Log:Array Consortium: A Question of Politics
Not long after the invasion of the Core by the First Order, and the destruction of the Resistance Fleet, Adhar calls together the Captains to discuss the future - and what side, if any, to follow.
The conference room on the Bandit's Castle is a simple affair, a small room with a plain durasteel table into which a holoprojector has been built, surrounded by chairs. A large video screen has also been built into one of the walls. It's...very plain and military, that's for certain. Certainly not like the palatial room on his last ship.
Adhar sits at the head of the table, waiting for people to filter in. He's not wearing his coat, just that simple spacer's coverall of his. Business, after all. No room for frippery.
Dosk enters the conference with a wave to Adhar as he slides into one of the seats along the table. "How's it going Adhar?" asking as he looks about the room briefly.
Mara Jade arrives as well, making her way toward the back side of the table, facing the door way at the end of the table. There she settles with a serious nod and smile to those present.
Adhar returns the nods, and a smile to Mara. "I haven't heard anything from Nadia or Dash," he says, checking his wristcomp. "So I guess we'll just have to start. Does anyone have business this evening?"
Pash eyes Mara carefully when she enters. Not having had the pleasure of meeting her before, he seems naturally suspicious. Eventually, he does turn to Adhar to respond, and he does so with a shrug. "Lay it on us," he suggests. Then, glancing over to Dosk, he says, "Been better."
"Well, for those of you who haven't met her," says Adhar, gesturing to Mara, "This is Mara Jade. She is a Captain as well, though her travels often keep her far from Nar Shaddaa. If you look into her, you'll find she's one of the best smugglers currently in the Outer Rim, certainly better than me. She was my First Mate for quite some time before striking out on her own."
Mara Jade flashes a mildly annoyed look toward Adhar but nods to Pash And Dosk. "Hello." She looks back to Adhar, still waiting for the reason behind the meeting to surface.
"So." Adhar drums his fingers on the surface of the table for a moment, beating out a staccato rhythm. He looks among the three of you. "We have a problem. The First Order is in control of the Core, or many of the planets thereof, and is apparently killing smugglers. Nadia barely made it out of that bloodbath at the Smuggler's Den over in the Hutt sector. The weapon that destroyed the Hosnian system has been destroyed itself, but we don't know what else they've got up their sleeves - short of a lot of great damned big Star Destroyers. It's not a good situation.
"Now most of you know that I've recieved a visit from General Organa of the Resistance. The news there isn't good. After destroying the Order's superweapon - an attack that claimed one of our own, the famous Han Solo, her own husband - the First Order enacted a massive attack on the Resistance fleet. It's gone, folks. But the core of the Resistance remains, and they are rebuilding. The question then becomes...do we back them? The First Order certainly isn't giving us room to be very neutral."
That said, he gestures to you all. Open discussion has begun.
Pash turns his attention to the woman and inclines his head slightly. "Nice to meet ya, Mara," he says with a brief smile, showing a first glimmer of politeness for the day. That's all she gets, though, because the focus is back on Adhar. And the news? Well, he's heard most of it already. "How 'bout we lay all our options on the table first," he says. "Backing the Resistance is one we heard. What else do we have?"
Dosk sits and thinks on that a few moments "Hello Mara" He says, still thinking. As Pash fills in the void the Codru'Ji seems to have made, he nods in agreement. "Im about smuggling, making money. I dont really see an issue at this point, maybe relocate somewhere else than Nar Shaddaa for the time being, since storm troopers are starting to make a presence." He finally says.
Mara Jade nods to the men and listens to Adhar. After they offer their input she speaks up, if quietly. "We're all smugglers at heart. It's why I joined, myself, in large part. There is safety in numbers. Whatever we do we should do as a whole. splintering off is dangerous. Not just for the one on their own but the rest being fewer in number afterward. That doesn't mean we absolutely should support the resistance. Or should not. But we should do it together. I agree Nar Shaddaa is getting difficult to base from. I've my own dislikes for the Order and I'd as soon avoid them as much as I can. There are plenty of ports we can base out of or even rotate somewhat regularly to keep things fluid. But we've seen what the Order has done. What they are capable of. Even with Snoke now apparently dead. Kylo Ren is rising into that role. And he's far less... stable. Do we seek only profits for ourselves? Or should we consider making profit while benefitting and assisting the Resistance and those trying to hold the galaxy together?" She shrugs, not having the ready answer.
This is Nadia.
Nadia is a cat.
Nadia is often late for events that are semi-important.
She shows up nonchallantly, dumping herself into a chair with heavy sighs, far heavier than she usually might sigh when sitting down, probably so she draws everyones ATTENTION that she's late.
Don't be like Nadia.
"What happens if and when the order is beaten back and we did side with the resistance? We are still smugglers and what we do is illegal already, they have no money to pay for our help, are going to get a free pass to move whatever we want? I think not. After its all over we will have not gained anything. Still will be illegal traders." Dosk says as he sips his flask. "Id rather not make an immediate enemy of the order and have them gunning for me when there is no gain what so ever. If anything smuggling will get harder and we can charge more for what we do."
Pash listens to the input of each captain around him, weighing their words and considering their implications. But not for too long. "When we say support the resistance, what are talkin' about exactly? And I don't mean morals, I mean ships, guns, and creds. We go that route, what are we expected to give up?" He looks to Dosk when he says this first, nodding to acknowledge the other smuggler's feelings, then to the rest of the room.
"Well, that's entirely fair," Adhar says, pursing his lips again in that faintly duck-like way. "You're right in that we will remain illegal traders, but that doesn't change whether we support either regime. If the question is pay, then yes, I can see your point. So what I'm hearing from you, Dosk, is that you'd rather not get involved and make an enemy of the Order without getting something out of it."
He then looks to Pash. "Whatever we agree to, really. Arms, ships, supplies. Information. Backing the Order won't require as much immediate sacrifice, but I get the feeling it would ultimate be terminal whatever we did for them."
And then there's Nadia. "Glad you could join us, Captain," he says, not unkindly. "We are feeling out our options. Care to weigh in?"
"Huh?" Nadia is looking for snacks, but there probably aren't any... Has she even been paying attention? She's sure has been making a lot of noise over there in her chair while all the options were being present, if she has. "I think the fact that we're even considering siding with the Resistance is stupid... They. Can't. Pay. Us." She chops her hands between each word. "Which is why I do this... I literally thought this question was a no brainer."
The Cathar shrugs, motions around, "And The First Order is killing smugglers... so.. no? Here's a concept, you guys check this out, have you heard of Jabba the Hutt? Sure you have... He operated out on tattooine during the Rebellion? How about we stop getting involved in politics accept that we knew we were criminals when we dropped a bunch of illegal shivak in our holds, and make some damn money while the two governments- and I use the term very loosely with the Resistance -are fighting?"
Mara Jade listens quietly as the other three captains she doesn't know are starting to show their personalities. It's intriguing. And insightful. A nod is offered to each opinion and suggestion but she keeps her comments quiet for the moment.
Dosk nods at Nadia's words. "I dislike the First Order as much as everyone else here, I think the resistance is doing good work, but I'm not ready to get involved with them. All I have is my ship at this point, and im still 40k away from that fully being mine." Dosk says, as he slides a credit chip across to Adhar. "I say we relocate to where the first order isn't poking around. Nadia already had a run in with them and got out luckily, it's only a matter of time until me, Pash, Mara, Wodi, or anyone else involved with the Array has a brush with them. They're targeting Smugglers, but not us specifically and it would be nice to keep it that way."
Adhar keeps his expression careful neutral. Thoughtful. "Mara? What do you think should be done?"
Nadia smacks her hand on the table when Pash and Dosk agree with her point, motioning with both hands around as if she genuinely feels this is simple math. Money.
Mara Jade looks around the table then back to Adhar. "You're the leader of the consortiuum. You created all of this. But you also gave the captains who joined a voice in what direction the Consortiuum looks for its future." She shrugs faintly. "Dash. Wodi. They're not here to speak up. But at the moment? You've got a majority pushing for profit over just cause." She looks him in the eye then seeks to do the same around the table with the others.
"Unless you're going to forcefully change the rules of the Consortiuum - and are prepared to accept that you may find vocal displeasure with doing that - I don't see how this organization goes to war, even clandestinely." She looks to Adhar again. "But if you're set on supporting the Resistance, I don't think anyone will try to stop you - if you can find a method that does not bring any unfavorable attention back on the group. But I don't have a method for you to achieve that."
"Personally? I want to see the Order fail. I want to see it dismantled. But the Resistance hasn't sought me out. Or us out. It sought you out. I don't know what I'd say if they actually tried to contact me. But they contacted you from the highest level. And you're going to have to decide, I'd say, what you're going to do. But it is going to have to be a decision for yourself. Maybe for your crew if you decide to go about it that way." She sighs quietly. "I'm sorry. I know you expected a different answer from me, of everyone here."
"What I'm going to do is do as my Captains have voted." He shrugs. "Else I would be a tyrant and that is not how I founded this group. So, for now, the Consortium does not support anyone." And that's that.
Adhar nods to each in turn. "Wodi quit, by the way. So the majority rules. Now then, relocation. What do you say, Captains? Yes or no?"
"To where?" Nadia opens her hands. She's settled now that it appears they're going to stay profitable. Profitable is some of Nadia's favorite things. "It's not like Nar Shaddaa is the only hive of scums... I mentioned Tattooine."
"I think it should be something to consider. I haven't been to Tattooine in years, but it is pretty out there..Weren't you and Bar'duur talking about another planet a while back Adhar?" Dosk says, sipping from his flask again before offering it around the table.
Pash's face is scrunched up in a way that expresses deep thought. He looks over to Mara for a long moment, then to Adhar. "I'm open to suggestions," he says. "What we do when we get there, though. I think that's important to discuss first. Might make it easier to choose a location." He leans in a bit, straightening his back and placing his hands on the table. "We need to get stronger, because whether we support the Resistance or not, we smugglers are in the Order's sights. But we're not alone. There are probably lots of other groups hunkerin' down. There's profit to be made there, runnin' arms and the like. Plus, if enough people put up a fight on their own turfs, on their own terms, well that'll make a dent in the Order's plans." He sits back again and sighs. "All I'm sayin' is maybe there's a way to /resist/ without buddyin' up with the /Resistance/. And make some creds."
"I suggest Socorro." Adhar looks around the table. "Surrounded by a dense asteroid field that requires skilled piloting to navigate, a thriving smuggling culture, and not far away from Y'toub or Tattooine via hyperlanes. Strategically speaking it is a veritable fortress, and a safe harbor for those who respect its rules. As long as we do that, we will find ourselves well protected for some time. And we will have a better pool of smugglers from which to draw from. Socorro tolerates no scrubs." He shrugs. "This is my opinion."
"I'd say making a profit despite the fact the First Order is trying to snuff out Smugglers IS resisting, but that's just me." Nadia draws small circles with one of her claws on the tabletop. She's lounging in her chair with her elbow propped and legs extended into the chair next to her so they can cross at the ankle. She such a cat. "There's plenty of worlds out there resisting the D-bags with their big pie looking ships..."
Such as Socorro... Nadia puffs her chin and motions to Gann, "That's a solid suggestion. Use to go through there regularly and I know there's no love lost for the Order... doubt they'll want to poke that pig until they've got a better control of the core worlds."
Mara Jade listens and nods. "I've been on Tattooine. It's remote. There are any number of useful places to put a smuggling base of operations. But you've got Jawas scavenging all over the deserts. And the Sand People don't like neighbors. It's just as deadly as staying here just in different ways. And fates help us if we happen to cross paths with any remaining Krayt dragons.." She shakes her head, "And I burn. Easily." Redheads.
"Socorro seems like a good starting point. It distances our primary operations from Nar Shaddaa and the Order for the time being. And we can keep an eye on the climate of the galaxy. If the Order starts making dangerous advances? We can start scouting options for our next Bolt Hole."
"Socorro, thats it!" Dosk states after Adhar's mentioning of it. "I think that would be a good move." Listening to Pash say his view as well and gives a slight nod. Mara Jade's comment continues the nodding. "I like the idea"
Pash blinks a few times. "Alright then," he says, throwing his hands up as a consensus is made. Socorro is where it's at. He shuts up then and folds his hands in his lap, looking around at the others.
"All right then." Adhar nods. "We will begin planning for it. Meanwhile, the Mathalls claim to be ready to deal. My plan as said before was to rework the spice operation into a legitimate pharmaceutical enterprise from which we both draw profit via the synthesized spice, reformulated and repackaged into medical painkiller. That way we do some good, we all make a ton of money in the long run and if people abuse it they're going to do it anyway. Smugglers still win the galaxy over. What say you?"
"That you can charge crazy high prizes for the pharmaceutical and back end it at a half rate for an even greater profit." Nadia offers with a shrug of one shoulder, "That or run the risk that we start getting wholesale buys and they net the profits... But I'm not a pharmacologist."
"That's your project, Adhar. Do with it what you will I guess. How are we all going to make money off of it? Is there profit sharing now? Or we going to run the medical shipments?" Dosk asks, not quite understanding how it will work to the benefit of all if its legitimate when they are smugglers.
Mara Jade listens and nods as it seems a consensus has been made on destination for the organization's next phase. She looks between Adhar, nadia and Dosk as they discuss spice.
"I own a colony," Adhar says. "It mines fuel. We don't pay for fuel now. We don't pay for repair materials either. Same with this at the very least. Maybe more. But I wouldn't have a problem with everyone getting a share of the profits, if there are any beyond that."
"So that's our end?" Nadia asks, "The repair and fuel?" It's a genuine question, "Don't get me wrong, that's fine. The spice synthesis is your bag, but this war you fought was all the captain's shoulders... There are ways we could make your legit business earn less legit credits which all of us can work with.. and all of us will need."
"Repair and refuel is great. That adds up after a few runs. I need both pretty badly right now after my last few runs. Glad I didn't have it done on Ord Mantell when I was there on my previous one." Dosk says with a smile.
"Nothing here," Adhar says with a shake of his head. "Thank you. Nadia? Will you stay for a bit?"
"Not from my end" Dosk says as he stands himself and bows to all the captains.
"Only for you scrubs with legal hyperdrives." Nadia flicks her wrist, never missing a moment to tell everyone how much better she is than them, even if she does it in good nature this particular time. Grinning at, specifically, Pash and Dosk with whom she'd been spending more time. "I'm just an old smuggler trying to squeeze a credit out of a stone..." She takes on a mock humble tone, hands spread, "Don't mind me. I'm greedy as shivak.."
She tosses a lazy, sloppy salute to everyone, "Yeah." To Adhar, without moving from her lounging, "I'm not ready to get up anyways."
"So." Adhar waits for them to leave before speaking. "Let's talk about you. How is your ship doing?" Odd change of subject, this.
"It's running." Nadia shrugs, "What is it you really want to talk about?"
Nadia rolls her eyes and picks at her nails, "Of course I'm alive. I'm not easy to kill and they aren't the first ones to try."
"Doesn't mean I can't be glad," Adhar says with a shrug. "So your ship. Need anything for it?"
"Fair." Nadia glances up, "I'm glad a squid didn't kill you, even if it would have given me endless comedic material for the rest of my adult life..." She smirks, lip spreading where it's split to show fangs, "It needs cargo in it... I'm not really sure what you're asking me."
"Any upgrades?" Yes he's hinting, shush..
Nadia laughs at the hint, extending her hand in a motion with the claws out, "She's lacking armaments... You wanting to fund me, Adhar? Grease my wheels a little?"
"Let's say I want to show my respect in a way you'll actually take seriously," he says with a smirk. "What do you need?"
"And you think that's credits?" Nadia ask with her head tilting, claw tapping against the table top. She nods her head at an angle and straightens, "I need quad cannons."
"Not entirely," says Adhar, "You value action as much as credits, remember? Not much on talk? Well, I'm speaking both languages." He purses his lips. "Quads huh. I might could get you one out of my current budget. Would that suffice? Gonna get Asiir to crew it? Cos you can't do it from the cockpit. Could with a heavy laser, though."
"This is just out of left field, is all." Nadia scrutinizes Adhar, "And it sounds very much like a bribe, but you know what? I like those." She points at him and kicks her feet off the chair, "Asiir is good in a quad, but... screw it, heavy lasers are just as well. Worse case, I'll let him float over there and cut them up."
"Part of being a leader is learning what languages your people speak," Adhar says with a shrug. "You and I haven't been speaking the same one, most times. I've been trying to tell you I appreciate you, and that I want you to stay around. You aren't hearing it, or at least you aren't believing it. So. Money where my mouth is. I'll see about getting you a heavy laser turret by the end of the coming week. How's that?"
"We're not the same, Adhar." Nadia motions between them, "But I still don't think you get it... which is alright because I haven't tried to explain it. So here it is, black and white..." She leans forward on her elbows, "I'm loyal to me and mine. The Cuul name means something to me, even if it's just another name to everyone else.. and I'll do anything to protect it." She snaps and points across the table, "Right now that means I need credits so my ship is protected, but I don't know what it will mean tomorrow or the next day because I don't exist in a vacuum. Shit changes. So, I accept your credits as a sign that you respect me, and as always I assure you that as long as we're on the same page, we'll stay in the same book."
"No," he says, quirking his brows. "I /do/ get that. That's why I'm doing this, you get it? I respect you, and I want to protect your name as well." Adhar shrugs. "You think you'd still be at this table if I didn't?" His dark eyes lock with yours, trying to send some signal. Will you get it? We'll see.
Nadia leans back in her chair, watching Adhar with her eyes slightly narrowed towards him. Her lips sputter with each breath, seperated on one side along that healed slit, but she doesn't say anything. "I see.." She offers, brow raised, eyes shifting around with no humor in them.
Adhar stares at you for a long moment, and then getting the message heaves a sigh. "Damn it, Nadia," he says, rolling his eyes. "I'm not trying to blackmail you! Suns below, have you -never- run with people who knew what you were about but didn't think that was reason to try and kick you out or anything?"
"No I have not." Nadia says with a shrug, "Except my brother and my sister." She recants that, immediately because she's about them completely. Her eyes cut towards Adhar, "I've never understood what you thought you were going to find with me... Do you think you're the first person to come at me with a smile, a hand out, and a blaster behind your back?" She snorts and waves her hand. "I trust you as much as I trust anyone because I do respect you. I respect you enough to not blow smoke up your ass about who I am. Never lied about it. Not once.. Now here we are, same song and dance a year later, like somehow you were expecting we'd be eating dinner every Tuesday night over a shockball game... Not my speed, Gann. I'm here to make credits without working for the Hutts.. You run a tight crew and I like that.. you respect what your captains say and that's admirable. You need more than that?"
"I need to know you're not going to skip out the moment someone floats a bigger offer in your face," he says with a shrug. "Because I trust you as well, but I also trust you to sell us out if you get a bigger number. More so now than before, what with bigger and bigger targets on your back. What I /need/ is to know that if someone waves a big kriffing sack of credits at you, you'll come back to me and say 'Can you do better'? I don't mind you taking off for a better offer, but I need to know I'm not going to have to find out about it later. That's all." He shrugs.
Nadia lifts her head at Adhar, brow raised, "I stab people in the front." She assures him, "I've never shot anyone when their back was turned."
"Good," he says, nodding. Not at all bothered, apparently. "And I also need you to know that I'll be getting rid of this ship soon. Upgrading it. I have a connection. I'm working to make sure nobody /but/ the First Order will be able to kriff around with us in the future. That includes you /and/ your brother. Savvy?"
"I am never going to understand your desire to get bigger things, but whatever you say." Nadia pushes up from her chair, "I don't need you to protect me, Adhar. I appreciate it, but I don't need it. Protect yourself and trust that I'm not without the ability to do so. You want to respect me, stop treating me like I need you. Because I don't." It isn't spoken in a harsh way, "Good talk. I've got to install an engine on the Savage, but I'll wait the week out so we aren't looked down for longer than we need to be."
"Huh." He pauses for a long moment. "Well, I'll be damned. That's what I'm doing, isn't it? Right, sorry about that, Nadia. Wasn't intended. Will fix." Again with the neutrality, but he /does/ sound as if he gets it. "I'll see abot your turret in any case. Talk soon."
Nadia nods to Adhar and touches two fingers to her brow, tossing them out in a sloppy, loose salute. "Sure will. Watch out for the squids, they're not good for you."