Not all of the hidden compartments within the Eclipse are used for the illegal transportation of goods. There is one located within the cockpit, in the wall just to the left of the pilot's chair. It's usually housing Tyron's datapad, when he's not carrying it around.
It's what I've wanted since I was a kid... what almost everyone has wanted since they were a kid: their own starship. Few people I knew could even think of affording one for years; nobody I knew would have imagined buying their own at the age of seventeen. If I'd suggested it was possible, they'd have dismissed me outright, or laughed and said something like 'he'd be the luckiest guy on the planet...'
... Yeah. Lucky, lucky me.
Does it represent escape? That's what they'd have said. Freedom to travel the galaxy, freedom to live how you want, freedom to explore, freedom, freedom, freedom!
As if. I'm back to being chained.
It came from Mon Calamari. I've never been there, but I have seen its people, so I can sort of guess what it's like. Water... lots of water. He said the ship could handle it as easy as space, but he would say that. Anything to draw me in. I even get to name it.
If he'd known me better, he'd have realized he didn't have to try. What choice do I have? Who else can I turn to? I don't know Coruscant the way they do. I'm alone here.
I've never been more alone...
I've been eighteen for twelve hours. I'm not likely to forget what happened today, not for the reasons you'd think.
Fyaar came to us today, Tomra and me, in a fine state. It's only been a year, but I already know everything about this man, this surprisingly foolish and simple man who, somehow, managed to ruin everything. I can't believe he's in charge of such a well-run organization, here. I refuse to. The others won't speak of it, but I'm sure there's somebody else pulling the strings.
Once, a couple months ago, I snuck by his 'office' and saw the door locked, as usual, and so I hung about the hallway, meaning to wait it out... well, it was about five minutes before curiousity got the best of me. It's an old door, and it never shuts all the way, so there was enough of a crack for me to just see through. Fyaar was in there, all right, sitting at his desk, looking scared as hell, and standing there, holding himself like a master giving orders to a slave... some weird reddish alien I'd never seen before. I swear he almost heard me getting close, but I didn't wait around long enough to find out. I got out of there, quick.
... But I've gone and sidetracked myself. Anyway, the Boss came to see me and Tomra today. We'd just come off a run, and were headed for the 'lek den, as usual, when he pounces on us and drags us aside. His face's got this worried look on it, and it feels like he can't talk fast enough.
"Boys, there's a mole. A mole in the group," he manages.
"Republic?" asks Tomra.
"Or our rivals, you know the ones. I'm not sure. But I have information that he's going to try to take me out, tonight. You're the only one I can trust, Tom, you know that, and seeing as you vouch for the kid..."
Anyway, he explains his plan to us... oh, it was almost exciting, the idea of hiding in his closet, waiting for the guy to make his move. Right out of an action movie. I figured I'd just sit back and let Tomra do all the work--more his sort of thing. But when the time comes, and the guy pulls the gun on Fyaar, he doesn't make a move to help him.
"Go on, kid," Tomra says, with a huge smirk on his face. "It's all up to you."
I'd barely fired a blaster before, so I don't know what he thought I could do. I didn't know what to do. But as I'm sitting there, peeking out the closet door, I spot Fyaar looking like a frightened child, and something just wells up. I throw the door open, and before the mole can even turn and look I've shot him. Point-blank range, full power setting--there was no way he'd survive.
My first kill.
It's a wonderful feeling, throws your stomach for a loop worse than if you'd had too much to drink the night before.
The Boss and Tomra are both impressed, and more than a little shocked. I hear them thanking me, but it's like their voices are a great distance away... not as loud as the one in my head, the one saying, over and over, to a replay of Fyaar's face in that moment:
The only one who's killing that scumbag is ME.
How stupid I was, back then.
There's no way to directly defy Fyaar without risking your neck, which I have no intention of doing. Far better to simply learn to endure and to make the best of it. Someday, there might be a chance to screw him over... but I won't be, not until I can find someone else to work for. The paycheck is the most important thing.
The work's not bad, not when you get used to it. Customs are so predictable, easy to avoid. Even if they stop you... well, it's surprising how far an official-looking document will get you.
And the perks... well. Those Twi'leks he keeps are some of the best on this side of the galaxy. And I've taken a wide sample by now, so I should know. I guess I don't agree with how he got them--or keeps them--but what's that matter? Nothing I can do to help them, besides give him a good report of their... skills.
He rewards success, and I've had plenty of that lately. This next 'delivery' is to Zeltros, and he more or less told me I could take my sweet time getting back. An entire planet of Zeltrons... yeah, this will be good.
Zeltros was great. I've always said that Twi'leks are overrated, and Zeltrons... well, they just prove that. Imagine an entire planet of beings that love to drink, party, all have an unquenchable libido... oh, and don't believe in monogamy. I mean, if there's proof that there's no god, it's that I wasn't one myself!
Speaking of theology, I'm pretty sure this planet tops any afterlife anyone's come up with so far.
It's a shame I'll never be able to come back.
Oh yeah, there was a minor flaw in the whole perfect thing. Apparently I knocked up one of them. I don't know what they expect from parents but I'm not sticking around to find out.
Her name was like... Tavita or something. I only really remember because she was a little different from the rest. Half-human, I remember someone saying. Not quite as forward, though once I'd gotten to know her she was just as willing. And as great at it. Oh man, were they all.
I could've stayed forever. This is lame.
Whatever's out there, I hate you.
Things changed while I was away, and I'm not sure if I like how.
I mean, on one level, everything's as it was... Coruscant's under-city is as much of a slum as ever; I'm still getting assaulted for 'luck' at cards (though luckily I made friends with a doctor; I've needed him); Fyaar's Twi'leks are still willing to pretend to be willing. And free. Most importantly, free.
But the operation itself seems different--not overtly, but in subtle ways I'm picking up on, slowly. There are whispers that Fyaar cut a deal with the Empire (and dealing with the Sith is never good news) to compete with some of the more extensive smuggling rings (which is also a terrible idea).
Bottom line: I'm going to be sent into more and more danger. Which is bad.
Next job's to Nar Shaada. Always an interesting place, if you stay clear of the Hutts. Maybe I'll find some vice to take my mind off it.
Note to self: a little self-control might do you some good.
I knew she was one of Quee's dancers; everyone knew it. That's why they moved away whenever she got close, because it's common knowledge that the Hutts don't take kindly to anyone who touches their objects of amusement. They moved away, but I didn't. And one thing led to another and...
I'd blame the drink, but honestly, it was the risk that made me want her.
Given that some of his cronies tracked me down about three hours after she left the apartment, though, I'm thinking it really wasn't worth it.
If I worked for someone important they might have just threatened me, but nobody around here respects Fyaar. The three of them amused themselves by seeing how many bruises they could leave on me... until I was out. When I woke up I was on my ship, all my credits were gone, and there was a holorecord in my pocket.
Quee himself was on the recording, laughing it up as he told me I was as good as dead if I ever came back to Nar Shaada... and just to twist the knife deeper, told me that the dancer was no longer any use to him and would be left to sell herself in the streets. He miscalculated if he thought I'd care.
The banishment, though... that hurts my credibility. Slimy bastard.
I think this could be my way out.
After my more-or-less banishment from Nar Shaada, I was kept busy largely running back and forth from Ord Mantell. Fyaar was being quite vague about it all, but I got the impression he's attempting to cut into someone else's "market", as it were.
Which makes me his guinea pig. Great.
... or that was my first thought. But recently I started to see it in a different way. I've made an impression planet-side, apparently (not always to the benefit of my health... note to self, never insult a Mandalorian ever again). Enough that I've been approached to do a job for... someone else. I actually don't know who they are, nor did they say.
At this point, I don't care. If it's a chance to get away from the bastard I work for, I'll do anything.
We'll see how it goes...
On the datapad is a list.
Her: well that's all I'm going to say about that.
Kna: (probably the best)
Asak (wow. Just wow).
Tatu'la (nice color)
One-night stands (the ones whose names I remember, anyway):
You know, I'm not even going to try to count.
Sera (not that she was at the time. Does she still count? Yeah, she totally still counts)
Aasylin (let's not talk about that one)
Adessa (the Arkanian--pretty good for someone that old)
Cinia (oh hell yeah FINALLY).
Pro: Cinia. Finally. And oh man. So great.
Con: She said I was only "adequate." Hell if I'm letting that stand!
I honestly didn't think something weirder than Cinia actually going for it would happen, but turns out I was wrong. Alderaan just can't let me go without throwing shit at me -- of course, it's always been like that. Karma for giving up my seat or something?
The job was supposed to be straightfoward. Idiots are all killing each other over the throne. They all want weapons. Syndicate's there to provide. It's not like anyone would recognize me, right? Ravein wasn't a big name House or anything. Of course, that goes wrong. One of the Panteers' servants spots me in a cantina -- turns out she used to work for my dad. Old crone. Probably a nurse or something, but I can't remember her. She recognizes me right off, though. Turns out they'd been quietly looking for me this whole time.
See... Imps weren't the only ones behind my dad's death.
I always thought he was a power-hungry dick, but the Panteers swear he was playing a deeper game. Right before Alderaan quit the Republic, it was chaos. Ruling family member assassinated, House Ulgo making a grab for things. And my dad stuck his neck out to stand up for them. I don't know why. Maybe he was afraid of what'd happen if someone else took over, that he'd lose influence. Maybe he genuinely believed they had the rightful claim. Whatever his ruins, it didn't end well. Bouris Ulgo grabbed the throne. And his son cut a deal with the Imperials: he'd give them my dad in exchange for all of House Ravein's wealth.
I didn't know any of that when I was getting ambushed a few months back, but that was how that Agent got him. Danarius set him up. Of course, he didn't guess that I'd sign the House over to someone else. The Empire was royally pissed at him for wasting their time, and they stopped helping Ulgo out at all after that.
I don't know what they expected me to do about it. I don't know what I would have done about it, but Doc Ubbit put out a distress call while I was still churning it over. He'd wandered straight into old Castle Panteer -- where the pretender had set up his throne -- and gotten shot at for his trouble. Couldn't really leave him to die, could I? The fact that Danarius was there, that was just extra.
Cinia was around too, given that we were getting it on the night before (go me). Uh, anyway. I figured I had a better chance of not dying with a Forcey around. Man, can she use that lightsaber, too. I don't think I got a scratch on me the whole way.
The Doc was pretty far inside, and I figured... why not? We were there. I'd been inside the castle before, but I pretended to be lost, got them deeper inside. Unfortunately, the first thing we found was a holo of my dad and Ulgo's kid arguing, and Cinia pretty much told him who 'Ravein' was. I really hope he keeps secrets better than her. Half the Syndicate knows already.
But they agreed to help me, and we snuck farther in, until we found the bastard. They offered to stay back -- like I'd want to duel the guy or something. As if. I'm not Ravein anymore, I'm just me. And I don't fight fair. Cinia came in real handy against his giant war droids. Syndicate should really look into keeping more Forceys around. Once his guards were out of the way, that was that. Walked up and shot him. Just like that.
Revenge isn't as satisfying as I imagined, but Danarius deserved it.
Second time with Cinia. Things got weird quick -- not sex weird. But like, she asked to go steady. I don't know what spice I was on when I agreed.
Then in the morning she tells me it was a joke. A test. I got angrier than I thought I would. I told her more stuff than I should've, too. Like about the first time... the time I got suckered. Dunno why I cared so much --
No. That's a lie. It was because I couldn't see why she'd want me, and just me. Because she could do so much better, and I...
I don't know.
Is it worth trying for something more than sex? I've always said no. Now... I'm not so sure.
It can hurt to try, but she didn't leave me much choice, did she?
So things are weird again.
Jeos met Cinia on Ilum. We all heard them arrange that over the secure frequency. And then a bit after that, he's using it again, asking for the Doc to come get him, 'cause he was hurt bad. (Ubbit didn't go -- the New Doc did, but that's beside the point). Nothing from Cinia. Nothing about who attacked them. I'll admit, I was actually worried.
So I try to call her a few hours later, and she picks right up like nothing happened. She didn't actually know anything had happened -- assumed whatever it was had come along after she left. Sounds plausible, right?
Except when I ran some spice to Jeos (he needed the painkiller, and they sure don't make anytihng stronger), he swears she attacked him and left him there. It didn't make any sense. Sure, he's annoying, but not that annoying. And all he was talking about was the Sith and how she probably shouldn't join them. Apparently she got really mad, real fast, and then...
I wish this was a shock to me, but it isn't -- not really. Because I haven't told anyone, but I've noticed it myself... when she uses any of those Force things, it's like... a trigger or something. Or maybe the trigger happens before she uses them. Either way, she acts totally different. Angry, arrogant, demanding as hell. It just doesn't make any sense. Can using the Force have like... side effects?
Jeos said he'd talk to someone about that stuff, that she needed help. The Jedi didn't do any good, though, since she was on Tython before this. Who else is even out there who could do anything?
He also told me to keep an eye on her. Normally I wouldn't do anything he said, but it happens to line up with what I want to do, which is... spend more time with her. Heh. G. and Mikita both had some good ideas for things to do. Ended up going with her's -- balloon ride on Tattooine, which is apparently the only fun thing someone can do on Tattooine.
And? It actually went pretty well. I was nervous, which was weird, because it's not like I haven't done this stuff before. Hell, I've done it all the time -- not many women out there are willing to give it up without you putting out the effort, so I always faked my way through the effort. I know what questions to ask, and when to sound sympathetic, and all of that.
But this time it wasn't fake, and that was kind of scary. I meant what I was saying. And she knew I meant it, being an empath and all. It was like being taken back five years to... well, the stuff that happened on Coruscant. No tricks, just... hope. Hoping she'll give me the time of day afterwards.
I'm not sure if I did good enough, but I'll see her again.
Apparently some girls actually like Huttball!? Or Cinia is just the best girl ever. Pretty rabid fan, though. If our teams ever went up against each other...
But it worked and I was able to bring up other stuff. Relationship stuff. Specifically the 'we should go out' speech. I forgot the things I practiced saying, of course. But some of what I was able to say got out--enough for her to actually agree.
Of course, she's an empath, so maybe she just felt through all the blabbering.
So that's great. Better than great. I feel more like boasting than any of the names on my list (of course, she asked me not to boast, so I can't). Maybe this exclusive thing isn't as stupid as I thought. It really feels like you accomplished something. Like you were better than all the other guys out there, instead of just being the closest one or the one who wouldn't stay over.
Son of a Hutt.
Of course there's still a big problem, and Jeos wasted no time calling me to harangue me about it. Because, like I finally told him, I've seen the side of her that attacked him on Ilum before. I can't explain it and I don't know how I've kept from seeing it again this long, but I'm afraid it'll come back.
It came back.
Which is to say, Jeos apparently got beat up again by-- well, I was gonna say Cinia, but you know what? That's not right. The Cin I know doesn't go around hurting people for the fun of it, or... say half the things she's been saying. It's like... it's like there's some completely different person in there.
Mik and Skorlen told me what went down... and pretty much said the same thing. At one point they were actually calling Cin's name, and it was like she didn't even recognize it. Said Cinia wasn't there right now. What does that even mean?
I know Cin's not doing this shit, but who is?
She ran off. She's not answering any of my calls. I guess I don't have any options but to keep trying. They said they'd go to Tython, look for someone who can figure this all out. I left a message for the one Jedi I remember meeting, but I dunno if I want to run that angle. Whatever's going on ain't good, but what if they want to take her away and lock her up or something?
I don't want that. I just want Cin back.
I can't stop hearing her scream.
I try to close my eyes for a minute of rest, and I can't do it. I see her face when she was pleading with me. Watch her writhe and shake as that Jedi did that thing to her. Nyomi said it would help. That she was possessed by a Sith. That explains all the lightning, the other personality, the trying to kill us in the vault. I keep telling myself it was worth it.
It wasn't worth it.
Mikita swears that it wasn't Cinia when we had her locked up. That it was the other one playing a trick. Not even asking her about the thing she gave me in Shadow Town convinced her-- she'd done the same sort of thing. So instead of trying to comfort her, telling them to go to hell, I just... left her there. Went and called the damn Jedi, and then...
It's been hours. Maybe a day. She still hasn't moved. She's breathing, but that's... that's it. What did we do to her? What did I do to her?
I tell her I'm sorry. I tell her it's fine if she hates me, if she throws me out. Just wake up, I say. Please, just wake up.
She's not waking up.
The Jedi want Cinia. They want to 'heal' her now. They can go screw themselves. I'm not letting her get their 'help' again.
They told me I did the right thing, letting Nyomi torture her. They told me I'd see that if I wasn't in love with her.
They're wrong. I made the wrong call. I should have saved her.
Because I do love her.
We fixed Cin. I don't really know why what we did worked. We just did what this Jedi told us -- one of the blind ones. Mik swears she's actually helpful. That what Nyomi did went against the Order's rules and blah blah blah. I'm not sure if I buy it. I'm sure not trusting a single one of those bastards again. But if there's a shot of taking care of the ones that did this by going to their Council or something... I might drop the blind one the names I know.
She's fixed, but that means she remembers everything. Everything. Including being tortured while we sat there and watched. That I abandoned her and didn't trust her. She was angry, really angry, and I can't blame her for that. She said she never wanted to see any of us again. I got that. But I wasn't gonna let that stand, either.
Cin and I talked for a long time. She doesn't hate me. I guess I couldn't even blame her if she did. But she sure doesn't love me anymore. I hope that changes. I hope we get past this. But all I can do now is be there. Be there and never let anyone try to "fix" her again.
I was able to sleep--actually sleep, no nightmares. Good sign.
World didn't stop still just because Cin was out, though.
Verad still hates me. Not surprised. I don't even remember what I said to piss him off so badly, but he's never gotten over it. Think it's a Mandalorian thing -- holding grudges way too long. Me being with Cinia... well, when I was... probably didn't help. He likes her for some reason and I just bet he doesn't approve of her choice. Well, maybe he'll be happy now.
Ran into someone in the Slopes. He called me Ravein like he knew me. I didn't recognize him, but with his voice and the way he was dressed--and the knowin' me--I'd bet a fortune he's from Alderaan. Didn't seem to buy any of my denials, but he backed off for now. I need to do some digging. Last time I was there was killing Danarius, and Ulgo's not gonna take that sitting down. If this guy is part of a revenge package...
Well, he's not walking away, is what.
So the noble guy is Theiron. Theiron Neifion. Don't recall actually meeting him back 'home' but I've heard of the House. They were bigger and richer and mor powerful than Ravein, but who wasn't? Anyway, he's a stuck-up ass, like all of them. I really hope I didn't act like that. Probably not. I ran away before the pompous windbag thing kicked in.
More to the point, I can't figure out if Niefion is with Ulgo or not. That new girl said they were. He said they're not--because Ulgo is biting off more than he can chew, trying to get the crown--but who knows if that's true or not? Politics. Say one thing, mean the other. Drink with a guy one day, kill him the next. I doubt I can trust a word he says. Especially since he seems to know me and won't shut up about that.
Whatever. I got more imporant stuff to worry about. Specifically: I'm gonna be twenty-three in a couple days, and it's time for another birthday party. They are legendary by now. I think we had half the Coruscant police force chasing us for my 20th, and the 22nd is what got me in trouble with that one slug on Nar Shaddaa. Think I should avoid a big city this time. Ord Mantell's got nice beaches. We picked out a good spot in a village that isn't blown up. Yet. We'll see if the seps try anything.
Invited everyone I know on Spacebook. It should be great.
Also great? I was right about what I needed to do to get Cin back. Whatsherface was trying to talk me into saying it was all a trick, but I didn't buy it. Just had to stick with her. And... I'm not even kidding myself when I said it was easy not to sleep around; it was easy. Sex is fun, but why risk screwing up something great just to get some? You don't.
We're back together. Exclusive. No sign of the Sith in her head... and she said she loved me. It's good.
Okay, not true. I got a great new story to tell: "Want to hear about the time I talked a Sith lord to death?" That's gonna be a conversation starter. Wonder who'll actually believe it. I wouldn't, if I hadn't been there. But that's evil, mind-controlling swords for you.
But everything else sucks.
Cin's gone. Again. And I dunno if it's the Sith or just her or what, but I'm sick of waiting. I'm not gonna just wait around and pine. So the list's going up again, even if two of them were bounty hunters.
Yeah, apparently they all got together and decided seducing me would be a laugh. First someone carrying out a contract from House Rist. And here I thought we were done with them. Well--I guess if they're outsourcing, we did 'em a lot of damage. I talked my way out of that one, ended up paying her off. Second time, I didn't get so lucky. She was with the Black Suns, and they wanted one of us alive.
I got off light, considering. Prisoner for a couple of weeks, interrogated with Ubbit's truth serum in me. No torture, but I was singing like a bird--couldn't help myself. In retrospect, I shouldn't have been carrying it on me, but oh well. Nothing I can do now. It's not like I betrayed us on purpose.
Apparently someone is, though. Atzin almost took me away and apparently he's been revealing things only we could know. We've got a mole. Somehow I don't see this one ending well.
We killed the mole.
Turns out it was Keblan, that shy little slicer kid. Except his name wasn't Keblan, probably. And the shy thing was cover. Slicer part was real, and he (she?) almost sliced all of our secrets right onto the HoloNet. That would have been a shit day.
Yeah, turns out he/she/it/whatever was a shapeshifter. Explains that day Jeos was acting weird (like, had an actual sense of humor). Keblan had us running all over Ord Mantell, shooting at ourselves. Eventually we figured it out and Janice told us to go the mainframe he was slicing. She... or whatever, was really good in a fight, but we managed to kill her in time.
One crisis averted. Black Sun's still out there, but they'll know better than to mess with us again. Hopefully.
I need a vacation.
So apparently Czerka is getting cozy with the Sith. Guess that's a bad thing, for us, since they lined up some cozy weapons project deals. But it ain't good for the Republic either. Some higher-up in the organization--didn't even sign the message with a name--figures we had a mutual interest in stopping them on this one. So he (she? I really don't know who the kriff "T" is) invited a bunch of them to help us out.
Luckily, Jeos got put in charge of handling the Sith and Imps that were on site. All I had to do is take a smaller team and sneak into their base. Which basically was flawless -- we got an ID, sliced the cameras, and talked our way into the security center. Minor hiccup when we set off a secondary alarm system. Czerka sent some cyborgs after us. Cin got hurt pretty bad, and then...
Well, the Sith came out. Fried them pretty good. I thought the Jedi was gonna try to kill her right there, but luckily she got over it. We ended up shutting the cyborgs down--I wanted to wipe their programming, figured Janice would appreciate having our own army of them, but the Jedi got mad. It ain't worth getting into a scrap. Not when these people are gonna be killing Sith for us.
Mission successful and all that. Took Cin back to the ship after. I guess we're back together... I'm afraid of her up and running again, but she was pretty... persuasive. I think I can take the risk.
I couldn't take the risk. I love her but that didn't matter.
Am I too weak? Too afraid? Or just stupid?
I don't know. But I don't regret what happened tonight.
Maybe that's all I need to know.
My life's a kriffing mess right now.
Putting this down in writing, maybe it's a bad idea. But I want to talk to someone about it, and I can't. None of my friends would understand -- that I didn't have a choice, that I still don't. That I don't want to hurt them, or cause trouble for THEM. Just the boss, the Director. Not like any of us have ever met him or seen him. And -- I bet anything -- neither will I. I'm going to fail, and get caught, and get killed.
Not that the SIS will care. I'm just a pawn in their game.
I'm reporting to Zach now -- "Agent Nomad." Neither of us are too happy about that. But I guess that's how it's going to be.
Until I kriff up and die.