Star Wars Roleplay: Chaos

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A Lovely Chat

Teth System
Baxel Sector

Deep in the jungles that still covered Teth, a secret facility had been established per the orders of Taeli. An Adegan cloaking device had been installed to keep any unwanted visitors from detecting the facility, and for good measure, part of it had been built into one of the various mesas that dotted the world to hide energy signatures. Their work here was not exactly... well condoned in many circles.

She had sent a missive, along with a one-time clearance code, to [member="Connor Harrison"] to meet her here following the events on Mustafar, as she was currently engrossed in her work. She idly wondered if he would actually come to the world or not, he didn't seem happy she had been on Mustafar. Well, it would be something they could discuss if he came. She was brought out of her thoughts as the creatures she was working on adapting gave a shrill cry, before she silenced it with the Force. A application of the dark side later, and it was unconscious from lack of oxygen for now.

"Shh, no need for that," she whispered soothingly to the semi-twisted Teth Hunting Fly. Yet another project that would need field testing, and once the first specimen was finished, she would need to move onto the facility at Vendaxa to oversee that project. That one was going to be a bit more challenging, something she relished.

Connor Harrison

He didn't need to go to the coordinates provided by Taeli, not at all. But he wanted to. Things were getting out of hand, and it could have resulted in their deaths on Mustafar. It was bad enough his own actions had endangered the lives of others, but at the same time probably saved them also.

Leaving Virgillia, he had been in two minds whether to tell [member="Ara Ren"] about his detour. He didn't. What she said from the start made it clear what their stance was - she wanted her own independence, and he had his. She didn't need to know, so hence he held her to that.

Returning to the Teth system after some time in the one-man ship that was simply for fast travel and not battle, Connor made the trip in good time, and followed the coordinates all the way through the lush surroundings of Taeli's latest hideaway. There was little surrounding the complex bar greens and blues. Typical of her to be tucked away from it all.

The landing pad welcomed his craft, and he disembarked quickly. He walked across in his new grey tunic and cloak, devoid of the Ren armour for now, and waited on the roof to be greeted. No doubt she would already know he was here, and no doubt a lackey would be sent to bring him down to her under some armed guard.

[member="Taeli Raaf"]
[member="Connor Harrison"]

"My Lady, a ship matching the class of ship for Harrison has just arrived in system," a voice from her comlink announced. Taeli gave a smile as she cleansed her hands, the specimen she had been working on coming along nicely. So he had come after all.

"I shall greet out guest personally," she replied. "Continue the work."

Receiving confirmation, Taeli left her own personal lab and made her through the facility towards the landing pad. As she walked, various glass windows, reinforced with shields and armor, showed different specimens of Teth Hunting Flies in various states of being experimented on or adapted. She had come to the belief that Sith alchemy could be enhanced by using genetic sciences, and so far, she felt justified in the last two creations she had tested with her Slythghouls and Festerers.

Arriving on the landing pad, the wind catching and spinning the long black cloak she wore, she waited patiently for him to disembark from his ship.

"Welcome to Teth," she said as means of greeting. "I trust your flight was well and your injuries from Mustafar are healed?"

Connor Harrison

Surprisingly, Taeli Raaf was there on the slightly breezy landing pad and greeted Connor direct as he came out of his freighter. His crimson cloak billowed behind as he walked over to her. There it was. That air of confidence where every word she spoke was cool, casual and as if nothing had occurred before that would irk others.

Connor had seen a full spectrum and half of this one. Even now, she was beyond trying to work out. Or even trust.

"You’re still alive then," he countered.

Last he had seen of Taeli she was on the other side of a ceiling collapse he had helped bring down on Alliance and First Order forces in the catacombs of Darth Vader’s old castle.

"Hopefully you all learned your lesson not to underestimate the Ren, or the First Order, and you stay away from places well out of your depth."

He began to walk past her.

"So what do you want. Eager to show off your latest pet or virus?"

[member="Taeli Raaf"]
[member="Connor Harrison"]

"Did you expect anything less?" she replied, an eyebrow arching. Oh someone was letting their pride show a bit... or a lot. Sometimes, she did wonder why she thought he might be a valuable ally after all and if she should just cut her losses, turn him into a Slythghoul, and continue along her merry way. No, he still had value even if the man was letting his pride in taking some dusty old castle with little of true value away from the Alliance. And out of her depth? Really now?

"And actually, no they didn't really impress me at all during the battle," she continued saying, turning as he strode past her. He couldn't get inside the facility until she followed anyways. Clearance and all. "If I had had my way, I would have collapsed the entire place around every single member of the Knights of Ren with proton bombs, but alas, Grand Marshal Rhen wanted the place intact for study. No, Connor, the Ren did not show me in the slightest why I should take them seriously. Vader means absolutely nothing to me, to be quite frank. He was an angsty middle age man whose only connection to the world after the death of his wife was Palpatine. He never did anything remotely important enough after the fall of the First Jedi Order to warrant much attention from the Sith."

She was freely admitting at this point that it was ultimately Grand Marshal Rhen's order that had kept her from blowing the place sky high once all the Ren had charge inside, and if she had been able to do so, she had no problem wiping out and trapping every single Ren under the rubble. Honestly, half of them had run away from the Jedi every time a fight might break out. How could one respect an order like that?

"I brought you here, well yes to show my latest project, but also because we apparently need to clear the air between us it seems," she finally said. "You clearly have something you want to say to me, so get it off your chest now."

Connor Harrison

Connor looked at her, during her little speech, and when she was done, he looked out over the greenery surrounding them. He said nothing for a few moments, knowing that in the past he always bit on her bait she dangled.

"Hm. Very well."

Not today. He turned back to her, an encouraging hand out to lead them off the landing pad and into the depths of her new hideaway. As suspected, he was here once more to look but not to touch.

"I’ll say what I have to say when the time comes. Don’t worry about that. You just keep on with the whole degrading comment of everything I do. I’ll listen, as always."

He held his hands behind his back and inhaled gently.

"I look forward to seeing what project you’ve got tucked away this time for me to do absolutely nothing about. Shall we?"

[member="Taeli Raaf"]
[member="Connor Harrison"]

"I didn't degrade you," she laughed. "I was degrading your colleagues. You actually performed rather well, all things considered."

She walked past him, the door opening as it scanned her security clearance. She would gesture for him to follow her into the lab. Medical droids would be floating by, carrying samples or data to the appropriate research lab. Every few feet or so either an Aurora Harbinger droid or Aurora Wights stood guard, watching anyone and anything that moved.

"Now don't be like that either," she continued saying, walking along the corridor towards her personal work area. Along the way, they would pass different windows showing a cadre of scientists and quite possibly Dark Side adepts working on one of the native species of the planet, the Teth Hunting Fly. "If you had training in alchemy and monster making, I would certainly invite you to participate. But, I don't believe you've had the proper training in those arts as of yet... if you have the proclivity for it. Not degrading you there, some people just are not predisposed to alchemy and sorcery."

They would reach her own lab, the door opening and revealing the almost finished specimen on the table that she had been working on before his arrival.

"Almost finished, still haven't come up with a good name for it yet, but that's always at the end when one comes up with it," she said.

Connor Harrison

With an un-flattered look, but welcome nod of the head, Connor followed her and walked beside her.

"They’re not all bad, trust me. But already I see their failings and the ones who are weak. I will not let them destroy what the First Order has built, or the reputation of the Ren over the years. The Order deserves better than some of those kids who dare follow the Dark Side."

He was probably feeding her thoughts, but maybe he wanted to.

"There are some who would benefit from being away from the Ren entirely."

Following through into her lab, the specimen caught his eye straight away and he winced at it. Some…thing not even he could try and place. He walked around to look from all angles and looked up at her across the table.

"What the hell do you intend to do with this? You need to get out more, Taeli. You’re insane."

He went closer to inspect the biology of the creature, smirking up at her.

"Lovely, don’t me wrong. But clearly insane."

[member="Taeli Raaf"]
[member="Connor Harrison"]

"One man's insanity is another's genius," she quipped, smiling. "The specimen you see before you is designed to be more of a support creature, rather than something like a terentatek or a tuk'ata. Its tongue has been modified to be extremely adhesive and strong, all the better to pull a target towards it... much like a frog or toad. Then the creature's allies can deal with it. It also has the ability to spray a thick smog over an area, rendering sight almost completely impossible until it clears or one moves out of the affected area."

She would walk around the specimen, noting Connor's appraisal of her work.

"The wings make little noise when in motion so one won't hear them until one looks up or sees their shadow," she continued. "All in all, I'm quite content with how the experiment has turned out. Field testing of course will be needed, but Eldaah will be handling that."

She stopped her walk, looking at him more now instead of her newest creation. She needed to address his earlier points.

"Kids following the Dark Side tend to have unpleasant things happen to them," she said. "From what I've gathered, there are not many... teachers among the Ren to actually guide them. A dangerous and volatile environment. Tell me, from your experiences, how much do the Ren have a structured teaching system so their members don't... what's a good word... self-destruct and overreach in their studies?"

Connor Harrison

Connor looked up again, twirling his fingers around.

"None, as far as I'm aware. There is one Master that I know of, but then it seems others below him even pull rank. I don't get the system. One thing for sure," he sighed, "thats what I miss. Structure. A system of rank and respect. Order."

He looked back down at the subject.

"I hope to change it as best I can. But I will not return to the Jedi, nor will I side with the joke of the Sith currently. They give the Sith a bad name."

Calming down, Connor walked around to be beside Taeli and turned to her.

"Ah, yes. Eldaah. No doubt she told you about my...blip at Midvinter. I trust she's still floating around doing your bidding while you hide in the shadows with your pets?"

[member="Taeli Raaf"]
[member="Connor Harrison"]

Interesting, she thought as Connor explained that there was only one master and the structure was found to be... lacking. She did find it amusing that Connor did not much like the current Sith, especially considering there was one faction controlling the Caldera and one about to rise up on Bastion.

"Yes, I know about the events on Midvinter," Taeli stated, facing him. "I ordered her to go along with you to keep you safe, considering you were just reconnecting with the Force. And yes, she is still doing my bidding while I work in the shadows. You make it sound like I should be doing something else, that I should be more overt? Is that what is troubling you?"

Connor had never been one for plots and secrecy, he was most definitely the type to face a situation head-on and bluntly. Something that was admirable in some cases, but she suspected it left him with a certain... impatience for those like her who preferred to calculate their moves before making them.

Connor Harrison

"Yes and no."

Connor didn’t distract himself by feigning interests in her beasts, he just stood by her and talked.

"Take Mustafar. What were you even doing there? You didn’t need to be there, but you did and just meddled in everything. You could have stopped me from the start, but you didn’t, and you’re helping people you want to see eradicated. I don’t care about how long you keep saying you’re working in the shadows, blah blah blah…you’re just causing trouble."

He looked away and offered a small shrug.

"Wasting time playing zoo keeper with your creations isn’t going to get you anywhere. Yes, I’m no expert and I know I’m probably wrong, but I don’t know what or who your vendetta is against, so I’ve had to take precautions because I don’t even claim to understand you anymore."

He looked back to her.

"Everything you’ve told me, names, locations, labs, the lot, is noted down and safe on two drives in two separate places. One is on a ship as we speak, fitted with a tracer that I can activate and locate away from here, so don’t try rip into my head because even I don’t know where it is at any one time. It all leads back to you, and you can deny it as much as you want, but there’s enough there to ruin your little ruse. I’m not selling you out, I’m not blackmailing you, but whatever you’re doing, you aren’t going to drag me down with it until you’re intentions are clear."

Connor stood his ground.

"I don’t know if you’re my ally or my enemy. You say I owe you? Not anymore. I’ve repaid you by playing your game. Well, I’m not playing anymore. You said real power comes from what you do and who you influence, well, consider this a lesson I’ve learnt from the best."

With that, he walked back around the lab and pointed at the beast, totally as if the past few minutes hadn’t happened.

"So what are these little beasts going to do for you then?"

[member="Taeli Raaf"]
[member="Connor Harrison"]

"Mmm no, that's exactly what blackmail is," she replied, not bothering to address the question he had posed yet. Well she figured it would be best to address his points right now... even if her natural reaction was to kill him and shift shop around. An inconvenience it would be, but doable.

"First off, don't go on about Mustafar," she said. "I was leading a NJO research expedition when you and the Ren attacked the planet. So if anything, you were meddling in my affairs. And yes, I will cause trouble for people, especially if they interrupt my research. As for my creations and who I have a vendetta against..."

She trailed off, walking around the table again before facing him.

"I don't have a vendetta against you or your little friends if that is what you are asking, I really don't have a vendetta at all," she answered, shrugging. "This might surprise you Connor, considering the Sith you tried to interact with are... less than friendly to new converts, but some Sith don't honestly care about conquering the galaxy. Everything you see around you are research projects to increase the science of what Sith alchemy can create. Does it mean I build up an army of creatures to unleash? Sure, but is that my end goal? Not particularly at the moment."

She slowly started to walk around the room.

"I do applaud your attempt to... influence me though, normally that would be a very good attempt... but I've been playing this long game for ten years now," she said, snapping around to face him. "All the names and locations and everything I've shown you are replaceable or movable. That's why I pick such remote locations for my projects. At the drop of a pin, they can be moved to new locations. Except my station, but as we've been the one flying you out to it, can't really threaten me with exposure for that one."

She waved a hand in the air, almost dismissively.

"And I have always been your ally, don't try and claim that what happened on Mustafar meant otherwise," she said. "That is just part of the game, and you might think your debt to me is settled... but not by a long shot. Playing along with that particular game benefits you, not me. But... you are right, I haven't been forthcoming about my plans with you. Apparently rightly so, if you're going to make a data cache to threat me with exposure. And I was so hoping you would like to partake in my next little game, because it's a doozy of one."

Connor Harrison

He watched her for any reaction – physical ones, emotive ones – just small enough to register. And, yes, she had a few things right, but he was far from intimidated now. She pushed his buttons greatly, but key to success was simply knowing when to let her push and not react.

"Show some respect first, Taeli. They are not my little friends – they are warriors of the Dark Side. Knights of Ren. Sure, a little rough, but in time I intend to change all that. And second, the Sith can do what they want. Right now they are as much of an embarrassment to the name as some Ren are. I admit that. Seems the only ones who make sense when you look back on things are the Jedi."

With a frustrated sigh, he rubbed his nose and looked back to her.

"And move what you want – once I set the ball rolling, it’ll catch up on you soon enough and bust your little deception wide open, so watch that over confidence of yours. You always told me I need to change, well, so do you."

And matching her dismissive wave, he then broke into a smile.

"So, tell me about your newest game. You have my attention. Does it involve a virus or some plague on a backwards planet? More time-wasting playing God?"

[member="Taeli Raaf"]
[member="Connor Harrison"]

"Until they earn my respect, I won't show them any," Taeli answered with shrug. "When half of your attacking force is running away from us throughout the entire battle, doesn't really inspire confidence in their abilities. As for the Sith... well that's from your point of view that they are an embarrassment. You never have told me what you actually think a Sith should be like."

He really thought he had her between a rock and a hard place with his little data cache. Oh, if only he knew how many contingencies she had prepared in case of betrayal. Ten years playing at this infiltration game gave her a long time to think about potential reversals of fortune and how to correct them. He might call it over-confidence, but she would merely say it was a statement of fact. She was well aware that such deceptions are fragile after all.

"Oh no, nothing like that... well no, I shouldn't say that," Taeli responded. "Testing of my creations will always continue, but that isn't my latest plan... but I find myself reluctant to share it with you. You did just threaten me with exposure after all, who is to say you won't try and hold that over me too? You say you can't trust me, but now I certainly cannot trust you."

Connor Harrison

Connor batted her statement away with a wave of the hand.

"They will learn in time, and I’d rather they fight and run away to live to fight another day. They are reckless, but not stupid. And the Sith? Well, yes who knows what a Sith should be. I just see too many clambering for their right to be the be all and end all and the amount of back-stabbing and ego-play is enough to make me see there is something off. I feel I can call myself a Sith if I wish. A servant of the Dark Side, out to destroy the Light for the preservation of the galaxy. Sith maybe not in name, but in heart? More so than many who claim the title."

He looked away, never actually saying that out loud how he felt, or saw himself. Politics wasn’t his bag, nor was religion. He was here to serve the Dark Side. End of.

"And you don’t trust me? Good. I don’t trust you either. So start showing me I can trust you and show me some respect, and then we will get somewhere."

Connor just looked at her.

"Well? I’m waiting."

[member="Taeli Raaf"]
[member="Connor Harrison"]

"Someone is impatient and it shows," Taeli said, tutting a little. "A valuable piece of advice if you're going to start playing the great game, Connor. Push when you can, but don't overreach. I know politics isn't your thing, but it's valuable to keep in mind."

She was somewhat amused by his expression that he thought of himself Sith at heart, and more so than many of the others. She was sure if one asked the others... they would have a very different opinion on that vocal declaration of philosophy. She privately would disagree with him, but that was merely because Connor really hadn't had an education of the Sith. Not really. He had pieced together some from her, from Xiangu, from other sources, but his education had significant gaps. Perhaps... hmmm

"Before I divulge the plot gestating in my head, a question for you," she said. "Among your time with the Silver Jedi, or any organization really, have you ever wondered who watches the watchers? The watchers in this case being a faction's respective Force using Order."

Connor Harrison

He shot her a look as she gave him that advice she always did when she found an issue with his views or words. He wasn't going to win, and he wasn't going to try.

But her next question intrigued him, and he turned back to give her his full attention.

"Nobody watches them. That's why, in time, they collapse. The Mandalorians. The Sith. The Jedi. The foundations can be strong, but the ones pulling the strings soon fold in time. They are the ones who need culling over the pawns at the front."

His left eye narrowed slightly.

"Why do I sense another plot."

[member="Taeli Raaf"]
[member="Connor Harrison"]

"Not exactly the answer I was expecting, but yes to put it succinctly, no one watches a Force using Order attached to a government generally," she said. She was on the verge of explaining that it was a little more nuanced than how he put it, considering one always sacrificed the pawns first if they could. But, now wasn't the time for a chess lesson or to explain the minutiae of politics. He had the basic concept down at least, and that was what was most important. At least, she was pretty sure he had it.

"Given light of some... recent developments, I intend to start advocating for a Jedi Inquisition if you will, a group of Jedi that are designed to watch for any signs of corruption from the other Jedi," she explained. "This little cadre of Jedi would hunt down dark side artifacts, eliminate anyone who is suspected of having touched the dark side recently, and so on. Now, tell me, why do you think I would do something like this?"

She was testing him, trying to see if he suss out her underlying reasoning for making such a group.

Connor Harrison

Pursing his lips and giving a nod, Connor cupped his chin and tapped two fingers against his lips in thought.

"Hm. A way to Jedi the Jedi."

He looked at her, trying to work out the plan behind those deceptive violet eyes.

"Gut instinct? Anyone comes into touch with dark side relics, you can simply store them for yourself under investigations you carry out on them, or some nonsense they'll buy with you being the scientist and all. And to eliminate Jedi then you eliminate your competition - or the ones who could bring you down from the inside."

Connor gave a little chuckle and a shrug.

"Either way this is to benefit you, but I'm probably way out."

[member="Taeli Raaf"]

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