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Jairus Starvald

Eidoloclast
Character
KOL ATORN
--​
[member="Runi Verin"]​
Kol Atorn was exactly the type of world where Jairus Starvald would have thrived.

The despair, poverty, the gloom outlook on life were all-pervasive here. The constant encroachment of the Sith Empire, every day a little bit closer only enlarged that sense of defeat in the people. It was a world of dust and sand and narrow alleys filled with vagrants. Spacers down on their luck, lost after their ship broke down and with no cash to get off the planet again. But where despair ran high... so did the extremes of the Galaxy.

For every sentient down on their luck? There were three with a blaster, preying on the weak.

Jairus loved it.

Walking through the alleys of one of the local middling villages of Kol Atorn the Sith couldn't help but... meddle a bit. The influence was subtle as his mind brushed those he passed. A bit more anger here, sadness there, fear, hate, heightening them in equal measures as he walked.

On its own it wouldn't have done anything, but let it fester for a few days? That would be fun to watch.

A few minutes later the Sith Lord strode into a private warehouse, where a meeting between him and a representative of Stellarwind Logistics was due.

Time to get down to business.
 

Runi Verin

Two pounds shy of a bomb.
Writer
[member="Jairus Starvald"]​

It was perhaps indicative of the local economy that the even the warehouses of a relatively small company such as Stellarwind Reclamation & Logistics managed to dominate the landscape. Offering the prospect of steady employment, a rare commodity on a world such as Kol Atorn, to the otherwise downtrodden and disenfranchised masses. Willing to turn a blind eye to the blemishes, black listing and death marks that seemed to litter the jackets of even the most 'average' of spacers that walked through those doors.

It wasn't out of charity, however.

Runi Verin may have been a product of this galactic pile of sentient refuse of a world, a street rat from the dirtiest and forgotten corners of the scrap heap, but she held no lofty aspirations for making it a better place. For every single, solitary credit offered, she expected something far more valuable in return. Loyalty. If not to her, then to the company that was willing to employ their sorry shebs. Give them a chance that no other right minded di'kut in this galaxy ever would. Not again, anyway.

The fact that they were some of the most talented spacers, scoundrels and smugglers in the galaxy... Well, that was just a bonus.

"Gavas." She called without looking up from the schematic in her hand, reviewing the latest design of the bulk freighter that was set to start construction within the next week at the SR&L docks in the Belt of Arah. Provided, of course, they could solve the issue around the SLAM drive consuming far too much fuel to make it viable. A problem she would have loved to spend the rest of the day trying to fix, but unfortunately the ironic cost of owning a company meant you rarely managed to do the things you actually got into the business for in the first place. "Where's that client? Starvalla? Starvel?"

"Starvald." A beleaguered, disembodied voice of her warehouse manager called up from below. Emanating somewhere in the endless stacks that filled the warehouse. "Jairus Starvald. Fella be on his way up now. Try making the office look presentable up there, ya?"

"Well, tell him to get his karkin' shebs in gear, then." She snapped, choosing to ignore that last comment. In truth, her office hardly deserved that distinction. It was more of an elevated platform really. An open balcony that sat on the upper corner of the warehouse floor, offering a wide view of the bustling activity that surged and ebbed below. A salvaged workbench served as her desk, seemingly buried beneath as many tools as it was datapads, with the only chairs being a battered pair of flight couches that were taken from the wreck of a frigate following one Dagobah conflict or the other. Hardly the most professional place to do business, but then she wasn't exactly the most professional CEOs. "I got better things to do today than sit around, coolin' my heels an' waitin' on some prissy coreworlder."

Case in point.
 

Jairus Starvald

Eidoloclast
Character
[member="Runi Verin"]

"I am sure you do." The voice was calm, bemused, but it had a certain quality. Inspiration to send shivers up your spine, because even a short sentence like that held weight. "Knocked twice, figured I'd let myself in while you were... handling business."

Once Runi bothered to turn around she'd notice the newest addition to her office.

Whatever Jairus Starvald was... it wasn't a prissy coreworlder. He didn't hide his 'Sithness', not the amber eyes burning bright, not the strength that slowly radiated from him in equal terms. Even if Runi was only half trained she'd feel that wash over her- a steady beat, like a heart, sending thrums through the Force. Starvald studied the remnants of her office, noted there were no chairs for his size and snorted. "I will take the couch, I suppose," It wasn't completely unexpected.

Few people had the presence of mind to prepare for more than the average size.

"Runi Verin, you come recommended. I have need of your 'freighting' business." The quotation marks could almost be tasted.

Then Jairus leaned back, one leg crossing the other, trying to find a comfortable angle to sit in.

There seemed to be something poking in his back though. One of the springs?
 

Runi Verin

Two pounds shy of a bomb.
Writer
[member="Jairus Starvald"]

It wasn't often that Runi was caught off guard, yet it wasn't the sudden voice at her back that caused it to stiffen and straighten, nor the reason why those scarred lips creased themselves into a silent scowl of distaste. Even before she turned, hackles raised like the junkyard dog she was raised to be, she knew what awaited her. The coils of the dark side radiating throughout the room, twisting and turning like unseen tendrils of malice and ill intent, making her skin crawl. And it wasn't your garden variety of dark side, either. No, she had been around enough Sith in her time, occasionally even by choice, to recognize the distinctive flickers they radiated out into the force. The sensation of deeper mysteries, perverse philosophies and twisted ideology. Her fingers curled around the edge of the schematics, the metal protesting slightly as her cybernetics threatened to bite deep.

Fierfek.

"You know, most folk wait for permission to take a seat." The salvager folded her arms across her chest as she turned, perching on the lip of her workbench to regard the man without bothering to conceal the cold, blunt disapproval in those dark eyes. In truth, she give a damn about civilities, but the fact he'd seen fit to take the liberty anyway rankled her all the same. She supposed, given the location, it was only a matter of time before the Sith saw fit to darken her doorway, but it had always seemed like a tomorrow problem. Now that problem had arrived, today, and all she could think of was that the bastard was stealing her couch like it was the most ordinary thing in the world. The fact he'd all but called her a smuggler was neither here nor there. The law didn't come out to Kol Atorn, after all. It didn't give two osiks about this place. Which begged the obvious question, why did he? "It's funny, I don't seem to remember doing business with any Sith lately. Doubt we run in the same social circles, either. So makes me wonder, who recommended me exactly?"
 

Jairus Starvald

Eidoloclast
Character
[member="Runi Verin"]

"I am not most folk." Jairus deflected without skipping a beat.

The common rules of civility hadn't been an issue for him for decades now if not more.

Once you rule a fifth of the Galaxy, become used to people dropping on their knees at the nearest sign of your displeasure, things like that? Something like flopping on top of a crappy couch on a desert world seemed the least of his concerns. "If you don't know already that would mean sharing a secret. Secrets have costs attached to them." The Sith Lord pointed out as those eyes finally met hers, holding her attention while slowly unfolding his smile.

Every word, every sentence.

It was a game.

There were those that danced it well and those that left themselves open, because of unthinking words. "I would gladly explore what you have to offer for that secret and we can. But first I'd like to hire you and your company for a more... traditional operation." A shrug. "I pay well. In return I expect the bare minimum of questions, speed and no mistakes."
 

Runi Verin

Two pounds shy of a bomb.
Writer
[member="Jairus Starvald"]​

With almost visible effort to keep the urge in check, Runi somehow managed to resist the obligatory eyeroll that threatened to sally forth in the face of overwhelming predictability. I am not most folk. Sith, please. On a planet of spacers, exiles and ne’er-do-wells such as the one on which they presently stood, she couldn't even spit without hitting a dozen or so aruetiise that would all too ready to spout the exact same idiocy.

Call it the price of imposin’ on my goodwill an' that of my couch.” She replied without missing a beat, head tilting to the side as she sought to match her own dark earthy tones against his sulfurous yellows. Clearly unwavering in her intent to press for a tangible answer. If this was a game, then it was one she was all too familiar with thanks to a certain green skinned Sith. The slightest of similarities between the two enough to cause her defences to slide further and further into place with each word that passed her lips. “Have a feelin’, what with you comin' all this way, in person no less, the price of sharin' that name is a damn sight cheaper than walkin’ out of here empty handed.

Hardly a ground breaking leap of logic behind that assumption. If the man had other options available to him, he wouldn't have found his way to the cessheap that was Kol Atorn. Karl, given half the chance, not even the locals would turn to anyone around these parts.

Call it what it is. You want my people to smuggle yours.” Runi corrected bluntly and without fanfare. Clearly in no mood to dance around the subject with poetic euphemisms and purple prose. Not when it was just the two of them. Her lips compressed to a tight, pensive line as she leant back against the bench a fraction. Trying hard not to entertain thoughts of how satisfying it would be to kick the ponce to the shallow gutters then and there, fearing that the image would be too tempting to pass up otherwise. Annoying as the Sith were, starting a grudge match was the last thing she could afford right now. Especially when she didn't know where this Starvald stood in relation to the Empire. The mantle of Cerita’s implied protection likely only extended so far and only with certain circles. “Where. Why. How much.”

Three questions asked, three answers demanded before she would let this proceed any further.
 

Jairus Starvald

Eidoloclast
Character
[member="Runi Verin"]

None of them could probably read her mind right now and smirk knowingly.

"Da price of admission been paid by the mention of the recommendation, otherwise you would be blissfully unaware now." Elbows rested on his knees as he leaned in a bit. The smirk growing wolfish as Jairus felt her eagerness to make a point out of this. The gleam in his eyes told her that he wanted that. Wanted the conflict, the stress in the moment, the point of breakage where negotiations would end and something else would come to replace it.

The dare was put forward.

Then the conversation transitioned back towards the actual negotiations at hand. That gleam moved towards amusement- she was fast on her feet and that was a point in her favor, but she was too easily goaded and wore her heart on her sleeve.

That would be her end one day.

"From Ord Mantell to Coruscant. Because I have a need. Twenty-five every two weeks." Which told her this was more than a one-off. In one way: bad, because it meant a commitment to this tangle. In another way? Good, because it meant a very steady paycheck for an undetermined amount of time. Those sort of retainers could pile up rather quickly, if she was quick on her feet here too and knew how to negotiate well. If Runi was capable of that was the question. Cerbera had told him a thing or two about this spacer pet she was cultivating. Oh, that wasn't how she framed it: 'Oh no, darling, we are simply friends. I have a soft spot for her... rough manners, but a strong heart.'

Knowing that alchemist though?

There were more gears at play there than she framed it as.
 

Runi Verin

Two pounds shy of a bomb.
Writer
[member="Jairus Starvald"]
The woman snorted with derision.

"Funny. I don't know many places that allow the customers to set the prices." The tattoos that marred her features creasing slightly as she narrowed her eyes. She might have lacked the mentalist abilities that the donor of one half of her genetic code was keen on utilizing, but the spacer had developed skills in other areas in order to cover the supposed gap. Enough to feel the presence of an unseen hand trying to influence the conversation. "Unlike our fees, the one of admission ain't up for negotiation."

Honestly, it wasn't a huge leap to guess who had made the recommendation. While it seemed half her contact list was somehow affiliated with the Sith these days, there were few that would actually pass business her way. Let alone know that she had a business in the first place. One name in particular stood out amongst the crowd. One that would no doubt enjoy putting her in a situation just like this, not that the wench would ever admit it. Like the man before her, Cerita was far too smug for that. Games within karkin' games.

Runi shifted on the desk-workbench.

"Thirty-five." She countered, not even bothering to ask what exactly his need was. Coruscant was a Galactic Alliance controlled planet, the man before her was a Sith. It was hardly rocket science to put two and two together on that one. There was a time when she might have cared; but the coreworlds had long since turned their back on her kind. They weren't her people. She owed them nothing. "Coruscant First have been makin' trouble with the idea that they control the lanes. Lot of custom official are gettin' itchy about the dip in their profits. Puts the price up."
 

Jairus Starvald

Eidoloclast
Character
[member="Runi Verin"]

In truth Jairus had anticipated her to start negotiating the price up.

Especially with Coruscant First trying to punch above its weight that was to be expected and in truth he didn't care. The price was not an issue. It never had been, because he wasn't doing this for the money. He was doing it for the sport, for his... amusement and interest. To see if he could and just how far that would eventually take him as the cult grew in strength.

"35 sounds fine with me." Ignoring her previous remarks as if that was a done deal. After all... she had gone deeper into the debate for monetary compensation, no? That was basically admission of acceptance.

As far as Jairus was concerned.

"I will of course pay for any... permits that are necessary." Bribes more like, but potato potato.
 

Runi Verin

Two pounds shy of a bomb.
Writer
[member="Jairus Starvald"]
Those scarred lips became the picture of disapproving concern. As if the Sith Lord's very presence wasn't enough already, the fact Jairus had scarcely batted an eye at her inflated counter proposal set alarm bells ringing and raised her hackles even further. Having grown up on these very same streets, Runi had learnt several important and vital lessons over the years, first and foremost among them that life was cheap out here on the edges of the Rim. Easily brought, easily sold, easily thrown away, all in the name of the holy credit. For someone that was willing to throw such sums around like it was nothing more than pocket chance, she was willing to bet that it was cheaper still.

The datapad made another wirble of protest as she tightened her hand.

It was too late to turn her back on the deal now, however.

"Since you're being so generous, I'd say you can cover any and all other incidental costs, too." Runi added, tossing the cracked datapad onto the desk beside her. "My crews tend to work a lot better knowin' that they won't have to worry about any overheads."

She pushed off and took a step towards him. Not threateningly, but her body language made it clear she wasn't exactly thrilled by his continued occupancy of her office. Even if he was potentially paying her a osik-ton of credits for the privilege. "You should know that, contrary to popular belief, we don't take kindly to slavers in these parts. Anyone lookin' to step onboard our vessels need to be doin' so of their own free will, 'lek? We also don't ship explosives, but that's for obvious safety reasons. You want somethin' to go boom, ship it separately or in pieces. I don't care which, just as long as it ain't on my ships."
 

Jairus Starvald

Eidoloclast
Character
[member="Runi Verin"]

Jairus glanced at her second request.

Then her approach with additional terms.

It was then that the Sith Lord rose and with her proximity? It would become even more clear how much Jai loomed over her, larger, eyes burning, it was amusing that she didn't seem overly worried... externally anyway. Internally it was a different story, even without poking too deep inside of her. That would have been rude on the very first meeting between them.

"Done." The price was raised once more without consideration or worry.

"Oh, do not worry, miss Verin. Once they step on-board they are fully willing." It wouldn't be a problem to ship the excess ones broken and pliable. They would nod and smile for Runi if that made things easier for her.

Everyone had their own little quarks to soothe their conscience.

"That makes an accord, we will remain in touch." A nod and unless Runi wanted to say more? That would be it and the Sith would depart. Once out of the office it would almost feel as if a dark cloud seeped out of the room after his departure. Strange how it wasn't as noticeable when he was inside. But that had always been one of his trademarks.

Bright smiles, ugly tidings.
 
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