now. It’s too soon.’
‘They must have a weakness,’ said Relsor. ‘If it’s not their love, it has to be something else.’
‘I have an idea of what,’ said Perce, his face lighting up suddenly. ‘I think I know a way we can figure out some of their weaknesses.’
“Seekers of Darkness” is written by Celinka Serre (2020).
Disclaimer: The Characters in this Fan-Fiction are new and have original names. The story is an original written work. The story is derivative and consistent of Fan-Fiction since it borrows the franchise world of Star Wars. Certain jargon and places, or concepts mentioned, along with the SW Old Republic universe belong to Lucasfilm Ltd. and Disney. No characters or story lines from the films are used. No story lines or characters from the games or books are used. A handful of characters from the games may be referenced, but are not the main focus in this fanfic story. This fan-fiction story falls under Fair Use.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.