ABY 853
Outer Rim Territories - Kallea Sector - Terminus System
The Gailles Ports
Three Months Later~

His quarters, facing a steep, tight alley lane, showed off signs of waterlogged damage and general tolls caused by rampant humidity. Stretches of the low ceiling and dessicated walling were torn open, revealing make-shift piping repairs, wire reroutes, and insulation salvage. The kitchen and bedroom shared the same space with just enough room for a small table and counter, while a claustrophobic 1x1 meter shower was snugly installed by the toilet. There was no bathroom sink; the kitchen variant was 'all-purpose', as the boy found out. Yet, rent was disgustingly cheap and the Landlord asked no questions. Seroth felt like a cooped in criminal, relegated to a dirty life of three-cred meals, daily water purification rituals, and exercise regimes utilizing the cramped quarters for maximum range of motion. Grandmaster Wraith warned solemnly that the Jedi Order's stringent coffers would be unable to aid in his day to day living expenses. He'd receive enough vouchers to take care of basic fuel costs but the Senate was leery enough of the Ranger Mandate.

The rest of his coin would need to be managed independently.

So, after a week's time pouring over starcharts, preparing a general kit, Seroth charted a brisk flight from the Core Worlds out to the Kallea Sector. Terminus was renowned as being a bizarre socioeconomic shipping hub that guarded the gate from known spacing lanes out into the turbid Unknown Regions. Like a strangely 'respectable' counter-part to the infamous den of Nar Shaddaa, all manner and make of individuals squatted Terminus. Captains, traders, merchants, vagrants, pilgrims. Flying in low orbit, jostling for maneuvering room against vessels of little known make and model, a thousand languages yelling at him through the traffic-control comm. channels, Seroth fought off being totally overwhelmed. Two thousand credits out of his savings bought him lease on a rental hanger in the dilapidated Gailles quarter. Another fifteen secured him his current dive, opting to not live-out of the Iron Snake.


A fluted-fin fan swirled a lazy current of too-hot air from the opened window sill across the kitchen. The boy sat stripped to his waist, shirt tied off at his navel, busied at the kitchen table. One lightsaber had been dismantled down to the power-cell insulation, leaving a gutted machine-casing unadorned save for black-dyed leather gripping strips. Seroth breathed out his nose and held his hands aloft over the randomized, messy scatter. Sightless, blinded by a secured fold of torn blanket across his face, he pried open his mind's-eye to 'alternate' senses. The air shifted just slightly, with a throb of pressure behind his ears. The Force plied coiling energy into his hands. Then the boy moved. His current record for dextrous reassembly was five seconds.

Knuckles blurring though hardly disturbing the air, one item of construction after the other was picked and snapped into place. A thirty-centimeter cylindrical object took rapid shape. It ended with his thumb depressing the activator key high over a blade-shield, a snap-hiss lighting a meter long emerald blade. A mechanical watch-timer, not a digital or holochron timepiece, stopped like a dead heartbeat. Seroth pulled up one end of his cloth-mask and consulted the clock-hands. ...Two and a half seconds. The last time fifteen minutes earlier was shaved clean in half. But the boy sighed, eyed the partially re-welded communicator idling on his bed.

A twinge echoed in the silent parts of hid mind. Seroth stilled his thoughts and reached out. A single individual was arriving along the cramped floor hallway, lifeforce bleeding hot against the Force's omnipresent fabric. The Jedi sharpened the sensation, discerned his impression down to minute detail. ...Alien, middle-aged by its kin's standards, weighed down by private vices since his breath was shallow and he felt an empathetic tightening across his lungs. The stranger's intent felt... sharp, not in the dangerous sense, but roughly precise. The boy turned his chair about and faced his apartment's thin doorway, a cheap metal portal keyed to a mag-lock. He 'saw' the visitor now, a hazed 'form' of incandescent energy only he could perceive in his eyes. One slender hand, one of a quartet, raised to rap on the metal jamb.

Seroth's hand flicked. The mag-lock disengaged at his mental persuasion, coasting energy through the activator plates. Servo-motors sighed and raised the door into its ascend-frame overhead. His visitor stood there somewhat hesitant, one scaled hand aimed for a fast wrap. The young Knight took stock of his local contact and rose, nodding cordially. The individual had a coat of slightly raised scales, not unlike Trandoshans with their similarly high-reptilian evolution. However, while Trandoshan hides were almost interlocked, with cyclic scales sealed saved for very thin depression lines, his skin was more akin to snake-skin. Thin, stretched over lithe, milky muscles, diamond scaling pushing and plying with almost unnerving, sinuous ease. His small face ended in a sharp snout, slit-nostrils flaring with every odd breath.

"Young master," He spoke, in a rasp of practiced 'Core' basic. "I was confident I'd find you at home."

"Taase Bar-Sharzanon," Seroth replied, citing the Abnetti's name. "I thought we'd conduct any arrangements by call. You mentioned the port authority prefers things at arms length, since everyone comes to negotiations weighted with hold-outs and vibro-shivs."

"True, but Jedi don't hold reputations of being so cutthroat," Taase chuckled, thought it came out as a wet hiss. "And I prefer personal touches from occasion to occasion. ...You mentioned at our last commune, that were in need of paying work."

Terminus was astonishingly fast to pick up on the latest, notable guests coming through on the way to the unknown reaches. Word was put to the Terminal Council, citing the Iron Snake's registry. A bureaucratic manhunt went into effect, pinning down Seroth's meager living spaces and placing him in contact with the eager Taase Bar-Sharzanon. The Chairmen Agent cited a private policy of keeping up cordiality with the Inner Rim. It didn't do well to ignore a visiting Jedi Knight. Though, in reply, the boy said he'd been hoping for relative anonymity.

"Anonymity is non-existent on Terminus, especially in Gailes," The Agent explained emphatically. "Everyone knows everyone, twice over."

Seroth now stood at an easy, readied stance, two heads shorter than the wraith-like Abnetti. "I did, and I do still. The soup kitchens will hire and I don't mind tedium or difficulty, but I'll be trapped on Terminus for a straight decade before I've enough to make my voyages into the reaches. And that's unacceptable. ...Please understand, Agent Taase, I don't ask for sorry charity - "

Two hands waived, saving Seroth from having to salvage his self-respect. "We all need compensation, in some form or another. Terminus is thankful you've not demanded something truly extravagant outside of puerile credits. I've an arrangement pieced together through myself and an intermediary for the port council. ...We've an emergency and it's demanding intervention."

Smokey amber eyes bored down. "...We've made inquiries. You were present for the pacification on Cato Neimoidia, and received commendation. A handful of Jedi subjugated an entire Lucrehulk and witness counts places you as a swordsman of considerable repute. Personal pride of the Grandmaster."

The boy shrugged, a small smile tugging on his mouth. "The port authority is having trouble?"

"Trouble is a vast understatement," Taase gestured smoothly for the doorway. "Gather your blades and whatever you feel is pertinent. I've an airtaxi waiting on our leisure. I'll show you what happens when a policing raid goes awry."