Log:A First Step Towards Resistance
The sprawling Ecumenopolis of Nar Shaddaa was likely a far cry from the crumbling city of that outer rim planet the day previous, louder, more neon, much more security, a whirling bustle of neverending night down amidst the roots of the skyscrapers and neon lit buildings that never once ceased. Perhaps not as peaceful in some respects, but either way the journey back to this hub of corruption and Hutt greed would see Lira pinged with a single message that spoke of the Ko Hentota District, and then the Corellian, and then after a third ping... the blue sought in the Gearhead District was finally pretty obvious.
Despite all the walking and taxis that were inevitably required, one would see a black clad male with a shock of white hair standing within the entrance to the loading bay of a YT-2550 Freighter, a very blue freighter. A beckoning wave and Rieve would step back and away as he noted the approaching figure, and it would be up to Lira to enter. Rieve for his part would be seated on a crate as Lira entered, a blue coloured vibrosword set to the side of him, within awkward reach, likewise a couple of vibrodaggers, and an ancient relic of a blaster that also set nearby, barely within reach as Rieve held his coat open to show that no noticeable weapons were hidden on his person. "Bonjeu! I'm sorry to have sent you on a journey... you've travelled far enough eh? Please Madelle, settle yourself... claim a crate, I left the comfortable one for you." His voice rings out warmly, lilting, each word flowing easily into the next given his distinctly fluid accent.
This hadn't been Lira'una's "big life plan." None of it had. In truth, she hadn't /had/ a plan other than to be a circus performer -- it was all she'd ever known. When you're a child traveling from world to world with your troupe, performing for audiences and surrounded constantly by your /family/ (because even the members of the troupe that weren't blood related were /still/ family), the world of galactic politics is an elusive thing. Sith. Rebel uprisings. Jedi. These were battles that were fought by /other/ people -- villains, heroes, activists, visionaries... not circus performers.
The wisp of a Twi'lek finds herself following a trail that started with the siege of a Sith Outpost and the theft of several blank ID cards to aid in the smuggling of refugees. She's glad in a slivery cloak that falls to mid-shin, the hood limply hanging to allow her lavender lekku to hang freely down her back. Their tips are /always/ moving in some entrancing dance that most of the galaxy writes off as random (though to those adept at such things, sometimes telegraphs more about her mental processes than she'd really care for it to). Underneath, one might be forgiven for thinking she wasn't wearing anything at all on first glance, though in reality the jumpsuit is just a few shades darker than her skin tone, decorated in Rylothian patterns of shimmering dark gray and royal blue like a toned-down version of a dancer's leotard.
It had been a long journey here. The Ko Hentota part hadn't been particularly fun, alternately skulking or /trying/ to look threatening enough not to have the same fate befall her there as did in the Corellian district a few days ago. How likely was it that there would be /two/ good samaritans willing to rush to her rescue on Nar Shaddaa? But she made it! She finally found the prize at the end of the scavenger hunt, and it was... beautiful.
"SUPER pretty," she tells the black-clad man at the ramp, pointing up at the ship like she'd expected he hadn't noticed. Her own voice was tinged with hints of a Rylothian accent, though it was a mere hint of a suggestion of a thought compared to many of the Ryloth natives. Her smile was radiant and youthful, and it bore no traces of the dark sarcasm that so many on Nar Shaddaa had adopted as a survival technique. She was, in short, a radiant beacon of hope and energy in the otherwise back void of the Smuggler's Moon.
And she might not have been the only one.
Big, blue eyes were sweeping around the bay when they lit on the Hapan, and they widened suddenly, her smile beaming.
"OH! Wow. You're... prettier than the ship. And /that's/ saying something."
Because /sometimes/ what Lira thinks is what Lira says, whether or not it has passed through any sort of filter mechanism. Still, there doesn't seem to be a trace of anything like sexual energy from it. No matter how graceful she might move, how slender and renown for being objects of interest and attraction Twi'leks -- especially Twi'lek women -- were known to be, /this/ one seemed.. if not oblivious to 'adult' desires, at least not prone to them herself.
"I mean.. hi! That's.. wow. Sorry. Overshare." A soft giggle escapes the girl's purple lips, and she draws herself up on the offered crate, in a sudden swirl of silvery fabric, spinning, rising, and plopping with her legs criss-crossed in front of her rather than being left to dangle. "It's fine. I mean. I hadn't been to most of those places, anyway." Still no hints of sarcasm, just youthful joy. "I'm Lira. But I guess you know that." Fingers wiggle in a kind of spooky way and then tuck into her lap.
The Twi'lek's overshare warrants the brightest of smiles from Rieve as he grins oh so richly, flashing a glorious gap at the fore of his upper row of bright white teeth as he springs gracefully from his crate and lands with a certain ease as he moves towards a hot water tank nestled within the various pieces of netting and such that ensure secure cargo. "You flatter me Madelle, truly!" That warm lilting accent ringing out as he steps backwards, still facing Lira and bowing theatrically with a hand pressed to his chest in a rather noble and overly florid bow. Why one might almost think he had a title himself, or perhaps he did? At some point.
Graceful steps see him pivot and turn, stepping towards that samovar-esque device, reaching for a couple of battered tin mugs. "I have nothing worthy of drinking, nothing worthy of toasting you and your comrades, but I can offer the bitterest of caf from Tatooine? I say from Tatooine... I have a feeling it was stolen from a ship while in dock there." Rieve grins again as he automatically sets to filling the mugs and tinkering with spoon and hot water, steam erupting and soon one mug and then two are filled. "I can't say I have a taste for it, but it keeps me awake yes?"
That warm accent softens as Rieve fusses about, his weapons left untended and within reach. One thing for sure, the white-haired Hapan likely considers the Twi'lek either too great a threat for the weapons to be effective, or not a threat at all. Though more likely is the Hapan merely seeks to prove he has no ill intent for it is with both hands laden with a battered mug of steaming caf apiece, that he soon returns and offers a mug to Lira.
"As to the ship, she is gorgeous, though I pale beside my honoured guest, truly. Make yourself at home... I uhhh... suppose I should introduce myself yes?" That bright smile erupts easily as he rests a hip against his 'sitting' crate and cradles that mug before him. "I am Rieve Selki, courtesan, dancer, fencer... many titles, many roles..." A lazy roll of his shoulders is offered as he simply seeks to catch Lira's gaze with his. "And importantly per'rapps, capitaine with the uh Rebellion... which I offer to you as a matter of course, given we are back to back yes? Watching eachothers backs oui?"
Lira didn't know what the word meant, but she understood context. And given that she'd been contacted through the same channels that got her to the ID theft in the first place, it only made /sense/ that she and Rieve would be on the same side! Right?
Well, that might not be how the galaxy /actually/ worked, but it certainly at least seemed to be the way it worked in Lira's mind. She was grateful for that cup of caf, too, stretching her entire body up when he approached. Even as her small, lavender hands stretched out to greedily accept the offer, her lekku twisted themselves together, crisscrossing once behind her.
"/You/ are the absolute /best/," she croons. "I've barely slept in like three days and it has been a /rough/ three days -- if you only knew. I feel like I could drink a whole pot of that /awful/ stuff that tastes like tar that they serve at that one diner in the Corellian District.. what's the name?... Oh, whatever. This is /perfect/."
And she does lift that mug to her lips, still smiling, eyes beaming over the rim of the mug as she draws it into her mouth with a little, unsophisticated slurp. "Mmph! Hot." Then she's fanning her lips.
"So! I love you. Can I just say that? Like, is it too early?" That fanning hand makes a waving, sweeping gesture. "You're like the epitome of everything I love. And you've got a /beautiful/ ship. And you're in the freaking REBELLION. And.. ugh." She sighs wistfully. "I'm so jealous. And, I'm just really glad to meet you."
And then there's a coy little shrug. Even a touch of color that reaches up to her cheeks.
Rieve's smile never once diminishes as he moves to settle back atop his crate with a languid ease. "Too early to profess your undying love for the bearer of the black tar that warms you through? Never!" Oh that grin brightens as he too finally takes a sip of his scalding drink and exhales a most relieved breath at the caf that is now a part of his system. "I confess that while you were putting yourself at considerable risk, I was three districts away at a high society function, though I knew that those who heeded the call would manage without me."
Rieve allows a few moments to let the caf be savoured by both himself and Lira, silence but for the gentle slurp and huff of caf-steamed breath before finally glancing about the ship and nodding, his shock of white hair tumbling as he drinks in the view of his true home as if for the first time. "She is beautiful, a dear friend helped me obtain her and I am forever in his debt... she is home. I have many homes admittedly. But this one is /the/ home yes?"
Rieve nods, proud even as he puffs up a little at the praise and the warmth, grinning over the rim of his battered mug as he eyes the gentle touch of colour staining Lira's cheeks. "The honour is all mine, I assure you... so what do you want from this? You are clearly aligned with all that is good and decent, and as for a fight? It will be hard. It will be bloody. Fifteen years ago I was on Chandrila as the Sith invaded."
And yet Rieve looks like he's what? Early twenties? But without even a pause, he shrugs and looks down to his left arm briefly. "I was shot, and it was there I drew first blood... I had practised. I had duelled. But that was the day I joined the Rebellion. I cut down two Sith troopers in utter anger... boiling rage yes? And here I now sit in your wonderful company, aboard this beautiful vessel. The threads of fate brought us here, what do you seek?"
There's a flash of something like understanding in the Twi'lek's big blue eyes, but she says nothing at all on the matter. Nothing at all about ripping the blaster out of a trooper's hands with only the power of her /will/ to control the Force, /hoping/ her Master would cut him down in the most brutal way possible.
Rage. That's how she had described it afterwards, too, when Qutha had confronted her about it. Not anger. Rage.
But there's no trace of that rage, now. No hint, really, beyond the merest flicker of comprehension in her eyes that it was even /possible/ for this child to feel such an emotion. She was joy. Personified.
"Oh let's see! Fifteen years ago I was... um." She pauses, lower lip tucking between her perfect teeth -- naturally Flat, like human teeth, not pointed like the shark teeth that some filed theirs into. "Playing Jedi and Sith in some circus camp somewhere with my brother and sister." The thought brings a twinkle of fond memories back to her eyes, but that expression sobers after a moment and she huffs out a little breath. "I'm sorry you got shot. It sucks. Like... a lot. You must have been /really/ young."
But that question was still lingering, wasn't it? What did she /want/?
It gives her pause, and for the first truly noticeable time, it shows a depth of emotion beyond /radiant/. Her eyes shift downwards, towards the floor, in quiet introspection. If she answered honestly, what would Qutha say? Was she being true to her emotions? Was she letting them lead her? Was she being /herself/ or was she still just chasing that rage she'd felt?
"I was on Phylos a few days ago." Was she allowed to say that? Whatever. She done did. Poe was there. /He's/ not a Jedi... that she knew of. "There was a Sith outpost, and they were taking people. Villagers." A slow breath in. And back out. Blue eyes lift again, her smile more subdued but no less sincere. "I want to help. And I may not be able to do much. But I want to try, because every contribution's a contribution, you know?" Why did those not sound like /her/ words?
"/Weeks/ ago, I was an aerialist and a fire dancer in a traveling circus troupe. And then, suddenly..." She rolls one shoulder. "Suddenly I got a /taste/ of what it was like to do a little bit. To help people. And, I can't go back to just being an acrobat. I can't keep ignoring it."
Rieve nods as he listens, the steaming caf held within his hands, the mug cradled as he bows his head gently, letting those white locks tumble to shroud his vision for an instant, gazing down at the floor for a few brief moments before lifting his gaze to watch Lira and to listen to all that she says. He doesn't interrupt once. He just listens and nods, head lightly tilted as he allows those words to flow.
The talk of fifteen years ago warrants that gap-toothed smile, though again the Hapan doesn't speak as he hears tell of Lira's past with the circus. And with mention of Phylos, there's a hint of curiosity, though again there's no pressure as a planet that doesn't ring a bell to his memory at least is mentioned, to Rieve there are many planets and what is one more? Acrobat. Fire dancer. Aerialist. Lira's history is regard with a certain awe, and her wants are met with a smile. That gap-toothed smile softening as he nods once more, reaching up to idly tuck his oft dyed hair behind his right ear as he listens to what she needs to do.
Finally that caf-soaked voice rings out, warm and flowing as he bows his head lightly to Lira. "Never stop being a fire dancer, or an acrobat, or an aerialist, it would be too easy for our enemy to take that from us all. To deny me my dancing, my socialising, my fencing... they deny us too much already. I know I need not say it, but we need our other self... they keep us grounded, give us uh something to focus on, and I would very much love to see you fire dance someday Madelle."
That said, Rieve nods again as he fully understands that desire to help. "You've taken that first step oui? Sometimes you have to walk away... there are times that we can't do anything, hard as it is to admit that. But there are also times we can do good, stem that creeping rust of the Sith... and it is with thoughts and deeds such as yours oui? I am but a lowly officer of this fractured resistance... but I shall keep you in mind yes? And per'rraps we can welcome you into ze fold come the right moment, I know I would be honoured to stand beside you." The very words offered as he drains that molten caf in one and exhales a steamy breath. "Ah! It burns, but it burns so good."
So that was it -- Lira's first /real/ connection to the greater Rebellion. Either that, or she'd just spent the last few minutes talking to an /extremely/ convincing charlatan. Which, of course, /regardless/ of his connections to the Rebellion, he might very well be capable of. He certainly had the panache of a performer.
"I don't have the time to be part of the troupe -- the /hours/ to rehearse all of the show routines -- but I don't I'll ever really stop being who I am, no matter /what/ happens." Another naive galactic view, but it's said with such force of believe that, for Lira, it might actually be true. "But, I need new experiences. I took a position as a part-time pilot for Captain Sut on the /Strong Mynock/. Have you heard of it? He's /such/ a nice guy. I mean, he doesn't /know/ what I do with my spare time..."
The girl's eyes twinkle with a bit of mischief. So, she was capable of at least /some/ level of deceit. Even if simply by omission.
"I would LOVE to dance for you some time. As long as you return the favor!"
She giggles, then, and nods, taking another sip of her caff and then setting the mug on the crate beside her. Half finished, but refined social graces or not, she at least had the social skills to know when to make her exit. She stretches her legs out and hops off of the crate.
"Thank you for meeting me. And for keeping me in mind. /And/ for letting me see the inside of this /ship/!"
Big eyes look around, still obviously in awe.
"It's /so/ cool!"
She giggles, then, and looks back at him with a playful sort of smile and a wink.
Rieve grins brightly as he sets his empty cup aside and slips free of his crate with a graceful bound and a his hands flourishing warmly in open greeting and equal farewell. "You are always welcome, truly. If you ever need assistance... uh or you ever just need to vent into a void, I am here as is the cargo 'old." That smile doesn't waver an iota as he ponders for a moment, brow briefly furrowing. "I said fractured before? Wrong word. No we are as one, we are separate, spread far and wide... that is what I meant... but you know what I mean." The smile softens and Rieve offers a gentle bow, one that speaks of a time that might well have been before every last hint of rebellion and resistance, a time of court and other ideals.
"I shall dance for you, it will truly be my honour... and together I have no doubt we shall compliment eachother, know that you've an ally in me and may Capitaine Sut look after you, I believe I have seen such a vessel now and again. A fine ship." Rieve moves and eyes the outside world down that ramp, the neon and the grime, and yet somehow it is home to some degree.
"As they say on my homeworld, avo tur'jeu erenedi, have a bright day without equal and of course bonnui Madelle." That smile brightens once more, hand against chest and formal farewell offered with such warmth, Rieve truly delights in his caf-swilling company, and fellow trouble-maker to boot. "Be safe out there and as I say, I am always here if you need me."