The short story: "Tell me if this sounds completely crazy." "Yeah, that sounds completely crazy."
The long story:
Some point in the evening - but not too late, of course - a call comes into the office at the Blue Light for good Master Lekkuman. It is, of course, Adhar. Miniature space man, sitting behind a desk in an unfamiliar office that has all the hallmarks of having bulkheads rather than walls.
The call takes a while to connect. It's talking through space, give it a minute! The messages on the terminal suggest it's re-routing itself, probably because no one picked up at the Blue Light, and it needed to be transferred to home. In any event, it does eventually connect, and there's Hex. Hex and also his kid, a predictably adorable Twi'lek toddler. Hex is holding the baby and smoking, because it would never occur to him not to do both at once, and answers "Ashkuri here," before the other side's picture blinks into view for him. "Ah. Fancy Gann. What can I do for you?"
He is not at all fancy today, being dressed only in his spacer's coverall - it makes him look weirdly older and infinitely more pedestrian. "Fortune save me," he says, grinning widely. "Is that the baby? Suns below, what a cutie!" Adhar Gann said 'cutie'. Adhar Gann really really likes kids. "Man, you two really make a gorgeous kid, don't you? Hi! Hi buddy!" The tiny spaceman is waving at your child. This may or may not amuse them.
"Ka, this is Boon," Hex introduces the kid, hefting him a bit higher. "Ni kassurra ko boc'ara, Boonash'kuri," he encourages the toddler, who looks at him and then looks at the little holo-person, opening and closing his fist in what he imagines a wave to be. "Kass. Kass," he says, which might be hello. Hex continues, "He is adopted, goddess only knows what would happen if you smashed Twi'lek and human DNA together, and you probably have to go to Kamino to do it. What if it had hairy lekku? Can you imagine? Ryma'at. But yes, he is gorgeous. Arni'soyacho."
"Hi Boon! Hi buddy!" Adhar laughs, a real, honest, joyful laugh, and slumps back cheerfully into his chair. "Suns below, do I love kids," he admits to you. "But I dunno, I figure with Kasia's genes and your a-- er, backside, any kid you'd have together would be gorgeous. I know an Arkanian that could make that happen." No, Adhar. No science. "Anyway. I wanted to know how that mulchmold I got for you was, and then some other things if you've got time. Or if you need time with the baby..."
"Reckon I'll pass on the Arkanian," Hex replies, dryly. "I got all the toilet training and reading the same book about purrgils 500 times that I can currently handle." He taps ash off his cigarette into something off camera. Is it an actual ash tray? A cup? His wife's scented candles? We may never know. "I'm fine. What can I do for you?" Boon adds, happily, "Purrgil!"
"Kasia will kill you if that was one of her candles," Adhar says, almost automatically. Then he says, "So I'm giving up hauling spice. I thought a lot about what you told me. And now that the Mathall Syndicate wants to deal with us, I had a solution to their spice operation. I was hoping I could get some advice on it, if you didn't mind."
"Kasia loves me to the depths of her generous and slightly terrifying heart," Hex replies, shifting his grip on his kid, who is now chanting "Purrgil, purrgil, purrgil," and squirming. "Shhh mo'cridh, kapi's talking drugs," Hex soothes, then looks back to his holo visitor. "I am listening."
Adhar smirks at that. "So they'd been using slave labor to mine this Danati Blue," he says. "Well, they lost their top formulary and can't make the stuff now - their stocks are dwindling. So imagine their surprise when I show up to the table and announce that we know how to synthesize it flawlessly. That nearly got me killed, by the way. Creatures on that kri-- darn drug-moon that opened up my powersuit like a plastic tarp." Adhar shakes his head. "Anyway. Point is, my plan is to turn the operation legitimate. Form a pharmaceutical company that dilutes the stuff not into some giggly brain-fogger but legitimate medical painkillers. It's perfect for that and non-addictive. I can't say that people won't still abuse it, but it will be medicinal and do actual good in the galaxy in the long term." A beat. "And as for the slaves, we could use a big chunk of the initial operating budget to get them all treated, seen to, and for those who are lost....well, the care they need to be looked after. Most everybody wins. Not us, I mean my group probably won't see much money at all until years from now, but the Mathall slave operation will be closed down. Hundreds if not thousands of people freed and cared for. I....just want to make sure that I'm not talking crazy here."
Hex gives up on corralling the squirming kid. He sets Boon down and the toddler disappears out of the holo's range, leaving his father to rub his temples for a moment. "So - let me see if I understand you, so'cha ka? They were manufacturing this Danati Blue with slave labor, but you've got something they did not, something nobody else has, which is a way to synthesize it flawlessly, without whatever harvesting or manufacturing requirements required the slaves. And your plan is to become a biomed company instead of a smuggling operation? To make pain killers? What? Adhar. What?" Hex gestures briefly, trailing smoke through the air from the tabac in his fingers. "What are you even doing? You're a smuggler, or something. You already are running a smuggling operation, a club, a small scale war, maybe a large scale war depending on how you feel about the Order, an enormous slave rehab facility on Kalarba, and now you're going to run a legitimate pharmaceutical company for a drug that you created five minutes ago in -- in /what/? One test tube on a ship-based lab? You came to me a week ago saying you're overstretched, what in seven hells makes you think this is a great idea?"
He blinks at you. "Well," he says, "I didn't say it was going to happen -overnight- Hex. It's going to take years to bring to fruition. I wanted to know what you thought of the -idea-." He reaches off 'camera for a cup of caf. "I'm not a /complete/ idiot."
"Then don't say things that make you sound like an idiot," Hex replies, dryly. "You asked me if I think you're talking crazy. Yes. I think you're talking crazy. Ryll spice is already what you're talking about -- it's a painkiller that fuels a massive drug trade and a number of problems I already complained about. It's not just pharma because people can't make /money/ on it in pharma, that's why it's got a black market. I don't see this any different. If your synthetic Danati Blue is any good, and if it's safe, which you got like fifteen years of testing ahead of you on that if you want to do it legit, it's just gonna go the same way. If you can crack it in a lab, other people are gonna crack it in a lab." He shakes his head. "You're setting yourself up to lose a lot of money, and I know you think you can keep this beast on a leash, but you can't. I know this isn't the answer you wanted, but it wouldn't be advice if the answer was always 'yes great,' would it? It's a bad idea."
"Fair enough," Adhar says, nodding. "This is why I ask advice before I pull the trigger on this kind of thing. Hmmm." He steeples his fingers after putting the cup away. "So what would you suggest as an alternative?"
Hex sighs. "You either run drugs and you accept that they ruin people's lives if you do it profitably," he replies, "Or you don't run drugs. You run guns and accept that people are going to die at the other end of them, or you don't run guns. There's a reason why smuggling is illegal, and if you try to step around the ugly parts of it, you're going to fall into all the holes you're falling into now. You got to decide if you want to be the good guy, or if you're okay knowing that the things you did made some dark and ugly out there. You're so damn caught up in trying to make sure only bad people get hurt and good ones are going to get a perfect harmless drug that it's spun you off into.. into total crazy. The only 'ethical' smuggling I can even think of would be running supplies, including guns, through the Order blockade on Coruscant and Corellia. You want to do that, you'd help people, probably. But it's scary. Cooking up drugs is easier."
"Already doing that." He smiles, this time more tiredly. "I tend to walk a really gray line. I'm just trying to do my best, man. I got a real capacity for being bad if I give myself half a chance. It's doing good at all that's scary to me, but I get up and I do it anyway. Just sometimes the plans get real grand and while I'm a very competent guy, I know I need a check on those ambitions." He shrugs. "But yeah. Getting people out of the Core, moving weapons to planetary governments and potential underground cells. That's what *I* am doing. The rest of my group are staying neutral." He grunts. "I'll have to be too, on the surface. Won't stop me from doing things though."
He shakes his head. "Anyway. The General come to see you? She came to see me twice."
Hex raises his brows, and the grainy blue Twi'lek image looks a mixture of skeptical and wary. "You've already been in and out past those star destroyers?" he asks. "More than once?" As for the rest, Hex shakes his head. "Tcha. No. You're being weirdly hard on yourself. You've only killed people who were explicitly evil, you took great pains not to kill anyone else, you're not moving drugs that have side effects, you're trying to make drugs that don't have side effects. Maybe I lived on Nar too long, but that sounds pretty light-side to me." Hex exhales smoke, and ponders the latter question. "I spoke to Greystorm. The General and I don't get along always."
"I don't always get along with Ambrosia, so that's fine." Adhar shrugs. "And no, not yet. But I've been getting things arranged on the surface with some people, and there are plenty of routes the First Order hasn't closed yet." He taps his temple. "Turns out all that study of naval tactics won't go to waste." A beat. "But I appreciate what you're saying. Just I know myself. And I take great pleasure in punishing wicked people if I give myself half a chance. That can't be light side. I've seen personally what the dark side is." He smiles again, looking at the baby. "Anyway. Thanks for that advice. I'll...find a way around things. At the very least I can spare those people their misery." Then he says, "Did you give them anything? If I can ask?"
"Wait, what," Hex blinks, "I'm confused. You did run that blockade? Or you didn't? You're starting to?" Another blink. "What?" He looks up, as though the answer to this confusion is just over his head and slightly to the left, but of course it isn't, so he looks back at the holo. "Greystorm's one of the good ones. If she really needed something, if she called, I'd answer, and that isn't a guarantee I give to most. She's just got no time for nobody's chodry'crit. It's what I like about her." He curls the tips of his lekku in amusement. "You can ask. Ay, what was that message you sent the other day about? I thought it was an advertisement and I deleted it on accident. I am not good with the computers, ka."
"We might have arranged for a corvette to fall off a truck," Adhar says with a smirk. "And I was asking if you had anything from your wilder days you wouldn't mind selling. Blasters, armor, parts, that sort of thing. Unless you've given that all to Amber, which I would understand."
"Oh. You'd have to ask my wife. I don't know what's for sale, if anything. She does that, otherwise I make bad deals," Hex explains. "I've only handled currency in any form for seven years." He eyes the camera again. "Are you running that blockade?"
"Well, I won't try and screw you either way," He says with a chuckle. "And...hmm." Adhar purses his lips. "If I can. I still haven't had an opportunity to gauge the tactical capability of those Star Destroyers. If I can get some more data, then yeah, gonna try it."
"Is it what you do?" Hex asks, with a one-shouldered shrug. "Who knows what you do? You just told me a minute ago you're leaving the game to become a pharmaceutical corp. Listen, if you're keen to punish the wicked and tangle with those Star Destroyers, why don't you just join the Resistance? They could surely use the help."
"I didn't say that," Adhar says with a snort. "And no, I'm not joining the Resistance. I'm far more useful to them where I am and I don't care for that much structure. Probably why I get their pilots who don't care for that much structure either." Adhar draws in a breath. "I need to keep my group together. They voted to be neutral, I have to at least keep the APPEARANCE of neutrality. Regardless of what I actually do. Anyway..." He sips his caf again and sets it aside. "Listen, thank you so much for the advice. I'll find something to do with the formula that doesn't go to a cartel. I appreciate your listening to me go on. But I'm gonna let you get back to fatherhood. All right?"
"Ka, ka, 'stop talking Heksash'kuri,' I can take the hint," Hex replies, though the Twi'lek seems amused. "Good luck to you in your endeavors, Gann. Whatever form they take. Ma'allesh." The holo winks out, and somewhere across the galaxy, he's no doubt off to read a book about purrgils, aaaaaagain.