Part 11: In which messages start to be sent
As they were walking back to the taxi pad, Jaesa found herself next to Standtrae. Zier and Quinn were reminiscing with Timmns about the hunt for Ekkage on Belsavis, and Taberon walked with them but silently in a world of his own. Standtrae looked down at Jaesa. "You're a quiet one, aren't you? Hardly a word out of you both meetings."
She looked down. "It's hard for me, coming back here to Alderaan. I grew up in House Organa, and I was a Jedi for a while."
"And now you're a Sith Lord as nice as a Jedi. Got to be quite a story there, I wouldn't mind hearing it sometime." She looked up in surprise, and he smiled warmly at her.
"I don't think ... not really ... it wouldn't ...I'm not sure ...", she lost herself in confusion and a morass of unfinished sentences.
"Aw, no pressure lass, just a friendly suggestion." He smiled cheerfully. "Offer's open, if you ever want to take it, good to have someone to talk to now and again."
He glanced round a moment then spoke a bit more conspiratorially. "Truth is, I'd like you to meet one of my squad. She was born Imperial, came over to us a few years back. Ramrod up her backside, worse'n your Captain there, not good at making friends, y'know? And being the only woman in the squad makes it even harder. She could do with someone to, I dunno, whatever women do together. And since you changed sides too, even going the other way, you might understand how she feels better than most."
"Oh! She must need someone very badly. Of course I'll meet her and try to help any way I can." Jaesa's sympathy was immediately aroused.
"Good to hear it, I'll call you and set something up soon. And thanks." Standtrae smiled warmly again and Jaesa blushed a little.
"It's nothing, I hope I can help her", she replied, and fortunately was saved from further conversation by their arrival at the taxi.
They all made polite farewells, and then Timmns, Taberon and Standtrae watched the taxi head back towards Kaamos territory until it disappeared beyond the hills.
Standtrae rubbed his chin and looked at Taberon. "I reckon it'd be best if we called Deuchar from your ship. More private there, and some of the squad are likely to go off a bit half-cocked if they get earshot of this."
Timmns looked quizzical. "You're cutting me out of this?" he asked. "What are you going to tell her that you don't want me to hear?"
Standtrae frowned but it was Taberon who spoke. "Please Master Timmns, you must understand that free traders are often involved in a lot of activities that are perhaps better left unspoken in view of the laws of the Republic. To Deuchar, you would represent danger. It is not that we wish to cut you out, but if we ask her informally as family, she is far more likely to help than if she thinks it is something official from the Jedi. Official things would potentially expose her and her associates to undesirable scrutiny, and she has little cause to love the Republic."
His brother nodded in agreement and added, "She tried going legit once, so-called friend got her working freelance troubleshooter for a Senator. Turned out the 'friend' and the Senator were working with an Imperial Moff and sold her out. So she ain't got no reason to try cooperating with the Republic again."
Taberon grimaced. "I would rather not have brought up the details, but I suppose it adds weight to the argument."
"Hmm." Timmns eyed Taberon. "You don't speak much, youngster, but you certainly have a way with words when you do. All right, consider me convinced. But I want to know how it turns out."
"Of course, Master", said Taberon, and the brothers both nodded.
"Hail Trae and Tab, the Republic heroes!" Deuchar answered the holocom in a rather mocking tone of voice. "How're you doing? Still saving the galaxy?"
Both brothers chuckled. "All the time, of course", said Standtrae. "It's a Jedi's primary function", added Taberon, and his astromech droid beeped and whistled: “T7 + Jedi = unstoppable”.
They exchanged a few more pleasantries, and chatted about some family stuff from Balmorra, then Standtrae said, "Truth is, we didn't just call you for the fun of it. We got a bit of a problem, need help finding someone."
"Really? Must be desperate if you've come all the way down to asking a lowly smuggler." She grinned.
Taberon brushed his hand through the ruff of hair on his head, leaving it untidier than usual. "Actually, we were asked to call you. By a Sith."
Deuchar blinked. "Say again? I think there's a glitch in the holo, could've sworn you just said a Sith asked you to call?"
The brothers both nodded. "It needs a lot of explaining", said Taberon. "It would be easier if we met somewhere to talk about it."
"Private as well as complicated and serious", added Standtrae.
Deuchar looked sceptical. "What's in it for me?"
Standtrae grinned. "You get to join in saving the galaxy?"
"Right ...." She looked even more sceptical but resigned. "Well, I'm at least intrigued enough to want to find out more. Meet back home? I can pick up some drops to make on Balmorra easy enough, and it's time I got to see Talla and Wylies' new baby."
They went back to family stuff again.