Golbah Hill, Confederate Capital

The tie had come loose.

There was so much to be done. So many avenues that to be explored. For what seemed a small eternity, the Presidium had busied itself pouring over the latest reports. The most immediate concern was the rampage to the east. Genocidal creatures who had driven no less than ten sentient species extinct in the past year were edging closer to the South. Initially, those who shared borders with the threat had agreed to put aside religion for twelve seconds and deal with the wildfire that threatened them all. But, as is the case whenever religion is brought into the picture, that went to Hell overnight.

But, agreements were agreements. And thus the Presidium also studied the battles to the north. The outcome of which would greatly impact the Galaxy's ability to address the growing threat. Ultimately, the Vicelord was beginning to make up his mind regarding all of it. As the winter months heralded a new year, the Confederacy's efforts would become known. Yet, for now, the clock had run its course. After several hours of digital meetings and putting pen to paper, Darth Metus closed his datapad with a finality. His sulfuric eyes lifted from his desk and settled upon his Exarchs: Srina Talon Srina Talon , Adron Malvern, and John Locke.

"I could use a fething drink."

The sentiment was one which saw a literal sigh of relief fill the room. At least, for now, each was mentally punching their time card and easing into their seats all the more. Tomorrow had its fair share of problems, but they would have to wait until then. For now, the Vicelord rose and strode over to the bar, procuring a quartet of glasses and his beverage of choice. Idlewil. The bottle, a vintage gifted by the absent Valencia Hadley, had only been cracked open once before. After a long day like this, they had earned a taste of finery. Returning with glasses and bottle in hand, Darth Metus sat upon the sofa - adjacent to Adron and across from Srina and John.

The glasses were set upon the coffee table. Each poured their own troubles. After a hearty sip, Darth Metus motioned his glass towards the CEO of Locke & Key. "You're in a funk, Locke. What's got you down?" Outside of current events, of course.

The Exarch's eyebrow raised ever so slightly as he swallowed his sip. "Funk? What are you talking about?"

"You can't bullchit me, John. You've been walking around like a sad puppy lately. Whose ass are we beating?"

Adron chuckled, shaking his head as he poured himself a fresh shot. Locke's brow furrowed, as being put on the spot by the Vicelord was a rarity. Hell, even when they were just hanging about as friends, his name was rarely in the spotlight for cross-examination.

"Master." chided Srina. Of the three, she had not yet taken a sip of the beverage. Up until now, she had been swirling it about in her glass, transfixed upon the motion of the liquor. She spoke up then, placing her wintry gaze upon the Vicelord - who cocked an eyebrow in response. And, though the others could not hear it, a silent exchange of words was taking place. The bond between Master and Apprentice ran deep - enough so that sideways glances were a lecture in of themselves. Ultimately, Darth Metus gave a look that said I can get into your business instead.

Srina took a shot.

"Well, c'mon, don't make me hold my breath."

A hefty sigh fell from John's lips. He settled the glass down with a solid thud - a testament to his discomfort - before relenting. "It's...I..." he began, chewing it over for a moment. "There's this girl..."

Adron piqued up immediately. "Girl? Girl!" His face was alive with disbelief. Darth Metus caught the joke immediately and swatted the man's arm, chuckling. "What, did you think he was fething a Droid?" Adron opened his mouth. "Don't answer that. Don't answer that. Go on John, please."

John punctuated his thoughts with a sigh. Another shot. He looked to Srina, who was typically the voice of reason when Darth Metus and Adron got rolling. But this time, she was hyper focused on the portrait on the wall. This was one mess he'd have to wade through alone. "I just...She doesn't love me the way I love her."

Adron, unable to help himself asked: "Has she said I see you like a brother?" John shook his head. "Okay good, there's hope for you."

Darth Metus stroked his chin. Over his immense lifetime, racking up over thirty children, one would think he would be the expert in all things relationship. Yet his response was simply: "Have you tried sucking her toes?"

"Die. Twice."

The Vicelord leaned forward in his seat, draining the remains of his glass in one motion. "Hear me out, hear me out." he said, refreshing his glass with a fresh shot. "It's how I got Elyria to like me. She was beating my ass in the Netherworld - long story - and I popped that pinkie toe in my mouth. Bam. We've been going several months strong now."

"Metus, Elyria doesn't even know what a datapad is. That's not how this WORKS with normal women."

"Bullchit. It's how Srina's new man got her!"

"Master!" came her response. "That's not true. That's not true."

Feeling his lifespan in peril, Darth Metus navigated away from his jest. "And you!" he motioned towards Exarch Malvern. "You're going to look me in the eye and tell me you aren't all over Alessandra's feet?"

"That. Is. Disgusting."

"Oh so your wife is disgusting now? Husband of the year award goes to.."

"Die. Thrice."

While grateful that his love life, if it could even be called that, was not truly being interrogated, John ended up clearing his throat. "She's not like that." he said simply. Darth Metus pointed a finger at him, beaming.

"I bet she is. Every woman has their 'pop a toe into mouth' moment. You've gotta be bold, spontaneous, and catch 'em off guard. And once you do? Bam!"

"Is 'bam' a synonym for child support?"

The room erupted into laughter. All except the Vicelord.

"Die...what comes after Thrice?"