Author Topic: Promising  (Read 1653 times)

Mira Dain

  • Young Wyrm
  • *
  • Posts: 33
    • View Profile
« on: April 24, 2017, 08:36:42 AM »
Nemesis' arrival on Rhy'Din was completely unremarked upon by the locals. They were, however, directed to Landing Pad 87, which seemed to belong almost exclusively to Orsk. Still, landed safely and secure in the knowledge that Orsk would have all the information they'd transferred to him by now, not to mention the money, Yana and Kalen had a little room to breathe. They made good use of it, too - Yana took Mira shopping straight away, to get the girl clothing that both fitted and suited her, along with all the other things essential for a woman's comfort, leaving Kalen and BB-D2 to go over the ship with a fine-toothed comb, making sure they were clean. When the ladies got back, BB was already in the docking port in the engine room, powered down and charging up, and it was Kalen's turn to take charge of his sister as they'd agreed before landing. Yana was off to meet with Orsk and under strict instructions not to accept any offers of work until they'd all talked it over first. And since Kalen had given her instructions, she'd given some to him, too ... to take his sister on a tour of the Spaceport, get her something to eat, and let her have a little fun. How hard could that be, right?

Kalen had cleaned up, too, and was dressed in clothes better suited for battle than anything else, but he'd never been much of fancy dresser anyway, preferring function to fashion. As far as taking his sister on a tour of the Spaceport went, he didn't have any problem with that, except for the fun part. He'd never really had much time for fun and didn't think he was the right person to show her a good time, but he could at least get her something to eat and get to know her better. He wasn't sure how much fun that would be, but it was the best he could do.

Mira had never seen anywhere quite like Rhy'Din's Spaceport. Thankfully, she was used to other races being prevalent, so Kalen didn't need to worry about her staring. What he did need to worry about was her tendency to veer off the path he was leading her on to investigate something that had caught her eye. Twice, she disappeared entirely, only discovered by the sound of her delighted laughter as someone explained something that was wholly new to her. The third time she did that, however, it was into one of the curios shops - one of those bric-a-brac places filled with tourist trap nonsense from just about every world you could imagine. If she hadn't tripped over the door sill on her way in, Kalen might never have known she was gone.

Kalen grumbled a little under his breath, wondering if this was what it was like to chase after a child who was easily distracted by everything that caught her eye. Maybe he was going about this the wrong way and should let her lead while he followed. Fortunately, things hadn't changed so much on Rhy'Din that he was having any trouble finding his way around. "Mira, where are you going?" he asked, as he followed her into the curios shop, wondering what could have possibly drawn her attention there.

"I'm exploring," she informed him, as though this was perfectly obvious. She was a little like a child, drawn to the sparkly trash on sale like a bee to flowers. "I've never seen anything like this. Look, that's Coruscant!" She pointed at a row of snowglobes, one of which was, indeed, a skyline of Coruscant from their home galaxy. "What are they?" she asked her brother hopefully, prodding at the globes with a curious finger.

Kalan reached over to steady one of the snowglobes before it crashed to the floor. "Has anyone ever told you that you're like a child?" he asked, only a little perturbed. He didn't think the globes cost that much to replace if she broke one, but he'd rather buy one for her to keep than one that was broken. "I think they're called snowglobes," he explained, which made sense, though they were clearly not filled with real snow. He picked one up and shook it carefully to disperse the glitter that was floating inside the water-filled globe. "See?"

"Well, you just did," she pointed out with bad grace, pouting at the implied scolding. She made a show of putting her hands firmly behind her back as he picked up the globe and shook it, her pout dissipating into an awed stare at the sparkling snowfall. "Wow ... it's so pretty."

"Pretty but useless," he said, though he knew females liked pretty things and it seemed his sister was no exception. Considering the way she was dressed, she seemed to have enjoyed her little shopping trip with Yana, but he couldn't help wondering what the two of them had talked about while he wasn't there. "I'll buy you one, if you like," he said, despite what he'd said about the thing.

"Really?" Her dark eyes, so like his and Rhel's, lit up hopefully. "You really would, you're not just joking with me, right?" There was a heartbreaking sense of wariness in her as she asked this - not because she didn't trust him, but because of the many times she'd been disappointed by others in her short life.

"Yes, of course. I wouldn't say so, if I didn't mean it," he assured her, reminded once again how much alike Mira and Yana were in that neither trusted very easily. He just hoped he would never disappoint them the way others had or break their trust. For now, all she had was her room on the Nemesis, but maybe if all went well, they'd eventually find a more comfortable and permanent place to live, either at the Spaceport or elsewhere.

Mira's delighted expression was more than enough to signal her agreement to having something pretty bought for her. She'd never had the luxury of being even a little bit frivolous before, and if the price of teaching her that not everything had to be practical was letting her decorate her space with sparkle and shine, then it was a price well paid. She squealed happily, impulsively hugging her big brother before backing up with a slightly guilty look in her wide eyes. "Uh, sorry. Got carried away."

Kalen was understandably surprised by the hug, especially coming from a sister he hardly knew yet, but also touched by it. He'd never received many hugs in his life, not even from his father, and smiled awkwardly and even a little shyly back at her. It struck him again what a trio they made. "It's all right. I don't mind so much," he assured her. Though the trinket wasn't much, it made him feel strangely good to put a smile on her face.

His smile brought hers back in force, relieved that she hadn't offended him with her impulsive affection. "What about Yana?" she asked then, her eyes sweeping the strange little store with all its trinkets and baubles. "I mean, I'm no expert, but you gotta know that little presents make girls go weak at the knees, right?"

"Weak at the knees?" he echoed, unfamiliar with that turn of phrase and unsure if that was a good thing or not. He inferred what she meant, though, and cast a glance around for something Yana might like. He hadn't known her very long either and he wasn't sure what she might like, but as he looked around, something caught his eye. "What about this?" he asked, as he picked up another snowglobe, this one featuring a solar system of some sort.

"Yeah, you know, like in vids and books," Mira tried to clarify herself for him. "Guy gives the girl something he saw that made him think of her, she goes kinda wobbly, and then jumps him. At least I think she does - all Garv's vids cut out before they got past the kiss when I watched them." She grinned at her brother, her eyes following his as he picked out a different globe. "That's really pretty. And she's a spacer, she'll get a kick out of it not being a skyline."

Mira Dain

  • Young Wyrm
  • *
  • Posts: 33
    • View Profile
Re: Promising
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2017, 08:37:30 AM »
"I don't know," he murmured with an uncertain frown. What did he know about buying gifts, especially a gift for a woman he was starting to care about. "Do you really think she'll like it?" he asked again, debating back and forth.

Mira eyed him in amusement, one brow raised as she flicked her hair out of her eyes. "Kalen ... how did you get to be so old without knowing how this works?" she asked him, maybe a little harshly, but then, she hadn't exactly been socially tutored. "It isn't really what you buy her that matters. What matters is that you saw something that made you think of her, so you bought it for her. Seriously, I'm, like, the least experienced person in the galaxy, and even I know this."

He wasn't sure what it was about the idea of buying Yana a gift that made him nervous. It wasn't like he was a boy with his first crush. He'd been in love once before, or thought he had, but then, that hadn't turned out very well. He was hoping things would go better this time, but there was no way of knowing for sure. He couldn't claim he didn't have much experience with women, but the fact was he'd never really cared for anyone the way he was starting to care for Yana. He didn't really want to explain that to Mira though, or anyone else, for that matter. "I don't know very much about this sort of thing," he admitted with a frown.

His little sister watched him as he struggled with the idea, reaching out to touch his wrist. "Trust me," she suggested sagely. "I'm a girl, I know these things."

There was a snort of laughter from the back of the shop - the owner, an elderly human woman with a weather-beaten face, was grinning at the pair of them. "She's right, you know," she interjected cheerfully. "Women know these things."

Kalen couldn't very well argue with two women, and he figured the worst that could happen if Yana didn't like it was that he'd be out a few creds. "Very well," he replied, starting toward the woman at the back of the shop to pay for his purchase. "How much for both globes?" he asked, one for Yana and one for Mira.

The look he got from the shop-keeper was definitely appraising - this was the kind of place where the price changed depending on how much money she thought you had to burn. "Ten creds, both," she said. "One silver, if creds aren't your thing."

"Silver?" Mira echoed, turning away from her inspection of a chart of Rhy'Din's moons' cycle to frown curiously at her brother.

"I'll explain later," he told his sister before turning back to the woman and fishing out ten cred chips from inside his jacket and handing them over. It seemed like a fair asking price, and he didn't see much point in haggling over it, though he was still waiting to see just how generous Orsk was going to be with Trethin's money.

Busy hands took the money and wrapped both globes in old sheets from the Rhy'Din Post. The old woman considered the pair of them briefly before putting both globes in a small bag, too. "Pleasure doin' business," she nodded, as much a dismissal as a thank you.

Mira beamed, already trying to decide where she was going to put her globe when they got back to the ship.

"Gracias," Kalen replied, not really knowing that the language he'd learned as a boy was very similar to a language spoken on Earth. It was a language taught him by Rhel - a secret language just the two of them shared, or so he'd thought. He took the package from the woman and turned to rejoin his sister, happy to carry it for her as they made their way from the store.

Mira skipped out ahead of him, almost bowling straight into a Gran Kalen might recognize. In the right circles, though, word of what had happened to Trethin and his space station had already started to spread; not even Ee'kree Malastar was going to pick a fight with Kalen Dain today.

"Sorry!" Mira smiled at the Gran, never knowing how close they'd come to a fist fight right there. She looked back at her brother. "Where are we going now?"

Kalen eyed the Gran, his expression a wordless warning, but it seemed the three-eyed humanoid was not in a mood for trouble - at least, not in broad daylight. Kalen couldn't help wondering if he was being followed though, the paranoia that had kept him alive all the years since Rhel's death hard to ignore. He watched as the Gran passed them by before turning back to his sister, somewhat distractedly. "I'm sorry. You were saying?"

"Is he a friend of yours?" she asked, peering after the Gran with that curious look in her eyes once again. She really wasn't very well versed in the subtleties of social behavior, not understanding why her brother might be wary of a few people they met on the streets.

"No," Kalen replied without hesitation. "Stay away from him. He's dangerous," he warned her further, realizing he was going to have to do a lot more than just show her around, as Yana had suggested. Then again, she'd probably spent enough years on Faraxen to know how to take care of herself. "You mentioned Garv before. Were you friends?"

She snorted, rolling her eyes. "No, he was definitely not my friend," was her derisive reply. "He owned the scrapyard. He's the one who had me in and out of ducts when I was little, and then upped me to working on the engines when I got too big. He didn't care if I got hurt on the job, so long as I kept working. But he was always there, you know? I didn't like him, but at least he was consistently an ass."

So, like he and Yana, she probably hadn't made many friends either, but at least, she'd had the droid. It was better than nothing. "Would you like to stop for a coffee or something?" he asked, in case she wanted to talk.

"What's coffee? Is that black stuff you and Yana were drinking?" She really had very little real experience; her whole life had pretty much been spent sheltered and working on ships. Kalen might have his hands full for a while.

"Yes, or tea. You might like tea better," he admitted, pausing to get his bearings a moment. There were bars and taverns galore, but what he was looking for was a coffee shop. He wasn't sure what she'd subsisted on on Faraxen, but so far, she seemed to be enjoying his cooking.

"BB says that I'd be uncontrollable on caffeine," she offered conversationally, pausing beside him as he looked around. But that wandering curiosity of hers couldn't be stayed for long. As she waited for Kalen to get his bearings, her ears picked up the sound of music coming from somewhere nearby, her body automatically turning in that direction. The music was spilling out onto the street from one of the local cantinas, a pulsing beat that called to her as she wandered in that direction. Inside, she could see people dancing. And despite the fact that Kalen was probably going to kill her, she started dancing herself, arms in the air as she swayed to the heady beat on the street outside the cantina, eyes closed above her contented smile.

"BB says a lot," Kalen remarked distractedly, before turning back to find Mira ... What as she doing, dancing? He furrowed his brows as he followed her toward the cantina, not quite realizing he was playing the role of the over-protective big brother. "What are you doing?" he asked, though it seemed obvious enough.

Mira Dain

  • Young Wyrm
  • *
  • Posts: 33
    • View Profile
Re: Promising
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2017, 08:38:09 AM »
"I'm dancing," she answered a little superfluously, flashing him a cheeky grin. "Dance with me, or go away." Her comment was picked up by a couple of human-ish males nearby, who took the invitation even if Kalen wasn't going to.

"Yes, I know what you're doing," Kalen replied, eyes narrowed in warning at the pair of males. He hadn't asked because he didn't know what she was doing, but because he didn't think what she was doing was a very good idea. After a moment's hesitation, he grabbed hold of her hand, none too gently, and steered her inside the cantina. Yana had told him to show her around, after all, and he suddenly felt the need for a drink. "Come on."

"Hey!" She didn't really have a choice but to go with him into the cantina, dragged away from her enjoyment of the beat and the company and into the darker recesses of the place itself. She scowled at her brother. "That wasn't very nice."

"I'm not going to stand there and watch you shake your body while every male in sight drools over you," he explained, a little too bluntly. "This isn't Faraxen, Mira. You don't want to draw a crowd," he warned further. "How old are you?" he asked as he led her to a dark booth somewhere a little removed from the crowd, well aware of the eyes that followed them when they entered.

"At least they noticed me," she muttered a little petulantly, dropping down into the booth with a frown. "I'm seventeen," she informed her brother sulkily, her eyes straying longingly to the moving bodies on the dancefloor. She'd been enjoying herself before he got all grabby.

And people would get more than grabby if she kept shaking her booty where everyone could see it, or so he figured. "You don't want to be noticed in a place like this, Mira. You want to blend," he told his sister, trying to give her good advice, despite her obvious annoyance with him. "Stay here and don't move. I'm going to get us a drink," he warned further. The bar was only a short distance away - close enough that he could keep an eye on her or she could find him if she needed help. Why he'd brought her in here, of all places, he wasn't sure, but it was like getting a crash course in Rhy'Din all at once.

She sighed, dropping her chin into her hands, elbows propped on the table. "Fine," she pouted, settling in to watch the dancers, even if she wasn't allowed to dance with them. Maybe next time she should insist on Yana coming along too - that way Kalen would have someone else to distract him while Mira enjoyed herself.

"Stay here," he told her again, tapping a finger against the table to emphasize his warning. He left the packages with her and made his way toward the bar, having to push his way through some unsavory characters to get the bartender's attention.

"Sit, stay," she muttered to herself as he walked away, sticking her tongue out at his retreating back. It was childish, yes, but it made her feel better. But apparently even sitting still in one place was enough for Mira to attract attention. When Kalen returned, Ee'kree Malastar was sitting next to her in the booth, regaling her with some gung-ho story about his former misadventures that had her laughing along with him.

Braving the bar had its own set of dangers - he had to be careful mostly of pickpockets, but then there was the usual round of women offering themselves up for his pleasure if the price was right. Somehow, he managed to procure a pair of drinks before finding his way back out of the crowd to rejoin his sister, growling under his breath to find her laughing at something that damned Gran was telling her. "What do you think you're doing, Ee'kree?" he asked, though his tone of voice was more accusatory than friendly.

Mira looked up in surprise. "Oh, you know each other?" she asked innocently.

The Gran shrugged, his grasp on Common a little guttural but clear. "Know of each other," he told the little human girl beside him. He nodded to Kalen. "Dain."

"You're in my seat," Kalen told him, one drink in each hand as he glared at the Gran, putting him at a distinct disadvantage. His distaste for Ee'Kree had nothing to do with any conflict they'd encountered, but something that had happened in Yana's past that Kalen didn't want repeated with Mira. In short, he trusted the Gran about as far as he could throw him.

The Gran considered him for a moment before rising to his feet, flashing a surprisingly charming smile in Mira's direction before looking back to Kalen. "Lovely little sister you have there, Dain," he said, a hint of threat in his voice. "It'd be a shame if anything happened to her, don't you think?"

"It would be even more of a shame if you had anything to do with it," Kalen countered, as he very carefully set Mira's glass on the table, which at least, freed one hand in case he needed to draw his blaster. The threat was left open-ended, but it was pretty obvious what the two males were implying and that both had taken a dislike of each other. Kalen wasn't aware that word had spread of Trethin's demise, but if he was, he might have used it to his advantage.

"Could be, could be." Ee'kree stepped back, satisfied that he'd caused enough mischief for now. "Oh ... remember me to Yana, won't you? I'm sure she'd like to be reminded."

At the table, Mira's smile had faded completely. Not even she could miss the hostility between the two, concerned that she might have blundered into something unpleasant.

The mention of Yana was just too much, as if talking to his sister wasn't enough, and Kalen's expression turned into a baleful scowl as he set the other glass down and took one step closer to the Gran. "Stay the hell away from Yana and don't ever talk to my sister again," he warned, just about eye to eye with the male.

The Gran's third eye made a point of swiveling to look down at Kalen's sister for a moment. "Enjoy your drink, Dain." He stepped away, slipping between the bodies of the patrons enjoying their afternoon, leaving brother and sister alone once again.

Oh, what Kalen would give to shoot the Gran right in the back, but he'd escaped one bounty and he wasn't looking to acquire another. He merely watched as the Gran walked away, waiting to make sure he wasn't going to make any more trouble with them before reclaiming his seat. He couldn't very well scold Mira when she'd done exactly what he'd asked. It was Gran he was pissed about, and he had a bad feeling that things weren't finished between the two of them yet. "Do you see what I mean now?" he asked her, trying not to sound to harsh, but he was still smoldering over the Gran.

"What was that about?" she asked, her eyes still following the Gran's retreat before turning back to her brother. "I swear, I didn't do anything. He came over here, I didn't invite him or anything." She was feeling bad for laughing at Ee'kree's story now; she had a feeling there was a lot of bad blood between the Gran and her brother.

"I am not angry with you, Mira," Kalen was quick to assure her, though his animosity for the Gran was obvious and he knew he had to be on his toes in a place like this. He wasn't even sure why he'd brought her here, except to give her a small lesson in Rhy'Din. "I don't know what Faraxen was like, but this place is dangerous, especially to someone like you," he told her further. "That ... Gran ..." he started, unable to keep the loathing from his voice. "... sold Yana into slavery when she wasn't much younger than you."

Mira Dain

  • Young Wyrm
  • *
  • Posts: 33
    • View Profile
Re: Promising
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2017, 08:38:44 AM »
"What?" Mira's shocked outrage was more than enough to assure her brother that she felt the same way about slavery in general as he did. Her head snapped about once again, looking for the Gran just to glare at him, but Malastar was long gone. "How could he ... what do you mean, someone like me? Is there something wrong with me or something?"

Kalen seemed satisfied that he'd shocked his sister into being more aware of her surroundings, but it hurt his heart to have to show her the reality of life here and he wondered if there wasn't a better way to keep her safe. "There's nothing wrong with you, Mira. You are just young. That is all." Young and pretty and ripe for the picking from someone like Gran.

"You should give me a blaster, then," she told him firmly. "I can't hit everyone who tries it on over the head with whatever I'm holding, some of these people have tentacles. I'm not delicate, Kalen. I know how to defend myself."

He arched a brow at her suggestion, but it was a valid one. Rhel had given him a blaster as soon as he was big enough to be able to carry one and learn how to use it. "All right. You can pick one out for yourself when we get back to the ship." It was quite possibly the first time that day that he'd actually been agreeable, proving he wasn't always angry. "Drink your drink," he reminded her, with a nod of his head. Hers was no stronger than a glass of soda; his, on the other hand, packed a wallop.

"And besides, BB's usually about six inches away from my feet," she added, though she knew she couldn't rely on the droid to protect her forever. BB-D2 was so pleased to have Kalen back in his life, he was going to be torn between which sibling to follow around for a while. She picked up her drink, sipped it, and made a face at her brother. "I am not six years old."

"No, you're seventeen," he reminded her, though he understood the fact that she had grown up early, just like he had. "Look, I know I'm being over-protective, and I know you know how to take care of yourself, but I would like us both to be around long enough to get to know each other better," he said, though it hadn't come out quite the way he wanted it to.

She stilled, eyeing him warily. "What do you mean, around long enough?" she asked suspiciously. "Are you dumping me here? Is that what this is about? Yana goes and makes all the arrangements, and you keep me occupied until you can lose me in the crowd?"

His expression changed again, surprised by her outburst, but then, of course she'd think that, since it was all she'd ever experienced all her life - like Yana, and even like himself, to a certain degree. "Is that really what you think of me? That I'd spend the last ten years of my life trying to find you only to dump you the first chance I get?" he asked, unable to hide the accusation from his voice, though it sounded more hurt than angry, and it wasn't her he was angry at, after all.

"What am I supposed to think?" she asked pointedly. "You took off without actually asking me if I wanted to go along with you, you brought me here, you've spent the last few hours telling me what not to do and who not to talk to - it's like you're training me to be a street rat. And I don't even know why you came and got me in the first place. You even said yourself that you don't know me."

"Do you want to go back there?" he asked, though he already knew the answer to that question without really having to ask. It wasn't meant as a threat; he was simply making a point. "We are family, Mira. The only family we have left. Is that not enough reason for me to bring you here? If I had asked if you wanted your freedom, would you have agreed? But this isn't Faraxen, Mira, and you have much to learn about this place before you can be safe here." If anyone was ever truly safe here.

She eyed him uncertainly. "So why let me off the ship at all? If I'm that much of a liability, why not just lock me in the engine room?" she asked. There was a hardness about her eyes that hid away her fear and anger - Faraxen had not been an easy place to live, but he wouldn't know that. "I'm not a child. I know how to take care of myself. You can't treat me like I'm six years old, Kalen."

Kalen's expression softened, as well as his voice at her question, the anger fading. "Because you are not my prisoner, Mira. You are my sister." He even reached across the table for her hand. "I don't know why Rhel kept us apart. I think in his own way, he was trying to protect you. I am not very good at this, I know, but I am trying."

Her fingers, callused from years of working on engines and parts, tightened imperceptibly on his. "I killed my first man when I was eight years old," she told him quietly. She wasn't showing off; he needed to know she wasn't as delicate or helpless as he seemed to believe. "Garv didn't care what kind of people he employed, just so long as they did the work. And some of them didn't care who they hurt, just so long as they got what they wanted. I've been protecting myself since I was little. I know what people can be like."

Kalen's brows arched upwards, not so much in surprise as in shock and even guilt. "I'm sorry," he found himself telling her again, apologizing for everything bad that had happened in her life, though he had not been to blame. Apologizing for Rhel's neglect and Trethin's betrayal and his own shortcomings and failure to find her or even know of her existence in time to save her from that life.

"it's not your fault," she told him in a firm voice. "None of what's happened to me is your fault. It isn't even Dad's fault. If I was going to blame anyone, it would be my mother. She gave me up. But she was totally broken when they told her Dad was dead. She died about a year after I was taken to Faraxen, some stupid accident she wouldn't have had if she'd been right in the head. Seriously, Kalen, I stopped being a child by the time I was ten. You've gotta stop thinking of me like some innocent little nothing who needs to be taught how dark the galaxy is."

"Isn't it?" he asked, hinting at the guilt he had taken upon his own shoulders for his sister's hardships, among other things. He let go of her hand and threw back his drink, letting it burn its way down his throat, the pain of it doing very little to ease the pain in his heart. Even if he said very little in reply, he'd heard every word of what she'd said, angry at those who'd gone before him for the pain they'd caused them both, and yet, they'd done the best they could at the time. "Let's get out of here and get back to the ship."

She sighed, saddened by the way the little outing had turned out. "All right," she agreed, downing half of what was in her glass in one go. If he wanted to go back to the ship, then back they would go. She could fill the time tinkering with the engine, anyway.

The outing hadn't gone all bad, though. After all, he'd bought her and Yana a silly trinket, and they'd found out a little more about each other. He'd been hoping for more, too, but as the old saying goes, Rome wasn't built in a day. He moved to his feet, hardly feeling the drink, and led the way back the way they'd come, through the maze of bodies and the thumping beat to the street outside the cantina.

Unlike their meandering away from their docking pad, however, Mira stayed close on the walk back to the ship. She walked quietly just behind him, her hands deep in her pockets, ignoring the new sights and sounds around them. She felt scolded and untrusted, and that wasn't going away anytime soon.

Mira Dain

  • Young Wyrm
  • *
  • Posts: 33
    • View Profile
Re: Promising
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2017, 08:39:22 AM »
He was well aware of her presence just behind him, but a little too lost in his own guilt and grief to address her confusion. He hadn't meant to scold her, and he wasn't going to explain how much it meant to him that she remained safe. If she didn't understand that by now, she never would. He'd spent ten years of his life in service to Trethin trying to keep her safe, trying behind his back to find her, only to have her think him an overbearing older brother who only wanted to keep her prisoner, when what he really wanted was for her to be free - free, like he'd never really been. Wasn't that what they all wanted? And now, they were indebted to Orsk, which might prove yet another form of servitude. He wondered if he'd done her a favor bringing her here, but he hadn't really stopped to think about what she might want.

Yana was waiting for them as they re-entered the Landing Pad building, coming down the ramp from the ship with a pleased expression on her face. Apparently the meeting with Orsk had gone very well indeed. She took one look at them, and smirked faintly. "Well, don't you two look like a little ray of sunshine," she commented, nudged out of the way by BB-D2 as the little droid rolled down the ramp to greet his friends.

"Not now, Yana," Kalen warned in a quiet voice as he moved past her and BB and onto the ramp to make his way into the ship. He wasn't feeling sorry for himself exactly, but he was feeling a little lost as to where to go from there. He'd tried to bridge the distance between himself and his sister and failed ... again.

Yana's eyes followed him for a moment, turning to Mira. Behind him, Kalen could probably just about make out the sound of their voices as one woman told the other what had happened on their outing, their voices growing louder as they, too, made their way into the ship.

" ... stop and buy a few things to make our bunks a little more homely," Yana was saying. "BB had opinions about what kind of bedding you'd like."

Mira managed a faint laugh at that. "You went shopping with BB?" she asked in amusement.

"No, I went shopping, and he tagged along," Yana corrected her, her smile audible. "We put your things in your bunk."

"More stuff?" Mira's good humor was returning with the prospect of more things that belonged to her alone. "C'mon, BB, you can show me." The little droid lead the way, beeping excitedly as he showed Mira into her bunk and out of sight.

Kalen could hear the two women chitchatting behind him, relieved that at least Yana knew what to say and do to make Mira feel at home here. He made his way to the lounge, intending to break open the single bottle of Tiharr he had stashed away there. At least, maybe Yana could triumph where he'd failed.

Yana wasn't long in joining him, pausing just long enough to look in on Mira to see the smile on the girl's face as she sorted through the sheets, blankets, and pillows that would soon adorn her personal space, with BB-D2 offering advice on where each thing should go. "So," she said, moving to sit down beside Kalen, "how did having fun turn into both of you looking like a wet Wednesday?"

"Ee'kree happened," Kalen explained shortly, without going into details, taking a second shot of the Tiharr, which wasn't doing a damned thing for the ache in his heart. "I'm going to kill that son of a bantha someday," he added, though they both knew he wasn't a cold-blooded killer, even if they had both been responsible for blowing up Trethin's station and everyone on it.

Yana rolled her eyes. "Just a pissing match, then, or you'd be sporting bruises," she gathered, drawing her knee up to her chest as she watched him get to work on drowning his sorrows. "What happened, Kay? Ee'kree's just a small-time trouble maker, you know that. So what actually happened while you were out?"

It wasn't so much a question of what had happened as it was how it had put a wedge between himself and his sister, or so he thought. "She doesn't need me. She's been taking care of herself since she was eight. What does she need me for?" he asked, though that didn't really answer Yana's question.

Yana considered him for a long moment. "Did she actually say that?" she asked him mildly. It was just as well her meeting had gone well, or she wouldn't have been in the mood to deal with this. "Because your little sister doesn't say anything she doesn't explicitly mean. Unless she actually looked you in the eye and said outright that she doesn't need you, then you're blowing smoke up your own ass."

"She said, and I quote, 'I'm not a child. I know how to take care of myself,'" he replied, as he filled his glass for the third time. A couple more shots and he'd be feeling comfortably numb for the rest of the day. He might regret it in the morning, but for now, it might help to dull a lifetime of pain.

"Right." She drew the word out into a drawl, considering the implications of that. "So you've spent most of the afternoon telling her what she can't do and who she can't talk to, and warning her how dangerous this place is. Am I right?"

He merely shrugged in reply. There was more to it than he was saying, but he wasn't far enough gone in his cups yet to let his guard down, even with her. "I'm not sure we did her any favors bringing her here."

That one was going to need a little more explanation, but first things first. "Kalen ... you've been fending for yourself for the last decade or so, right?" she pointed out, easing toward her point. "Imagine, if you can, how you would react if suddenly, say, an uncle came into your life, took you away from your oppressive little world, and assumed that because you're younger than him, you don't know what people can be like. That's Mira's perspective. It isn't that she doesn't like you, or that she doesn't need you. She just doesn't want you to treat her like glass."

Spelled out for him like that, he understood what she was saying, but it didn't really help him feel any better about it. In fact, it only made him feel more guilty for treating her like a child. "I wish I knew what she wanted," he mused aloud, though he'd had plenty of opportunity to ask her. What had he been expecting anyway? A happy family reunion when she hadn't even known he existed? She had hugged him, anyway. There was that.

"Why don't you ask her?" she suggested, letting her arm fall along the line of the couch to tease her fingertips through his hair. This was a hitherto unsuspected tendency of Kalen's to wallow in misplaced guilt, but Yana had a feeling she was going to have to get used to navigating it.

He turned his head to look at her as she stated the obvious solution to one part of his problem. Maybe it wasn't Mira who despised him, as much as he despised himself. "I thought maybe we could be a family," he said, the Tiharr loosening his tongue a little. He wasn't only talking about himself and Mira, but Yana and even BB, too. On the other hand, he and Yana weren't Mira's parents, and she was old enough that she had to figure out what kind of life she wanted for herself now, without them choosing it for her.

She sighed softly. "It's been two days, Kalen," she pointed out to him. "You may both have known about each other for years, but it takes more than two days for people to connect. So how about we approach this a little differently? Now we're out of debt, we have license to pick and choose what we do next. Let's make it a group decision - you, me, and Mira. Make her an equal partner in this little venture of ours."

Mira Dain

  • Young Wyrm
  • *
  • Posts: 33
    • View Profile
Re: Promising
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2017, 08:40:07 AM »
Though he hadn't said so, that was exactly what he'd wanted. Why had it been so easy for Yana to say it, and so hard for him? And then, there was the chance that Mira didn't want that, but that was just something he was going to have to accept and deal with, if and when it came to that. She was old enough to make her own choices, so long as they weren't foolish ones. It didn't surprise him much that Orsk had declared them out of debt, since it was the deal they'd made going into things. At least, Orsk had held up his part of the bargain, so far. He didn't bother to tell her that he'd been thinking the same thing, his partially inebriated thoughts instead turning to the worst-case scenario. "And what if she doesn't want that?"

"Then we find out what she does want, and we help her to make it a reality," Yana told him simply. "That's what family does, isn't it? Real family. No matter what happens, nothing is ever going to break that bond of blood between you, Kalen. You just need to be patient, that's all."

"Patience was never my strong suit," says the man who'd waited ten years to find his sister. He downed the third shot, feeling only fractionally better than he had when he'd started. "I suppose I should talk to her," he added, frowning in contemplation of what he might say.

"That might help, yeah," Yana agreed, trying not to smile too widely at the state of him. "I'll go and get us some food. Maybe an evening with nothing that needs doing and time to talk in is all we need." We, not you. She was as much a part of this as he was.

"Yana," he called suddenly, before she could disappear on him. "I'm not Hix, and I'm not Rhel. I'm not going anywhere. We are in this together, yes?" he asked as much as told her. It seemed that much had been decided already, but maybe he needed to hear it again.

She paused, turning back to him as he laid out what he felt as clearly as he ever had before now. With a smile, she returned to him, one knee on each side of his hips, cradling his face in his hands as she kissed him. "Together all the way, Kay," she promised him. "Think you can handle a lifetime of never knowing quite what's going to set me off?"

He smiled finally, for only the second time that day, as she found her way to him and kissed his doubts and his worries away, easing his troubled, guilt-ridden heart better than half a dozen shots of Tiharr. There was something about the way she said his name that stirred up emotions he hadn't felt in a very long time, if ever. "I think it wouldn't be boring," he teased in return. Somehow he doubted a lifetime spent with this woman could ever be boring. Maybe BB was right after all - maybe Yana was his life mate.

She laughed at his teasing, nuzzling a softer kiss to his lips. "Make some coffee before you try and talk to her," she suggested. "I won't be long - there's that fry place less than a block away, and right now, we're Orsk's favorite people. I'll be back before you know it."

He knew that was her way of telling him to sober up, which probably wasn't a bad idea. Might as well stow what remained in the bottle away for a rainy day. The way they were starting off, he was going to need it. But Yana had put the smile back on his face, and he was almost feeling like his old self again. "You better be," he teased, not needing to warn her about the Gran and trusting her to be able to take care of herself. He kissed her again, his lips tasting like strong booze, knowing exactly how he was going to start the conversation with his sister.

She smiled into his kiss, her fingers ruffling his hair as she reluctantly pulled away, rising to her feet. At least she'd managed to convince him not to drink himself into a stupor. It was a start. Turning away, she caught a glimpse of Mira whirling back out of sight, grinning to herself as she passed the girl's bunk. It looked as though someone had caught them smooching.

Thankfully, Kalen had not noticed Mira spying on them, intentionally or otherwise, as he staggered to his feet. He'd drawn more comfort from a few kisses and a little conversation with Yana than all the booze in Rhy'Din could have given him, but it was time to brave his sister's scrutiny once again.

[Friend-Kalen!] The cheerful greeting of BB-D2 floated out to him as the little droid left Mira's bunk. [You are partially inebriated. I can induce sobriety with an injection of adrenalin and caffeine, if you would like.]

From the room behind the droid came a snort of laughter at the tactfully put suggestion. "Subtle, Beebs, real subtle."

Even Kalen harrumphed at BB's suggestion, which gave away the fact that he'd been attempting to drown his sorrows in a bottle of something before Yana had tactfully intervened. The poor little droid apparently didn't understand the point of drinking at all. "That, Friend-BB, would be a shameful waste of Tiharr, I'm afraid," Kalen replied, refusing the droid's offer, as politely as he could. Besides, he'd taken Yana's advice and made himself a cup of coffee before attempting to approach his sister. "May I come in?" he asked from the doorway.

The little room had been transformed with just a little attention to detail. There was now a rug fixed to the floor, the bed area bright and warm with pillows and blankets. Mira was kneeling on the bunk she didn't sleep on, attaching a metal plate perpendicular to the wall. She looked over her shoulder at Kalen, her smile bright. "Did you bring my globe?" she asked hopefully.

"No, I ..." He frowned, assuming she'd had it. He must have left it in the lounge, though he couldn't recall bringing it with him when he'd gone there. "I brought you this," he said, holding up a blaster pistol - one that was a little smaller than the one he usually had strapped to his thigh, but just as deadly. He remained at the door, until she invited him inside, even though there was plenty of room for them both. "I see you're making yourself at home," he observed, feeling relieved.

"I'm just putting up a shelf for it to live on," she explained herself, thumping down onto her heels. It took a moment, but she did eventually realize why he was just lurking in the doorway. "Oh! Come in!" She laughed at herself. "Beebs, go and finish charging up." The little droid whistled cheerily, trundling out through the door as Mira grinned at her brother, reaching for the blaster. "Where's the safety on this?" she asked, sighting down it briefly.

He frowned at the question, realizing he was actually going to have to show her how to use the thing. And here, he'd thought she knew how to take care of herself, but at least, he knew enough to bite his tongue on that thought. "It's here," he said, stepping into the room to point out where the safety was on the blaster before she accidentally shot herself in the foot.

She hadn't actually said she knew how to fire a blaster, just that she could take care of herself. She smiled, grateful to him for trusting her with a weapon in the first place. "Thank you," she said aloud. "I get that it's kind of weird to be arming someone you've had in your head as about ten for years."

"I haven't ..." he shook his head, but the motion only made him feel dizzy, obviously due to his state of partial inebriation, as BB had so helpfully pointed out. He reached out with one hand to lean against the doorway, so he didn't fall flat on his face.

Mira watched him sway, her smile wide but not mocking. "You know I've got chairs in here, right?" she pointed out, tucking the blaster into her belt. She gestured toward one of the said chairs. "Get comfortable, I would."

Mira Dain

  • Young Wyrm
  • *
  • Posts: 33
    • View Profile
Re: Promising
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2017, 08:40:57 AM »
"Don't mind if I do," he replied, somehow managing to get himself into the room and the chair without falling down. He knew he had a lot of explaining to do, but he wasn't really sure where to start.

As it turned out, Mira got there first. "I didn't mean to make it sound like I'm not grateful," she said, almost as soon as he sat down. "I am grateful to be away from Faraxen, and to be with family. I mean, just because I can look after myself, it doesn't mean that I don't appreciate having someone else looking out for me too, you know? It just ... it felt like you kinda didn't trust me to have basic common sense, and that kinda got me annoyed. But I shouldn't have snapped at you, and I'm sorry. I know you just want what's best for me."

He was both surprised and relieved by her apology, though he thought it entirely unnecessary, and yet, it gave him a place to start, as far as his own apology and explanation was concerned. "It's not that. I just ..." He drew a heavy sigh. Did he really have to spell it out for her? Wasn't it obvious enough already? "I don't want to lose anyone else, that's all," he said, without getting too specific.

"Well, then you better keep me around," she told him matter-of-factly. "You can stop me getting lost, and Yana can stop you getting lost. And we can, I don't know ... tie her to the ship with bungee cord so she doesn't get lost too?" It was a little facetious, and definitely teasing, but they were edging around a subject that had a lot of hurt tied to it.

"I'm pretty sure we don't have to worry about Yana too much," he replied with a small chuckle. At least, not where getting lost was concerned, but then, he was taking her literally when she was probably talking figuratively. "I wanted to ask you about that though. About what you'd like to do with your life now that you're free of Garv."

She shrugged, drawing her feet underneath her as she settled more comfortably on the spare bunk. "I don't know," she told him honestly. "I've never really had to think about it, you know? I was pretty sure that my whole life would be spent at Garv's, up to my waist in broken down parts."

"Do you like being a mechanic?" he asked, thinking that was perhaps the best place to start. Now that they were on Rhy'Din, the possibilities were endless, and though he was secretly hoping she'd choose to stick around and become their mechanic, he didn't want to make that choice for her.

"I love ships," was her honest reply. "I love this ship. She talks to me, you know? Like ... I know the sub-light oscillator needs pulling out and going over, and I know that there's a bad circuit on the compressor unit for the life-support, and the reason the cargo lift doesn't work is because there's a whole hydraulic system missing. I mean, I haven't had a chance to look, but I know those are problems. I can hear them. It's almost like she wants me to fix her up."

"Hear them?" he echoed, arching a brow at her and wondering if she was somehow drawing on a little of the Force to tell her these things or if it was just a mix of intuition and know how. He understood how she felt about the ship though. He'd never had a ship of his own, and even only after a only a week or so, he was getting attached to her.

"Well, yeah, there's this ..." She trailed off, gesturing to her ear. "This is hard to explain. The sub-light oscillator is completely workable, but take off would be a lot smoother if it was cleaned up and reinstalled. The bad circuit buzzes when the life support goes into recycle-mode on a night cycle, but unless you know what you're listening for, you'd miss it. And, uh ... Well, things rattle in the engine room where that hydraulic system should be." She shrugged. "And that's just by listening to her. Pretty sure I'd find more that could be done if I went through her system by system, but I don't know if we have the money or the time to do that."

He nodded, afraid to admit he was somewhat relieved to hear it was a trained ear that had her knowing what the ship needed and not some religious mumbo jumbo he wasn't sure he believed in, and suddenly he knew exactly what he wanted to say, hoping he wasn't stepping on Yana's toes doing it. "Yana and I would like to make you a full partner," he blurted, even though it was something they'd only just been discussing a few minutes ago.

"Really?" If he'd thought Mira might say no to that, just the look on her face was enough to assure him otherwise. She looked delighted with the offer - surprised, but pleased that he and his girl were prepared to keep her on. "I don't mind taking orders, you know," she offered in return. "I mean, you don't have to make me equal so I'll stay. I want to stay."

"Yes, really," he confirmed. Though he'd been thinking the same thing, it had been Yana who'd suggested it openly. Of course, there were still some things they had to discuss as far as this little partnership of theirs was concerned, but at least, it was a start. "It's just ... I am not sure what to do now that we are free," he admitted further, hinting at some of his own uncertainty, and pointedly using the word "we", not "I" or even "you". He pushed one hand through the unruly mop of dark hair with a sigh. "We are quite the group, yes?"

She laughed, leaning back against the wall. "Hey, we're together," she pointed out. "That's a start. And I have no idea what it is that you do, so I really can't help with working out what to do next. I'm a grease monkey, that's all."

"I am ..." Kalen started, trailing off with a frown as he wasn't quite sure how to define himself anymore. He'd done so many things in his life, most of them unsavory. He fancied himself a pilot, but a pilot of what? A pilot of a broken down freighter? So, what was he really and what did he want to be going forward? A pilot, a smuggler, a businessman? "We can talk about it later," he told her, knowing Yana wanted to discuss it as a group anyway.

"Sounds good to me," Mira agreed with a smile. "I'm good with just about anything, you know. I mean, I'd rather we didn't fly straight into the side of a mountain, or take on a pirate fleet alone, but if you need me to, I'll hold Nemesis together with spit and hope."

He chuckled at her remark. It kind of went without saying that none of them wanted those things either. "Are you hungry? Yana went to get some food," he told her, changing the subject. He wondered vaguely if he should go track down the snowglobes before Yana stumbled across them on her own.

"I could eat," she nodded. "I wanna get my globe - wait right there, I got to show you this." Bounding up from where she sat, she shot out through the door, and a few moments later, she was back, tossing Yana's wrapped globe into his lap as she moved to put her own on the little shelf she'd set up. She grabbed a string of colored lights - another of Yana's purchases, it seemed - and draped them behind the little snowglobe, shaking it to set the glitter falling. Then she stepped back, and killed the main light, all but clapping her hands in delight at the pretty display she'd made for the present he'd bought her. It certainly had pride of place.

He opened his mouth to protest and even debated going after her, but after taking to his feet and swaying in place a moment, he decided it was probably better if he just stayed where he was. Maybe he should have taken BB up on his offer of a cure, after all. She was a little ball of energy, but he couldn't help but smile at the pretty display she'd created with his gift taking center stage. "I like that," he said, and not just because he'd given it to her. She had claimed her space and was slowly making it home - he and Yana could probably take a lesson from that.

Mira Dain

  • Young Wyrm
  • *
  • Posts: 33
    • View Profile
Re: Promising
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2017, 08:41:52 AM »
"So do I." Beaming happily, she turned the main light back on, perching on the edge of the spare bunk once again. "I don't really do so well sleeping in the complete dark," she confessed. "I don't know why, but it always gives me nightmares. All I need is a little bit of light, and I'm fine. Like a kid."

He frowned a little at that, not really wanting to consider all the horrors she must have endured on Faraxen. The thought of that kindled the anger he was still feeling inside, but it wasn't her he was angry with - it was all those who'd been responsible for her being there, including their father. He clenched his jaw, hinting at the continued struggle with his emotions, but only said, "I wish I had known."

She shrugged. "It's over now," was her surprisingly wise response. "You can't change the past, and you already gave me a future. We're cool, Kalen. Just, you know, try not to look so shocked every time I hug you, okay? I like hugs, and the only person I've been able to hug for years is BB."

"I'm glad you had BB with you," he told her, skirting the issue of hugs. It might take a while before he got used to her easy affection, but he wasn't complaining. As far as the little droid was concerned, he'd befriended Kalen once upon a time when he'd been a child, so it was no real surprise to him when he'd done the same thing for Mira. "I was angry at Rhel for giving him away, but I'm glad he was with you."

"I never really got why Dad gave him to me," she admitted thoughtfully. "I figured at the time it was because he was away so much, you know? But maybe he gave me BB-D2 because he thought something might happen if he got into trouble. If it wasn't for Beebs, I'd have a lot more scars, I know that much."

"He should have brought you to Rhy'Din," Kalen said, unable to hide the bitterness from his voice, though he knew Rhel must have had good reason in leaving her with her mother. If it hadn't been for his own mother forcing him on Rhel, he probably would have had a much different life. "I suppose he did the best he could," he admitted belatedly and a little grudgingly. If making children all over the galaxy and leaving them behind was anything to be proud of anyway.

"He couldn't have, not if Mom said no," she pointed out mildly. It seemed she didn't bear any anger toward their father; her temperament seemed to suggest that she couldn't sustain anger for very long at a time. "He made you," Mira said with a faint smile. "If he hadn't, I'd still be junking scrap."

"And if my mother hadn't made him take me with him, I'd probably be dead by now," Kalen admitted, with a mix of anger and sorrow. "You know, I used to see her in my dreams sometimes, but now ..." He shrugged. "I can't remember her face."

"Do you want to remember her?" his little sister asked softly. She must have a reason for asking, but in that moment, it didn't seem very clear.

"Yes," he replied without hesitation, the answer surprising even him. She was his mother, and she'd loved him, even if she had given him over to his father - or maybe because she had loved him. "She was killed in the war a long time ago," he told her, or at least, that was what he'd been told.

Mira bit her lip, looking ever so slightly shifty. "Uh ... BB's got a load of holopics in his databanks," she offered, almost sounding nervous of offering up this information. "I used to look through them almost every night. Some people I recognize, like my mom, and Dad's in them. Dad's ship, too. You're in them, that's how I know you're who you say you are. But there are other people I don't recognize that ... well, maybe you would."

"I forgot about that," he admitted, having forgotten about the wealth of information the little droid stored inside him. He'd often asked to see holopics of his mother and even his father when he'd been a boy. How had he forgotten that? Not Rhel, but the man he'd thought was his father. A man who had cared for him for four years of his life, without ever letting on that he wasn't his son by blood. He'd never learned why either.

"I can ask him to upload copies to Nemesis' databanks," she offered shyly. "You know, so you can look at them in private without having Beebs chattering about all the people in the pictures and how much you've grown."

"Thank you," he told her, trying hard not to let her read his heartache, knowing she had more than her own fair share. "He never told me he was my father. I only found out a short time ago," he admitted further, not really understanding why. Maybe BB could shed some light on the matter, but he didn't really have the heart to ask right now.

"Well, no one ever said he was a genius," Mira drawled mildly, her smile understanding of some of what he was struggling with. "He was a hero though, right? I always thought of him as a hero."

What was it Orsk had told him? That Rhel hadn't told him who he was because he thought Kalen deserved to think he was worthy of a better father - or something like that. In all honesty, it was like he'd had two fathers - one who'd been his blood and one who hadn't, and sometimes it confused him which had been which. "I don't know," he replied after a moment. "He didn't tell me everything." That much was obvious. "He didn't talk about you much, but I think he cared for you."

"He always talked about you." Her smile grew bright as she mentioned this. "He never said you were really my brother, but he was always talking about Kalen, the wonder boy who could fly anything. I was so jealous." She laughed, tilting her head toward the door as Yana's voice made itself known.

"I have food, and if no one wants it, I'm going to eat it all myself!"

Kalen arched a brow again, surprised to know that Rhel had spoken well, even fondly, of him, and despite all his anger and pain, he found himself admitting one simple truth, "I miss him," he said, his voice not much more than a whisper, hardly heard beneath Yana's summons for food.

"I miss him too." The echo of his whisper was there in Mira's soft voice. Though she hadn't known Rhel the way he had, she missed the father who'd always turned up right when she needed him, even if he could only stay for a day. She unfolded herself from her seat, reaching to pull him to his feet, and wrapped her brother in one of those hugs she'd warned him about. "We've got each other now."

A kiss from Yana and a hug from Mira - Kalen couldn't ask for much more than that. He wasn't as startled by the hug this time, even making an awkward attempt to return it. It was strange to think that just a few weeks ago he'd been alone, and now he was part of a family again. Or what felt like a family. He cleared his throat, feeling a little awkward, as he gently disentangled himself from her hug. "We'd better go before Yana comes looking for us," he said, not really wanting Yana to catch him in the middle of a hug or he'd never hear the end of it.

The smell of fried chicken was wafting through the ship, so it was a pretty fair bet that Yana was seriously considering following through on her threat to eat everything by herself. Mira laughed, stepping back to brush a hand through her long hair. "Food sounds pretty good around about now," she agreed. "C'mon, big bro. Last one there has to toss the trash."

Kalen smirked at the challenge, which was hardly a threat. If tossing the trash was the worst he had to face, it wasn't so bad. The smell of the chicken had his stomach growling and he had to chuckle a little. "I think Yana is sick of my cooking."

Mira Dain

  • Young Wyrm
  • *
  • Posts: 33
    • View Profile
Re: Promising
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2017, 08:42:47 AM »
"Yana isn't about to risk a galley fire because the chef is drunk as a skunk," Yana informed them as they came out of the bunk, a bucket of chicken on the main table of the lounge, together with a selection of random sides.

Mira snickered, thumping down into a seat. "You seen a lot of drunk skunks?"

Thankfully, Kalen was no longer staggering, or maybe it was just the fact that he was no longer feeling quite so sorry for himself. The dark mood had finally lifted, and he was smiling for a change. Though he might not consciously realize it, it was because of these two women who had so recently come into his life. Together, they had given him hope and a second chance at living, despite the tragedy and hardships they had all suffered before.

"Oh, I forgot!" he exclaimed, almost forgetting the gift he had bought for Yana earlier that day. "This is for you," he told her, thrusting the package toward her a little awkwardly again. He'd never bought a gift for anyone in a very long time.

"Wait until you see a cantina at throwing out time," Yana was warning Mira with a grin, blinking in surprise as Kalen thrust a paper-wrapped package in her direction. "You bought something for me?" Startled, and touched, she turned her eyes downward as she unpeeled the paper from the globe, catching her breath at the scatter of glitter that swirled about the space scene contained within. "Oh, Kay ... this is lovely," she breathed, her usually wry smile softer than he'd seen it before. "Thank you." Rising onto her toes, she kissed his cheek, hugging the little globe to her heart.

"Do you like it?" he asked, though her reaction to his gift seemed like answer enough. If this was the way she reacted to receiving gifts from him, he might just have to do it more often. He found his heart was beating a little faster than usual, but he wasn't sure why.

"Of course I like it," she laughed quietly, leaning into him for a long moment. "You gave it to me."

Mouth full of chicken, Mira cast a smug grin up at her brother. Her expression had told you so written all over it.

His arms went around Yana without thinking too much about it, though he was all too aware of his sister looking on. "It's ... um ... musical, I think," he explained further, purposely avoiding his sister and her told-you-so-grin.

"Really?" Yana, too, was aware of Mira's presence, blushing a little as she looked down at the snowglobe in her hands. She didn't come out of her lean against Kalen, though, stubborn enough to know that all three of them were going to have to get used to sharing and witnessing these sorts of affectionate moments eventually. She lifted the little globe up, studying it carefully to find the switch that would start the music playing, and felt her mouth fall open as she recognized the gentle tune that rang out. "Oh, my ..."

He hadn't been too concerned with the tune so much as the way the globe itself reminded him of her. He wasn't sure why, but it seemed to fit her somehow, and he'd just had a feeling she might like it. Of course, it hadn't hurt having Mira there to help him pick it out and encourage him to buy it. The tune was a lullabye of some sort, though he wasn't very familiar with lullabyes. All that mattered to him was that she liked it.

She did like it, very much. She felt a little guilty that she hadn't followed through on her own impulse to buy him something that reminded her of him when she'd been out herself, but there would be time to rectify that. "Thank you," she told him again, hugging the little globe as she reached up to kiss him once more.

He wasn't quite sure how to respond to that, except to smile, pleased that she liked his gift. He would have been happy to linger forever in her kisses, if it were not for the fact that his sister was looking on. It would take a little time before the three of them felt comfortable around each other, but they seemed to be off to a good start. "I was just telling Mira how we'd like to make her a partner," he said, hoping Yana didn't mind that he'd broached that subject already with his sister. Even so, they had a lot to discuss.

"Good!" Yana seemed relieved to be given an out from her moment of softness, reluctantly setting the globe down as she took a seat to grab a piece of chicken for herself. "And what was the answer?"

Mira blinked, swallowing her mouthful hurriedly. "I don't know what you guys do," she pointed out.

Kalen smirked, as he claimed a seat, along with a helping of fried chicken. "I didn't get that far yet," he said, allowing Yana the honor of explaining. He wasn't even quite sure what the answer to that was yet, as they were still trying to figure that out, now that their debt to Trethin was paid. He knew things had gone well with Orsk, but he still wasn't sure what they wanted to do going forward.

Yana chuckled, rolling her eyes. "I'm a smuggler," she told Mira. "He's a pilot. We've only done two jobs together so far, and one of them involved blowing up a space station, so I think it's safe to say that we don't know what we do, either."

Mira stared at her, torn between laughter and shock. "You blew up a space station?"

Kalen's smirk faded and he slid an uncertain look at Yana. There was no doubt in his mind that Trethin had deserved to die, but he wasn't so sure about the other people who'd been populating the station. "I wouldn't let it get around," he warned her, not really wanting another bounty on his head.

"Okay." Mira shook her head, glancing between them both. "So ... you don't know what you want to do, either?" she asked curiously.

Yana's gaze flickered toward Kalen. "We haven't really talked about it."

"I know what I want to do," Kalen said, as he chewed on a hunk of chicken. Or at least, he had an idea what he wanted to do eventually, though he wasn't sure they were quite ready for it.

Yana tilted her head toward him. "Are we supposed to guess?" she asked a little pointedly. "I'm not a mind-reader, you know." She glanced toward Mira. "What about you?"

Mira shrugged. "Well, you'd get more work and a better reputation if you went legit."

"Precisely," Kalen replied, waggling a drumstick at her. "But there's a lot of competition. We might have to take a few less than savory jobs to start with. Did Orsk have anything to say about it?" he asked, glancing to Yana again. This was the first real chance they'd had to talk about the future, since Trethin's demise.

"He's got a couple of runs he'd like us to take on," Yana told them thoughtfully. "I told him I'd have to talk to you guys about it first, but it sounds like they're legit with a side-order of smuggling. So both, in a strange way."

"Who's Orsk?" Mira asked curiously. "Is he your boss or something?"

Kalen once again exchanged glances with Yana. There was a lot Mira still did not know about them and their lives before they'd met her or each other. "Orsk is ..." Kalen faltered. How did you explain that someone was a crime boss without making them sound like a criminal?

Mira Dain

  • Young Wyrm
  • *
  • Posts: 33
    • View Profile
Re: Promising
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2017, 08:43:36 AM »
"Uh ... he's most often referred to as a businessman," Yana made the attempt all the same. "He has his fingers in a lot of pies, most of them completely legitimate and above-board. But he also has control of a few operations that are less than legal in a lot of systems."

Mira nodded slowly. "And you work for him?"

"Not exactly," Kalen replied, realizing how complicated this all sounded and wondering if he should just tell her the whole sordid story. "We were working for a man named Trethin. Orsk helped us get free of him." He waited to see if Trethin's name rang a bell.

"Oh, you mean the guy you said owned Garv's?" Mira perked up at a name she sort of recognized. "Isn't he the one who moved me to Faraxen in the first place? Why wouldn't he tell you where I was?"

Yana bit her lip, glancing at Kalen. "Trethin was the worst kind of scum," she explained in a tight voice. "And he used a lot of different methods to force people to work for him. We didn't work for him by choice."

Encouraged by Yana's explanation, Kalen went on to add a few details, thinking it was better for Mira to hear the story from them than from someone who might not know the truth. "Trethin had Rhel killed and threatened to kill you if I didn't do what he wanted. He forced Yana to work for him, too." And that was putting things mildly. "We had no choice but to kill him, if we wanted to be free. And then, we went looking for you." It was still a simplistic explanation of what had happened, but she didn't really need to know all the details.

"And this Orsk guy isn't like him?" Mira asked. That was the main thrust of her queries - she didn't want to be in a situation where she'd have to do questionable things just because someone told her to.

Yana shook her head. "It doesn't seem like it on the surface, but Orsk is a better person than many," she explained gently. "He's been keeping me alive since I was a child, and not because anyone asked him to. If we tell him we want to go legit, he might even help us set up and make the contacts we'll need."

"He was a friend of ... of our father's," Kalen explained further. "You should meet him. Then you can judge for yourself," he adding, thinking the only real way she could decide about Orsk for herself was to meet him face to face. "Mira, Rhel was a smuggler, too. He was not always honest, but he was an honorable man."

"Oh." That was a lot to take in, especially since most of it was entirely new to the teenager. Mira sat back, chewing her mouthful as she considered what she'd been told, stacking it against the opinions she'd formed over the years at Garv's, and in the few days since Kalen and Yana had come for her.

"Life isn't always black and white, Mira," Kalen continued. Though he knew that sounded a little cliched, he also knew it to be true. "We are free of Trethin now. All of us. You have to make your own decision about what you want to do with your life, but our offer still stands. You will always have a place here with us."

"When you say he has runs he wants us to do ..." Mira spoke slowly, still groping through this idea. "... would he ask us to hurt people who didn't deserve it?" She was frowning as she looked between the pair of them, reassured when Yana shook her head.

"Orsk doesn't deal in blood or sentient cargoes," she said firmly. "If he says it's legit, then it's all above-board and legal. If he asks us to smuggle, it won't be anything harmful."

Kalen really had nothing to add to that as Yana had answered for them both, but he wanted his sister to know that she wasn't beholden to them. The choice was hers to make. "You don't have to decide today. The ship needs repairs. You're the best qualified to do that. If you decide you don't want to be part of it, there are plenty of jobs at the 'port. We won't force you to do anything you don't want to do, but you are family, Mira. We will always be here for you," he said, hoping Yana didn't mind that he was speaking for them both.

"I trust you guys," Mira insisted. "I just ... I don't know this person. I don't want to get tossed into trouble that I can't handle by someone who doesn't know that I can't handle it, if that makes sense."

Yana smiled gently. "It makes perfect sense," she assured the younger woman. "And like Kay says, you don't have to decide right away. We have the time and money to give the ship a decent overhaul before any of us has to make that decision. And you're the one calling the shots there."

Kalen had been wanting to go legit for years, trapped into working for Trethin for the last decade. It wasn't so bad when it had been just him, but now that he had Yana and Mira to worry about, he wanted to go legit even more than ever. Of course, as he'd said, nothing was black and white - there were a lot of shades of gray. It was all a matter of perspective, seeing as there were no real laws on Rhy'Din. He'd always followed his own moral code, and it had never led him wrong. "You've only been here a few days. You still have a lot to learn about Rhy'Din," he added, having only given her a brief tour of the spaceport.

Reassured, and reminded of her own task ahead of her, Mira nodded more confidently. "Well, one of you is gonna have to show me where the scrapyards are," she pointed out hopefully. "I've got at least one system to build from the ground up here, and I'm not gonna be swindled by mech shops who think I don't know what I'm doing."

"Yana can take you there," Kalen told her, though he wasn't sure how soon she wanted to go. He had some questions for BB, and he'd rather ask those questions when no one else was around.

"We can drop in briefly now, if you want," Yana suggested, "or save it for tomorrow. It's not like we're going anywhere anytime soon."

Mira shrugged lightly. "Scrapyards operate all day and night, so there's no way to guess when the best time would be until I get a look at it," she admitted. "But I should probably make a list of the parts I'll need before we go that way. Tomorrow?"

"Tomorrow, then," Kalen confirmed. Though he was anxious to ask BB about his parents, he could wait another day. After all, it had been over twenty years since his mother had put him in Rhel's care. He didn't think waiting one more day would make much difference. Or maybe he was just a little afraid of the memories he might stir up.

"So this evening," Yana announced, leaning back to touch a switch on the side of the dejarik table, illuminating the holograms that stood for pieces, "I am going to destroy both of you because I am the master at this game."

Mira burst out laughing. "Like hell you are," she countered in amusement. "I could take you blindfolded."

"I think perhaps I should leave you both to it. I have never been very good at dejarik," Kalen said, as he finished the last of his chicken, leaving nothing behind but the bones.

"Hey, if she's so confident, we should play as a team against her," Mira told her brother, pointing a finger in his direction. "She wouldn't stand a chance."

Yana laughed, rolling her eyes at both of them. "Scared you're going to lose, Mimi?" she asked teasingly.

"Mimi? Seriously?" Mira gave Kalen a pointed look. "Control your woman."

Kalen laughed at the good-natured banter between the two women. "I don't think I could control Yana, even if I wanted to," he told his sister, wondering where BB had gotten to. He'd been gone a long time, since Mira had chased him away. "I need some coffee," he said, sliding to his feet.

"He'd regret trying," Yana predicted, grinning as Mira gave up on trying to make Kalen stay and clambered over to the dejarik table. BB-D2 would be coming out of his charging cycle pretty soon - he'd keep Kalen company while the women talked trash over a friendly game or seven.

At least, Kalen wasn't planning on killing time by getting drunk. He gathered up the scraps for the trash compacter, since he'd lost Mira's challenge, before making his way to the galley to fix himself a cup of coffee, leaving the two women to banter over a game of dejarik without him.

At least the end of the day was promising. After an outing that could have gone much worse, in retrospect, and the beginnings of a connection forming between brother and sister, it looked as though Yana had been right about what they needed. An evening with nothing but time to kill with one another was just what the doctor ordered.