Blue Light special at the Blue Light. Dinnertime has come for some of the simoleans that make up Nar Shadda, and Sapphira Solari is one of them. She's sitting at a booth, her bruised face long since healed, knitting and humming lightly to herself. She has a plate of brahmain meat, mashed taters and greens in front of her ... or the remains of it. She cleaned it pretty good, save for a few greens clinging to the plate. Now she has a dainty girlish cocktail that she sips between purls. Her hair is pulled up in the favored double-flat bun behind each ear, and she wears a pleated skirt, a slouchy sweater, a scarf, and leg warmers. Nar rain can be chilly!
Blue Light Special at the Blue Light. Also drinks. Blue Light drinks? Is there a drink called a Blue Light? No. That would be ridiculous. Instead, there is steak, and space-taters, and lots of knitting. And pretty girls. And a man - a man in a clean shirt and a leather jacket, and dark slacks with the gold ribbon of a Corellian Bloodstripe running down the sides. He smiles at you from on high.
"Hey there," he says. "I'm sorry to interrupt, but can I join you?"
Sapphira blinks as a shadow falls across her knitting. Curse it all, was she on knit or purl? She looks upward to find a man, unknown to her, looking down on her. Her eyes flit to that Bloodstripe, remembering Trillian's experience with the last wearer, and then back up to the man again. Blink blink go those green eyes. "I think there's quite a few booths around," she explains, turning to look away and down the line of booths. "Or the bar perhaps." She moves her eyes once again to look back at the man. "Unless there's something I can help you with?" Yeah, no pulling the wool over those eyes.
"There is, actually." Handsome man flashes a handsome smile. "Please."
Sapphira is too recently divorced to trust handsome smiles. She gestures across from her. "Please," she invites, twisting up her knitting and pushing it aside, almost against the wall. They're in the Blue Light; every worker here knows her and keeps an eye out on her. What could possibly go wrong? "What can I do for you, Mister...?"
"Ravva," he says as he sits down, smiling. "My name is Tanlir Ravva." He reaches into the pocket of his jacket and demonstrates a metal card with a holographic ID stamp, and a very specific logo: Republic Intelligence. "You can spare some time for me, can't you?"
Sapphira looked interested, albiet slightly forced, until the ID comes out. And then she deflates, visibly and audiably as she exhales. There's fear in her eyes, and she tries to hide it, but it's very clear. "Of course, officer Raava," she says, finally settling back to sit up a bit taller, be a bit more polite. Such men make such women disappear. That fear is visible. "How can I be of assistance to the Republic?"
"Relax, Miss Solari," he says with a smile. The badge disappears into his jacket with a blur of fingers. "I'm not here to hurt you. I'm here to discuss what happened to you on Kalarba." Ravva pauses. "Do you mind if I order something to eat?"
"I'm sure you're more than welcome to do anything you wish, Officer," Sapphira says respectfully, yet curtly. She's too much a Nar girl to feel //good// about this surprise visit. "Though may I ask, what exactly did happen to me on Kalarba?" Because there's so, so many things he could be referring to. It was a busy day, that day.
"Well...gosh," he says, chuckling gamely. "So many things. I understand you were assaulted, which is unfortunate - but I am sorry to say that while I don't approve of what happened there, I'm not here to investigate that matter. I'd like to talk to you about what happened in the tunnel."
"The cave-in, sir?" Sapphira may be terrified, and it may be obvious, but she's not about to give away anything that isn't given to her first. That way lies conviction! "I'm afraid we were there performing the job as expected. If the mining company wishes to place blame anywhere, the vylocks would be the best target. I doubt you can sue a vylock, though." Lying, very obviously. But that's not what matters. What matters is what goes on the record!
Another smile. "I see, he says. "Yes, the cave-in. Sapphira - can I call you Sapphira?"
She squirms in front of him. "I suppose you can do whatever you want, sir." Sure, he can't kill her right here and right now. But he knows who she is. Where she lives. One measly Defiance bunker isn't going to protect her from guys like this. She knows that too. But she offers nothing else save for that comment, waiting for him to lead the dance.
"Please," says Ravva with that same wide, boyish smile. "Ravva will do. I....want to tell you what I know, Sapphira. I know...oh." The server appears, and he orders the same thing you're having, and some rich Corellian ale. Once the server leaves, he smacks his lips. "You're a native here, I think, yes? Grew up here all your life?"
Sapphira just watches him with open distrust. This is how you disappear, or worse. So she just watches, her pale hands clamped tightly between her knees in a nervous gesture. "You already know all that, sir, if you know my name and my maiden name to boot." Because she was until very recently Missus Tavers. "So I'm guessing you're interested in what I know that you don't. Which ain't what medical center I was born at. Sir." Yeah, no Ravva here.
"I want to know what happened," Ravva says with a shrug. "Assume that I know nothing."
"There was a cave-in." Since that seems to be what the man knows, that's what she'll give him. "I'm a ship's engineer; things like caves are beyond my understanding. I'm sure you folks have experts to address that sort of thing." Sapphira just continues to stare, not touching her drink or her food.
"There was a cave-in," he repeats. "And then...?"
"You know," Sapphira lies poorly. "I don't really recall. There was a lot that happened, but perhaps from the wolloping I took I can't get my details straight. Why don't you tell me exactly what it is you're looking to know, and I'll see if it helps me remember?" Her cheeks are flushed now.
He smiles. "You don't trust me," he says. The beer arrives, and he accepts it thankfully. "Is that it?"
Sapphira wrinkles her brows in surprise and, almost, amusement. "No," she tells him honestly. "I don't know you. Do you trust me?" The question is asked a touch petulantly.
"I trust that you want to do the right thing, and that this is Nar Shaddaa, where you're used to government agents burying people to make Hutts happy." He takes a drink from his mug. "I know that you went to make some money with someone you weren't entirely happy with, and that he clocked you a good one once you left the tunnel. I know that was very wrong." He takes another drink. "You want to do the right thing, don't you, Sapphira?"
"I was married to a sociopath for years; just because you say something doesn't make it so." Sapphira lifts her chin slightly in the first sign of defiance. "What's the right thing by your measure, sir?"
"Ah. Yes." Ravva purses his lips. "I can see why you might feel that way. All right, so I'll be direct, since you don't seem to get that a lot from people." The food is here, and he accepts the platter with a bit less of a smile than before. He doesn't stop cutting up steak, mind you.
"So there were two corpses in the tunnel. They had been burned up, meant to make it look like there was an explosion. An accident. Well, I'm more than skilled enough to know a clumsy mock-job when I see one. Nevermind the fact that when someone gets cut apart with a vibroblade, the edges are /clean/." He holds up a morsel of steak, running the flat of the blade against the side of the cut meat as an example. "Nto the ragged amputation of an explosion. Are you with me so far?"
"Yes," Sapphira agrees. Her eye flit once to the steak, and then back to the man. All else aside, she meets his eyes. Either crazy or stupid, this one.
Ravva pops the morsel into his mouth, chewing thoughtfully. "So you see," he says around the bite, "I have a question in my mind. That question is, why were you - and a Senator's daughter, and her two friends - and your Mandalorian companion in position where the Senator's daughter and her boyfriend ended up so much charred steak, and the rest of you disappeared? Specifically since, in this case, it's clear that the chopping went on before the explosion. Now you don't seem like a murderer, so why don't you tell me what went on?"
Sapphira lifts her chin again, trying to hide her surprise. It fails. She shakes her head and looks off to the side. "What was the boyfriend's name?" she asks at last, turning back to the agent. "Sir," she adds, for good measure.
He swallows the piece of steak, chases it with a bit of beer, and setting the mug aside Ravva fixes his gaze upon you. "Ajam Manda."
Sapphira wrinkles her mouth unhappily to one side, looking suddenly exceedingly guilty. "And the other? What do you know of him?" Fish, go fish. This is one tough cookie, this girl.
He leans back a bit, wiping his fingers with his napkin. "Not interested in a Senator's daughter? No accusations of fabrication?"
"Why would you fabricate something to me? I'm no one, not even worth lying to," Sapphira points out. "Certainly no senator's daughter. I'm just trying to figure out what it is you want from me in all this. Then we can figure out how best I can give that to you without getting involved." Because a senator's daughter is some heavy shit.
"I want your story," he says. "And the IDs, if you have them, but mostly the story. You didn't kill them, did you?"
"Would you believe me, whatever I told you?" Sapphira asks, rhetorically. "No, I didn't kill them. I don't know blades from fire from explosions anyway. But they were aiming to kill me." She leaves Vraag out of it for now. He'll come in later, though. "What do you know of the third person?"
"Another Senator's son." His brows arch. "So you can see why I'm taking this so seriously. The children of two different Senators, one burned alive - well, mostly alive - and the other vanished into the ether. You can imagine what people might think."
"No, I can't. And I don't want to. So here; I'll give you what I have, and then you leave me be no matter what's said. Yes?" Sapphira shakes her head. "I went to do a job, this has nothing to do with me." She's a lowly engineer!
His brows arch. "Depends on what you have to say," says Ravva. "But go on."
"They killed each other, and the third one tried to pay me to keep me quiet about it." Sapphira seems right and up front about the information after that delicate dance between them. "Money's sitting in an account. I haven't and I won't touch it." Because she's not a complete moron. "There was some internal argument between them; it sounded like one was blackmailing the others. So perhaps that's why you asked me if I doubted the Senator's daughter's idenity--she didn't behave like a senator's daughter. Still, the explosion they did to themselves. Or rather, the one that got away did to them. So," She tilts her head to the side. "What were they after, do you know?"
He is quiet for a long moment. "I think you'll find that people of high birth aren't much different from people of low birth, Sapphira. Now...tell me. Who cut 'em up?"
"They'd better be, or this whole Republic is in trouble," Sapphira comments, sounding like the tried and true Nar girl that she is. She lifts her chin once more in defiance. "The man they wanted to kill. Or someone they thought was the man they wanted to kill." She pauses for a long few moments. "What he did to those people was justified. To me? Not so much. But to them, absolutely. Otherwise you'd have found me fried down those tunnels. And I doubt you'd have been nearly interested in knowing me as you are them."
"Maybe not," says Ravva, "But talking to you here, I'm glad you're all right." He takes another drink from his glass, is quiet for a moment. Watches a pair of Herglics wander past for the door. Finally he says, "How do you feel about Mandalorians? I mean, not the one, I know you were annoyed at him. Shuttle crew mentioned it. But in general."
Sapphira shrugs a single shoulder. She doesn't look like she believes him one iota about her well-being. "I don't," she admits honestly. "Met some fun ones, met some real jerks." One in particular. "What do my feelings have to do with anything you're investigating?"
"Well," Ravva says, prodding at his potatoes, "They haven't been a threat since long before the Clone Wars - not in any Galactic sort of way. But did you know that there are twenty-three hundred known hate groups out there dedciated to try and marginalize or wipe them out?"
"I didn't," Sapphira says, and while she's a little surprised, she's not //too// surprised. "So that's what this was? Three brat rich kids who decided to start a gang and go after Mandelorains?" She shakes her head disapprovingly. "They don't deserve what they got, but tempting fate like that certainly put them in line for it."
"That's basically it," he says. "Ajam Manda is a member of Defenders Deceased, an anti-Mandalorian group who's been known to commit acts of terrorism against Mandalorians or Mandalorian-owned businesses. He met...her...at university on Coruscant. They've been responsible for over two hundred and fifty deaths Mandalorian deaths in the last twenty-five years, most of them through explosions, fires, virus attacks - which means a lot of other innocents went with every Mandalorian they managed to kill."
Sapphira blinks once, and twice at the man and what he says. "Really?" she sounds dubious. "Those idiots?" She shakes her head, still in disbelief. "I imagine you're looking for the other one, then. The other Senator's son. The tenative one."
"Tenative." He looks at you flatly. "He blowtorched his friends before they were dead, didn't he? That doesn't sound like tenative to me."
"I suppose that's for you to decide, not me. I'll stick to engines, thanks." At last, Sapphira seems calm enough to at least take a sip of her own beverage. She does so slowly, thoughtfully. "What do you want, the account number for the money he tried to wire me? The message?"
"That's a start," he says. "But you can keep the money. I also want to know where I can find your - well, not your friend, but the Mandalorian."
"Why?" Sapphira demands, tilting her head and regarding the man once more with suspicious eyes.
"Because he was there," says Ravva. "Oh. And I need those IDs, if you have them."
"I'll tell you," Sapphira says after a moment of thought. "But under one condition. As for the IDs, those are gone."
"Not what I like to hear," says Ravva. "Where did they go?"
"I threw them away," Sapphira says, and this time she seems more convincing about it than the blatent lies she's been offering earlier. "I wasn't about to keep government-stamped IDs on me." Or give them to a beloved friend. No, she'd never do that. "Do you want to hear my terms about the rest?"
He peers at you, searching your face. "Go ahead."
"I'll tell you where to find him. But," Sapphira leans forward across the table slightly. "I want you to scare the absolute piss out of him for what he did to me. You're powerful enough that you should be able to do that with a flash of your badge. And you've got to admit he's got that coming, doesn't he?"
"I'll do what I can," says Ravva, "But Mandalorians aren't exactly easy to scare - and I'm not going to get carved up over it. He's in a lot more potential trouble than you ever were, if that helps."
"I don't want him in trouble. He did save my life; I've always admitted that. And if you decide you want to charge him or somethign for what he did, you let me know because I'll speak up to defend him. But he needs a bit of putting in his place." And Sapphira is rather tiny to be doing that.
He looks into your face as he chews another bit of steak, and doesn't break until swallows. When he does, though, he breaks into another of those enormous, boyish smiles. "I understand," he says. "You have a good evening, Sapphira Solari. I appreciate your cooperation."
This said, Agent Ravva gets to his feet and walks out the door, leaving only a cold breeze and a couple of credit chits on the table in his passing.