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The Admiralty
Writer
TERMINUS

The workshop was a mess.

Dirty, the sign outside flickering in and out of existence, there was trash (tires, old parts, half-dismantled vehicles) all over the place from the junkyard hugging one side of the 'shop. That was where [member="Ivy Lasranae"] was told to be, if she wanted to meet with a contact of the Cogmind network.

Their rep was good.
Even if their choice in venue was just a bit of a mess.

By the time that Ivy got 'round, there was a man working in the yard. Hand greasy, hat leaning heavily on one side of his face and obscuring the cyber-eye. A welding torch hissing in a steady motion-- his cybernetic arm, it was old and didn't have any of the grace of the current-gen prosthetics. Ugly lines of metal, fingers more like thick claws, it was currently blowing out a steady plasma stream into some kind of contraption Daro Tarsi was working on.

"Few manage to get Cogmind's attention, yaknow." Daro drawled as the torch sizzled out of existence. The welding mechanism disappearing as the gears of the prosthetic worked overtime.

Within a moment the clawlike fingers appeared once more.

"How can we help you?" From one of his pockets Tarsi revealed a flask and took a royal sip, while he waited.
 
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The armored woman said nothing in response as she approached, opting to hold curiosity for the special circumstances of the rendez vous. Cogmind wasn't exactly the bread-and-butter choice of this particular Mercenary, but given her current state of affairs and lack of other good contacts ... Cogmind would have to do.

A single hazel-colored eye passed around the workspace, noting the mess but not seeming to be particularly moved by it. Perhaps the headwrap covering the majority of the right side of her face, eye included, obscured any indication of offense, but the truth of the matter was that she didn't care.

Something something ... geniuses tended to have the messiest workspaces?

"I have a new ship that requires some aftermarket adjustments. Slave drive routed to my suit. Control routines compressed for a single-pilot. Systems command AI. I was told you're one of the best for this type of project."

[member="Daro Tarsi"]
 
The Admiralty
Writer
[member="Ivy Lasranae"]

A glance noted the hidden portion of her face, but Daro didn't comment on it.

All of them had their own sacrifices.

"Sounds all doable, miss Scheler." He murmured before putting away the flask and slowly rising up, Daro twisted the prosthetic a bit. Letting the muscles of his shoulder roll and relax from the hyper-tension. "Wouldn't be the first ship I hacked together- won't be the last either, I reckon." A glance past her, noticing there wasn't a ship there.

"Were is the pretty lady?"

Even though Tarsi hadn't seen it yet, every starship was a pretty lady in his eyes. They also talked less than the regular lady. So, that was only a win as far as Daro was concerned.

"Also- what model we talking here? Corellian, Kuati?"
 
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"Good," the woman replied, gloved fingers lightly rapping at the visor of her helmet currently wedged under the same arm. The Merc twisted to follow his line of sight as he looked for her ship, "Out of sight, for the moment. Had to be sure."

Over the last few years she'd made herself plenty of unfriendly acquaintances. The last thing she wanted was to fill her brand new ship full of holes, especially now that there was legitimately nothing left of the Egris. Kep was flying this new beast in - she hadn't even seen it yet, hadn't even flown it. But he agreed to meet her out here with her newest cargo haul. It was the best Mr. Black could do for her given the circumstances of the Egris' demise.

"Haven," she said with a sniff, slowly stepping forward to give his shop another surveying glance, "AT-120 Freighter fresh off the dock. Worked on one of them before?"
 
The Admiralty
Writer
[member="Ivy Lasranae"]

"Aye, say one thing 'bout Arceneau, say they know their ships." The 120 was a joy to work on, modular to a fault, relaxed and easy. The lady purred once you got your hands inside her an' then some. There were plenty ships that boasted modular designs and allowing tinkering, but few could match the ancient 120 as far as Daro Tarsi was concerned. Well, maybe a Corellian ship, but in truth they hadn't been relevant since ol' Cater had passed during the Omega crisis.

Once inside the workshop she'd notice a few more things.

There was a hangar to her left with the doors shut and locked. A landing platform nearby, various starfighters in various states of disrepair. It seemed that Tarsi was a busy man... or maybe just one that couldn't focus on one job at a time.

If this was his 'shop to begin with.

"Now, whatcha want that AI of yours to do? Besides the obvious." Obviously she would want it to have limited ship control abilities, but maybe there was more to it than that? All of that mattered for the initial and prolonged design process. He adjusted his hat a bit, reverent touch on it. Then stretched just a bit. The old bones cracked, groaned and whined in response.

"I could design something from scratch, probs, but maybe ya already got an AI on hand?"

Mostly a joke, those things were rare even now.

Could be she would surprise him though.
 
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It reminded her of her small workshop she kept on the Egris where she tinkered with useful droids between jobs. She wasn't an engineer, nor was she particularly smart on creating things as complicated as droids on her own ... but give her the parts, schematics to follow, and a lot of free time? Wasn't so hard.

She tipped her eye at his hat, noting the curious nature of it. Not that she could tell there was anything special about it, simply that it seemed a little odd atop that man's head. Who was she to judge? She had a cactus for a pet.

"A little bit of everything, I think, being the only crew on board I need my bases covered. Defenses, weapons, navigation, system resources. I've got..." the woman reached into a curious looking messenger bag slung over her shoulder and withdrew a small blue pyramid, "this. I'd like to base the AI construct around it."
 
The Admiralty
Writer
[member="Ivy Lasranae"]

Eyebrow rose up at that.

"Holocron, eh?" His hand extended and if allowed he'd carefully take the object and study it from every angle. "Would be a first for me. Haven't ever tried that before." The smile turned crooked and mischievous at that particular mention. In truth that only excited Daro, because what did an engineer want more than to be challenged in their skills? "Can't wait. I ain't a forcer though, so you got the ability to activate it?" From what Daro had read in the past it usually took a forcer to engage these things.

Something about their blood and that force mambo-jambo.

He didn't particularly care for it.

It wasn't logical. The power of belief allowing you to fly or whatever? That was crazy as far as Daro was concerned... if effective.
 
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A wry smile formed on the woman's face, scars pulling at her expression. Hazel wasn't particularly knowledgeable about these sort of things either and, generally, lacked the desire and patience to try and understand them. But Kep had been fairly forthright about the Holocron's uses and, over a long drink and a short hour, taught her how to go about taking advantage of said uses.

"Simple," the woman poked a gloved finger at the artifact in the man's hand, "you just introduce yourself to the Keeper: Master Burnside."
 
The Admiralty
Writer
[member="Ivy Lasranae"]

Head tilted.

"Easy as that, eh?" Daro murmured before studying the 'cron in front of him. Fingers squeezed the casing experimentally- good build quality, not as flimsy as some of the datacrons that he had encountered throughout the years. This thing was build to last and then some. "Master Burnside, this is Daro Tarsi, can ya hear me?" The smirk played out at that.

A moment of silence.

His eyes drew up again with a shrug to her.

Then.

Something shifted in the Force (not that Daro could feel it) and a blue hue cast over both of them. It took a few more seconds, before it shaped itself into the form of a man with a mustache, long hair and a serious, stern look.

"You do not seem to be a Jedi." Then he shifted and looked at Ivy. "Miss Scheler."

"He does not seem like a good man."
 
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Hazel looked on with amusement, hands planted on the hips of her armor. Years ago something like this might've put her over the edge and caused her to break a few things, but today it was a source of small wonder. She supposed the years had worn away on the intangible armor she'd built up around herself where subjects like the Force were concerned.

She tried not to think of the why.

"He's got a bit of a spotty sense of fashion, I'll give you that," the woman responded to the tiny holographic Jedi, her good eye lingering on the strange hat, "but he'll do good work for good money, and in the end I'll have a better ship for the trouble that will help me pick up more jobs. Think you can work with that Master Burnside?"
 
The Admiralty
Writer
[member="Ivy Lasranae"]

A sigh.

Well, a digital approximation of a sigh, because the smol Jedi didn't actually have lungs.

"I suppose, yes." From below the bushy pixelated eyebrows Brom studied Daro again. "It is not his fashion sense I worry about though." This conversation happened and Daro wasn't really trying to interject. No, he was too busy studying the casing of the holocron. Dusty finger tips running past the jagged edges, the relief, checking to see if there were any more mechanisms that made up this strange little object. It wasn't the first time that he had held a holocron in his hand.

Technically.

But every 'cron was different, unique in their own way. Couldn't be otherwise. They weren't things you would manufacture on a massive scale.

"Do you have any questions for me, mister....?"

"Tarsi. Daro Tarsi." Daro supplied while watching the hologram next. "Not yet, no, just needed to figure out if we could activate you. Thanks for showing up though."

"Don't reckon you got a copy of this laying around, eh?" This one was for the woman. It would be an interesting challenge to translate the crystalline forms into a system that would actually work. Maybe they could... hm, this was new ground honestly. But that was part of what made it interesting to him. "Means I will need to be extra careful with it. Can't really make any mistakes here...." That could potentially become a headache and a half for the both of them.

"Let's go inside, we can start scoping out the project together."
 
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A smile appeared on Hazel's face with the faintest hint of smug. She folded her arms and squared up her gaze on Daro, "It's one-of-a-kind," that much had been explained to her, "so proceed with caution."

She followed the man into his office, eye glancing at Burnside as the ghostly image seemed to take in his changing surroundings. She couldn't say how much the Jedi could truly experience from his holocron but Kep had said this holocon in itself was exceptionally unique.

The holocron was the Jedi.

"Master Burnside and I spoke briefly on the possibility of holocon integration into a networked system. He seemed to think it was plausible."

"Much in the same way a datacron's information can be accessed by integrating it into a machine via processing panels, I believe you could do the very same with a Holocron, though it would require a custom processing panel," Burnside offered, "afterall what is the transmission of data simplified down to its most basic level if not the transference of energy?"
 
The Admiralty
Writer
[member="Ivy Lasranae"]

"Jedi? You sure you don't have an engineer trapped in your little box, miss Scheler?" Daro dryly remarked over his shoulder as they entered his office. It was just as much of a mess as the backyard had been.

Just a different kind of one.

Take-out boxes, electronics, half disassembled consoles and equipment laying around. Tarsi eyed it all for a moment, before clearing out a chair for her, chucking the trash an' crap into an already overfilled can and then plopped himself into the seat on the other side of the overflowing table. One leg hooked over an arm of the chair, the other placed the 'cron carefully on the table.

Then he got out his flask again.

Deep chuck, an offer to Ivy if she wanted some.

"Yeah, I think I can manage it- might take me a week or so, will probably need to get my hands on some custom parts for it." Crystals were tricky like that. Especially the ones in a 'cron, the lattice there was fragile as feth and... weird.

"Now, les'say I manage all your requests- let's discuss payment, eh?"
 
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Hazel passed on the drink offer, tempting as it was. She didn't like drinking from another's flask - never really knew what was in there. Or what kind of germs other people had. With the Darkside disease slowly making its way through what remained of her flesh and bones, it was best not to tempt fate on that one.

She sat down with a stiff movement and a grunt, leaning into the backrest with a casual gesture of a gloved hand, "I'll pay up front for the easy things. The mods you and I both know you can do without a problem. As for the tricky stuff," she glanced to Burnside who seemed to exchange the look with her, "I'll pay once it's done and working. If you can't do it, then I'll pay you for time spent regardless."

It had been a long while since she'd spoken about paying anyone with such confidence. Her account hadn't seen this many zeros in it since ... well, never, really.
 
The Admiralty
Writer
[member="Ivy Lasranae"]

Daro didn't mind she didn't want any.

More for him.

Another swig and then he let the flask disappear again. At this point the subtle tremor of his fingers had faded away as the burn did its work, he felt better already- eye just a bit brighter, back straighter as he stretched. Bones creaked in tune with the mechanical whir of his cyber-arm. Hulky thing, more metal and gears than anything else. Clearly not a new model whatsoever.

"Works, did a bit of digging around when you contacted me." Daro informed her, before shrugging. That was standard practice in the circles they ran. "I ain't worried about your credit history, that much for sure."

A tick on the panel nearby and a second hologram shimmered into existence. It was cut off at certain points, where random pieces of trash were obscuring the projector.

But it showed the class of ship Ivy had been talking about.

"I will draw up some designs for ya, see what works best for your specifications and start work tomorrow." Another stretch, 'nother bone creak. "You the type that wants to look over my shoulder or ya got other business in the meantime?"
 
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She leaned to look, eyebrows bobbing in a facial shrug, "I don't make too many big purchases."

Her credit history couldn't have been a long one, but at least it was clean. She only bought what she could afford.

"My ship is my home, Mr. Tarsi," the woman replied, eyeing his mechanical arm, "I'll be around but I'll do my best not to be a nuisance until you start working with the holocron. That will be staying in my sight at all times, can't have it wandering off."

They both knew the value of a real holocron, especially one possessing the knowledge of Force Masters.
 
The Admiralty
Writer
[member="Ivy Lasranae"]

Now that earned her a smirk.

For what it was worth- his clothes might have been frayed, hat old and decayed, reeking of alcohol and his prosthetic more akin to a scrapheap rather than those sleek and fancy core-made tech. But his teeth? All their, white, shiny and well taken care of. That suggested a thing or two- because while wardrobe might decay and tech wasn't the cheapest thing to keep up with... teeth was a thing that usually went first with an alcoholic.

"Would say that wounds me, miss Scheler, but best not to tempt me with da thing, s'true." No sense in lying about it- he'd probably be gone with the holocron in tow if she left him with it.

Would make for a fun chase too.

"Alright, feel free to make a few additions to the hologram, we can go check out ya ship in da flesh when it gets here next."
 
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"You don't look like you're a stranger to such wounds, Mr. Tarsi," the Mercenary tossed back at him.

She leaned forward, peering at the hologram for a thoughtful few moments, "I'd rather not butter up the exterior much. The more it looks stock and standard on the outside the better."

Made for getting through customs that much faster. Heavily modded ships tend to draw uncommon amounts of attention in much the same way as those coming through with fresh pock-marks. Mods were only a hallmark of clean business when it wore the colors of the local government - everyone else was fair game for search.

"Though, I suppose boosting the communication array and scanners wouldn't hurt. I-" her comm went off. She patched the missive through to the control panel on the armored gauntlet, reading over quickly, "It's here."
 
The Admiralty
Writer
[member="Ivy Lasranae"]

A snort followed.

"Might be right at that." He nodded at that last bit. The usual, standard request for the smuggler-on-the-go that knew what they were doing. The idiot would try and stack themselves up, until the ship looked like some sort of alien, verpine mothership.

But the smart ones?

They tried their best to make the ship as close to stock as possible. Just some minor adjustments that improved quality of life so there wouldn't be any suspicion. It was something that made him adjust his optics on Ivy just a little bit. Oh, she was an older sort and clearly not a stranger to a fight- the eye, the set of the jaw, shoulders and even the way she walked.

It was obvious... to the right sort.

"Can do." The bleep followed and that made him tilt his head. That was quick. "Sure, yeah. Let's go an' check ya darling out." He carefully climbed back out of his seat, revealing out the flask again and taking a swig, before leading her out of the office again.

Through the corridor and out once more.

"Now... let's see what we got here."
 
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Hazel made sure to pick up the holocron on the way out, palming the item with a glance down at the holographic Jedi. The pair exchanged glances before she pocketed it back into its pouch.

Following Tarsi back out onto the workfloor, she lifted a hand to shield her eye as a ship slowly descended from the sky. The heat of the engines flushed across exposed skin, sending dust and debris flying as the landing gear touched down. For a moment the Merc simply stared, a mild smile touching her expression as she took in the sight of her new darling. Funny choice of word, but she couldn't help the beat her heart skipped at the prospect of a new ship.

A new home.

Even if she sorely missed the Egris. A lot of memories were left back there but hopefully, Hazel thought to herself, it was for the better. Time to move on from the baggage.

"Mmm," her smile broadened as the engines whined down, ship gleaming all pretty and new even in the dim lights of the junkyard, "what a hunk."
 
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