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There is no death, there is only Wrath

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Community Content > Fan Fiction
There is no death, there is only Wrath

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bright_ephemera
06.22.2012 , 06:41 AM | #101
56. In which Vette badgers Nalenne to try something new (I/II)

It seems Tatooine never rests
‘Til it asks for all personal quests.
The desert out there
Demands all you can spare
And gives little for passing its tests.



“Hey, Nalenne.”

“We’re out of Corellian whiskey, Vette. I checked. I can’t magically produce more if you ask again.”

“Nah. I was going to offer a bright idea.”

“Oh?”

“Remember your vision questy thingy on Tatooine, with the smelly demon bath and stuff?”

“What is it with you and blood rituals?” (*)

“I get the impression that they’re second only to the holovid industry in providing educational materials. You think if you went back there you could get a little insight into certain metaphysical disturbances?”

“You would have to come enjoy the stench with me.”

“Hey, it’s not my ex we’re trying to get rid of here.”

“I doubt I’ll get anything useful out of it. My first Tatooine vision turned out to be a long morality lecture…I mean, it did change my life, but it was basically one long lecture…followed by three seconds of useful information.”

“Information you couldn’t have gotten any other way, though.”

“Smartly managed aerial surveillance would eventually have gotten it.”

“Information needed. If I come do the sand demon blood thing, will you try for your vision thing?”

Nalenne sighed. “I guess.”

*

Ghost-Quinn looked up at Tatooine’s twin suns without so much as squinting. “This planet is much more pleasant when one can’t feel the heat or sand.”

“Tell me you’ll at least be smelling the sand demon blood when we get there,” said Vette.

“I don’t believe I will.”

“Darn it.”

“It’s a good thing we found a way to bleed the demon without killing it last time,” added Quinn. “I don’t know how many are ever alive at a time.”

“I was younger then,” said Nalenne. “A lot less killing-everything-in-sight.”

“Less effective in many respects, as I recall,” said Quinn. “Though the modicum of self-control was an advantage that you have since lost.”

“I still won, didn’t I?” said Nalenne.

“With my help.” Nalenne and Vette exchanged looks, then glared at Quinn, who shifted uncomfortably. “Until those later parts, anyway.”

They made their way to the cave way out in the Jundland Wastes where they had first encountered the sand demon. “You think anybody else would’ve killed it by now?” said Nalenne.

“They better not,” said Vette. “This one’s ours.”

The cave wound deep into the sandstone plateau, but it opened into a broad chamber with a half-open top. There, standing guard exactly where Nalenne remembered, was the great insectoid sand demon.

“Let’s do this right,” said Nalenne. She activated her saber and leaped.

The monster was actually pretty tough. Nalenne remembered the last time she was here, when she just faced it down until it passed out…this was harder. Amusing, though. And she did have Vette’s combat support.

“My lord,” yelled Quinn, “it’s possible we’ll need to reuse this demon in the future.”

“Couldn’t have mentioned this earlier? Blast.” She dodged, slashed, Force pushed. “Got a really potent sedative?”

“No. I suggest hitting it really hard.”

“Thanks, master strategist.”

“I work with what you give me, my lord.”

With enough head trauma, the sand demon went down, unconscious but still breathing. Right on cue its outer skin started shifting and cracking.

And there came the blood.

“Come a little closer, Vette,” called Nalenne. “You should enjoy the fruits of your suggestion.”

“Ew,” said Vette. “You're going to owe me new boots.”

“Impressive,” said Quinn. “I think this is the first thing I’ve smelled since I died. It’s faint, but it is just as vile as I remember.”

The liquid was close to black, and there was an unholy amount of it, flowing over Nalenne’s boots and sloshing up her calves. She let it come. If the smelly fluid of life was what it took to get answers…well then, it was a good thing she was the galaxy's foremost expert on spilling it.
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bright_ephemera
06.22.2012 , 06:53 AM | #102
57. In which Nalenne talks to herself (II/II)

Some magics spend more than they save;
They’ll give something less than you crave.
These efforts, you see,
Use laws one, two, and three:
At best, you get out what you gave.



Further into the wastes now, to a remote Sand People village. The natives fled at her approach, as they had done once before. She passed through their shady valley and into a grotto with a green improbable lake.

Ghost-Quinn and Vette held back at a respectful distance. Nalenne knelt at the edge of the lake and meditated.

The figure that materialized on the water and walked towards Nalenne was different from last time. Then, it had been a disfigured woman wrapped in clingy tendrils of black mist. Now it was a fresh-faced girl wreathed in light. She walked right up and waited for Nalenne to stand.

“You,” said Nalenne’s mirror. “Stars, I didn’t think I was ever getting let up for air again! You unmitigated b****!”

Hostile much? “Get mad later. Work now.”

“On bailing you out of your own mess?”

“Our own. Are you sure you’re my good side? You seem a little…”

“You would be pretty mad, too, if you had to ride around watching yourself wreck your life.”

“Very nice, light-side. I don’t recall my base instincts ever being this angry.”

“Your base instincts were watching me operate, and I wasn’t botching our every life decision so royally. You, on the other hand….what do you want?”

“I’m supposed to ask you whether you know anything, on any subconscious level, about why our vows are keeping Quinn around, and what we can do about it.”

“I know nothing you don’t, okay? I may have a healthier perspective, but I don’t have a metaphysical-quandary cheat sheet with me.”

“Demonstrating once again that the light is lame and stupid and I was right to convert the last time I was here.”

“Oh, because the dark side has been so helpful? Let’s take your murder policy. If it weren’t your first resort, we wouldn’t be in this mess.”

At some point Quinn had drifted up to stand at Nalenne’s shoulder. “That may be the first time I have ever agreed with you, my lord.”

Light-Nalenne gave a ****-eating grin. “Thanks. You look amazing, by the way. This one refuses to say it, but – “

“Hey! You’re embarrassing me. Quit it.”

“This is the first time your nicer side has gotten to talk in well over a year. I’m taking full advantage of it.”

“We’re mad at him. Remember?”

“He did what he had to do. We loved that same courage and consistency, didn’t we?”

Quinn studied the opposite wall of the grotto with a curiously intent expression.

“Ex-husband not open for discussion!” said Nalenne. “Since you have nothing to say, we’re done here.”

“Hey,” said light-Nalenne. “Just remember, you don’t have to react to everything by killing it.”

“Oh, I shouldn’t kill him? And how exactly is keeping him this close but untouchable going to help?”

Light-Nalenne made a face. “Oh. I hadn’t really considered that.”

“I don’t do chaste restraint.”

“I don’t think even I would.”

“So you see my problem,” said Nalenne.

“Reincarnation?” suggested light-Nalenne.

“Into what?” She looked over at a very still Quinn. “If you think things are weird now, just imagine having to see a different face on him.”

“Just consider the possibility while we’re researching, okay? We have a choice. I think we have a chance. It’s not all about destruction. We can be better than he had to be.”

“’Better’? I did what I did for honor,” said Quinn, giving up on his statue impression.

Light-Nalenne smiled at him again. “I know what brought us here. And I don’t hold it against you.”

“I bloody well do!” said Nalenne.

Light-Nalenne ignored her. “Hang in there,” she told Quinn. “You and I have done the impossible plenty of times before. We’ll find a way now. This must be incredibly hard for you, but I will do anything it takes to make sure you’re okay.”

Nalenne gagged loudly. “Hey. Promises-you-can’t-keep girl. Are you done?”

“With him?” Light-Nalenne never took her eyes off Quinn. Her expression got even sappier. “Never. I l-”

“Leaving now!” yelled Nalenne, and sprinted for the exit, beckoning Vette to follow. She felt light-Nalenne fading back into the air behind her; all the same, even though the image was gone, it was a long time before Quinn rejoined them beyond the Sand People village.
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bright_ephemera
06.22.2012 , 03:35 PM | #103
58. In which Nalenne calls someone

Numerically, Sorcs can’t be topped.
By the dozens their foes will be dropped.
Though thousands of ‘Pubs
Cry “OP” and unsub,
The sorcerer cannot be stopped.



Stupid Light aspect. What a gross disgusting stream of incriminating and obviously false information.

It’s not like that. It’s nothing like that, and I will not allow him to get that idea. I’m going to do what I should have done a long time ago.


For the first time, Nalenne took her wedding ring off.

She stuck it in a box, shoved the box way behind the footlocker under her bed, then headed back out to activate the ship’s holo. “Get me Servant Nine.” (*)

It took close to a minute for Servant Nine to respond. He looked as gorgeous as ever: well-cut Servant’s robe, noble Pureblood face, a shoulder-length spill of unreasonably good-looking black hair. “What do you want?” he asked cautiously.

“Don’t make this into a thing, but are you doing anything tonight?”

*

Servant Nine was a hell of a fighter. Lightning, smugness, and glory seared the battlefield while Nalenne danced between Force bolts in her unstoppable saber play.

“It’s so rare I get to carve up a Jedi temple this big,” she told him. “I love my boys, but they’re awfully…mundane, you know?”

“Force-blinds are a waste of your time, and the things that challenge them are a waste of your talents.” That cultured voice had a melody all its own. Servant Nine casually reached over and toasted three approaching Jedi without looking their way. “You are beautiful when you’re winning, you know that?”

“Thank you. Anything left to kill around here?”

“Let’s look. This way.”

They stalked through the stone halls of the Jedi temple, checking room by room, watching and listening for any sign of surviving Jedi.

“So how did you get away from the desk?” Nalenne asked as she skewered an oncoming padawan.

“Willpower. And a great deal of complaining. Eventually Servant Three volunteered to cover my domestic duties just to shut me up.” Servant Nine flicked a small subtle gesture that brought the ceiling down on several surprised-looking Jedi in a side room.

“Well played.”

“I get restless. I envy you your job.”

“It really is an enjoyable gig.” She turned and Force pushed a lurking knight into his consular friend’s high-speed rock storm. “Ever consider trying out for Wrath Two or something?”

His smile and his golden piercings gleamed in the darkness. “The Wrath swings lightsabers. Always has, always will. People with my talents are not considered proper for the job.”

“Bah. I could use a whole lot more of people with your talents, from what I’ve been seeing.”

“Stick around, then. I’ve barely even started.”

Not many people left in the complex, but the holdouts included three certified Jedi Masters among their number. There had to be some kind of bonus points for that. The challenge of it was intoxicating. Nalenne couldn’t help but notice that somehow, in spite of the torrents of raw power flying around, Servant Nine’s hair kept its clean flattering wave.

Servant Nine laughed out loud when the third Master hit the wall mid-admonishment and crumpled between his fellows. “This never gets old.” He beckoned her on into the next room. “Perhaps we might do this again sometime?”

Her stomach turned, but it was in a pleasant way. “Yeah. Maybe. I don’t know. It’s worth calling, at least.”

They reached a big stone chamber at what must have been the center of the temple. They had already completed a circuit around the outer halls. “I think we’re out of Jedi,” Nalenne said regretfully.

“They really ought to up their recruitment numbers,” said Servant Nine.

“Agreed.”

“Of course, this was only the test run. I wasn’t sure what you liked. I can find us something much more exciting for next time,” said Servant Nine.

“Mm. Y’know, I get annoyed at being ordered around, but it does bring me some incredibly fun assignments.”

“Admit it,” said Servant Nine. “As manipulative tools of the establishment go, I’m a good one to have on your case.”

“Much better than some I could name.”

“Anything else you want to take care of before we call it a night?” He pushed her lightsaber-bearing arm aside as he drifted closer.

Her heart fluttered. “Oh yes. Just…not on my ship.”

He backed her in the direction of the nearest wall. “I had no intention of walking that far.”

*

She didn’t try to face her crew when she got back to the ship. Which meant that she was still in a floaty good mood when she reached her quarters and laid her aching body down to rest.

The sex: mediocre? Undeniably. In classic Sith form Servant Nine had expostulated at length on his requirements and boasted about all the reasons he deserved them while completely disregarding the needs of his ally and at times seeming to forget that his ally was there at all. The rough and ridiculously cold stone floor and wall hadn’t improved the experience.

But, hey, it was sex. And a selfish egomaniac for a partner didn’t have to be a dealbreaker. To put it bluntly, she wouldn’t be Sith if she couldn’t fend for herself.
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bright_ephemera
06.22.2012 , 03:42 PM | #104
Quote: Originally Posted by Ashlian View Post
ROFLMAO! I never thought I'd see Pierce turning down sex. It's a smart man who comes to that realization, though....

“Vette, I’m a capable man, but even I couldn’t bang that much crazy out of a woman. Things are better as is.”

Works on so many levels. TY! I am so enjoying this.
Lieutenant Pierce laughs in the face of death. That's one of the reasons I adore him. But the face of whatever the hell happened to Nalenne's last boyfriend, that's enough to give even him pause. He's no fool. That's another one of the reasons I adore him.

And now I find Nalenne's ship coming to a status that I may rest on for a while, assuming Extremely Flaky Creative Mind agrees to get back to generating fluff instead of turbulent plot. The Wrath’s everyday life and character interactions are still open for suggestions/questioning!

As ever, thanks for reading, and I hope you all enjoy!
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iamthehoyden
06.22.2012 , 03:59 PM | #105
Very much enjoying! I have to agree with Quinn though, I love me some Cap, lol. Very curious to see how the Quinn situation is resolved - I'm hoping for destruction, but then I'm terribly unforgiving on big stuff. (Little things, I'm pretty merciful on.) Wants to know! Wants to know!
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bright_ephemera
06.23.2012 , 08:11 AM | #106
59. In which Jaesa and Vette talk it over with Nalenne

A padawan watching the fray
May see many a dubious play.
While Masters dispute
Via combat or moot,
The minions must just watch and pray.



“So the awkwardness factor today was pretty remarkable.” Nalenne set aside her fork and looked up at the girls.

Vette tossed her lekku. “Ignore it. Meeting somebody in this galaxy who can show you a good time is not a cause for awkward anything.”

Jaesa moped into her soup.

“And Pierce and Broonmark are just mad they didn’t get in on the Jedi-hunting,” added Vette. “No worries, they got the job today and they’ll get another one tomorrow.”

“At least Quinn seems pretty professional.”

“By which you mean he’s shut down and withdrawn into the shell he hides in when he can’t stand being hurt by you any more, master?” said Jaesa.

“No, I meant he’s being pretty professional. He doesn’t get to feel hurt, it’s not like he could be fulfilling these functions.” Nalenne attempted to hide a giggle by sipping her wine. “Look, I know you wanted a less seethingly evil, Dark Side-marinated monster for me, but Servant Nine isn’t anything serious, okay? It was just a thing.”

“For what it’s worth,” said Vette, “I haven’t seen that gleam in your eye since you and Lord Draahg bumped off Darth Vengean. If this guy is half that good…well, we probably better post a full-time guard, because the inevitable treachery is going to be epic.”

“I’m hoping I can avoid that if we don’t make this a relationship. He’s just fun.” Nalenne considered. “Inevitable…stars. Now that I think of it, you don’t think Quinn jumped on the backstabbing bandwagon just to impress me, do you? It isn’t…that’s not his place. He’s not Sith, I never wanted him to be. He should never have felt like he had to change that for me.”

“No,” said Vette, “I’m pretty sure he stabbed you in the back because he’s a grasping, clueless, and morally bankrupt snake, even by Imperial standards. Fitting his idea of what you expect in a guy didn’t enter into it and would require more sensitivity than he possesses anyway.”

“Okay. Good.”

“So let’s stop talking about him. At this point I would ask you to elaborate on how the date with Servant Nine went, but I’m pretty sure it was all blood and evil.”

“That’s just about correct.”

“You going to crush any Core Worlds next time around?”

“Don’t know yet. There’s no guarantee there’ll be a next time around.”

Jaesa perked up. Vette rested her elbows on the table and looked skeptical.

“I’m not going to call him first, Vette. The last thing I want out of this is a reputation for being needy.”

“Okay. Sith mind games? Stupid.” Vette started fumbling in her pocket. “I should call him up right now, get something scheduled for – “

Nalenne Force-knocked Vette’s holocommunicator from her hands. “You will do nothing of the sort!”

Vette stuck out her tongue. “You’re chicken.”

Nalenne drew her saber. “You’re toast.”

Jaesa slammed her hands on the table. “Would you two stop!? I can take the horrific insensitivity, or I can take the needless violence, but I won’t take both in the same meal.”

“I’m not being insensitive to anyone who matters,” said Vette.

“I’m not being violent to anyone who doesn’t deserve it,” said Nalenne.

Vette looked sidelong at her. “I give your Servant three days, okay? After that, if you don’t call him, I will.”
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bright_ephemera
06.23.2012 , 12:15 PM | #107
60. In which Nalenne follows Jaesa into trouble

I had no idea, when I started writing this, that I would find LS Jaesa this interesting! She first caught my eye in-game when I tried to not be a douchebag and she replied with “WE WILL REMAKE THE EMPIRE IN OUR IMAGE, MASTER.” Ever since then…well, our relationship hasn’t always been easy, but it’s always fun.

A Sith is a secretive sort,
Truth is only a final resort.
It’s doubly so
For the light-side, who know
That a slip-up will cut their lives short.



A cave complex on Dromund Kaas. Jaesa Wilsaam ghosted through the shadows, avoiding the odd shaft of blue light from breaks in the ceiling.

She reached a snug dry room, squared off by sentient craftsmen, well lit, comfortably furnished.

A robed Twi’lek stood up quickly at Jaesa’s approach. “Thank you,” he said in an unsteady voice. “He’s coming.”

Someone was loudly walking up the cave corridor. Jaesa drew and activated her double-bladed saber. The Twi’lek drew and activated his. It shook noticeably in his grip.

Nalenne strode in with arms spread wide. “Jaesa, are you offering aid and succor to light-side Sith again?”

“Master! Darth Larnik is on his way to kill this man just for the crime of following the Light’s way.”

“And more power to him, says I.” Nalenne grinned at the Twi’lek. “You know, you would be in a much better position to deal with this stuff if you just joined the winning side. The Dark Side.”

“Is this the best time for this, master?” said Jaesa.

“Do you know this person?” said the Twi’lek.

“I used to be a Light Side Sith like you,” said Nalenne. She started pacing, gesticulating enthusiastically as she did so. “I was confused. I thought, hey, I can change this bad old Empire. It was a rough time, you know? It’s very hard. Because you can’t do it. You can’t turn the system upside down, but you sure can kill yourself trying.”

“Would you please stop crashing these meetings?” said Jaesa.

“There’s a way out of that dark…uh, light…place. I’m telling you. I gave in to the siren’s call of passion and hatred, and it turned my life around. I made that change. You can, too.”

A stunned silence.

Nalenne shrugged. “Or you can die someday, likely someday soon, with your pathetic, deluded friends. Your choice.”

Another step sounded in the passageway behind Nalenne. “Stranger,” came a deep voice. “I hope you weren’t planning on stealing my kill.”

“I’m the Emperor’s Wrath,” said Nalenne, turning to face the burly cyborg who must have been Darth Larnik. “Every kill I want is my kill.”

The cyborg started. “My lord! I’m sorry. I didn’t…”

“I take it you’re here for the alien?”

“And his friend, if he can claim one,” said Larnik, giving Jaesa a distinctly uncivil once-over.

“Great! You first,” said Nalenne.

“No!” said Jaesa.

“Ha!” said Larnik, prepping his saber and Force charging Jaesa.

Nalenne gave it two seconds before she drew her own saber, then leaped in and stabbed Larnik in the back. “Upon careful consideration,” she informed him, “you’re the funniest kill in the room. Also, you took a swing at my girl, and that won’t do.”

Nalenne let the man fall, then straightened and stretched. Jaesa’s face was white. “What was that?” demanded the Jedi.

“I wanted to see the look on your face when I let him at you. Priceless.” Nalenne beamed, then turned to the Twi’lek. “Lucky for you I’ve been in a good mood all day. Stay safe; I don’t want my friend’s efforts wasted. Just think about what I said, okay? It’s never too late to turn to the Dark Side.” She hooked her saber back on her belt and walked off whistling.

The Twi’lek gaped. “Whose side is she on?”

“Evil,” said Jaesa. “Mostly. It’s complicated.”
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bright_ephemera
06.23.2012 , 01:41 PM | #108
61. In which Nalenne corresponds with Lord Grathan and complains about love

The world’s most dangerous sound
Is a scientist mucking around.
Howe’er nice they are,
They may reach too far
And find something best left unfound.



Nalenne rarely bothered to return cold calls, but every now and then she got an interesting one. And so one day she went for the holofrequency of Lord Grathan of Dromund Kaas.

A slim, masked cyborg answered almost immediately. “My lord Wrath! I’m honored you had the time to call me.”

“For an old friend, Lord Grathan? I was curious. Tell me, how are things on Dromund Kaas?”

“You know. Slave rebellions all over the place, completely inexplicable enemy spy activities that I know nothing whatsoever about, major traffic delays on Kaas City’s west side as they continue to botch the development plan. How is the forefront of the war?”

“Glorious, glorious. You left a message saying you might have something of use for me?”

“Just a little development my scientists came up with. One of them was talking about that time you rampaged through the lab, scared him half to death, and yet declined to kill anybody. Got me thinking about the old days.”

“Like when I killed your father and – “

“Careful!” The man in the holo image tapped his mask. “Recall that I remain Lord Grathan.”

“And Lady Grathan remains in charge.”

“Don’t remind me. Mum’s impossible. Anyway, I wanted to offer you our lab’s latest device. Most comfortable chair you’ve ever seen. Makes sitting at a console a breeze, and you wouldn’t believe how little strain it places during tight piloting maneuvers.”

“I didn’t realize you had stayed in the ergonomic chair business.”

“These concerns have critically important implications for my entire operation. I’ll send a few chairs along for installation, if you want them.” A pause. When he spoke again his voice had a decidedly different tone. “I’m glad we had this time to talk. Don’t forget me, Wrath.”

Nalenne crossed her arms and disapproved as hard as she could. “You know, Grathan, I can’t help but notice that when I was on my way up, no man in the galaxy would even consider flirting with me. The most receptive man I ever met was the one who thanked me for my mercy when I told him I was done flirting.” She raised her voice to yell toward the bridge for a moment. “Thanks for that, by the way, Ice Man.” Then she returned her attention to Grathan. “And yet now that I’m the most feared killing machine in the Empire, suddenly they’re falling all over themselves to be ‘remembered.’ Boy, I remember that the last time we spoke I beat you into submission in three seconds flat.”

“You enjoyed it, though.”

“Not really. It felt like an unfortunate necessity at the time. All the same, thanks for the chairs.” Nalenne turned the holo off.

“That’s not entirely true,” volunteered Vette from the reading nook couch.

“What isn’t?”

“Guys not flirting with you. You remember FimmRess, Duke Kendoh’s big Sith guard on Alderaan? He liked you. A lot.”

“What? No, he didn’t.”

“He couldn’t exactly drag you off scene in the middle of the mission, but he totally would’ve if he could’ve. That vibe was so strong the local geomonitoring stations probably picked it up.”

“Vette, he called me ‘sister’ when we parted.”

That’s not necessarily frowned upon in all cultures.

“Ew.”

“I’m just saying. The way FimmRess rolled over every time you fluttered your eyelashes at him? If he hadn’t been so serious about his job he would’ve jumped you then and there.”

“You just summarized every lover I’ve ever had. And several I didn’t.”

“Yup. Your life gets pretty sad. At least you finally got Servant Nine going.” Vette shrugged philosophically. “Anyway, dibs on the best chair when they show up.”
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iamthehoyden
06.23.2012 , 03:37 PM | #109
Those ergonomic chairs have to be one of the most unexpected additions to a list of evil interests ever. I nearly spit my drink at my computer.
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bright_ephemera
06.23.2012 , 11:07 PM | #110
62. In which the crew drinks, drinks, and makes merry

A melting-pot serves, every shift,
Many liquors to charm and uplift.
So raise up your stein,
Or spirits, or wine,
And cheer for diversity’s gifts!



Nalenne waved vaguely. “So then I said to him, - Hey, more Tarisian death-juice!”

“I’m pretty sure you never said that to Servant One,” said Vette.

“Talking to the waiter.” The crew was unwinding in a booth at a restaurant on Nar Shaddaa. Nalenne was feeling good. “Look, guys, I know we’ve been working hard. For a long time. Days, probably. Maybe even weeks. So, I think, we should have more outings like this.”

“Hear, hear,” said Pierce, and shotgunned another quart canister of some unnameable substance.

“Because you’re all awesome. Even the lame guy who won’t drink.” Nalenne looked at Broonmark.

“Talz clan does not metabolize alcohol like that,” clicked Broonmark. “Instead we will guard Sith clan.”

“Yup. Exactly so. Ex-act-ly. I need guards.” Nalenne chortled. “I’m dangerous. Rrrrrawr.”

“That’s sounding like weapons confiscation time,” said Vette. She signaled Jaesa to get Nalenne’s lightsaber.

“Why do you keep doing that?” said Nalenne, ignoring Jaesa while the girl took her weapon. “If I’m going overboard I can kill you all just as easily unarmed. Here. Allow me to demonstrate.” She reached in Vette’s general direction and attempted to engage a Force choke. It fell a little ways to the left of Vette’s actual throat. Nalenne frowned and tried again, straining to focus. She missed. Again. Just as Vette was starting to laugh, Nalenne finally found the Twi’lek’s neck. “No, weapons, necessary.”

“My lord,” snapped ghost-Quinn in the tone he only used for high-priority in-combat updates. “Remember yourself.”

Nalenne reflexively complied, but she did make a face. “You’re no fun.”

“Yech,” said Vette, and reached to soothe her throat with more Corellian whiskey. “You clearly need to push past this point on the drunkenness scale.”

“Oh, that’s rich,” growled Pierce. “You do realize you just saved Vette’s life, captain?”

“Don’t mention it,” said Quinn. “Ever. It’s just that it would be disastrous to get the Wrath started in a crowded public space like this.”

“I knew it,” said Nalenne. “Depriving me of fun is even more important to you than hating Vette.”

“Depriving you of fun is one of the foremost public safety challenges of our time, master,” said Jaesa. “It’s just that you’re Sith so usually nobody does it.”

“You’re no fun, either, Jedi.”

“That’s not what you said last night.”

Pierce choked on his drink. Quinn returned to his calm pretense of scanning the room for trouble, while a single muscle near his eye twitched, violently. Broonmark made a whirring noise nobody could identify. Vette laughed out loud and managed to be the first to speak. “You’re learning malicious implications, Jaesa, I like it.”

“I am?” Jaesa hiccupped and looked at her fourth wine glass. “I just meant we were playing peanut gallery for Annihilators 3: Rise of the Shyracks, and she said I was fun to, to, you know, with.”

“Talk?” suggested Pierce blandly.

“Yes! That’s it exactly,” said Jaesa gratefully.

“Times like this,” said Pierce, “I understand why milord keeps you around.”

“Times like last night, you mean,” muttered Vette.

“Love you, babe,” said Nalenne.

“All night long,” rumbled Pierce with a wicked grin.

“Not all night. Two and a half hours, give or take,” said Jaesa. “Do we have more of this wine?”
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