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Rock Bottom

Cadmon Geller

Ashes to Ashes
Character
Nar Shadda, Force Knows What Illicit Establishment, Force Knows What Ungodly Hour
_________________________________________________________________________________


Sometimes, he had to take jobs he wasn't wild about, other times, he took small time work because the amoral atrocities-for-credits nature of mercenary groups in the wake of a major faction's fall had become more than he could handle. This was one of the latter. In recent times, Geller had begun to rediscover the worst weakness years of training had tried to drum out of him.

His humanity.

Cadmon had considering joining a band of ex-Stormtroopers calling themselves The Lost, the pay was good, and it was a chance to be among those who understood again. But they'd take work from anyone with the credits, even the Sith, and after Kashyyyk he had written off the idea of ever being able to come near them again, unless he was intending to kill. Potentially massacring innocents for profit was something he couldn't stomach anymore.

But pulling guard duty in a chithole like Nar Shadda for a half bit arms dealer? He could stomach that for now. Wasn't like he couldn't kill the fat Toydarian if he found some more morality buried deep inside, the idiot didn't even bother to check on what his security detail was actually doing on their shifts.

He, for one, had passed the time with a bottle and stimsticks, same as always. He was on hour three, and the Gamorean who'd been standing at the other side of the door had just left, some new guy on their way to take his place. Geller prayed they didn't talk, so many of them just talked on and on, rudely interrupting his paid brooding.

Sighing deeply, he took a drag from the stimstick, inhaling deeply before breathing out the smoke into the nighttime air, his eyes locked and the fifteen-hundreth holocast showing Coruscant in ruin, his heart sinking with each update to the colossal body count for a reason he either couldn't, or wouldn't explain.

[member="Kole Harper"]
 
Direct opposites were always amusing, truly they were.

Cadmon had begun to fall into his humanity, and as for Kole? Well, he just so happened to fall out of it. His tenure in the Coruscant Security Force allowed him to grasp a great understanding, but it eventually became lost to time, like tears in rain. Some may argue he never really had his humanity, only felt as if he did for he wasn't aware of his own origin. Being a Human Replicant Droid but being unaware of the fact was a daunting process, it allowed you to feel isolated but connected. Did it matter? Probably not. That sense of disconnection allowed him to move freely, nobody was an obstacle for nobody could tie him down. He had only ever done that himself.

It felt strange to stand in close proximity with a man he once tried to kill. In fairness, he was entirely justified at the time. Kole didn't bother casting a glance in his direction, keeping his artificial eyes on the path ahead. Anybody on their way through was to be stopped, patted down, and then allowed entry. You couldn't allow some hot-head inside, might end up dead, or out of a job if they could be so lucky. Fortunately enough, the company offered their own armour and weapons, and so that's what he wore. A black piece of combat armour, and blaster rifle in his grip. None of it was anything special.

In the end, though, during a moment of down-time where nobody came his way... his head turned to give a look to Cadmon, his eyes lingering as he examined his features and the stimstick in his mouth. He couldn't explain why, maybe he was bored? Oh well, let's see what happens.

[member="Cadmon Geller"]
 

Cadmon Geller

Ashes to Ashes
Character
When he walked out, Cadmon didn't bother to look over for several minutes minute. Leaned back against the wall, face and black armor alike covered in the glow of the massive holocaster, his eyes failing to leave the images of a burning world, until they did. Almost out of disbelief, he wiped his eyes, perhaps the sticks he'd bought had been spiked with something other than the usual stimulants, but no, sure enough it was Kole Harper in the flesh.

And surprisingly, he didn't care, not how he used to.

"Coruscant's gone, I imagine whatever undercover job you're on is cancelled." He croaked, his voice failing to carry the same venomous hatred it had months prior, he was too laden with some other feeling to properly have the rage take its tool. Instead he took the stimstick from his lips and cast it to the ground, stamping out the still smoldering narcotic.

Cadmon's mind told him to just do it, snap up the rifle cradled in his arms, vaporize the bastard's head, off the dealer, just let loose. Instead, he continued leaning against the wall, briefly looking to see if any potential customers were going to come through and force him to do something, then his eyes turned back to the news. He wasn't sure what he was looking for, they weren't giving out meaningful details, and there was now way they could show all the faces.

Yet he still watched on, hoping to catch word about the CSF of all things, and not even the alcohol in his system could drive him to ask the man who stood next to him the question haunting his mind, even though it wasn't as openly expressed, his contempt was still plenty alive enough to keep him stubborn.


[member="Kole Harper"]
 
His mind went to thought initially. Remembering the days of Coruscant, and how it was then that he felt as if he meant something. Even if his purpose was ultimately futile, it was the attempt that mattered. It was what made him a good man, after all. Now? All of it was gone. He felt no purpose, only existence. Living each day, unsure when anything was to change or what any of that even meant. Might even commit suicide to avoid the monotony of it all. Maybe he had something, though. The pits on Nar Shaddaa where he'd fight, the narcotics he managed. A disservice, but a service all the same. Perhaps he did have a purpose; just not the one he wanted.

For the briefest of moments Kole's grip tightened. He didn't so much care for Cadmon, but he certainly did about those that poked with words. He was done with them, no more mediating, only action. Could he take Cadmon? Doubtful. At least there could be an attempt. "CSF doesn't operate outside of Coruscant." His disposition changed with the reply. A tease, maybe. Nothing concrete. Geller was going to have to guess this one.

[member="Cadmon Geller"]
 

Cadmon Geller

Ashes to Ashes
Character
No, no the CSF didn't did they?

His next thought would've been that he'd been pulled into some bigger operation by the Alliance's intelligence apparatus, but that not only seemed unlikely due to the fact they'd likely had better agents than a simple detective, but because there was no Alliance anymore. Just ashes now. So that meant Harper was out here on his own, fallen from grace.

Cadmon doubted corruption, despite the contempt he held for the man he had come off more or less as a straight cop. The man had killed those Cadmon called family under orders, not because he took some joy in the matter, he wasn't psychopath. Granted orders were a coward's excuse, something those too afraid to own up to the wrongs they had committed hid behind to avoid judgement, they didn't absolve Cadmon or Kole of the things they'd done, and he was confident they both knew that.

Something was off about him though, he'd changed since they'd last encountered. The way he carried himself, the way the emptiness in his gaze had grown deeper, something had gone wrong for him to end up here. Had his crusade pissed off the wrong crooked cop or official? Given Cadmon's experience with the man opposite himself it seemed likely, but he didn't pry, he didn't care about the why, he just needed to know how long.

Or he could cut the bantha chit and get what he needed to know.

"You know where she is?" It was a simple question, the 'she' in question needing not explicit identification, they both knew.

[member="Kole Harper"]
 
Orders being a coward excuse? Doubt. It was a duty, something he was obligated to do. The CSF was a righteous cause with a positive intent and backing, but Cadmon? His band of misfits and criminals conducted themselves unlawfully, and they paid the ultimate price as a result. Kole would expect nothing better if he was to apprehended, or even killed by the law enforcement. That's simply how it is.

"Hmm?" He began originally. Unsure for the briefest of moments what he meant, but in the end was able to understand that the two only mutually knew the same woman, or so he thought. His eyebrows flicked upwards for a moment in understanding, then replying, "I don't know. Might be dead." It might of been the wrong thing to say, but oh well. Perhaps death was preferable at the moment.

[member="Cadmon Geller"]
 

Cadmon Geller

Ashes to Ashes
Character
The ex-cop's answer wasn't what he had hoped for, but it was what he expected. It seemed almost certain that she was dead, gone, likely reduced to ashes trying to do something selfless. Something stupid. That left him here, in the galaxy's deepest hole of rot and corruption this side of Nal Hutta, on guard duty with one of the last survivors of the operation that had claimed so many of his brothers and sisters. He'd hunted them for a long time, but Harper had always eluded him, and now that he had a perfectly good opportunity, he was either too drunk (unlikely), or too emotionally exhausted to take it.

What did it matter?

They were all still dead.

"This must be strange, last time you were near private security you murdered them." He chuckled grimly, tired eyes looking over the grimy street rats, desperately hunting for a score, just to get by. Survival was all that mattered, no time for moral quandaries, they had to eat, that was all that mattered. Geller almost envied them, the freedom from their conscious, they didn't have to think about how what they did hurt people. Cadmon, Kole, they had to care about the consequences, or were supposed to. That was their burden he supposed.

[member="Kole Harper"]
 
Cadmon always clung to the fact that Kole was involved in the murder of his 'brothers' and 'sisters', but it seemed he never bothered to acknowledge that he was apart of a roaming band of criminals who happened to be murderers themselves. Sometimes you only saw what you wanted to, heard you wanted to. It poisoned the mind if left to wander for too long, that was for sure. Geller needed to focus on the reality, thrust everything into the equation. Maybe only then could he understand, could he move on. That was what Kole did, he stared his situation down in the street and took it in for all it was. A betrayal at the hands of the poster boy- seemed corruption ran thick, thick like the blood that continues to get spilled on the streets because of one, simple, yet unavoidable sin: Greed.

​"Things change." He promptly replied, slowly shifting his left arm from the weapon loosely held in his grip up to his head in which he bowed to meet it halfway, rubbing his eye- seemingly tired. "Let go. Makes it easier." Harper knew that much, that was true. Whether he really​ did was up for debate, however. Yo could argue he gunned down those fears in the street, or that he was perpetually running from them. Never searching for answers, only wondering about more questions. Why did it happen? He didn't know, but he knew it'd happened again if he didn't stop it, a thing that he didn't bother to do. It might be time for a return, but, Coruscant? Pfft, consider it a wasteland for now.

[member="Cadmon Geller"]
 

Cadmon Geller

Ashes to Ashes
Character
Kole was right; you only saw what you wanted to.

Had Bastion Security, known to Kole as Ragmar's Raiders been comprised of ex-One Sith troops who more than likely had done terrible things? Yes, yes it had been. But it also was definitively not a band of criminals, in fact they'd been exactly what their real name suggested, security. Ragmar Thexen, the selfless bastard, had set out to provide safety for fringe settlements even if it came with less pay. 'We can finally do the right thing' he'd say, Cadmon desperately wished his old friend was still there to have his dumb grin wiped off his face with an 'I told you so', but he wasn't.

He was dead.

"What did they tell you we were?" Cadmon continued to prod, the Correllian, or rather Brokellian whiskey removing any inhibitions that would've stopped him before. Now he just smirked, knowing full and well that the officer had been lied to. "Pirates? Murderers? Criminal scum terrorizing that poor settlement? That's what all the others on the task force said before I killed them." Geller snarled almost tauntingly.

"You probably didn't even question why there weren't any casualties among the settlers did you? Just ignored it 'cause you had orders. Am I right Kole?"

[member="Kole Harper"]
 
Among all the blurred lines, complex webs, and moral dilemmas there was a truth that bypassed them all. It was that if you thought about something long enough you could often justify it. Ragmar's Raiders comprised of former One-Sith Military, and specifically Special Forces. They were dangerous, a threat to the Galactic Alliance- and like the weeds that inserted themselves deeply into the roots of Coruscant's underbelly, they needed to plucked from the soil. Call it preventative justice, call it murder. It was all the same, something Kole learned to live with long ago. It never plagued his mind, it never kept him up at night, and it certainly never made him think twice about the act he was to perform next.

Now? Kole was a husk of his former self, shuffling along from one day to the next with no goal in mind other than his own survival. And even then, sometimes he wondered whether everything was to start making sense if he bit the bullet. Then again, there was no after life for a droid- but he didn't even know that. As far as he knew, he was any other Joe Shmoe that wandered the streets of Nar Shaddaa with no direction to take, unaware of which way is up.

​"I did what I was told." His dry and monotonous voice spoke aloud. There wasn't any emotion in it, but why should there be? He found no solace in the murder he committed, even if it was ultimately justified as a reasonable, and necessary act. In the end, that's all it was: murder, but murder for the right reasons. If such a thing existed. It even dawned on him that he was nothing more than a pawn in that game, a pawn that spent his life in dedication, or at least his implanted memories made him believe as such.

[member="Cadmon Geller"]
 

Cadmon Geller

Ashes to Ashes
Character
Cadmon chuckled tauntingly, looking to Kole with amusement that faded into condescending pity. He did what he was told. He followed orders. And what had he called orders? A coward's excuse. Somewhere, under the jaded cynicism, Cadmon was furious at the man's response, but it didn't show through. Letting out another gruff laugh, Cadmon shook his head in disappointment, he'd expected someone who'd worked Internal Affairs, whose entire job had revolved around questioning the intent of those around him, including above.

But Kole hadn't. He'd been a good soldier, shot the terrorists dead before they could do any harm. He'd served the Alliance well. Excuses could be made, the Alliance was fearful of Bastion for good reason, the special operations forces of the One Sith had wrought untold death and destruction during the war. But the war had been over, they had just wanted a chance to start again, maybe even do the right thing.

"What you did, was leave an entire settlement defenseless Harper. We weren't raiding them you idiot, we were protecting them." He growled, the anger starting to rise to the surface as the two lost souls held a half-assed watch over the entrance to the weapon dealer's den. Cadmon might've continued, might've kept going after Kole with the hard truth of what had happened all that time ago, but instead they actually had to work.

"Hello, I need to see Ladduin."

Geller's head snapped towards the owner of the voice, who had seemingly appeared out of thin air before them. He was a thin Quarren, a large trench coat over his body, staring up at them almost nervously. Something was off.

[member="Kole Harper"]
 
In fairness, Kole just wasn't paying any attention. Whilst his mind was here, his eyes were somewhere else. Instead, they were fixated on this neon-pink sign that flickered in and out of use every so often, each time taking longer than the last to come back to life. He subconsciously made bets with himself about whether or not it'd come back, and he was losing to himself. What a shame that is, at least whatever it is that he owes will ultimately come back to him. His head reared to the left ever-so slightly, tilting in Cadmon's direction, "I-." Whatever it was the synthetic human was just about ready to say was cut short by the Quarren who seemingly appeared from nowhere.

Right, he was on a job. Time to do that job, and if not? Well, then you get no pay and nothing in the way of repeat business.

Kole took two steps forwards, his right hand grasping at the handle of the pistol that rest within his holster, and his left outstretched as if to stop the man from moving forwards some more. "Take it off." Anyone in their right mind knew it was about the coat, and his head nodded away from the two of them, and to the right as if he wanted the jacket to be placed down there on the damp stone. Kole was definitely going to search it, although there were two of them for a reason. Suppose Cadmon could handle the rest of this whilst the HRD searched through this suspicious coat. That is, of course, if he willingly removed it.

[member="Cadmon Geller"]
 

Cadmon Geller

Ashes to Ashes
Character
The Quarren shuffled nervously, as if he'd expected the hired guns to just let him stroll in. "I'm sick, please." The alien pleaded to the two stone faced sentries, hoping to appeal to some sort of morals the two held. The guy was either stupid or very new to this, even if Geller had a blossoming sense of humanity and Harper a fading but possibly still present one, that made them the exception to the rule for hired guns. Especially on Nar Shadda, the last thing anyone with the slightest clue what they were doing would never try and elicit sympathy from someone at one of the deepest sites of corruption in the galaxy.

"The coat, now." Cadmon snapped, reiterating Harper's statement, motioning to the same stone as Harper with his rifle. The Quarren looked back and forth and Harper and Cadmon nervously, practically shaking as he deliberated mentally. Geller took a step forward and the alien flinched and threw up his hands.

"I'm doing it, I'm doing it!"

With arms shaking like a branch in the wind, he took off the heavy coat and placed it on the rock as carefully as he could. Even before he looked through it Cadmon could tell something was tucked inside, but there was a chance he had more on him, so Cadmon moved to frisk him. This one didn't look like some hitman, or even a criminal for that matter, he wondered what the fat Toydarian had done to him. How had he wronged this man?

Why did Cadmon find himself caring?

[member="Kole Harper"]
 
Everyone, at one stage, received their fair share darker impulses. Although, it was common that a lot of them were suppressed through other activities, ones that are more light on the mind- didn't require a lot of thought, might even be peaceful. As for Kole? These impulses came in flashes, and he either hadn't the willpower or the ability to care enough to hide them. It was more often than not that he acted on them, and right now as a man tried to garner sympathy, Kole's synthetic blood ran hot. He was volatile, irrationally so. He hadn't the patience for anyone who lived down here, who indulged themselves in the criminal activity- ironic, really. The finger over the trigger tread dangerously close, but that steely gaze and bloodlust-like trance vanished within an instant. His head shaking from left to right as if there was that voice within him that begged him to stop.

It worked.

Kole had to take that moment to step back, even lowered the Blaster Pistol by his side as his head fell into his palm, and then caressed. He'd begun to sweat, even. A deep breath later, and he felt as if he was back on track. Though, what Kole 'felt' was often lying.

Meanwhile, inside the coat that Cadmon searched was nothing more than a run-of-the-mill Blaster Pistol. Something to defend yourself against a thug that wanted to try his luck mugging a frailer man. Might've even been used recently, or maybe he broke it, could of even found it just before. Whatever the reason was, it didn't matter. It was only a Blaster Pistol, and he didn't appear to be capable of too much harm. He couldn't go inside with it, however.

[member="Cadmon Geller"]
 

Cadmon Geller

Ashes to Ashes
Character
A blaster had been more or less expected, the thermal detonator the Quarren had tried to sneak in his back pocket? Less so. The second Cadmon removed the device, the Quarren went rigid, stammering in terror, incapable of forming words. "You can't take this in." Geller said bluntly. Perhaps he should've shot the quivering alien, but he didn't, something inside him forced the former member of what was essentially the galaxy's most feared death squad to move his finger away from the trigger.

He knew well and good why the man was here now, one didn't typically carry detonators unless you aimed to use them. Granted using them could mean the threat of them, or legitimately atomizing everyone in a small area, not that intent mattered in this case.

"Leave." He ordered, taking the coat and shoving it into the Quarren's hands fiercely.

"B-but I."

"Now."

Cadmon was being merciful in the only way he knew how, by giving the man a chance to walk away with his life, but he knew he couldn't give it twice. If the alien chose to remain defiant, they'd have to take action.

[member="Kole Harper"]
 
"Did what I had to do."

Kole strangely picked up their conversation at the exact point it was previously cut off. The quivering Quarren so rudely interrupted them, and now he shuffled away with his proverbial tail between his legs as if he were a sobbing coward. The resentment in Kole's eyes were palpable, oh how he felt such irrational anger at times. The mere stuttering evoked a sense of cowardice, and for whatever reason the HRD wanted Calamari for Dinner. Speaking of, it'd been a fair while since his last proper​ meal. It wasn't as if he truly needed food, he only thought he did- and as a result was easily satisfied.

His Blaster Pistol found itself slinked back into it's respective holster, turning his gaze in the direction of Cadmon as he expected a response to come from it. His answer was concrete, and wouldn't budge- the two could go round, and round, and round for days on end and the simple fact that he did his job, whether right or wrong, was the only thing that mattered in that moment. Did he feel remorse for it? No, how could he? They were the 'bad guys' after all.

[member="Cadmon Geller"]
 

Cadmon Geller

Ashes to Ashes
Character
Kole wasn't wrong, disobeying orders, while likely not as cruelly punished in Harper's experience as it was in Geller's, was not a wise decision. In his time before the Blackblade, before the Sith treated him with a modicum of respect, he'd had friends practically tortured to death for nothing less than perceived slights, open defiance was a whole other beast, even from that. Cadmon had done what he had to, over and over he'd done what he had to. Just following orders, just doing what he was told, a good soldier for the most part. Never disobeyed an order from one of the saber-wielding schuttas once. Standard brass, sure. But the Sith? No he'd never defied them.

Cadmon was a hard bastard, but he'd be lying if he said they hadn't scared him. Maybe that was why he hated them so much these days, not for the monsters they were, not for the perceived loss of someone he might've cared about, maybe it was really all just because they'd made him feel afraid. He wondered if he was truly that selfish?

"Course you did, we all did. But when you're alone with your thoughts long enough, whether you had to or not stops mattering, because in the end, you still did."

He knew that better than anyone.

[member="Kole Harper"]
 
That's just how things were. When Kole enlisted to serve the Galactic Alliance (or so he thought he did), he knew that that's where his loyalties lie. He was a sworn protector of the people, and he was to do anything he possibly could to keep them safe, and serve with distinction. That's what the fabricated memories and attempt at creating a personality told him, at the very least. It was no different when he joined the Coruscant Security Force. Just Orders. Nothing more, nothing less. You become devoid of sympathy when in an act of war, that's just how Kole was conditioned to feel, to think. And now, after the dust has settled? Nothing changed.

Those twisted and fabricated memories, thoughts, and feelings did nothing but harm the Replicant. He had no identity, only some semblance of someone else's. With time, however, he became his own person. And oh how awful that person was. Violent and Volatile- needlessly so. So full of hate; hate for one's self and all those around him. Then spotting someone that shared his own face? Turned his world upside-down. Maybe they'd meet again, maybe Kole could understand, or see that he saw nothing but a lie. Then again, maybe not.

It must be strange to not know the truth about yourself, and even further not understanding that there was a hidden truth out there, somewhere.

Nothing was said in reply. Only a steely gaze thrust upon the neon-lit world ahead of him, lost in thought or the boredom of his own insufferable existence. Or, maybe, he just went into shutdown mode. Might be fitting to end as abruptly as one began.

[member="Cadmon Geller"]
 

Cadmon Geller

Ashes to Ashes
Character
Theme

As the two returned to silence, Cadmon's gaze shifted back to the holocast which had changed from the atrocities to some sort of local political scandal. It was Nar Shadda, the entire planet was a scandal, and some two bit politicians affair meant nothing compared to the utter atrocities that had been wrought upon those people. But the galaxy moved on, it didn't care about the lives lost, it never did.

A cult that worshiped something literally called 'the dark side of the force' had risen to power in the galaxy time and time again but people preferred to talk about who was karking who. Entire worlds starved, yet people only wanted to talk about the newest spice. Cartels so ruthless even the aforementioned cultists might've shuddered controlled whole systems and no one batted an eye.

But they cared about this meaningless fluff he saw on the screen.

"Drink." It wasn't so much a question as a command, but the ex-officer was free to take Cadmon offering him the open bottle of Correlian Whiskey however he chose.

[member="Kole Harper"]
 
Kole simply stood in his position with that coat of his covering the majority of his body, keeping him warm and cold on these damp nights. It wasn't as if the acid rain from above leaked down this far, but traces of something else were what made this area all so damp. It let off a pungent smell, one the HRD would much rather ignore. With both his hands by his side, tucked away into pockets, his eyes flicked back and forth as they traced a bug with precision- neon lights piercing through it's seemingly transparent wings. Just another added ability he had as a Replicant Human. Since he wasn't aware of such a thing, he only assumed that everyone was capable of it.

Oh how wrong he was.

The bug following trance Harper found himself in was cut short by Cadmon uttering a single word, his head jolting downwards in realisation as to what he was doing, and then slowly panned in the direction of the Mercenary- and then the drink in his hand. 'Spose it couldn't hurt. Kole reached over with his left hand, downing more than enough of it and feeling that burning sensation in the back of his throat. Maybe his senses were dulled, maybe he didn't get drunk. Kole couldn't quite say, he never was a very big drinker. Of course, he then handed it back.

A few short moments later and he broke the silence, "I saw a man with my face." Sounded as if the alcohol was talking, but that wasn't possible. He was telling the truth, after all. No matter how strange.

[member="Cadmon Geller"]
 
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