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The chronicles of a haunted planet

Armaud Eden

Wayfaring Stranger
Character
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Betha II
Port Canverous

Sitting at a table with an bent leg, he sat quietly and waited for the bartender to return. Absentmindedly rocking the table back and forth, he looked around the shabby tunnel system that led to the interior bulb of small vendors and smugglers, peddling their wares. He thought that port control had misspoken when they announced the name of the port, like a slip of the tongue shifted cavernous and canverous. But now, based on the sort that were congregating here, it was either intentional or an accident in the original naming.

He was betting on the latter.

“Whatcha want?” A gruff of a man approached in the low light, rusted lamp of pale yellow rocking above. “We got drinks. Tons of drinks. You check the menu?”

This thing?” Maud flicked the parchment with his freehand, resting his walking stick in one of the sectionals of the wrought iron circular table. “Yep, I checked it. I think I’m good for now.

“You sure? Beer here just barely flattened out last week.”

Enticing…” Maud smiled as he set the menu down. “I’m good.

The man shrugged and moved off. Maud leaned back in the chair, either a feature of the device or the artifact of it rotting out from time. The flight in had been surprisingly sparse and the lack of legitimate security had surprised him. This process was the epitome of his existence, meaningless wandering in search of meaning. And out from columns of rust colored sandstone that cast shadows across the planet, a quarter kilometer in length, he found an entrance to a shadowport with minimal traffic.

He was following his nose at this point, though he had heard there was someone here who was trading in a particular cactus that caught his eye. Juice from this plant was rumored to ward off radiation sickness and prevent melancholy. Could make a good addition to the family garden. He paid no mind to the fact that he had to navigate through Sith Empire territory to find this place or that off in the distance, a great sickness vibrated out from the interior of the Corva Sector.

Now wasn’t the time for those thoughts. Not when there was such ample opportunity for people watching. Like the man with a spiraling mustache, trading dusty pelts. Or the woman with missing teeth, ironically selling bones and teeth wind chimes. And back in the shadows, men threw dirty dice with stomachs rumbling from laughter. It seemed a happy enough place, despite the dilapidation and barren exterior.

[member="Kinsey Starchaser"]
 
[member="Armaud Eden"]

Sheema remained wrapped tightly around her nose and mouth. Even now her tongue ran lightly across a pair of dry lips beneath the cloth. Kark, this planet was so dry. Worse than Jakku. Scuffed-up boots that were evidently well traveled kicked up some dirt in the tunnel as she stopped very near where one Armaud Eden was sitting.

Hinging at the waist, her fingertips pressed into the top of the dusty, wooden table with an Elom sitting on the other side. Always a layer of dust on planets like Betha II. Fingertips sticking out from her fingerless gloves made a slight imprint and she knew the second she left, a new layer of dust would settle over that spot like she'd never even been there at all.

"Keeney eech quee quay," her Elom was a bit rusty but she pressed on. Her pebble-drone was back guarding the ship. Even her used-up U-wing would get nabbed in a place like this if certain security measures weren't taken. The Elom tapped a few of his giant claws on the table and nodded, responding slowly.

"Yeah, well, as long as you're saying the codes are good I don't care if you're calling me the blue-eyed bandit."
 

Armaud Eden

Wayfaring Stranger
Character
"You look lost."

Maud's attention had drifted to the woman who walked in, speaking to what appeared to be an Elom. So much so that he hadn't noticed the big pair of eyes in the corner, right around 2 meters, that moved forward with loud and lumbering foot steps. Until the figure moved into the light, wearing pants and a ripped shirt that did little to obscure his species and thick hide of grey fur.

"Mmm, yes. I am." Maud dragged his eyes away to look up towards what he could only assume was a man. He decided that maybe that was an assumption he would keep to himself until the facts were clear. "Not sure I'd want it any other way."

The Kordan moved and pulled a chair back. As he sat, Maud grimaced as the metal whined beneath the figures weight. "Thought so. We don't get your kind around here very often."

"My kind?" He raised an eyebrow at that, pulling the staff to rest against the nook of his shoulder. "Human? Aloof?" He stretched out the long cloth, pulling the sleeve of his right arm back. "Lean?"

"Jedi."

"Oh." Maud laughed. "No. That's not my type."

"No."

"Nope."

"What are you then?"

"A purveyor of rocks and cobble." He stated firmly, nodding as if to agree with himself. Lifting his hand, he dug into his pouch and pulled out some pine nuts. "And plants. I quite enjoy plants." Maud leaned forward. "You wouldn't happen to have any nice rocks or cobble, would you?"

The Kordan, painfully confused, looked towards the ceiling and at the walls. "All we have our rocks. Though...not very nice."

"Oh you would be surprised. One mans rock is another man's..." His expression narrowed. "Rock."

[member="Kinsey Starchaser"]
 
[member="Armaud Eden"]

The Elom grunted and slid a small, silver drive key across the table. The explorer held it up to the flickering torch light as if she could see the codes or sense...something that would get her safely across sith space and to the Jandoon system. Seemingly satisfied, she quickly shoved it inside one her vest pockets and slid a drive across the table.

"The fruit you asked for. You failed to mention the beast-eating plants that guarded the stuff. But I'm gonna let that slide."

The Elom apparently understood basic because his furry shoulders shrugged. The girl with the starburst blue eyes glanced over her shoulder at the odd pair just to her side. Looked like some hippy-dressed human. Bohemian? And a Kordan.

Not unusual.

What was unusual were the Sith soldiers making a beeline toward where she and the Elom were sitting. Kark. Had they recognized her from the bounty posters?

Hand involuntarily slid to the blaster at her side.
 

Armaud Eden

Wayfaring Stranger
Character
"Ah yes, rocks come in all forms..." The Kordan laughed a thick guttural laugh but he had lost the young mans attention, emerald eyes shifting to the proceeding Sith soldiers. They were in Sith Empire space, of that he was sure. But even so, the census data indicated less than a thousand residents occupying this planet at any given time. Why bother having an outpost or contingent of the army?

Maud leaned back in his chair, balancing on the back legs, teetering back and forth. Before the Kordan could warn him, the chair fell back and the young man rolled clumsily into the walking path. "Oh my goodness, this is..." He struggled to get unseated as he groped around for his walking stick. "This is embarrassing." He moved about, loose footed, before he had the opportunity to stand. And thus began the great re-situating of his clothing.

In the mean time, the Soldiers had stopped to watch and laugh through voice coders. The way they sounded like they were a thousand leagues under the sea, it made Maud smile inwardly. "Is this on right?" He pointed to the center line of his jacket, where the belt was supposed to seat the flaps properly. "It feels wrong."

"It's uneven, to the side a bit..." One of the soldiers replied before getting an elbow to the stomach from his fellow soldier.

Maud looked down and nodded. "You're absolutely right." He shifted his belt and let out a heavy sigh. "Oh that feels much better. Thanks." They replied with a nod before attempting to side step the man, who in turned stepped in their path. "Sorry, don't mean to hold you up...I'm looking for some rocks." Maud lifted his hands, six inches apart. Facially shrugging, he shrunk the size of the imaginary rock down to something much more appropriate. "Glowey. Hums when certain people are near it. Makes a bsssshhhhhmmm noise when you hit it with the just the right light."

The soldiers didn't respond and Maud began to lean on his stick. "No...hmm. You all look like you might have been the right types for it. Would have paid good rocks for them rocks."

[member="Kinsey Starchaser"]
 
[member="Armaud Eden"]

Hand surreptitiously moved away from her blaster as the dude she saw earlier tumble over. Was he on spice or something? Too much lum? A bit addled in the brain? Probably all of the above.

The girl took a step to the left and then another, hugging the shadows of the cavernous wall. The Elom went right. The sith soldiers. Or sith hunters? Saw the movement. Their leader shot out an arm in an attempt to shove the bohemian rock-guy out of the way.

"Move," chromatic voice commanded as the other two went to step around the blocked up tunnel. Only thing was? They weren't aiming for Kinsey. They were going for the Elom. One already had a stun baton out and got a gloved hand around a furry-arm, eliciting a yelp from the Elom's jaw.

More than half of her wanted to run. She wasn't a hero. Likely these sith hunters, if they saw her face, would be after her too. She would be smart to keep going. The Elom helped again behind her and she froze.

"Kark it," she turned to go back to the crowded tunnel and picked up a plate from the table and went to chuck it at the guard's head holding onto the Elom.

What was one more bounty anyway?
 

Armaud Eden

Wayfaring Stranger
Character
He let out a grunt as the sith warrior moved him effortlessly out of the way. "Oof! Hey, watch it." Emerald eyes narrowed as he watched the impending interaction unfolding. He tried his best with the rock conversation to get them distracted, maybe the offending parties could have left, and he could go back to bartering for some really nice pieces of refined sandstone. But nooooo!

-

"Excuse me." Maud spoke loudly as he tapped on the warriors shoulder, the very same arm that was gripping the Elom. Stepping forward before the warrior could turn around, Maud brought a hard foot down on the back of Sith's knee. With a spin of the staff, the rock-guy had the hardened ankarres wood beneath the mans helmet and was flinging him head over feet in the opposite direction of the woman and the Elom. "Oh my god..." Thump. "I'm so sorry...I must have -" He lurched forward, rubbing the back of his head as the plate crashed to the ground. "Owwwww."

No time to recover, the other soldier was pulling a blaster and leveling it in their direction. But not before the Kordan approached from behind, gripping the warrior by his armor and flinging him against the ceiling of the tunnel. With a crash, he came down and didn't move. And Maud huffed as he approached, kneeling down and picking up a rock. "Honesty is the best policy...I knew you had some stones." He tapped the unconscious soldier on the helmet before standing up and tossing the rock to the Kordan. "Thanks." He still wasn't sure on the gender. "Probably should leave now, huh?"

"Yeah." The large sentient responded. "Sith soldiers scare easy..."

"But they'll be back and in greater numbers." He used to say the same thing about Sullustan vendors who got so angry with bartering that they stomped off in a tirade.

"Haha...yeah."

[member="Kinsey Starchaser"]
 
[member="Armaud Eden"]

She whistled, sandy-brows shooting up along her brow. That pair took quick work of the situation. Rock guy and the other guy. Girl? Eh.

"You alright?" Blues connected to the Elom first even though her plate shot had connected with the bohemian dude. The creature shrugged a pair of furry shoulders and quickly went to shuffle off. Yeah. Smart one that one. She should be doing the same.

Fingers moved away from her sidearm.

"Oy," didn't know rock guy's name or anything. "Sorry about the plate-thing. Your head kind of got in the way."

Okay, so not exactly an apology. But close enough, right?

"Thanks," she gave a quick nod to both of them, assuming they were together. Perhaps, together, together. The spacer wasn't sure. Nor one to judge. Fingers came up to adjust the sheema to make sure the bluish, grey cloth hadn't slipped from over half her face. Blues darted between them. "He's right. They'll be back. Best to shove off."

The explorer turned to go, heeding the advice they all seemed to agree upon.
 

Armaud Eden

Wayfaring Stranger
Character
"The plate thing?" He looked around, seeing the piece of metal disk on the ground. He nodded. "Right, you threw that thing..."

He would have tossed her an accusatory index finger but she was already saying thanks, talking about shoving off, and then proceeding to actually shove off. The Kordan grunted and Maud waved at him...her...it...before power jogging to catch up with the woman.

"That your custom where your from?" He huffed like he was out of shape. "Hit people with plates. Thank 'em for the courtesy and then you're off?" He patted himself down as he walked behind her, looking for his notepad. One of those things that people write on to take notes.

"That's interesting. Very interesting." He stopped looking. The damn thing was gone. "So, what brings you to this ball of dirt?" He had an affinity for barren deserted planets, he wondered what her excuse would be.

[member="Kinsey Starchaser"]
 
[member="Armaud Eden"]
A small snort escaped from within the folds of the sheema. She wasn't exactly from anywhere. That's what happened when you were raised on a colony ship. Though with the outer rim, it felt like she was almost back home. If she could ever claim anything as a home outside of recycled air and the steady vibration underfoot.

Armaud would find it almost difficult to keep up with the girl. Not because of speed but because she always seemed to find the empty spaces between the groups of people, mercenaries, and other traders within the moderately packed tunnels. Kinsey found spaces where there shouldn't be any. And instead of catching a shoulder or being blocked by a wookie's arm, she squeezed by just before the space became occupied.

Luck, experience, or preternatural navigation?

"Is it YOUR custom to ask so many questions?" Amusement wove through her tone but she didn't look back. Or offer an answer to his second question. It was clear she was walking toward one of the tunneled hangars of the smuggler's den.
 

Armaud Eden

Wayfaring Stranger
Character
They were taking a tunnel down a route that didn't lead to where he parked his beater starfighter. One of these times, he was sure it wasn't going to start and he decided that this was a terrible place for that to occur. Raking nails against the short growth of a piddly beard...goatee...thing, he looked up towards the ceiling as he followed her aimlessly. Clicking with his staff all along the way.

"Yes." He nodded to himself, getting caught behind a large vendor who seemed to be selling gourds that rattled with a deep tone. Maud had half a mind to stop and ask about the wares, thinking that a gourd would have make for a mighty addition to the musical vegetable ensemble gathering dust back at the homestead in his Tree, but for once he was focused.

Shimmying against the tunnel wall to avoid the figure, he picked up his pace to catch up with the woman. "Hey, uhh, plate-girl. Not sure your answer counted as an...answer?" He tapped the ground, shooing some vermin out of his walking path to the sounds of them scurrying and squeaking.

He caught up some more.

"So...you on this ball of dirt for a reason?"

[member="Kinsey Starchaser"]
 
[member="Armaud Eden"]

"Wow, plate-girl. Never heard that one before," amusement still laced her tone, though now there was a slight edge of impatience mixed in. Not exactly directed at the strange man who looked about her age. More so because she knew more sith hunters would be inbound and she wanted to be long gone by then. Even if they'd never been after her in the first place.

The spacer stopped suddenly as the tunnel was blocked by an elderly rodian woman scooping up some herbs from her mat. Looked like she was closing shop for the day and loading her things on a small hovercart. The woman was just about done but Kinsey was stuck. Turning slowly, she leaned one shoulder casually against one rocky-tunnel wall, blue orbs with little flecks of whites like starbursts sizing up...was he a monk?...a little closer.

Gaze checked behind him too, for any unwanted movement.

"No reason," dry lips pressed against the sheema. "Just passing through."

He seemed persistent. And he certainly knew how to use that staff of his. More than he let on.

"Why are you so interested?" Fingers fanned out along her hip. Close to her sidearm but not making a move. Sure, he'd just helped her and the Elom. But there was a chance the whole thing was a scam. Folk out here weren't to be easily trusted. She'd learned that lesson the hard way a long time ago.
 

Armaud Eden

Wayfaring Stranger
Character
He was convinced that she had never heard that name before. Plate-girl. And he was rather proud of her new, and likely longstanding, moniker. Many years from now, people would speak of Plate-girl and her adventures. And the reception would likely be mixed, based off the interactions they've had so far.

And then they finally stopped and he huffed gratefully. Grateful for the Rodian and grateful for her herbs. "No reason huh..." He doubted that. Everyone had a reason. Like she ran out of fuel or maybe her ship needed maintenance. Or maybe the ball of dirt looked attractive from a distance. Those were all reasons.

Why are you so interested? That question, in and of itself, interested him. It got to the meat of who he was as a person. And with a shrug of his shoulders, he looked towards the herbs and started walking. "I was born curious. Never could quite get rid of it."

He tapped the Rodian on the shoulder and pointed. "Sorrel?"

She nodded.

He waggled his fingerless gloved fingers in their direction. "Can I trade for a bit?" He was clearly not in a hurry. "I've got rocks. Very pretty rocks."

She nodded and opened her hand. As he perused his pocket, he pulled out what appeared to be something hardly bigger than a grain of sand. But it shined deep blue and was clearly a precious gem. The elderly Rodian nodded emphatically as she took the small stone, indicating for him to take what he could before she packed up. Grabbing up a bushel, he jammed it into his pine nut pouch and munched on a sprig - returning his attention to Plate-girl.

"Sorrel? It's like pepper...but on a twig."

[member="Kinsey Starchaser"]
 
[member="Armaud Eden"]
Eyes tracked him. Smirk curled along a pair of hidden lips. "You know what they say? Curiosity killed the nexu."

Hand surreptitiously moved away from her sidearm. It seemed her gut instinct about this stranger was correct. She wasn't naive enough to think he was harmless. Just harmless to her, at least, for the moment.

And what the kark? Did he not get fed enough where he was from. How scrawny was he under those flowing clothes?

Head shook.

The explorer wore many hats. She had to, to survive. There was mechanic, ace-pilot (if she did say so herself), thrifty, smuggler when necessary, tour guide, and business woman. That business woman hat was coming out as she saw those 'rocks.'

She'd been itching to get a proper power converter replacement for awhile. Ever since that mishap mission with [member="Vaudin Miir"]. That captain had been drunk off his arse. And the porg cargo hadn't helped anyone.

Ugh.

"Well. If you're born curious I'm headed to a place you might be interested in. For a price, of course."

Hand patted down her vest pocket for a moment, looking, looking, there. Index and middle finger pinched down on a well-used business card actually made from paper. Ship grease spots littered the material around her name.

"Kinsey. Explorer. Tour-guide extraordinaire."

Best not to say her last name here.
 

Armaud Eden

Wayfaring Stranger
Character
He eyed her, suspiciously, as he ruminated on a few bits of sorrel. Reaching into the pouch, he topped it off with some home made roasted pine nuts. He might have been lean but that wasn't for a lack of trying - hefty metabolism and substantial energy did the trick, no matter how lazy he seemed.

“Tour-guide extraordinaire, huh? What makes you so extraordinary?” He held up the card to stop her from answering. “Don't answer that, I'll figure it out later.”

As if noticing the card for the first time in his hand, he tested the rigidity of the item with both hands. “This is a good card. Nice weight to it.”

The elderly Rodian was done with her work and Maud started wandering forward, not sure where he was going. “So…was that a no on the sorrel? Got lost there for a bit in all the…” He tapped on the staff as they walked. “Sales pitching.”

[member="Kinsey Starchaser"]
 
[member="Armaud Eden"]

Sandy-brown brows shot up. "Oh. You were offering." Her turn to catch up, squeezing past the woman and weaving around a younger couple. The lights flickered above them. It was small enough not to be noticed but in places like these those small signs were usually warnings.

"Maybe later," she wasn't too keen on eating right now. Not that she wasn't hungry. The girl just had bigger things on her mind.

"Well. You're the one that said you had a curious nature. Just wondering how deep the curiosity vein went."

Shoulders housed within a well-worn jacket that looked like the patches had been patched up shrugged. He wasn't gone yet. Maybe there was still a chance. Then again. Maybe he'd just get in the way and mess things up for her. If she found the treasure, would he double cross her in the end?

Think power converters.

If the treasure was a bust, at least she'd be able to afford that and some food after this trip.

Comm chirped at her side. Sounds of her astromech filtered through the other end. Beeps and twats. The frown from earlier deepened beneath her sheema. The girl shouldered her way past stick-boy.

"Time's up. Come or don't but I'd suggest getting off this rock if you go your own way. More sith ships landing."

She wondered who they were. Sith empire? Some other splinter group?

The tunnel suddenly widened into a small and bustling, seedy hangar.
 

Armaud Eden

Wayfaring Stranger
Character
Before she decided it was time to go, the young man spent the time in idle holding the staff against his shoulder. The cloth of the rags he wore moved up and down a specific notch on the wood, marked by deep veins of blue. His hand massaged out a particular spot and he thought to himself that eating sorrel later seemed like an added bonus to going on this trip.

“My curiosity undulates, I s’pose.” He was getting ready to wax philosophical on the nature of an ocean and all that, but then she was listening to chirping and moving along again.

Being pushed out of the way, he did the only thing that made sense. He followed along, moving further and further from his own ship. “Can I see your ship before I give you my answer?”

He scratched his beard as be stepped in pace with her, the hangar moving busily around them. “I have a thing about being in cramped spaces…” His free hand tightened into a fist, before loosening. “For long periods of time, anyway.”

[member="Kinsey Starchaser"]
 
[member="Armaud Eden"]

He had a thing about being in cramped spaces and they just came from the tunnels? She snuck a sideways glance his way. Everyone had their thing. Growing up on a colony shop with parents as hoarders hadn't given her or her brother that luxury. It was rare to find any kind of alone space or space at all. And when she did, it felt almost unnatural.

"S'ppose you can," quickening her pace, she nodded her angular chin toward her modified u-wing. "There she is. May not look like much on the outside but the bones are good."

Plus, the looks kept the pirates and marauders away. For the most part. Luckily for the stranger it wasn't a Star fighter. Unluckily, it wasn't a freighter.

"You got a name or should I just call you stick-boy?"
 

Armaud Eden

Wayfaring Stranger
Character
It was definitely bigger than his ship, which helped. But he wondered how long she could travel in that sort of thing before needing to stop and rest. Maybe that was the reason she was on this ball of dirt.

He gave off a complementing whistle, tapping his staff like the small applause one might receive for a gentlemen sport.

“I've never been in one of those before…” Which only added to the flavor. “Armaud…” He looked towards Kinsey, emerald eyes filled with the slightest hint of amusement. “I don't have much in the way of credits but I imagine that's not what caught your eye-”

He stopped mid thought, looking over his shoulder. “That didn't take long.” He nodded, looking back to Kinsey. “We should go. Now.”

The jovial nature had left him for the time being.

[member="Kinsey Starchaser"]
 
[member="Armaud Eden"]

Kinsey dealt in all kinds of currency. Being an explorer and space-vagabond made that natural. There were always things more valuable than credits. And often, she didn't have credits. Folk tended to pay some for the things she found on her trips. And to her, she enjoyed the thrill of the hunt more than what she found.

The young Starchaser didn't have to look behind them to know what was there. They could talk payment particulars once they were safely in hyperspace.

"C'mon," she motioned Armaud to follow her to the inside of her ship.A typical U-wing had heavy guns on either sides of sliding doors.The guns had long been out.The sliding door not open was welded shut with storage and shelving across the surface.There were several open seats retrofitted with crash-webbing and belts that were clearly from other salvaged jobs.A small kitchenette was installed in the back corner with sealed shelves containing mugs, rations, hydration packs, and other supplies of odds and ends.Even some interesting potted plants. A hammock was strung up just above from anchor points buried within the ship's hull-plating.

A pebble drone beeped and booped at her from the small steps above in the raised cockpit. "Yes. A new friend. Well. Customer. Introductions later. Of course I see them! Warm up the engines but don't look like you're warming up the engines."

That got Kinsey a sharp razzle as she quickly slid into the pilot's seat. There was room in the cockpit for Armaud in the jumpseat or his pick of those few seats in the main cabin.

"Armaud. Can you get the door? Lever on the side by the icebox."
 
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