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So where do we stand? [Outer Rim Coalition]

Mara D'Lessio Merrill

The Lesser D'Lessio
Character
The Coalition had held any number of important but informal meetings at this firepit outside Zoronhed. Mara built the fire this time, and provided the street meat and lum. A double handful of spacers trickled in, representing worlds as far as Terminus, Drexel, and Demonsgate.

"I want to apologize, folks," she said. "The past couple of years, I've dragged people into all kinds of vendetta against the Mandos. Probably contributed to the whole Utapau thing that way. I've dropped the feud, I'm going a new way, but I need to know where things stand. I think we all do.

"Way I understand it, the Mando Empire took a swing at Utapau. My dad followed up by bringing them relief supplies and messing with them. Since then I heard they want peace with us, but I never got the details. I need to know if we're going to see more Mando raids, if we're taking a swing at them, what's likely to happen coming up.

"If it was up to me, I'd go for peace, and I don't say that lightly. We've got enough worries next door - Empire, First Order, even the whole Ancient Eye takedown thing. But I don't have the full picture, so I want to know what you know and what you folks think is best."
 

Runi Verin

Two pounds shy of a bomb.
Writer
[member="Mara Merrill-Valkner"]​
This wasn't Runi Verin's scene.

She held no rank or standing within the Coalition. Her accolades were few and far between, most of which achieved in the years of the underground and the early days of the Kathol Outback. Kark, this was never meant to have become her home in the first place. It was simply a place to hide out, to clear her head and maybe try to counterbalance the heavy weight of what she'd done in the name of the first Mandalorian Empire. A means to an end, nothing more. There were days when it seemed all she'd really accomplished in the process was trading the blood of one enemy for the next.

Her hand tightened around the bottle in her hand. No, this wasn't Runi Verin's scene. There was no weight to her voice. No obligation for the listeners to hear her out. But she was here make it heard all the same. She owed that much to the people she'd failed to save over Utapau if nothing else.

"You wanna know what I know?" The spacer called out, her tattooed and scarred features a study of discontent. "I know that they attacked us, without reason or rhyme, crossin' half of known space to kill and slaughter our people in the process, just for the sake of a handful of crystals. I know they took our people slaves. I know what they did to them. Kark, I even know that they'd do the same again, without a seconds thought or pause."

She shook her head bitterly, swirling the half-finished bottle of lum in her hand. "Because I know they view our lives as inconsequential. That we're Aruetiise. Dar'manda. Duse. I know that peace borne simply through the sake of fear is as cheap and as fleetin' as it is false. And I know there can't be peace without trust."

She shrugged and took a bitter sip. "That's what I know."
 

Gilamar Skirata

Life before death. Journey before destination.
Writer
Mara Merrill-Valkner said:
"The past couple of years, I've dragged people into all kinds of vendetta against the Mandos.

Gil grunted at the understatement of the cycle and poked the fire with a long rod. He knew the rumors, he'd heard the stories. Mara was like the boogieman of the Mando'ade. Anything went drastically wrong? It was that damn Jedi Mara. More recently there were rumors that she fueled the fires of the short and entirely too bloody Mandalorian Civil War and was also behind the murder of Malika Mantis, one of the Mandalorian Empire's top Generals. All speculation and rumor. Gil wasn't Force Sensitive, but he had a gut feeling that it was more than just rumor. She may have been a Merrill, but the old man didn't trust her as far as he could throw her.

But she was asking what they knew, something the Kiffar spacer seemed to forget.

"Ra's dead," he said just loud enough to be heard over the fire and murmur of spacers. It wasn't new news, he'd been dead or missing for since Utapau. "Some young adiik runs them now," he looked up from the fire at the group and then back into the fire. He didn't much look like a Mandalorian dressed in faded flannel and what looked like the bottom half of a spacer flight suit, but his accent gave him away as a native to some province on Mandalore.

"I have a friend there now, says they're ramping up for war with someone but they don't know with who...Building all kinds of new ships and weapons. Even heard they started using some bastardized Vong tech...So until Echoylir hears about who they're lookin' to fight I say we stay the hell away from 'em. I know that until their Mand'alor offer my people guaranteed safety upon return I'm stayin' as far away from them as possible."
 

Ria Misrani

It's a New Day
Writer
It'd been awhile.

It'd been a long while.

Ria had spent the past two years dead, and what she heard when she came back didn't quite settle with her. She went to see Utapau for herself, and she saw the scars left behind by the battle, the blonde had never known the force. She'd never known much in the way of Mandalorians either, but pain and anger? She knew them well. Nar Shaddaa taught her that much and so as she quietly sauntered in, wearing a borrowed leather jacket from Spencer Varanin and a holster she grabbed off that Scourge Pirate from Drexel. The blonde drew her attention to [member="Runi Verin"] and then [member="Mara Merrill-Valkner"], she heard what [member="Gilamar Skirata"] had to say and remained quiet.

The girl from the Vertical City remembers a while back, back when it was the Underground being in a room with Jorus Merrill himself. She remembered his Wookiee general and just how high the stakes were then. It seemed they'd gotten higher now, "don't take this the wrong way or anything, given that I've been dead for about two years but..." Her voice trailed off, an icy stare as she looked in Mara's direction, "you don't play nice with the people who shot you in the face. I get why the General might be the way he is and I respect him for it, but last I recalled respect and peace were earned and not given, but that's just me."
 

Jorus Merrill

is mek bote
Character
"Oh, nah, I'm with you, Misrani. Sorry, Mara. You know I respect the feth out of trying to turn over a new leaf like you're doing, and I'm totally on board with you doing that, I'm real proud of it -- but I think what Runi and Gil think. Trust needs earning, the Mando Empire hasn't earned it, and we should be ready in case they change their minds again. Don't get me wrong, Mara -- I totally agree that we've got plenty of problems closer at hand. But the First Order hasn't attacked us, the Empire hasn't attacked us, and the Ancient Eye is broken as broken can get. The Mandos have attacked us, and they're arming up again like Gil said. Maybe they'll come at us, maybe they'll come at our friends, who knows at this point. My only real worry is preparing so hard we instigate the thing we're trying to prevent, but yeah."

He kept eye contact with his daughter, tried to take the sting from it as best he could, but the stakes were too high for him to knuckle under.

"Bottom line, I'm all for peace and staying away and not shooting first from here on out, but I fully expect the Mandos to shoot first at some point. Again. I'd just like to be ready if that happens."

[member="Ria Misrani"] [member="Gilamar Skirata"] [member="Runi Verin"]
 

Cato Fett

Character
Character
Firelight lit his casement cinnamon and copper. Cato pulled the knotting holding his daisho tight, finishing a short slake of cold tea from a fire-glazed clay gourd and stood. Captains, lane magnates, local administrative staff and a few commanders of Outback industry hemmed close by the ash pit. Speculative conversation hummed behind louder oration, weighing the cost of fringe living against sustained military antagonism with a foreign agency. Cato raised a hand after a middling beat, waiting on [member="Mara Merrill-Valkner"]’s assent.

“…There’re deeper troubles besieging Mando’ade,” He said. “And the ‘Empire’ is emblematic of it. Their leadership cannot be vetted and their guarantees are worthless. You can trust they will fire first, grin for it, and open their own wrists before ever apologizing.”

Cato exhaled tightly. “There’s more to say. But that’s the short of it."

[member="Jorus Merrill"] [member="Ria Misrani"] [member="Gilamar Skirata"] [member="Runi Verin"] [member="Mara Merrill-Valkner"]
 

Simone

Character
Character
Simone was a nobody as far as the Coalition was concerned. She appeared now and then, ran a few jobs with Jorus but most of time was spent working for the Underground and more often than not off the radar. She'd not been on Utapau, hadn't even been close to ORC space when the mandalorians had hit, but she'd seen the Empire in action elsewhere. They move with an arrogance that only mandalorians could have. That 'we own the galaxy' strut and their complete disregard for anyone outside of their culture. If you weren't in the Mandalorian Empire, you were an infidel. Period.

The PPV recorded everything, as normal. It allowed her to go back over footage later on with a different perspective, plus she liked to keep a record of these things. There were a couple of mandalorians here, exiles. the few that survived the Civil War or didn't fight in it and simple disagreed with the Empire's stance.

"I don't think its possible to have peace with a nation that crossed half of known space for a handful of crystals and killed hundreds in the process. I say we strengthen our defences, not an unusual thing to do in the current climate and maybe see what the Underground can do about defending those closer to the Empire's borders. Don't need to start a war, but they've earned a thorn or two for what they did on Utapau."

[member="Cato Fett"] [member="Jorus Merrill"] [member="Ria Misrani"] [member="Gilamar Skirata"] [member="Runi Verin"] [member="Mara Merrill-Valkner"]
 

Mala

Anklebiter
Character
Mala sucked the last of her meat clean from the skewer Cato had handed her to shut her. Her fur bristled taking in the scents around them. Burning wood, the sweet scent of lum and more meat cooking wafted over her and her stomach grumbled its want for more but there was a tension in her guardian that she didn’t like.

Maybe she should pay attention...maybe she’d learn something important....

She looked up at Cato from her perch on his feet and pouted as her stomach gave another grumble. Or maybe she should just go get some more food seeing as Cato was ignoring the demands of her belly. She blew a raspberry up at him and got to her feet and threw the skewer like a javelin at the fire…

It missed and over shot it, probably hitting someone on the other side.

She didn’t pause to find out who, skipping towards the barbeque, pausing only to salute her friend. “Captin!” she grinned at Jorus before bouncing towards the pile of meat skewers and cans of lum.

[member="Cato Fett"] [member="Jorus Merrill"] [member="Ria Misrani"] [member="Gilamar Skirata"] [member="Runi Verin"] [member="Mara Merrill-Valkner"]
 

Noah Corek

Factory Judge
Factory Judge
Noah's role in the Coalition had been ambiguous at best before his retirement from active duty in the Alliance but with that transpiring recently he had been freed up to pursue more...personal aspirations. Contrary to his actions and his mannerisms Noah had grow nup Mandalorian, his mother being Mandalorian and his father being absent. He was taught the Resol'nare, his first language was Mando'a and he was taught from the time he could walk to the time he was commissioned as a officer in the Republic Army to wage war. Even to this day Noah tried to honor his mother and clan by keeping to the Resol'nare. He had taught his daughter what it meant to be Mandalorian and the skills that came with it, albeit later in life. He wore the armor, or at least a variation suited to his own preferences. He was a warrior through and through and would fight to his death to protect family. For the little time he had been in his own daughter's life he had taught and protected her as much he could and now she was a accomplished pilot. He of course knew and on occasion spoke the language. The only tenet of the Resol'nare was respecting the Mand'alor, with the last few being nothing but pretenders in his eyes. With this in mind Noah decided to give his opinion.

"The way I see it we have two options." Noah stated as he fished a packet of filtered cigars out of his pocket. This habit had been more prevalent in his days in the army but with retirement came the lack of thrill and this was one way to at least dull that boringness. "Option number one: We forgive and forget. We show the Mandalorians we have no interest in fighting them. Personally after what they have done I think that option should go out the window." Sticking one of the brown paper wrapped tobacco sticks in his mouth Noah lit it with a battered lighter that held the Republic commando emblem on one side and the Omega Pyre emblem on the other. Taking a deep inhale and letting the tobacco and nicotine enter his system Noah sighed before blowing the smoke out through his nostrils. "Option number two: Offer one hand and arm the other. We make a show of making peace with the Mandalorians and I stress the word show. I'm under no illusions that whatever enemy they are planning on taking on will either destroy them or get destroyed. In that case we'll still have threats we need to deal with. So we should arm ourselves as best we can and strike when we are ready." Whether they listened to him or not was their own perogative.

[member="Mara Merrill-Valkner"] - [member="Runi Verin"] - [member="Gilamar Skirata"] - [member="Ria Misrani"] - [member="Jorus Merrill"] - [member="Cato Fett"] - [member="Simone"] - [member="Mala"]
 
To boldly alchemize what no one alchemized before
Character
"As commander of all ORC starfighter forces on Utapau, I can vouch for the untrustworthiness of the Mandos, and not simply because I fought the Mandos on Utapau, and also was at the venue where and when those failed ceasefire talks were held, even though I did not take part in those ceasefire talks myself. From what I've heard they fell apart but I can't point at what. For the time being it's best for us to stay out of Mando affairs"

Janick was in an unique position that [member="Noah Corek"] or [member="Simone"] weren't in, or [member="Mala"] even. And yet, after listening to a litany of viewpoints, such as [member="Cato Fett"], [member="Jorus Merrill"] or even [member="Ria Misrani"], [member="Gilamar Skirata"], [member="Runi Verin"], she had to deliver hers. Now it was clear that, as a newly-minted commodore, despite her command being strictly comprised of starfighters, the threat assessments relative to the Ancient Eye and the Galactic Empire showed that they posed no real threat anymore, with the latter's problems being compounded after Dagobah, and Varonat after that, with Varonat proving a Pyrrhic FO/GE victory, at least from the GE's standpoint. Oh boy, any mention of the GE as it pertains to me can't make me stop triggering that scene where I led a dive-bombing of the Pellaeon's port bow, and, from what I've heard, it's still getting repaired, she thought, while also recalling on other memories of how the GE fought, at least as far as Dagobah is concerned: heavy on the knife fight, and rather light on the carrier component. Which made exploiting their aft-quarter weaknesses much easier provided the proper ordnance.

"That said, both us and the Mandos have their set of problems. Even though they haven't attacked us, the First Order is our biggest immediate threat, and they are no joke, especially not when it comes to naval operations; they are also heavy on interdiction and anti-starfighter escorts. However, any response to this transgression on Utapau must remain proportionate. For now we are not ready to make a move to this effect, and neither are they, but it seems that we need to rearm. Starfighters, scout ships are what we managed to achieve, but ground weapons, such as anti-aircraft, artillery, armor, and, of course, the remainder of our naval forces..."
 

Jorus Merrill

is mek bote
Character
"Something you folks should know, by the way. The Coalition Council finished a couple procurement processes, and some new ships are on their way to all sorts of our planets. A-27 Sleuth scout boats from Incom, moddable Z-95 Headhunter knockoffs from Jast. Good cheap defense and recon ships that can get based locally. Maybe even tie up an attacking fleet until we can drop backup on them. It's not heavy firepower but it'll do the job for a start."
 

Runi Verin

Two pounds shy of a bomb.
Writer
The lines of her frown only deepened. She didn't want peace with the Empire, but as angry and as bitter as she might have been, there was no call for war in her heart. She'd seen more than enough of that already in the short decades of her life and going tit-for-tat, blood for blood, with a militant warrior culture would never accomplish anything. Besides, if there had an opportune moment to strike back at the Mandalorian Empire, it would have been in the wake of Utapau.

To be routed by a ragtag collection of spacer trash and ne'er-do-wells would've been a blow. The fact it had cost them one of its senior warmasters, right on the heels of Ra's disappearance no less, had to have shaken the very foundations of the Empire. Certainly helped pave the way to the events of the aptly dubbed Red Coronation if nothing else.

Now, however, the War Machine was back up to speed and a much different beast. Mandalorians had always respected strength in the past, taking pride in matching it in kind, but this newer regime had something to prove. Any strike now would have to be carried out with particular deftness, or else run the risk of a disproportionately heavy response in return.

She gave her bottle another swirl, watching the sea of golden bubbles churble to the top as if they somehow held the answers. Kark, if not in this bottle, perhaps the next would be more forthcoming with the enlightenment.

"I think our biggest karkin' concern is the fact they traveled that far an' still managed to catch us flat footed." There was a sour twist to her voice, trying to avoid laying the blame for that anyone's feet in particular. If anything, it was a collective failing. "That's a gap we need to close 'fore we spare thought to anythin' else. Simple truth is, if we can't be stronger, tougher or better equipped than our enemies, we gotta be smarter."

She nodded towards Jorus, "An' those recon ships can help with that, sure enough, but we need more than just ships. We need to cultivate actual, credible intelligence. A proper network that can give us time prepare an' get our folks to safety a head of he next attack. Fierfek, if we're lucky, maybe even let us take steps to nix the attempt in the bud altogether."
 

Mara D'Lessio Merrill

The Lesser D'Lessio
Character
There was a lot here to feel uncomfortable about, but most of it boiled down to Mara. She'd gone pretty far over the line while fighting the Mandos, murdered people, fallen pretty far into the dark -- and now that she no longer had the dark side whispering in her ear, she didn't want to become that person again. But Verin and the others were manifestly right. The Coalition's safety meant a whole lot more than her comfort, her resentment, or her fear.

"The Mando Empire's a black box, but they've got their friends, and friends might be easier to infiltrate or monitor. They brought Sith folks to Utapau and Ossus, for starters. Not sure who else they're in bed with." She thought of [member="Calina Ovmar"], who'd been her agent in the Sith Empire until her cover got severely blown. "Anyone know who's buddy-buddy with the Mandos these days?"

[member="Runi Verin"] [member="Ria Misrani"] [member="Janick Beauchamp"] [member="Noah Corek"] [member="Mala"] [member="Cato Fett"] [member="Simone"] [member="Gilamar Skirata"]
 

Simone

Character
Character
"We can work out easy enough who they are not friends with, turned on the Alliance and attacked the First Order. Seeing as they are buddy buddy with the Sith Empire, pretty safe to assume the Silvers won't go anywhere near them. Doubt the Galactic Empire would trust them either. Anyone that flip flops like they did in the middle of an invasion isn't trustworthy and if I were in GE's shoes i wouldn't be playing in the same sandpit as the bucket heads...unless that was the plan all along?"

Simone pulled a cigarette from her pocket and lit it, taking a moment to think through the other nations.

"That leaves Commenor, the Confederancy and the Republic Remnant. Though I'm doubtful the latter will have anything to do with them considering their ties with the Sith. Commenor should be easy enough to infiltrate, they seem pretty content to stay out of the Galactic War, or whatever they're calling it, and make friends with anyone who offers an olive branch. Confederancy is on our doorstep, so we can monitor them too."

She took a long drag of the cigarette. "We could set up some listening posts outside our own borders, advance warning systems." she shrugged. "Runi's right, we need an intelligence network."

[member="Runi Verin"] [member="Ria Misrani"] [member="Janick Beauchamp"] [member="Noah Corek"] [member="Cato Fett"] [member="Gilamar Skirata"] [member="Mara Merrill-Valkner"]
 

Jorus Merrill

is mek bote
Character
[member="Simone"] [member="Gilamar Skirata"] [member="Runi Verin"] [member="Ria Misrani"] [member="Cato Fett"] [member="Janick Beauchamp"] [member="Noah Corek"]

"We've got decent listening-post coverage. Utapau had just joined the coalition, and there was some kind of a diplomatic whatever. Bottom line, theirs hadn't been set up yet. Nobody figured it was a problem since they were right in the middle of the Galactic Alliance's area of influence." Jorus grimaced. "For whatever reason, we didn't get a warning through them. Can't fault them, though: their snubfighters helped carry the day.

"As for Mando allies...I just got word that they're staging a polite takeover of the entire Hapes Cluster. That'll boost their naval resources by a lot, plus you really don't want to see what Mandos will do with Hapan Guns of Command.

"Two other thing to know that might be relevant. I heard that the Mandos took a hard swing at the Empire and went basically unopposed. The Empire's in bad shape. And so's the Alliance. Some of my old friends on Fondor tell me there's real challenges at the top. There's speculation the Alliance might collapse altogether."
 
To boldly alchemize what no one alchemized before
Character
"While, of course, proper listening-post coverage is a thing the ORC possessed, is there a reason why we seemed to be unable to make a proper use of the information they provide? One would think smuggling could provide a channel for external intel gathering, a rather risky one perhaps, but usable nonetheless" she commented on both [member="Runi Verin"] and [member="Simone"] talking about intelligence-gathering.

Then [member="Jorus Merrill"] commenting on the possibility of the Alliance collapsing? She could understand that, especially since their failures in prosecuting warfare on various theaters might lead some to question the current state of Alliance leadership, with her estimate being that their planets from Vero southward were the most likely to question GA leadership. But the First Order may be internally vulnerable, too. Varonat was as much a Pyrrhic victory for the GE as it may have been for the FO, especially given how much of the First Order's naval assets were engaged in this one engagement. They committed over 150 km to the Alliance's 100km. 100km is significant for any faction, when usual battlefleets usually comprise 10-15km for each command involved, and even less than that on Dagobah and Zenith Prime, she thought, and rumors about a similar fate befalling the Alliance as had the GE, that is, a civil war possibly erupting. But if she wanted to infiltrate a Mando ally, as suggested by [member="Mara Merrill-Valkner"], the best bet for her would be to infiltrate Sith. In fact, she may as well pose as an alchemy expert, because she is one. Or as someone brought in to make reforms to their starfighter corps. Now, the former cover is harder to blow than the latter, but the latter seems more likely to bring the ORC info that carried security implications. Some Darth title, with the Lady of Aircraft title attached to it...

"Given that infiltrating Sith seemed to be a possibility, there are two possibilities if I was to personally do that: either I pose as an alchemy expert or I pose as someone brought in to make reforms to their starfighter corps. If my information is current, the Sith's starfighter corps is in an utter state of near-complete neglect, but I have to be wary of Sith bureaucracy if I choose the latter cover"
 

Jorus Merrill

is mek bote
Character
[member="Janick Beauchamp"]

"It's a gutsy offer, Beauchamp, but you're a known quantity. You've done the war hero thing more than once, so I doubt they'd buy it for long. You'd be putting yourself and, really, your company at a serious risk unless you approached it just right. You'd need to stay peripheral, keep disguised, keep your head down, avoid the spotlight -- can you do that?"
 

Runi Verin

Two pounds shy of a bomb.
Writer
[member="Janick Beauchamp"] | [member="Simone"] | [member="Jorus Merrill"] | [member="Ria Misrani"] | [member="Noah Corek"] | [member="Cato Fett"] | [member="Gilamar Skirata"]​
"I have a possible, uh... Connection, I guess, with the CIS, but I ain't got a clue how useful it would be." Runi admitted with begrudging reluctance, those scarred lips taking on a sour and bitter appearance once more as she bit the proverbial bullet, expanding further on a sensitive subject she rarely touched upon. "Isley is my old man, which means I have blood ties with most of the folks that seem to be runnin' the show over there. Outside chance a few of them might be willin' to part with intel based on that, but... "

The salvager shrugged awkwardly and reached for another bottle of lum, feeling as damned by that admission just as much as the next one she offered. Clearly deciding to lay her cards on the table all at once. Confession was good for the soul, right? "Failin' that, I also have someone with the Sith Empire that owes me. She ain't nearly as high up, but knowin' how the chakaar likes to operate, she'll have their fingers on the pulse of whats goin' on over there. I could cash in a few markers. See what she can dig up."
 

Gilamar Skirata

Life before death. Journey before destination.
Writer
"I am still in close contact with Zeke Farthen, CEO of MandalMotors. He's been siphoning off small parts from MandalMotors shipments to us since the Civil War ended, and I'm sure if I poked around I could find someone in the military as well. I've an old friend that works for the Shriek-Hawk mercs still too who'd be willing to lend a hand." Some of the older spacers around the fire might have recognized Gil without his armor, but for the younger generation it was probably just dawning on them if at all that the man in a busted flightsuit and flannel was probably the most well connected person to Mandalorian space at the gathering.

"Zeke's sent me common shipping routes for the Mando'ade and other useful tidbits as well."

[member="Runi Verin"] [member="Jorus Merrill"] [member="Janick Beauchamp"] @Simone @Noah Corek [member="Ria Misrani"]
 

Ria Misrani

It's a New Day
Writer
Ria stayed silent and watched the back and forth.

There wasn't much on her end that she could really contribute, when you've been dead for two years the best thing you have to offer is, "good thing my face ain't a face they've seen. It don't take much to run in and drop some bugs and move out. Connections are great but people get squirrely when you suddenly show up to be their friend after a few years of not talking." She waved the smoke away from her face and shifted to another part of the room. "That said, I can whip something up that'll feed data to us whenever, whoever goes to make good with their long lost or not so long so lost. Doesn't matter, just something simple - most people over think things these days and have all the fancy gadgets."

"Next thing you want to look at is money, back on Nar Shaddaa it was easy to find things if you knew where the money went. The way I hear, Mando's seem to be about as into money as the next big government, Confederacy or First Order, or whoever else."

"Last, it wouldn't hurt to reach out to a lot of the smaller places like Hapes, Echani Command, Chiss Ascendancy, and even a few friends from the other side, Cartels, and such."

[member="Gilamar Skirata"] | [member="Runi Verin"] | [member="Jorus Merrill"] | [member="Janick Beauchamp"] | [member="Noah Corek"] | [member="Simone"]
 
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