From Multiverse Crisis MUSH
|Date of Scene:||09 June 2015|
|Location:||Bar and Grill at the Edge of the Multiverse|
|Synopsis:||Juno Eclipse meets with one of her few allies, Lowri Revan-Shan, in the Bar and Grill at the Edge of the Multiverse.|
|Cast of Characters:||414, 428, 522|
- Juno Eclipse (428) has posed:
It's a quiet night at the Bar and Grill at the Edge of the Multiverse, for a given value of quiet. The lights are slightly low, and the crowds ar relatively quiet. Although it's not nighttime everywehre, the hour is late where a certain patron had come from, enough that the ship will be into its sleep cycle for quite some time yet.
Juno Eclipse is in one of the corner booths, and to say she's exhausted is probably an understatement. The dim lighting only accentuates the deep shadows under her eyes, or the haggard appearance; the only real saving grace is that she's not in agony any more, having received some measure of medical treatment from Kyra Hyral.
Her arms are crossed over the table, and her head is laid on them, but she doesn't remove her eyes from the front door. She'd ensured a message was delivered to the Union, securely, that she wanted to meet with Lowri in this place, and at this approximate time. Hopefully someone in the Union passed that message along. A method like that is more secure than trying to get anybody's attention over the open broadband frequencies.
Safer for her, and safer for anyone she might want to meet, too. Juno has no desire to drag anybody else into this insane rabbit hole.
There's a glass of something beside her that almost looks like whisky, but it's completely untouched.
- Revan (414) has posed:
Lowri Revan-Shan, despite the lack of an Empire hounding her movements and nipping at her heels, was leaning towards the exhausted side. She had made a promise to keep an eye out on the Rogue Shadow crew, even if the Force hadn't been nudging her towards doing just that. But it wasn't as if that was the only thing occupying all her time.
Somehow, she ended up becoming a 'superhero' for Paragon City, and no small part of that had involved both fending off dangerous 'villain' groups while helping to find a cure for an alien plague and hopefully trying to set a good example for and encourage a young fledgeling psychic hero. The Guardian felt as if she hadn't gotten a decent night's sleep in days.
When she finally wandered into the Bar & Grill, Lowri was neither in the robes of a Jedi, nor the uniform of a Republic commando. Today, she was in attire not unlike Juno's, more befitting a bounty hunter than either a Jedi or a soldier. Instead of the usual thick braid, her platinum-blonde hair was gathered up in a loose, messy bun. Her ancient blaster rifle was mounted on her back, though her lightsabers were carefully concealed in side pockets rather than affixed to her belt. Not that she expected trouble, but better to be safe than sorry.
Similarly, she was alone; her robotic crew were back on the Ebon Hawk recharging or performing the self-maintenance 'rest' cycle. It wouldn't have made much sense to bring them in when her objective was simply meeting Juno without all hell breaking loose.
Once she had spotted Juno, the Jedi slipped carefully into the seat opposite the former Imperial with not so much as a snarky comment for once.
"Have you had anything to eat yet?" she asked casually, quietly. It wasn't as if she couldn't be discreet.
- Gaius Van Baelsar (522) has posed:
The night is young, for some anyways. For others it was one complication, behind another complication, followed by a bigger complication – pretty much this was becoming the year of complications and one may desire to stick their head under a pillow. To just tell the world to go away.
Yet, that isn't the way life worked and you had to take life by the horns. Doesn't mean though you can not find yourself coming to a secluded place of the Multiverse where grounds were neutral and you could just really leave it outside the door. That is why a particular man walks through those doors wearing rather common cloths from his own side of the world, but much lower class then many would ever expect to find him in.
He even has a form of a brim soft hat on his head, with a mug that needs a bit of shaving with that five o'clock shadow and perhaps needing to stop being Atlas for a bit holding up what seems like the entire world on those broad shoulders. With a flop of the hat on the bar, not even a glance around who was here and wasn't here. He leans on the bar with both arms, rubbing he bridge of his nose with his thumb before he at least looks up to speak. His eyes tired, worn, and any predator sharpness in them faded for the time. "Bourbon, if you please."
While Lowri may walk in about that time, Juno might also have heard Gaius' voice. He wasn't trying to hide it anymore, but given without that helm it naturally wasn't quiet the same anyways. Yet if you knew his voice, you knew who he was if you were listening for it.
Even as Lowri spoke to Juno, Gaius didn't look over. If he was aware they were there or not, was never hinted to by any gesture or movement. Instead the Legatus sat himself on the bar stool and reached over to activate a screen. His hand hovered their for a moment as if debating on what to select, before he at last selected it.
Selecting information regarding the Pod race, and resting his chin in the palm of his hand, while the other lazily rested on the bar. Coincidence? Perhaps.
- Juno Eclipse (428) has posed:
Those crisp blue eyes roll upward, not in exasperation, but to take note of the Jedi Knight approaching. Juno makes no move to pick up her head, but merely closes her eyes in acknowledgement as Lowri takes a seat; perhaps, through the Force, the other woman might even note an undertone of relief.
It's good to have an ally in her corner. Those seem to be few and far between, these days, although those that she's found have proven themselves, beyond any shadow of doubt. Considering where her paranoia levels are hovering these days, that's a fair amount of trust to come from the harried ex-Imperial.
"Earlier," she finally says, voice muffled by the arm the lower half of her face is tucked against. What exactly constitutes 'earlier' is hard to say.
And then, her eyes flick to the doorway as it opens, and the Jedi Knight would know through just about every avenue at the Imperial pilot's stress levels just shot through the roof. Juno sits up, staring, as a familar figure walks through the doorway. Half a year ago she might not have recognised him without the familiar plate armour of a Garlean Legatus, but now there's no mistaking him.
Blue eyes flick from Revan to Gaius and then back to Revan again, calculating. She had promised him an explanation, at the very laest, and there's no reason not to deliver that much on neutral ground. "Lowri." Juno's voice is quiet and urgent as she points, indicating Gaius. "Get him over here. I need to talk to him, too. I don't want to draw any more attention to myself than I have to."
- Revan (414) has posed:
That 'earlier' could have been hours ago, Lowri noted with an inward sigh, but she didn't push it. It wasn't as if she was Juno's mother in spite of being quite a bit older. Still, the pilot looked as weary as one would expect from all she'd been though, and there was no end in sight. That kind of life the Jedi remembered quite well. But the Dark Jedi who had been hounding the Ebon Hawk's merry crew of misfits across the galaxy had been only a minor annoyance compared to the Empire and the Confederacy.
Lowri needed to figure out how to turn the tables soon if Juno and Galen had hope of surviving this disaster.
Especially when the former Imperial's stress levels shot through the metaphorical roof. The Guardian didn't so much as turn to even look, but a mutered curse in Mando'ade escaped her lips. Whatever it was, it was bad, and even with the Bar & Grill being a neutral territory didn't mean there wasn't danger. They could, after all, get jumped the moment they set foot outside it. That wouldn't be the first time something like that happened.
The surprise reflected in her violet eye – the one not hidden behind a thick layer of obscuring bangs – at Juno's request, though it was quickly replaced with uncertainty. Juno was clearly spooked, and this might be a trap, but if she was sure...
"All right," she answered, acquiescing before standing up and making her way over to the bar where Gaius was seated. "Onderon whiskey, straight," she told the bartender, leaning her elbows casually on the bartop before addressing the Legatus, though not obviously so. "Got a minute? Someone we both know would like to talk."
- Gaius Van Baelsar (522) has posed:
The Garlean's gold eyes glance over to meet those violet eyes. Then his brows furrowed increasing those slight lines of his face that hinted that he was not a youthful man, before that predator gaze returned to his eyes with a minor glisten on the edges. "Oh?" He said softly, before his eyes moved past hers, then to Juno at the corner.
His stare became one of realization, then his eyes softened a bit, before his gaze dropped of that of hidden sadness. The woman everyone wanted captured or dead – and he had orders. "Luck day..." He murmured softly, before reaching over to close the screen before taking the glass as the Bartender slides it to him. "I'm not being a Legatus right now."
He motions with his palm up toward Lowri to lead. "Take me to your beautiful companion, so we may chat." There was a smile on his face, but it was a forced one. There was nothing joyful about this reunion or the situation after all. It was all wrong and Gaius knew it. The only concern either will need to worry about with him was his sidearm. A rather fancy revolver at his hip, but the buckle was over it to keep it place. So long as that remained locked – there was no way he could quick draw it on anyone.
- Juno Eclipse (428) has posed:
Juno keeps her head on her folded arms, but one of her eyes is still open just a slit, watching more carefully than her exhausted posture might suggest. It's become almost second nature to watch and be wary; there are simply too many dangerous individuals baying for her blood right now. Oh, they want Galen's, too, but he's safer on the ship. She knows that discretion is the greater part of valour.
Still, that little bit of her eye that shows, it's enough to suggest she's more alert than she might let on. Certainly Lowri can still feel that she's taut as the string of a violin, merely waiting to be plucked to set her into uneasy motion.
She waits until both Lowri and their Garlean guest are seated before she bothers to pick her head up, eyeing the man warily. Her regard is more like cornered prey than predator, but that's no sign of weakness. Even the cornered hare can fight like a demon twice its size.
Those blue eyes linger on the sidearm Gaius carries with him. If he has any sense at all, he won't try to use it. She wears both of her blasters holstered at her hips, although weapons are meaningless here. The security measures just wait for some fool to initiate hostilities, and she'd rather not find out what it is that triggers them. Somewhat labouriously, Juno pulls herself upright, raking fingers through her hair, slightly disheveled.
"Legatus. Lowri." She gestures, leaning back into shadow. She looks tremendously haggard; more so even than the last time he had seen her aboard the prison ship. "Have a seat, Legatus. Don't draw any more attention here than you need to. Speak quietly; keep your voice down." Her smile is thin and humourless. "We meet again."
- Revan (414) has posed:
The man was nobody's fool; the Bar & Grill's security system was reputed to be one of the best. Not that the Jedi particularly wanted to test this theory at the moment, even if she hadn't needed to keep a low profile. Most of the patrons didn't want any trouble and the management seemed to take their patronage seriously, which was the only reason they were meeting like this in the first place. Neutral ground was hard to come by and more than worth its weight in credits.
That didn't mean Revan wasn't wary, keeping her Force senses active and her eyes and ears open. But Juno seemed to believe Gaius would hear her out – bound by some code of honour, perhaps – so she could only trust the pilot's judgement. It was worth a shot, a least. Hopefully, they wouldn't be blasting their way out of the dock.
In spite of her apprehension, the Jedi donned a faint smile. It didn't quite reach her eyes, but it was nevertheless amicable enough. Sliding back into her seat, her hair brushed aside just long enough to expose her right eye; in contrast to her left, it was a pale sliver-grey. Perhaps unsettling for some, but also enough of a distinguishing feature for her to exercise enough common sense in keeping it generally hidden.
"A pleasure," she replied quietly with a nod. It might not have technically been an introduction, but it was good enough for the moment, particularly when all three of them couldn't afford to draw unwanted attention.
- Gaius Van Baelsar (522) has posed:
Gaius follows Lowri over and takes a seat. He doesn't even respond to Juno as she says to stay quiet or don't draw attention. He simply takes a sip from the glass, maybe because even in being here beside her right now could even get him into a load of trouble if he could be identified.
When he does place down his glass he returns the smile with a very thin one of his own. "So we do. You are looking a bit better." He says with a soft tone in his voice. Then his gold eyes looked over to Lowri, "Though I don't think we had the honor of proper meeting until now." He picks up the glass, which comes to his lips before he speaks. "Maybe I can get your name later." Then takes another sip from his glass.
"What is the honor I have among two ladies?" He asks, seeming to be keeping down the suspicion part perhaps and as he said to Lowri – he wasn't being a Legatus right now. He wasn't on the books and he refused to act the part when he came here to retreat from it in order to catch his breath.
- Juno Eclipse (428) has posed:
Although his reputation seems to be that of a stoic commanding presence on the battlefield, Gaius Van Baelsar is certainly nobody's fool, and only a fool in turn would think that of him. As far as Juno Eclipse cares to think, that makes him a dangerous man. The loud and straightforward bounty hunters that come after her aren't to be dismissed, but comparatively speaking, but they're of least concern.
No, what unsettles her are the cunning ones. The cunning ones are to be feared. If any of them succeed in dragging her back to the Galactic Empire in chains, it will be the cunning ones; the ones that can outwit her and outmanoeuvre her. Juno considers herself cunning, in some small measure, or she wouldn't have survived this long... but she's exhausted, so exhausted that even her wits are flagging and failing her. Details escape her, and while thankfully not at a critical moment yet, it's only a matter of time until something important slips her notice when it's most necessary to take heed.
Those crisp blue eyes flick from Lowri to the Legatus, settling finally on the latter. He needs a shave, she thinks, and maybe a few burdens less on his shoulders. No doubt I've got to look the same.
"Oh. That's rich." She snorts softly at his observation. She looks better? "You're an abysmal liar. Save it unless you're going to put in the appropriate effort. I don't respond well to flattery." Down to business, then, and she drums her fingers on the surface of the table, eyes going distant for a moment. "The honour, if you could call it that at a stretch, is of your own request. I have a feeling you couldn't say as much, aboard the Emperor's Justice, but you wanted to know the full story." Juno cocks a blue eye toward Gaius, regarding him speculatively. "Am I correct?"
- Revan (414) has posed:
The Guardian shook her head. "Not directly, no," she replied, the slight smile never wavering. Doubtless they had each been able to catch names and snippets of radio chatter when she had been fighting to rescue Juno, but admittedly, everyone had been a bit busy at the time.
For once, she wasn't trying to be enigmatic and elusive. Her true identity would probably be revealed to the Confederacy at some point – particularly with a certain sociopathic murderbot she had built in her Dark Side days – but today she preferred to stick with the identity she had chosen for herself. In some ways, it was more true than a past she couldn't really remember. "Lowri Shan. A pity the circumstances aren't better than they are."
Setting her rifle aside so she could properly sit back with her arms folded over her chest, Revan let Juno do the talking, save for a necessary quip. "We all need a vacation," she commented. Lowri wasn't looking her best either, now that she thought about it. She hadn't had a good look in a mirror lately and was probably sporting a few crow-lines...ah well. Youth couldn't last forever.
"Maybe a planet with endless beaches and clear water," she added before taking a shot of the whiskey she had ordered with a straight face. And for the Force's sake, no spaceship graveyards and cannibals.
- Gaius Van Baelsar (522) has posed:
Gaius takes a sip of his drink as Juno looks at him, though he does quirk a smirk on the edge of his lips when she calls him an abysmal liar, following with a gentle shrug of his shoulders. He doesn't quip back, there was no need too.
His golden eyes glance over to Juno's perhaps bodyguard and studies the woman faintly with his eyes moving up and down her form quickly. Sizing her up perhaps and trying to note any key features of concern. "Gaius Van Baelsar and aye, wish it was the same." When she brings up a needed vacation, he raises his glass in ever agreement before taking another drink from it.
The Legatus then returns his focus to Juno, "Aye, you are indeed correct." He rests his chin in the palm of his hand, keeping up the casual even though this was a very serious conversation really. "Given the circumstances we were both in, I could not afford to be put under the same header as a traitor – I take such a risk even now. I don't believe you are one or so I hope not the case and you were framed."
His brows then furrow as his eyes narrow. There was a dangerous edge to them, but not directed to her, but to the words that flow easily out of his lips. "As I think someone was attempting to do the same to me. Given I had no warning or knowledge of the events that conspired." There was then a sneer on his lips for a brief moment. "I do not care to be part of anyone's game who think me a simple pawn."
- Juno Eclipse (428) has posed:
"He's still a Confederate, so don't get too comfortable with him," Juno asides to the Jedi Knight, glancing sidelong to catch Lowri's mismatched eyes. He seems honourable, but there's still a dubious edge to her surface thoughts, one that suggests she's not complacent enough to trust him whole-heartedly. He's still a Confederate, and bound to Confederate obligations.
A tropical beach would be nice. Juno snorts at that quip from her Jedi friend, and this time she does roll her eyes a little in sarcasm. "A beach planet, hm? I guess it's better than Aquilaris, but a lot of places are better than Aquilaris." There's no fun like sticking around a place that makes a grumpy wet cat out of even the most easygoing individuals. "I might as well ask for a limitless supply of credits, and Force powers, too." Juno waggles her fingers demonstratively. "Maybe then I can do some of the sorts of things Galen can do."
"Framed?" Juno laughs, but very quietly, and bitterly. It doesn't take Force-sensitivity to grasp the undercurrent of anger to the sound. "No. I'm not just a traitor. I'm a deserter, a war criminal, and now I'm apparently a traitor to the Confederacy, too." She jerks a thumb at Lowri, leaning over the table. "I'm not about to request clemency, I know better than that, but when I begged Lowri for help, I had no idea she was with the Union. She wasn't, the last time we'd met before that. Apparently the Confederacy assumes I know everything about the people I associate with."
She places a palm flat on the table, eyeing Gaius, not quite glaring. "Get used to it. The Galactic Empire is fond of pawns and power-games, and anybody who has anything to do with it will eventually be caught up in that nonsense." Snorting, she leans back against the booth, folding her arms. "Do tell. How were you being set up?"
- Revan (414) has posed:
Lowri had no need of Force abilities for what simple observation would tell her. Dressed down as he was in the same way both women were, she knew a man of the military when she saw one. Some form of command, most likely...and with just as much reason to keep his proverbial head down. She could very much appreciate that military bearing and subtlety which might have seemed at odds. A strategist, most likely.
And, as Juno's reactions told her, quite dangerous.
"Of course," she replied amicably to her companion, though her demeanour still projected a relaxed stance. Not that they wouldn't see through it, but anyone happening to catch a glance their way wouldn't think twice about it. Honourable hardly meant he could be trusted completely. Soldiers did what they were ordered to do.
The Jedi smirked slightly. "If you have to dream, dream big," she quipped. She left the comment about Force powers untouched; they both knew those didn't make a person's life any easier. And if Galen was any indication, sometimes it added a whole new layer of complications. "I'll pass on going back to Aquilaris, if it's all the same." She didn't want to make a return visit any more than Juno did.
"It's true," Revan added after the blonde pilot had explained her situation, and no Force understanding was necessary at all to hear the bitterness in Juno's tone. "When my version of the galaxy first Unified, I decided to stay out of the larger conflict and was unaffiliated with any faction. In fact, I've only been in the Union for a couple of months. Moreover, I and my companions were there specifically to stop the assault on the base."
She took another sip of her drink before explaining further. "It wasn't until she," nodding to Juno, "discovered that the reason why the security was so light was because it was almost entirely civilian and their own Empire turned on them that they asked us for help to escape. Neither of them had any idea who we really were at that point."
The pale-haired Jedi sat back again, folding her arms. "You probably understand what this means. A mission where the true objective isn't revealed to the ones carrying it out, a minor base with no real military importance, and the presence of a Star Destroyer for what was supposed to have been a surgical strike."
And it would seem that the Empire has been hiding certain key facts from their allies. Not surprising in the least, but very enlightening. Mismatched eyes darted to Juno briefly. "It would seem the Empire is hoping that their allies will do their dirty work for them. And the less they know, the better, so their morality won't cause them to similarly baulk."
- Gaius Van Baelsar (522) has posed:
Gaius chews over silently everything Juno has to say. Like a Judge and Jury really. The gears were turning in his head as she explains she had no idea that this other woman was with the Union and how the Confederacy would react. There are pieces missing though, such as why did Juno go to this woman for help? Why was Galen in this? What was his role?
This was a rabbit hole – a very deep, dark rabbit hole that made no sense in his mind. Even going over how she acted on the ship. Her comments there...
How much was desperation? How much was truth?
The Legatus picks up the glass and takes another drink from it. There was a long silence from him, he didn't seem to be in a rush to answer Juno's own question back to him. He also doesn't comment on not trusting him either. It was a good idea to never trust any Legatus of the Garlean Empire in truth. They didn't get to where they were by simple words or politics after all.
Those gold eyes do come to meet Juno's own blue eyes as he stares her down. There was no anger in them or any emotion to be read. A rather blank slate of indifference that looked upon her. When he did speak up his voice was calm. "I believe it does not matter how it was a possible attempt to frame me or test my loyalties, as it is clear that unless proven otherwise. You are to remain an enemy of the Confederacy... and in that," There was then honest in his eyes that match the sadness in his voice. "I take no pride or joy in. You were a damn good pilot, an amazing soldier, and these acts only hinder the use of such skills."
Gaius then lifts up his glass. "No fine talent should ever go to waste and no fine talent should ever be dismissed." He closes his eyes for the faintest of moments before he gets to take a sip of the glass once more. "Perhaps why I have continued to drag my feet on partaking in this mad dog hunt.." He then goes to lower the glass back down. "...but we are not here about mad dogs and angry bulls in china closets, now are we?"
The Legatus looks to her again. "I want to know the story, Juno." His voice was kept low, her name slightly said with a bit of an edge. "I want to know what happened to cause this entire debacle that should never have been. So one day, when I meet the man – I know I stare at a serpent that needs to be cut into pieces." His eyes then narrow once more as his words nearly his on gritted teeth, "Because any man whom is a snake with his own, is a man whom can not be trusted with any."
Then Revan explains it all. Explains what this Galactic Empire was up too and it causes Gaius' jaw to clench to one side gently. The story is told and he can only shift his look from Juno to Lowri. That gaze is firm and thoughtful. Taking down every piece she says and devouring it in his head to pull apart.
Once she finishes her rests one arm on the bar with the other across his legs. There was a knitted brow of an expression, because while Juno did hint to these things, it was never placed in the proper prospective, but he had to be sure. "Let me be sure I am clear on all cases." His voice still kept low. "Juno and her teammate were sent to this... base. Your group was contacted to aid the same base. A trap was thus sprung, forcing Juno to escape with you or possible perish... and the Galactic Empire was there to make sure that all sources made sure it looked that Juno betrayed everyone, when they were the ones whom set this whole deal up... correct?"
- Juno Eclipse (428) has posed:
The pilot glances briefly in Lowri's direction, muttering under her breath and shooting a brief glare to the Jedi Knight. "I'll die happy if I never have to go back to that drowning hell. I think after that planet, I've seen enough rain for a lifetime or three." It's one thing to watch the podraces on a viewscreen, but actually going to Aquilaris is really not necessary, nor high on her list of priorities.
She leans an elbow on the table, resting her chin in her cupped hand, eyes falling to half-mast. Despite her seemingly sleepy regard, though, tension still crackles about her. Only an idiot would fully relax in a public place like this, particularly in the current company. An off-duty soldier is still a solider, beholden to the orders and the greater will of those who command him... and there's as much truth in that in regards to the Confederacy as there is to the Garlean Empire.
"She's right. When I first met her, I thought she was some kind of smuggler, with no affiliation to any particular faction or group. I was at least partly right. She had had no affiliation at the time, but she's not so much a smuggler." Her accent is terrible, for one, and her ship is too archaic to pass for a good smuggling vessel; old enough to draw attention more than shed it. "They also didn't know I was going to be there. Rebel intelligence must not have known what the opposition would be; I'm guessing they only had time to send out a generalised distress beacon once they realised there were Imperial and Confederate forces closing in on their territory."
Her eyes flick down to the table, narrowing thoughtfully. The fingers of her other hand, resting over the table, drum restlessly against its smooth surface. "It's a game of convenience, really, no matter how you slice it, and the rebels are meant to lose. I'd wondered why we had a Star Destroyer backing us up, and one I used to serve aboard as a TIE pilot, no less. I don't remember Captain Riaul particularly fondly; he was just arrogant and stupid enough for his ambition to be dangerous to him and everybody around him, and I can safely say his ego's gotten even worse over the yers."
"It's one of the Galactic Empire's favourite tactics," she adds, once Lowri elabourates on the nature of misdirected orders and veiled objectives. "It's a trap on a grand scale for just about anyone and everyone involved, except maybe Riaul. I'm going to guess he was given some kind of compensation for his 'betrayal,' which I'm sure he was only too eager to accept, after the appropriate hesitation to suggest contrition I'm certain he never felt." Her eyes narrow further. "The only question is why they've gone through all the trouble."
She shrugs. "But why go through the trouble of setting up a false mission? Why not simply sabotage the ship? It would've been much faster, and with berth aboard the Empirical, with Vader right there, I've no doubt he himself would have had the technical know-how to compromise the ship without my ever being aware of it. He's a bloody brilliant engineer, although most people don't know or suspect that about him."
"I don't have any answers." Sighing, she shakes her head. "All I know is that they're already aware that the Confederates and half a multiverse's worth of bounty hunters are slavering after Galen and I for the bounty; I'm not particularly afraid of evading the Imperials, once I've had a chance to make repairs to the ship. There's nothing the Rogue Shadow can't outrun in the fleet, and it's one of the only Imperial vessels to boast a functional cloaking system. In regards to the Union and the Rebel Alliance, they're probably relying on my service record to speak for itself." She smiles, thinly. "I suppose I'd want to shoot myself down, too, if I saw my own record objectively."
Her smile fades. "I've got to agree with Lowri, though. It looks like the Empire is trying to manoeuvre its allies into doing the hardest parts for them, and what the Confederates haven't got the ability or the motivation to do, the greed of the multiverse's bounty hunters can pick up the slack."
"They really don't like us right now." That thin smile broadens into a wintry expression. "This is what happens when you sprout a conscience in Imperial service, and it's why people like Riaul get ahead. The Empire both thrives and counts on its rank and file being soulless slaves to their orders, with no morals or questions to speak of."
Slender fingers drum on the tabletop again, trembling slightly in her exhaustion, but restless all the same. "Flattery will get you nowhere, Legatus," Juno points out to Gaius again, cocking a blue eye his way. "Oh, I can still use those skills. I have to, in fact, or I might as well turn myself in and hop the next ship bound for Mustafar. It's my piloting that's kept me one step ahead of the Empire and their multiversal lackeys, although even I acknowledge that I'm starting to falter. I can only function for so long." As though to back up her statement, she holds out her hand at arm's length, demonstrating how the fatigue causes her fingers to tremble uncontrollably. "Sooner or later I'll slip up if the pressure doesn't ease. Something's got to give. That 'something' is going to be the weakest link in this chain – and that's me."
She tilts her head faintly at the acidic note in Vaius' voice, brow furrowed in an expression halfway between thoughtful and speculative. Telling him the details won't matter much, in the long run, and anybody she can enlighten in the matter is a potential ally in her corner, at least to a limited degree. Even counting on them not being an active pursuer is a blessing at this point.
Juno shrugs, faintly. The gesture is a remarkably fatalistic one, considering the things they're talking about and what it means to her. "I can't be too sure about the details on the Rebel side, but it's something to that effect. Galen and I were sent directly to the Vergesso field, and neither of us were clear about our orders."
"Ordinarily," she continues, "Vader issued orders directly to Galen; from there, Galen would tell me where I'm to pilot the ship. At least, on a normal Inquisitional mission, that's how things are—were—supposed to work. It was different this time, and I suppose it's that different that piqued my instincts."
"It's a good thing I'm naturally suspicious," she points out, "or I'd probably be dead right now. And so would Galen."
She leans back in her chair, sighing through her teeth, eyes falling nearly closed. "Otherwise, though, you're correct in your assessment, Legatus. It was a setup, pure and simple, and it was arranged in the most damning manner possible, both to turn the ordinary rank and file in the Empire against me, and to turn my Confederate allies against me, as well. I had no idea Lowri was with the Union when I called for her help, but apparently, they were well aware of this fact. I don't know that Lowri's presence was necessarily arranged – I'm not certain they could have known that much – but then again, Vader is cunning. Very cunning. I have no way to know for certain if he had known that ahead of time or not."
"It's also possible that he simply made the assumption of Lowri's allegiance. I can't make any assumptions about Vader's motivations or what he knew; as far as Vader's concerned, there's only one constant that I know of, and it's that Vader lies. Always. Unconditionally. He's like a spider perched on his web, and his web is the Empire itself. Ostensibly, much of the authority belongs to the Emperor, but I think it's Vader that holds most of the real power, as the Emperor's right-hand man."
She shrugs. "I could be wrong, of course. I've never met the Emperor. I never would have had reason to. This is all just speculation from what I've observed of Vader."
- Revan (414) has posed:
Sure enough, Gaius had pieced the whole thing together, just as the Jedi had suspected he would. "That would be correct," she replied. "And I believe the instigator behind all of this had planned for a number of possible outcomes. He had a plan for whether they were captured or not, I'm reasonably certain."
She regarded Juno thoughtfully for a moment before shaking her head. "I don't think he could have necessarily planned for my presence specifically," she mused. "You thought I was a smuggler, I doubt anyone in the Empire was any wiser, if they even knew about me at all. At best, I was just some oddball in an antique, maybe a collector who hunted bounties on the side."
Her smile changed subtly, hinting that she knew quite well that she confused people and she liked it that way thank you very much. It faded quickly, however, at her next observation. "I would have to be a wild card once I pinged their sensors. And I'm also reasonably certain he's planned for those, too."
As to her question of why Vader had been going to all this trouble, a former Sith Lord could easily explain the reasoning behind it. "He wanted to make an example of you," Lowri explained. "Simple sabotage would have easily taken you both out of the picture, but that would be only one 'problem' solved. Why solve just one when you can potentially solve many others by cultivating fear in the ranks from ever developing and action on their consciences?"
What she couldn't elaborate on was this Empire in particular, instead listening to Juno's exposition and learning what she could. There were some similarities, but more than a few differences...at least from the elusive dreams she continued to have. But she remembered that there was some hidden purpose to the Sith Empire she had led, while the Galactic Empire seemed to have no purpose other than the acquisition of power. "I don't suppose the Empire is preparing for war with some unknown enemy, is it?"
Doubtful, but she could hope.
The mention of Juno's service record as the leader of the Black Eights caught her attention, and it didn't take much to figure out just what it was the pilot was talking about. Of course, Juno didn't know...not this particular version of her, anyway. But the pilot would probably pick up on that subtle clue that the Jedi indeed knew about the Bombing of Callos. Yet, for the moment, she left the subject alone; Lowri had already learned what she had needed to.
Yet perhaps there was one danger before her she could understand quite well. Mismatched eyes flickered dangerously as Gaius openly praised Juno's numerous capabilities. It wasn't mere flattery contrary to Juno's protestations, he meant every word. She had been declared a traitor to the Confederacy, yet he understood the waste of talent and potential, both vital to any war effort.
It was just as well that she had really only given Gaius her chosen name and enough to clear Juno's reputation, for whatever that might be worth. The more he spoke, the more she was convinced the Legatus was not someone to ever turn her back on. He was not someone she could trust, even as she found herself respecting him, for one simple reason.
He sounded very much like Darth Revan, as Lowri imagined she had been.
- Gaius Van Baelsar (522) has posed:
Gaius listens to it all and it is all a great deal to take in. So much so that he starts to rub his forehead with his free hand and orders another drink with a hand gesture. The worst part was, there was nothing he could do to really clear Juno's name. She had continued to work with the Union on the means of survival and that could still be brought against her.
Even if he was to get a forced confession from her recorded, even if he was to capture her and take her to one of his Castrums in Hydaelyn, to Eorzea at that – there was no good way to deal with this. It was brilliantly done, it reminded him of the same brilliance found in Nael Darnus that made his jaw clench again in thought of it.
Though the concept of taking her captive under their authority could work. He had several Castrums and he could maybe plead a case that she was better off there in Hydaelyn, given he could easily move her about if some suspicion came up, yet – he was sure being Vader's rank within the Confederacy he would over rule it.
It would explain why he was informed of what was going to happen. Perhaps because Vader maybe already knew that Gaius was close to Juno and was an honorable sort that simply wouldn't just play along like a good puppet. After all, the Garlean Empire itself was not puppets on strings, it was a force that believed in their own divinity in a sense. That they were gods over their own fates. Yet worse, if he did take action against Vader or called out the man, they had a technological superiority that made the Garleans laughable – much like the Allagan's who make the Garleans tech look like child's toys. It was another cringe on his face of thought.
For when that drink hit the bar, he about downed in, not caring how much his body wanted to protest, and this was then followed by a simple pinch of the bridge of his nose and while the glass was placed down gently. His hand was threatening to crush the glass. When Juno asked to look at arm to her finger, he could only watch them shake and his gold eyes could only softly close. He was a wolf right now caged, shackled, and muzzled. There was nothing he could do – he was in that spot again.
His index finger started to tap the glass, in his own internal agitation as the cards continued to fall into place. The puzzle pieces lining up of a picture that if anyone was in the Confederacy that he had to observe, it was now a man who could easily pull rank over him. "Why the example?" Gaius asks almost bluntly. "Why you two?" His gold eyes moved from Revan to Juno. There was a cold gaze in them, not of hatred to her, but to everything. He was attempting to rear in all that emotion though and keep it under his thumb, but it was there. The Jedi probably could sense it easily.
"No empire makes examples of any, unless they done something to bring forth their ire. We kill men for being cowards as examples.. but we do not kill men when they show to fight for honor. There has to be a catalyst and unless that catalyst is understood... then none will ever understand the reasoning." Gaius own words even became cold and calculative. He wanted to pound the glass into the table, to rear back with all his anger – because what was he to do? What were they to do?
He runs his hand through his hair as he looks away from them both. The 'third eye' on his forehead clear as day in that moment. The oval shape of a white like-gem making his own heritage of being a Pureblood. "Why would you throw away two perfectly good tools..." He murmured under his breath. "...'Tis a waste.. a perfectly good waste..." Then he downs back a bit more of the liquor to forcefully cool his nerves.
- Juno Eclipse (428) has posed:
"That kind of planning definitely carries Vader's stamp." Juno finally seems to remember that she has a drink on the table. She reaches for her otherwise untouched mostly-empty glass, draining it and setting it aside. "As far as I've been able to see, he doesn't move on anything unless he's certain of a successful outcome. When things manage to stymie him, he simply throws vast amounts of resources at the problem, or falls back on a favourite Imperial tactic: Overkill. I suppose you saw that firsthand, bringing a Star Destroyer to a rebel encampment."
Pushing aside the empty glass, she folds her arms and lays her head back down again, a silent admission of exhaustion. Talking about all of this is depressing. It only underscores the perspective of how futile it is to resist an institution like the Galactic Empire, especially in the context of bringing their Confederate Elite allies to the witch-hunt.
The woman sighs a long and miserable sigh.
"It was more of a rhetorical question," she admits to Lowri. "I already know we're meant to be examples. That's what Vader does, because that's how the Empire operates. One person, a hundred, a thousand, one trillion... it doesn't matter to him whether he silences one individual or an entire planet." Her bleak smile, and the sudden knife-twist of pain below the surface, suggests she has some personal insight on that last. "It makes no difference, to him. That's the convenience of an example. Ruins speak far more eloquently, and for far longer, than words."
Something curious in the way Lowri reacts prompts the pilot to eye her for a moment, though, thoughtful and perhaps a little unsettled. She reacts as though she were familiar with that tragedy, but it's a story Juno herself hasn't told to anyone but a scant handful of individuals. Even the Imperial records are probably sealed, at this point; reduced from a footnote in galactic history to nothingness.
To the matter of a hidden warn, though, she only rolls one shoulder, laying her head back down. "If they are, it isn't anything I had the clearance to know. I can ask Galen about it, but I doubt that. No more than business as usual, stamping out rebels and hunting down the Jedi, one by one. That's what we did, you know. Galen was trained to kill Jedi," she adds, to Revan. "And he was uncommonly skilled at it, for someone not a war veteran. General Kota, Kazdan Paratus... so far, only Shaak Ti has had the good sense or luck to stay away, although she's hardly going to be a target any longer." She shakes her head, slowly. "To be honest, I'm glad she got away. I'm sure Jedi aren't the monsters the Empire paints them out to be."
In the brief lull, she plucks an untouched drink menu up from the counter, sifting through it with slightly bleary eyes. It's probably a bad idea to introduce alcohol to her system right now, but Lowri's here, and Lowri is one of the very few people she trusts right now. A flick of one hand signals to the barkeep. "I'll try this 'margarita,'" she calls, and then gestures to Revan, too. "Make it two. One for my friend, here."
Gaius' question brings her gaze back around, face twisting into a thoughtful frown.
"Because we've been watched for some time, I'm quite confident. We were careless. Somehow. An Inquisitor, especially a Sith, is expected to draw strength and power from the negative spectrum of emotions, from what I understand. Hate. Rage. Unchecked ambition. They hunger for power until they've forgotten why, if you listen to any other Sith assassin of the Inquisition. But Galen..." She shakes her head. "Galen is different. He protested as much as I did when we were ordered to slaughter the Vergasso base's civilian population. There's a spark of common decency in him, and I..." Her voice falters a little.
She looks away, frowning. "I've encouraged that. Just by being here. By working with him. We're... not... just professional partners. We knew that would be a danger, and we knew it would be used against us. Compassion and love aren't things that are supposed to be used by the Sith; it doesn't fit into their ethos of power and domination, does it? I knew they'd act. Bloody hell, I knew on some level that they knew. I just wasn't expecting the Empire to move so soon."
"Because Galen is a former Sith assassin, and ranking member of the Imperial Inquisition. It's not a public position, but it is now; as what was once Vader's right-hand man, he's to be even more of an example than I am." She looks down to the table, wearily mulling over her words. "Let me offer some context. Vader took him from his family when he was a child, probably murdering his parents, and raised him from a young age. He sought to twist Galen; to make Galen his creature. And I imagine it drives Vader insane that he couldn't fully succeed."
Fingers drum against the table surface. "I don't think anyone fully understands Vader's reasonings. He's a mystery. No one knows what he looks like under that mask, other than the fact that it must be a nightmare, given the respirator he uses. I imagine he must have a lot of damage. Human wreckage. It's not a very comforting thought, because imagine what he could do if he were whole... but as to his motives, no. I don't know. I don't think I ever could."
"As to that, it's not like we're rotting in a cell somewhere, Legatus." Juno cocks an eye toward him, even as he tosses back the last of his drink. "You're talking as though we're completely out of commission. We can still act. And we are. Just surviving as we are is spitting in the Empire's eye, isn't it?" She smiles, thinly. "So, I've got to take some solace in that."
Even as she says so, Juno focuses very hard on a single thought, perhaps enough for Lowri to pick up on; perhaps intentionally so: But there's still more at work here, with him, to be so angry over this.
- Revan (414) has posed:
The frustration, bitterness, and simmering anger not only from Juno, but now from Gaius, would have disoriented many a Jedi. They tended to shy away from strong emotions, though not without reason; it was far too easy to be pulled into them, to allow the emotions of others to influence oneself. But there was no reliable way to shield oneself from them, and the Jedi weakened themselves by not properly preparing themselves for it. That had become a glaring hole in their training, one that Darth Revan had exploited time and time again. By acclimating herself to them, learning to both coolly examine them from a distance while at the same time experience them and empathise with the ones feeling it, she learned to find a balance. It was, perhaps, a contradiction or even an impossibility. But it worked.
She could understand that frustration, bitterness, and anger even as she empathised with it. And dangerously, she could feel something of the latter in herself.
"I would field a guess that, whether you had been captured then or not, both outcomes were simply the beginning of whatever plans he's formed," Lowri replied. "It lacked a bit of...well, finesse, I suppose. But when you're a Galactic Empire ruling through fear and power, you want to flaunt that power as much as possible to people remain fearful."
Her question had been a long shot, she knew; Revan hadn't honestly been expecting anything. Still, it seemed strange that they were hunting Jedi without any indication of attempts to turn them. The numbers of the Sith Empire she had been building had only swelled to the numbers they had by turning Jedi away from their Code and Order, making them into Dark Jedi who were loyal only to the Sith. "No one tried to turn them at all?"
As for the Jedi, the Guardian shook her head. "The Jedi aren't perfect, and some of its teachings are rather...flawed, I suppose you could say. They can be so entirely focused on becoming immersed in the Force that it blinds them to the suffering around them. But the Sith lure you in with promises of freedom and passion, only to shackle you in entirely different ways. Then one day, as you said, you forget what it was that you were fighting for in the first place."
Some part of her questioned if it was really such a good idea to talk about the nature of the Sith so openly, but a part of her wanted Juno to know exactly what Galen had walked away from. She knew, but yet Galen had not completely immersed himself in the Dark Side in the same way as the former Sith Lord. He had chosen her over the promise of power and broken chains. If nothing else could have testified to the strength of his character, that would be enough.
"I don't believe I'm of any importance," Revan observed bluntly with a shrug. "My only significance is just showing up in the right place at the right time."
Her smile became wry as she added to Juno's observations. "To the Sith, the Light Side is weakness, and a weak Sith is worse than worthless, weakening the Sith as a whole. So they cull their numbers to ensure that those who overcome their trials to survive are the strongest, the ones most fit to become Sith. They become like animals in constant competition against each other, killing or being killed, because they believe the Force shall ultimately set them free."
If Juno had ever heard Galen or any other Sith recite their Code, she would likely recognise Lowri's words as the final line of it. The Jedi, it would seem, had not always been a Jedi, but something far worse.
"But why them? As my friend here has explained, she's a fetter for Galen, his link to the Light Side. If Vader can twist him around so thoroughly that he would kill her without so much as a thought, then he will truly become Vader's apprentice when Vader eventually attempts to overthrow his Master. He's strong in the Force, and if he was turned, then Vader's eventual move to become the new Sith Lord Master would be that much more guaranteed."
She leaned forward, her smile fading away completely as she levelled mismatched eyes on Gaius. "What Vader has planned for her is a fate far worse than death. And he does not care if he wastes every tool at his disposal, so long as he can grasp even more power. That is all that matters to a Sith so immersed in the Dark Side."
It was a good thing Juno had ordered one of these 'margaritas'. Revan had a feeling she was going to need it.
- Gaius Van Baelsar (522) has posed:
Gaius listens to Juno explain the possible reasons to why Vader is doing what he is doing. He closes his eyes, not remarking to spitting in the Empire's eye. It actually causes him to frown a little, because it is perhaps proof that there is nothing that can be done to repair this.
Or maybe it wasn't even wanted.
"If it is an example made because of his compassion for you... then you are key to that catalyst." Gaius opens his eyes to look at Juno. His eyes cold, logical, but they were holding back emotion. Holding back to fact he didn't like what he was about to say. "If I was like him, in such a position... I would make an example by doing away with the one my student loves, but he had that chance. No... he used you as a bait."
Gaius sits up more straight, finishing off the glass, before pushing it away. "They are beyond redemption... they are simply dead." He then inhales deeply, "Which means anyone near you or him is a liable target for such use, if that is what it takes. No stone forgotten. No mountain unmoved. I wish I could do something for you Juno, you were my friend... I still see you as one... but I am bound to my duty. Even if the man was willing to take my life along with all of yours."
"For what I have to do is not for him, but for the ties between the Garlean Empire and the Confederacy." Gaius admits with a deep frown and place down of credits for his and their drinks, along with extra if they decide.
Revan confirms it all and it seems the two come down the same road in the end as well. "Good to know I'm not far off then." He remarks with a gently grunt. His own gold eyes matched her mismatched ones. There was no fear in them, he matched her stare. "They sound like Eikons, beings who desire to be gods..." He narrows his eyes faintly. "That is not something my Empire cares much for – but so long as they are the greater power, there is not much that can be done." Gaius frowns to this.
"The Multiverse has shown me, what my own has yet to realize – that while in our world we were the technological might... in this one... we are just as primitive, as the Eorzeans are to us." Gaius shakes his head. "For while I not know anything on this light side or dark side... I can only hope you can keep your witts about you, so maybe one day... we may laugh this all off."
The Garlean then goes to stand up, but he pauses as he does, looking over to Juno once more, "...Speaking of... I tell you this before I go," His brows furrow slightly. "I am sending one of my Centurions after you, with her... a Bounty Hunter from another galactic empire. You may be able to convince my Centurion off her mission – for she is better equipped for stealth then I." He grunts gently before he continues, "Though understand that I do not do this because I want to. I do not. I do this because if in fact Darth Vader has his eyes on me, because he can not control me in the Confederacy... it is better I play along, then to play any cards against him openly."
Gaius then looks up before he glances to both of them, "And perhaps, if you dare to visit Hydaelyn... Limsa Lominsa ha beautiful seas and white sand beaches. It is a place of pirates, scums, and those wishing to hide among the folk alike. They take care of their own, they watch out for those on the run from Empires. Perhaps if you need a breather, you can hide among the crew... maybe even the Admiral Merlwyb will take you under her Yellow Jackets. After all – the land is under the ties with the Union..."
This is when Gaius goes to stand up. "And those pirates are highly stubborn, as so be their City-states Admiral." It was the only hint of help he could lay down to them both. A location to go that wasn't so well known by many of the Multiverse, as many have come to ignore Hydaelyn since it became a part of the Northern Ocean Loop. Also given Limsa Lominsa's history of piracy, black markets, and bandits – it be easy for two if not several to hide among the large pirate ships or mixed in with the growing multiracial population.
Though with such a subtle hint and warning of his own involvement. The Legatus begins to make his way out, putting back on his cap and his hands into his pocket. He comes as he leaves; alone – but only now with a greater conflict of the heart ahead of him.
- Juno Eclipse (428) has posed:
"Flaunting power is the whole point," Juno points out, bitterly. "You cow others into following you, so they stop thinking for themselves, or wondering why they're following you so absolutely. You frighten them, and you make them submit to your authority without question. You create an institution so large and so monolithic that no one thinks to defy it, because it's just too overwhelming a force... even if that's not the reality, all they need is enough people believing in that. And the way they get people to believe in that is to flaunt their power, and make examples of the ones who don't agree with them."
She glances up to Revan, cocking a blue eye. "Turn them? I don't know. I suppose these were the ones Vader knew he couldn't turn, and so Galen was dispatched to kill them. I can't imagine Kazdan Paratus would have been difficult to turn, though." Her expression softens. "I felt sorry for him, living in exile as he did. He was just a deranged old being. Did you know? He'd remade the Jedi Temple at Coruscant on the surface of Raxus Prime. An entire assembly of Jedi, made of junk and scrap, perfect to the smallest detail... what kind of loneliness motivates that tremendous amount of work?"
"I know," she says quietly, to Revan's explanation of the Sith. "Believe me. What do you think Vader's tried to do to Galen, all these years? To turn him, to twist him. To break him. I'm only surprised I haven't been targetted before now, just to push him over the precipice."
Of no importance? Juno looks like she'd very much like to argue that, but they're in mixed company, and so she relents. Best not draw too much attention to the Jedi Knight. Revan is in fact terribly important, at least to Juno; the older woman is entirely the reason she's even alive. Had she not answered Juno's frantic call for help, the ex-Imperial pilot wouldn't be here having this conversation. Fate has conspired to push the former Inquisitor and the onetime Sith Lord together for a reason.
Juno only shakes her head, the only sign of her protest. Fortunately, one of the waitstaff brings both drinks, and she finds herself blindly taking hold of her glass and taking a drink. It's...
...actually not half bad, considering some of the rotgut she's gotten her hands on before, in her fighter pilot days, or even in more recent times. She's had cheap Corellian whisky worse than this.
"Of course I am," she points out to Gaius, peering at him a little blearily over the rim of her glass before taking another drink. "It's the only reason I'm still alive right now. I'm still a tool that has some use to Vader, as Lowri's pointed out. As soon as I stop having any use to Vader, then he'll kill me. It's really that simple."
That's actually pretty good, she decides, eyeing the glass. Margarita, huh? She'll have to keep this in mind. Maybe she and Lowri can come back here and partake of these again, in the midnight hour...
To the rest, though, she simply stares at Gaius, face and eyes impassive. Lowri might recognise a twist of apprehension, though, when he calls her a friend. She'd like very much to believe that, recognising that there's some sense of honour in the man, but ultimately he's a Confederate, and bound to Confederate orders and agendas. There's only so much she's willing to overlook.
No mountain unmoved. No stone unturned. That's the kind of extent the Confederacy and its allies would go, to capture someone who only sought to do the right thing.
How can she be friendly with that?
"Of course." The words are given without rancor, spoken plainly. "And that's exactly why I can't trust you any more than I can trust any of my former allies, Legatus. You are, when it comes down to it, still beholden to Confederate agendas and Confederate values. The Empire is a valuable ally of theirs; far too valuable to risk over a single Inquisitor and his pilot. I wouldn't expect any less." She smiles, knife-sharp and mirthless. "That's just what the Confederacy is. If you want my honest opinion, because I see no harm in giving it, any more, I'm actually glad that I'm free to wash my hands of that institution as well. After all, they seek out allies like the Galactic Empire, allies without conscience or a thought to how their people are governed... or how much of a tyrant Emperor Palpatine himself may be."
Her eyes skim to the door again, watching the traffic coming and going. She's still tense and taut, despite the alcohol she's had; even the alcohol can't burn through the violin-string tension of her nerves and refugee's anxiety. She's still paying attention, though, casting half a glance at Gaius.
Laugh it all off? "That's naive," she says softly, "and you're a fool if you believe that. The Confederacy is cut from the same cloth as the Empire, you know? They operate on the same principles. I'll never be a friend to either of them again, not on the whole, and I'm alright with that. I have no doubt that I'll be acting at odds with Confederate and Imperial goals. I wouldn't ask you for clemency if we should happen to meet under those circumstances. But know that I'm not going to give you any clemency, either."
"Everyone's following orders, after all."
Juno pushes herself to her feet, grimacing a little. Her wounds may have been healed, but she's still desperately tired, too tired to even hide the way stiff joints pop and protest. "Maybe. I'm afraid it's been several thousand years since anyone from Corulag has piloted a sailing ship, and I'm afraid I've no notion of how to do that, myself. I'm more comfortable among the stars. It's where I've lived half my life," she adds, with a faint half-smile. "And it's where Galen is comfortable, too."
She offers no goodbyes. She's never been very good at them. Instead, she watches Gaius as he makes his way to the door, the weight over his shoulders perhaps a little heavier than when he had come in.
"It's unfortunate," she murmurs, to Revan. "But I can't trust him. You understand, don't you? And... I've got a favour to ask, while we're on the whole issue of who to trust and who not to trust."
"I hate to ask for more help, but... I need to rest, and so does Galen. We can't rest as long as we've got Imperial officers and bounty hunters on our trail. Might I ask an escort of the Ebon Hawk some time? Just long enough for he and I to get a little sleep," she adds, plaintively. "We can't go on much longer like this..."
- Revan (414) has posed:
"It's a whole lot of wasted effort and resources for less of a gain than you'd have by creating loyal fanatics rather than fearful ones," Revan observed with a dour hint that might have seemed entirely uncharacteristic of her. She polished off the rest of her glass, frowning. "Though I suppose that's even harder to pull off for most..."
But in Vader's position, she wouldn't have done as the Legatus would have. No, Vader's plans were very much those of a true Sith. How many bonds had she broken, she wondered? How many had she ordered HK-47 to assassinate who couldn't be turned or who were acting as fetters for those who could? She didn't know, and that frustrated her. She didn't deserve the luxury of forgetting.
Her head lolled to the side to regard Gaius out of a blue-violet eye as Lowri sat back again. "There's a way to keep your alliances without necessarily giving the Empire everything they want," she commented. "The leverage you need might be staring you right in the eyes. And I imagine you won't turn your back on them, but when it comes to the Sith, sleeping with one eye open also helps."
The pale-haired Jedi sighed. "I don't know. He was likely waiting for the perfect moment when all the Dejarik pieces lined up. Or the opportunity presented itself and he took it. But either way, now we know what he's after...the problem is that he knows that we know. And if I just knew a little more...augh, I hate starting from a defensive position."
It wasn't particularly modesty on her part so much as that she understood her place in the span of time and the multiverse was little more than a speck. Supposedly a great destiny had been glimpsed at for her, but it was one part of the Force she was sceptical of. Or rather, the way Jedi and Sith interpreted 'destiny'. She had tried not to laugh too hard at Jolee's lesson regarding an old friend of his whose Grand Destiny was being sucked into a power core which did indeed set off a change of events which shaped galactic history, but that was all the stock she'd placed in it. The Force led her to where she needed to be and guided her, but she personally felt that It preferred to leave the details up to her to shape her own destiny.
And right now, her destiny was to drink a margarita. Oh yes, very nice. She had dreaded it was going to taste like coolant.
Laugh it off, huh? If only that were possible, but Revan frankly doubted it as much as Juno did. There were decent people in the Confederacy – relatively speaking and she was hardly in a position to really judge – but the fact of the matter was that their goals were ultimately opposed. Not as the Light and Dark were, but enough that lasting friendships were a dream. A pleasant dream, but a dream nonetheless.
Then again, all things were possible in the Force. Who could say?
"May the Force be with you," she said softly to the retreating back of Gaius, though they would likely not mean anything to him but for the sentiment behind them.
"For all his sense of honour, he's not someone to turn your back on," she replied. "Ever. Don't ask me how I know that...not here out in the open, anyway."
She quirked a brow at the start of the request, a little surprised that Juno had asked for her help. She didn't have many to turn to, admittedly, but she knew how stubborn some people could be. Lowri happened to be one of those hard-headed people. "It's no problem," she replied. "In fact, I'd recommend getting some sleep as soon as we get out of here. My crew's taken pretty good care of the ship...I think we can handle a few escorts."
They would need a long-term solution, of course, but Revan was still working on that part.