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Reunion

It's Real to Pretend
Writer
CIRCE SAVAN'S SHUTTLE

The interior of the craft Circe used as her courier throughout Sith space was relatively specialized. Near the two rear guest rooms was the kitchen, and a central hallway led to a small yet well-stocked laboratory, a storage room, a training room, and Circe's own personal bedroom, replete with oversized bed. Clearly, Circe was a Sith scientist, one who relied on her skills with technological terrors almost as much as she worked with the Dark Side of the Force to rend life to her will. Currently under examination were parts of the technobeasts she had rather virulently dissected.

But right now, her thoughts were on the only other resident of the shuttle aside from her, a teenaged girl currently residing in one of the guest quarters on board her ship. A woman whose choice of green-skinned illusion had significantly startled or disturbed Circe, whose significant advancement in months was greater than Circe's years of training, who had become a Jedi Master and Chancellor of the Republic while Circe had struggled to gain masterhood as a Sith and a seat in the Senate.

Two parts of Circe predominantly existed. One was far more visible to the former Jedi Master - jealousy. And considering that Aleidis was the youngest Jedi Master of all time, not to mention the youngest chancellor of all time, that part wasn't very surprising. What was, though, was a strange sense of pride. Perhaps it stemmed from the deeper desire of Circe to be a mother to the orphaned Aleidis, something she no longer had - feelings exacerbated by the birth of her son, her biological heir.

But for now, the work to be done was certainly most simple. They had to develop for Aleidis a cover story, an explanation as to who she was and how she had arrived on Thule with Circe. For the time being, though, food was of the utmost importance, and Circe prepared rations of a particularly spicy type for both herself and Aleidis. It wasn't the least processed of meals, but it would still taste excellent.

@[member="Aleidis Ijet"]
 

Aleidis Zrgaat

Young soul from an older generation.
Character
@[member="Circe Savan"]

Brush, brush, brush.

Brush, brush. And brush.

It was soothing repetition, a reminder of presumed hours spent on her mother's lap before she'd gone off to join the Jedi. Although it wasn't something Codi - having no hair whatsoever - understood, brushing her hair had always been a meditative and introspective (if not private) part of her daily routine since she was old enough to do it on her own. She could sit here all day and run a brush though her hair, and let her mind go blank. Don't worry, Aleidis. Relax, Aleidis. Things'll work out, Aleidis. And if they go south, you can figure it out, Aleidis. No worries. Just brushing. Relax. Delicious ASMR.

But anyone who's lived prone to anxiety could tell you that things weren't ever that simple.

Circe had volunteered to take Aleidis to Thule, so they could get to the bottom of (and hopefully find a cure for) the mechano-beast plague. While quietly very grateful that the hybrid woman hadn't asked her to share her bed for cuddling, Aleidis was still expecting the other foot to come down. She gathered that Circe was jealous, because the power dynamic between them - largely built under the older woman's assumptions that she'd always have the upper hand as an elder or that she'd eventually be seen as a figure of maternal authority - had somewhat been ruined for Circe by something Aleidis had done or said. Perhaps it was the dark-side cloak, a trick she'd thought exclusive to Sith. Or just Aleidis' adeptness with illusions. But the Ghostling was aware she'd put a bug up the green woman's butt, and now she was trapped in a shuttle with her bound for a very, very dangerous place. It could easily be a trap.

Swallowing hard, Aleidis shifted her longer hair over to her other shoulder, sitting cross-legged on the guest bed loaned to her in a tank top and shorts. She missed her own space dearly, but the places she'd always thought of as 'home' didn't exist any more. She wasn't a Jedi, she couldn't go to the dorms. She wasn't chancellor, so that apartment was forbidden to her. And Datar was ages away. Codi was home, now, and Codi was likely quietly fuming that she hand't been included in this little adventure. Glancing at the small mirror resting on her ankles, Aleidis sighed and teased her straight hair out with her fingernails, trying to make something exciting of it.

Circe wasn't happy, to be sure. But the degree to which she'd express that might vary - some women handled resentment well. Others tore down competition with sharp talons and feverish hate. Aleidis counted Circe among the latter group, even aware as she was of the woman's desire to mother her. That sentiment had saved her hide - well, Codi's hide - once, but the exchange was always a transaction. A belt for cuddles. Medical help for exoneration and validation. Assistance on Thule with the understanding that they wouldn't interfere with each other's motives. Support wasn't support if it was bought.

It could have worked out differently between them, but from the word go, Circe had endeavored to be a mother to a girl who was determined to be as flawless as possible - and relying on anyone else was a flaw. That was Je'Gan's lessons speaking, but they hadn't instilled anything that hadn't always been there. Aleidis was a healer. She helped others first, and helped herself second, accepted help as a bitter last resort. Circe had always been ready to give help... too ready. Because there was always a catch, always an exchange. And in meeting those exchanges, Aleidis considered herself the woman's equal; not something she suspected Circe wanted to know. Not something that equated to any sort of a decent mother-daughter dynamic, either. Circe had colored their interactions to fit her desire, Aleidis had opted out entirely and (it could be argued) exploited it when she had nowhere else to turn - because doing so meant saving Codi's life.

It wasn't a happy thought or a good thing to do, but then, neither was offering a fourteen year old a way to be normal with one hand and demanding physical (albeit platonic) intimacy with the other. Justifications were a dangerous thing to consider, though.

Resisting the urge to sigh, Aleidis set her brush aside and picked the mirror up with her single hand, gauging the job she'd done in trying to tame her hair. Yes, it was still straight as can be. Yes, it was still as boring as possible. And just like brushing her hair, Aleidis could tease it out and go over it all day, and still be no closer to feeling satisfied then when she'd begun. It just wasn't possible, from where she was sitting. Which was a pity, but a reality. With a mildly morose huff in place of the sigh, Alei set the mirror with the brush and her chin on her fist, staring off into space. She was faintly hungry, sure - but not enough to go out and raid Missus Savan's pantry. As deluded as she might be as to how their relationship worked, Circe would quickly realize that Aleidis considered herself an awkward guest aboard her ship.

And her natural predilection for soft grass and cool breezes wasn't satisfied with the perfectly nice guest room, any more than Aleidis herself was satisfied with most of the things that went on in drama-prone mind. Especially without Codi around to tell her to shut up and focus.
 
It's Real to Pretend
Writer
Stir.

Stir, stir, stir...

Slowly, the smell of delectably spicy good would find itself wafting down the hallway, entering into Aleidis' room as she continued to fritter away her worries and agitation. Circe only wanted to get her a bite to eat, after all. And from her physical condition, things were not good. Circe had noticed the damage Aleidis had suffered to her arm, disabling her and making the young woman infirmed. She wanted Aleidis to have both arms, and thankfully, there was one thing on this shuttle that could rectify that.

Some time back, when Ashin Varanin had come to Circe in order to be cured of her cancer and the Sith poison afflicting her very flesh, the Zel Medical founder had a prosthetic arm manufactured for her. The cloned skin covering it had been removed, yes, but the actual arm itself was still in perfect condition, ready to be meshed with the physiology of a sentient.

But for the time being, it was time to focus on food. "Aleidis! Dearheart! Dinner's ready!" Not entirely sure of which rations Alei would want to try, Circe went with "chunky nerf stew," herself going for "sausage and gizka." Both were somewhat spicy, the latter moreso than the former, and the plant-woman was eager to serve Aleidis the meal she had prepared for her.

It was almost like a family dinner, but without the family.

@[member="Aleidis Ijet"]
 

Aleidis Zrgaat

Young soul from an older generation.
Character
@[member="Circe Savan"]

The call reached Alei's pointed ears quite easily, even through a semi-closed door and a haze of somber thought. At first, Aleidis pondered demurring - making a polite attempt to turn down a meal simply because she didn't want to put her host out of the no-doubt expensive ingredients it'd taken to prepare a meal aboard a shuttle. No, sniff the air: make that two meals. Or at the least, Aleidis' keen nose suggested, two differing kinds of meat.

But Circe hadn't ever been one for moderating her expenditures, in Aleidis' experience.

Eventually, self-suffering politeness gave way to a teenager's voracious appetite. "Coooming!" A call heard by many a parent or guardian summoning a young adult to an actual meal (Rather than letting them get by on processed garbage and space ramen). The Ghostling slid to the end of the bed and stood up, pulling on a pair of trousers, then double-checked her reflection - good enough for a sit-down meal, she measured. She'd had to leave her hair loose for the past couple months and was slowly adjusting to it, if only because it was prohibitively difficult to tie a ponytail with just her left hand every morning.

Right. Food.

Aleidis quietly slipped out of her borrowed quarters and followed the scent of spices and meat to the transport's dining room where she found Circe and her prepared meals. "You didn't have to cook for me, Missus Savan." The Ghostling promised politely, sinking into a chair at the table.
 
It's Real to Pretend
Writer
"Nonsense, dearheart. You're my guest, and it's the least I can do for you, hospitality and all. What we have here is chunky nerf stew. Vegetable medley mixed in a gizka-based broth with the finest diced nerf steak available anywhere in the galaxy. A modest amount, of course, since I know your diet is primarily vegetarian. For myself, chunked gizka - white meat, of course - and sausage, over a bed of rice. Spicy, since I'm in the mood for that sort of thing right now."

Motioning for Aleidis to join her at the table, she spooned out a bowl of the chunky nerf stew, placing it in front of the young master. "Here you go." Turning away, she sat down and noticed that Aleidis's arm was missing. "I have one other thing for you right now, and you'll get it after we finish eating. For now, enjoy." With her fork, she scooped up some of the gizka on top of the rice and swallowed a mouthful. The gizka would digest normally, as would the wheat - vegetables were absorbed by her biomass too quickly for them to be dissolved, but rice was different, being a grain and all.

She would begin the typical dining dialogue when Aleidis chose to speak first. It was only the proper thing to do.

@[member="Aleidis Ijet"]
 
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