Log:Array Consortium: In Which She Says Goodbye
Having been tortured and questioned by Kylo Ren, Adhar faces his dear friend, Consortium Captain, and former first mate, Mara Jade, also seemingly revealed to him as a First Order agent. The evidence is seemingly there - but what will he do, and though he dislikes the First Order intensely, does he care enough about her political leanings to turn her away?
Adhar sits in his ready room, reading from a datapad as he curses a cup of lukewarm caf from the comfort of one of the couches. He waits for the door to open - and as it does, he looks up to see a certain lady in the doorway. It had been some time.
"Hey, you." He looks up, smiling. "Nice to see you again, stranger. Have a good trip?"
Mara Jade steps in. "Some good some bad. Didn't turn half the profit I hoped for. Market tanked between jumps. Bad speculation I guess. But it wasn't unpleasant otherwise. How about things around here?"
"Things have been...interesting." He smiles faintly. "Brought on Bar'duur, as you know, and that's gone well. He's been very generous with his finances, getting the ship up and running. We'll talk about that in a bit, though. Why don't you get some caf, Mara, and let's sit down. There's definitely some things to discuss."
Mara Jade walks over and drops into a seat. "I'm good" she says, turning down the offer of caf. She nods regarding bar'duur. "That's good, I suppose. Generousity with credits is rare. Just don't get too deep with him and lose your ship or anything." She lets him continue.
"No, no," Adhar says with a shake of his head. "I've made sure that nothing he's paid for on the ship can't be repaid, and anything in the bay - we've a good two small squadrons of fighters, now - that he's paid for he can take with him if he wants. But I don't think that's going to happen."
Adhar takes a sip of his caf. "So I'm going to tell you what happened to me while you were gone. And what I don't want you to do, Mara, is tell me anything that can't get pulled out of my head telepathically and get you killed. Because that is a danger now, okay?"
Mara Jade nods to the news about the ship. "Good. You wouldn't do well floating home in the middle of nowhere without a ship." She smiles then arches a brow. "That sounds ominous" she replies cautiously.
"Because it is," Adhar says with a chuckle. "Kylo Ren came to visit me. I had no idea that the dark side of the Force could be so...painful." He sips his caf. "Essentially, he came to my shop and wanted to know where that armor was. I screwed up and called him 'My Lord', because, well, I've seen him before, in action. So he wanted to know why that was, and how I knew his name - which, as it happens, was told to me by someone long ago. So he tortured me to get that information. And, while torturing me, he probed my mind. Wanted to know where that armor was. Got that answer. And then...asked what you'd told me about the First Order."
Mara Jade listens. "He's a petulant child from the sound of it." The statement made of Ren. She waits till he's done and then seeks to clarify. "He asked you what I had told you about the Order?" She shakes her head. "Why should he care. And why not come looking for me himself? It doesn't make sense."
"Well," says Adhar, brows arched. "I told him there were only two things you told me about it - that I shouldn't cross them, and the names Locke, Ren, and Supreme Leader Snoke." He purses his lips. "And that made him angry. I don't know why. But he carved up my shop and told me to tell you that you were to talk with him. That you would know how to reach him, suggesting that you worked for him as a subordinate."
Adhar puts down his cup. "So here's the deal. If you're an agent of the First Order, Mara, he's burnt you. I don't know if he thinks we're going to throw you out, or hate you, or what. If that's the case, well, he's wrong."
"If that's the case, well, he's wrong." He smiles faintly. "I don't care if you are, or if you're not. We don't do anything that the First Order would be concerned about - and he certainly knows now, after probing my mind, that I was not hanging on to that armor and that the Republic took it from me. I told you that you are my family, and I still feel that way. He's willing to torment me to get what he wants...well, I'm not a sorceror. I don't have any control over that. If you go to him, I'm afraid he's going to hurt you. He seemed /incredibly/ angry about the mention of the name - I don't know why that would be, as it seems very innocent. But he did. Now I don't care if you're an agent of the First Order, or a sorceror, or whatever. I just don't. What I care about is that you're safe, and that you don't get hurt by this person. And I certainly have no intention of ejecting you."
Mara Jade is quiet while he speaks. She waits till he's finished to reply.
"We all have a past. Things. People. Obligations." She looks to him with no hint of apology or regret. "What I've told you about my past is true. I was an orphan on Corruscant. I roamed the galaxy on small freighters. I've been a dancer. A mercenary. A smuggler." She shrugs. "The less you know about what I have done in specifics, the better. Simply because there are those who could take that information from you. Ren is not the worst of them. But you already know you don't want to encounter him again." She pauses, "I appreciate your acceptance, Adhar. The fact you don't care about anything I've done. Or for who. But I'm going to leave, now. You can decide what you want. Whether it implies my guilt or innocence. I don't care. But I've put you and your crew, your ship and your ideals at risk of further encounters or death from Kylo Ren. I can't live with that if it happens. I'm going to go and I'm going to figure out what I need to do next and hopefully whatever action I arrive at will keep him away from the consortium and your crew."
"If it happens, Mara," Adhar says, frowning faintly, "It won't be because of you, I promise you that. But you don't have to leave. Tell him you're coming back as an observer, as...something, I don't care. You're our family. We care for you. And if we're out in the Outer Rim, assuming what I think is happening /is/ happening...you won't have to worry about it for a long, long time."
Mara Jade shakes her head, "He is the last one I'm concerned with. There are more powerful beings in the galaxy than Kylo Ren. Something that clearly seems to bother him." She looks to Adhar. "I do need to leave. And I need to take my conflicts with the First Order away from you and the crew. The longer I stay the more likely it is that Ren will come back. He may not leave anyone alive if so. I can't bring that on you."
He purses his lips, looking at you in silence for what may seem like...ages. "I stand with you," Adhar says after a long moment. "You know that, don't you? If you come back to us - to me - you'll always have a place here. And maybe, if sides are drawn, there will be others who could stand with you as well. Against him." He isn't saying it, obviously, but it's clear who he means. "I don't know how, but maybe you could find them."
Mara Jade shakes her head, "There are none that would stand with you beside me Adhar. The only organization I know of has had one of its leaders, Ax, warn you away from me. Why would he - they - have any change of heart if things turned poor for me? Do you truly think he'd waste a moment worrying over me?" She moves to stand. "I'm alone in this because that is how it has to be. Any other way will only get some or all of the few friends I have killed."
"I think you'd be surprised about that," Adhar says, pursing his lips. "I've been speaking well for you. They listen to me." He stands up along with you. "And they trust me. I trust you, too. So. If you can come back to us...please. Do so." He smiles. "And if Fortune has death in mind for us? Well, nobody has to die alone. Space is cold enough."
He offers you his hand. "I will always be here for you, Mara Jade. Remember that. Even if the rest of the galaxy forsakes you, I never will."
Mara Jade listens but shakes her head. "They may listen to you but I don't think Ax will ever trust or like me. When leaders fail to trust, their followers are the same." She smiles and shakes the hand. "Adhar Gann, you are a good man. Too good to be in the middle of this. I won't place you or the crew there."
"Again," says Adhar, taking our hand and lifting it to his lips before letting go, "You would be surprised. Don't think this hasn't been discussed already. Trust has to be earned, Mara, but there's a lot of people out there willing to give you a shot. They watched my example. I trusted you, and got a friend. Just think about it, that's all I'm saying."
He looks to the door. "I don't want you to go," he says, "But I can't force you. Just promise me you'll do what you can do keep alive. I want to see you again some day."
Mara Jade pulls her hand back. "I don't plan on dying. But sometimes the best plans fall through." She turns, "Thanks, Adhar. For everything you've done. I'll be in touch when I am able. For now, I should get some space between us so Ren doesn't decide to retaliate against you."
It's clear he doesn't want you to go - hell, he said it - but there is acceptance in his eyes. "Do you need anything before you go? Money, resources? Anything?"
Mara Jade shakes her head, smiling wryly. "You've always known I've had better connections than I've admitted. I'll be fine." She turns then and walks purposefully out of the room and down the corridors toward the exit ramp.