The Chronicle of the Jackdaw

Fix Your Posture

Ari joins the crew of the Jackdaw

[Chronicle Holonet]

Scene takes place approximately five months before game start.

Talon and the Jackdaw crew have chased a rumor of a strange substance to Nar Shada, where Someone she’d worked with before had some samples of Isotope 5. She buys it legit, on a hunch. Keeping a sample to send back to the Chiss, she sells the rest to the Hutts for a decent chunk of credits. Aware that the substance may be hunted by others, she is put on edge upon learning that multiple other factions have just arrived. She orders the Jackdaw to take off – but when they are delayed by a technical malfunction, she follows her engineer off the ship into the spaceport. 

On the same city moon, Ari has arrived on a different ship. Restless, she exits the ship to wander the spaceport. She is trailed by an anxious retainer, who continually eyes everyone else around them. 

Both parties separately notice that a situation seems to be preparing to explode. Local authorities have arrive and are doing what seems like additional inspections, and more than one ship’s crew seems rather nervous about this… 

“Your Excellency, we must return to the ship. The situation here is-"  The fussy retainer starts to tell Ari, but is cut off

“Stop worrying, or if you can’t then at least do so silently. And don’t call me that in public.” Ari says. 

Talon overhears the exchange and makes a mental note, but keeps her main focus on her engineer.

"Captain, the secondary grav boot wore out and needs to be replaced now, or the ship isn't going anywhere,” the engineer explains huffily. 

"Why does it abruptly need replacing? If it was wearing out, you should have taken care of the problem," Talon responds. 

"I… uh… look, it'll probably take a few days for the part to be shipped here so we might as well get comfortable,” he shrugs. Talon eyes the authorities and a group she has been able to identify must be smugglers, who are starting to squabble energetically with each other. 

"You don't need to replace the secondary grav boot, actually."  Ari chimes in. She pauses as Talon and the engineer look at her, then adds, "You can just remove it."

"I, uh, I'm not sure I can do that without the entire engine seizing up,” the engineer says. Ari barely resists the urge to roll her eyes. 

"It's really not that difficult,” she says. “A minor quick-weld to bypass the circuitry is all you need to prevent that."

“You have five minutes to repair my ship, and not a minute longer, and then we are going to discuss your clear lapse in maintaining it,” Talon informs the engineer. He begins to protest, but both are interrupted by Ari suddenly chiming in. 

"I can do it in four minutes. Three if you have a quick-start hand welder," she says. In the corner of their vision, they all can see the smugglers and authorities both pulling blasters. 

“Accepted,” Talon states. “If you are able to repair the ship in that timeframe, then I have an opening for an engineer.”

Both Talon’s engineer and Ari’s retainer begin protesting. Ari simply talks over him, informing him that he is to fetch her bags and bring them to the Jackdaw immediately. Talon and Ari stride off, following the engineer, while the retainer runs off to do so and the situation inside the spaceport continues devolving. 

On the Jackdaw, Ari has no difficulty in performing the repair she mentioned within the mentioned three minutes. She meets her retainer at the Jackdaw’s door, taking the bags and setting them down inside before calmly informing him that his services are no longer needed. She hands him some credits, reminds him that his passage on the other ship is still paid, and then shuts the door and returns to the engineer room. The retainer protests helplessly at the closed door for several seconds, then scurries back to the pleasure cruiser. Once safe inside, he starts trying to think how he will explain what just happened.

The Jackdaw departs the city moon, leaving the increasing chaos behind. After takeoff and everything settles, Talon returns to the engine room to check on things. Upon arrival, she discovers her engineer sitting in the hallway. He awkwardly says that the new arrival has kicked him out. When Talon enters, she finds Ari doing maintenance and muttering about what a bad job the engineer had been doing.

ARI:
"Some areas are in acceptable condition, but others… well, it's as if it wasn't right in front of his face, then it didn't occur to him that it may need attention. Or perhaps he thought if no one could see it then they wouldn't notice."   Ari holds out a small piece of circuitry that looks fine… and then flips it over to reveal the back side is dusty and beginning to corrode.

"Mmm? How to prevent it? A schedule of cleaning, and routine diagnostic checks is all one needs. Although staying current on new technology helps, of course, and reviewing where you need redundancies versus where the redundancies are unnecessary and interfere with each other."

TALON
“What is your current status? I am unsure as to what it was prior to us meeting in the spaceport.”

ARI
"Oh, you didn't take me away from anything important. I was on the D'Argo for a pleasure cruise and positively dying from boredom already."

TALON
“If you are willing and able to do the job properly, there’s an opening — and it is rarely boring here, that I can guarantee. If potentially dangerous work doesn’t interest you, though, we can drop you off the next time we make port.”

ARI:
"Potentially dangerous, fine enough. But work for… who, exactly?"

TALON:
“My apologies — I’m Captain Talon.” She offers her hand after a brief pause. “And you’re on my ship, the Jackdaw, which largely specializes in field work. Exploration, bounties for the Guild, and other things in that vein.”

Talon waits, gauging the reaction to that before moving onto the other things. 

ARI
"Ari-… just Ari." She takes Talon's hand and shakes it, a balance between delicate and firm.

"Bounty hunter work, then? Do you favor particular factions or areas of the galaxy?"

TALON:
“Thank you for your assistance, Ari.” Talon crosses her arms back over her chest. “We go where things look interesting and profitable. I don’t seek to ally myself with any faction in particular — the job and pay matter more than the employer, and I take input from the crew before a final decision is made.”

ARI:
"Sounds amenable to me," Ari responds slowly. She clearly seems to be carefully weighing thoughts in her mind. (Her brain: Merc ship, that'll keep me out of sight. No picking sides, good, the two main ones are both awful. Get input on jobs so I can suggest avoiding anything I find reprehensible or that would take my back to Alderaan, sounds good… alright.)

"Well, final question from me I suppose, what are the financials?  Pay, profit sharing…?"

TALON:
“Crew that stays onboard during missions earn a flat rate. Those who are useful in the field get a larger share of the bounties we pull in, and first dibs on anything interesting we find.” Talon takes a half-step backwards and cocks her head as she looks Ari over, as though appraising her capabilities.

ARI:
"Very reasonable, I agree to all that. My only stipulation is that I require my own room as opposed to shared accommodations." 

Ari arches an eyebrow in response to Talon's gaze, and patiently lets the other woman finish her visual scan and meet her eyes. 

"Yes, I know how to use them all." She says smoothly, nodding her head slightly towards both the weapons and tool sets that are visible in her pack.

TALON:
Talon gives a slow nod. “There is a room available for your use. Would you like to see it? You may prefer we continue our discussion there.”

ARI:
Ari purses her lips, eyeing both Talon and the engine room, then nods. 

"Yes, that would be fine now. Getting these bags out of the way will be a better work environment make it easier for me to get everything in here opened up so I  can start analyzing what it needs."

ARI:
She closes up whatever panel she'd been inspecting when Talon came in, and gathered up her stuff.

TALON:
“Excellent point.” Talon pointedly doesn’t address the comment about Ari’s weapons or elaborate in any other way. Instead Talon begins walking to an upper floor, giving a small description of what they’re passing through as they move through the ship. When they reach a wide hallway, Talon turns into it and gestures towards a door at the end. “My quarters are down there. I’m sure you’ll meet everyone else soon enough, provided we come to an understanding about your employment. The medic and pilot have rooms elsewhere, most of the crew resides that way,” she gestures towards another corridor, “and these two rooms are similarly occupied.”

“This one,” she taps on the wall, “you are not to enter under any circumstances unless given express permission by its occupant. Not even if it’s a life or death situation.” She pauses.

ARI:
Ari follows along, taking mental notes. She cocks her head to the side curiously when Talon singles out the last particular room, but gives a small shrug and nods amicably. 

"Simple enough."

TALON:
Seemingly satisfied, Talon continues. “This would be your room.” She opens the door and steps to the side to let Ari pass. “No sharing required.”

(The room is a respectable size, comfortable bed, en suite bathroom. Definitely larger/nicer than where others are assigned… not that Ari knows as much yet.)

ARI:
Ari gracefully slides past, surveys the room, and sets her gear down. 

"So. What else is there to discuss?"

TALON:
Talon closes the door behind them and leans against a piece of furniture. “I am going to accept your word that you are able — and willing — to use the weapons you carry. I’d like to discuss your other strengths, and your potential weaknesses.”

“First and foremost, I am curious as to why your subordinate was instructed not to draw attention to your rank.”

ARI:
There's a noticeable pause as Ari stares at Talon, trying to sort through the options in her brain (lie, feign ignorance, prompt to see how much she knows, admit everything…). She flexes her jaw slightly and then takes a seat on the bed, folding one leg over the over and holding her posture straight.

"I currently prefer to be my own person, and that's difficult when everyone knows you are." She says slowly.

TALON:
Talon furrows her brow and considers, something in Ari’s phrasing clearly taking a second for her to work through. “Your status is a secret because you have difficulty operating within the confines of the human social structures you’ve been assigned?”

ARI:
"Ah… yes and no? Or I suppose not quite? I am currently operating outside my, um, assigned human social structure. So I'd rather not use the title from said social structure nor have people be aware of it."

"Is that going to be a problem? Since we've got this far with you apparently being aware, I am guessing it isn't."

TALON:
Talon cocks her head. “I don’t yet know if it’s a problem — only you will be able to tell me that. Your secrets are your own, up until the point they endanger my crew or mission. The more information I have, the more prepared I can be.”

ARI:
Ari mulls that over for a moment, then offers up a question of her own to help her settle her internal judgment of how much she could share with Talon.

"What's the deal with the room that I'm not allowed in, even under life or death circumstances?"

TALON:
“How familiar are you with Mandalorian customs?”

ARI:
"Passingly. I haven't interacted with many in person."

TALON:
“A long time Mandalorian crew member and friend uses that room when she’s on board. As a people, they have strict rules regarding their helmets and armor — to respect her requirements and privacy, her room is off limits to everyone without her express permission.” Talon pauses, then adds, “It’s a rule I observe as well.”

ARI:
"Mmm. And she's on board now, I take it?"

TALON:
“She is, but the rule is in place irrespective of her presence.” Talon blinks. “The Mandalorian — some refer to her as Lori — is quite candid, if you have further questions.”

ARI:
"Alright. Mmm." Ari purses her lips for a moment, then makes a decision. 

"I'm willing to tell you more, but… you. And on the stipulation that it doesn't go beyond this room."

TALON:
“I agree to your terms.”

ARI:
"I am currently out and about in the galaxy as not-myself because I am staying out of the Alderaan Civil War." She arches an eyebrow. "Not running away or hiding from it, mind you. But my House doesn't want the throne and is endeavoring to maintain our neutrality while the Houses who do seek the throne for themselves battle it out, and the best way I could help that was by not being there. So I'm out here, attempting to simply be 'Ari' and mind my own business and stay out of… all of that."

TALON:
“Are your people aware and in support of this endeavor, or is someone going to come looking for you?”

ARI:
"My people are aware. I can't guarantee someone else won't be looking for some reason. Thus not using the rank."

TALON:
“Your family being aware alleviates some of my concerns.” Talon cocks her head. “If your House isn’t taking part in the civil war, it stands to reason you aren’t a part of House Thul or Organa — is that correct?”

ARI:
"Correct."

TALON:
“That simplifies things.” Talon nods to herself. “Is ‘Ari’ an assumed name or — what’s the word — a nickname?”

ARI
"It's an abbreviation, but not one that anyone outside of my immediate family would recognize." She thinks for a moment. "And even then, only my brother, I believe."

TALON
Talon nods again, remaining silent and watching Ari expectantly.

ARI:
Ari pauses briefly, analyzing what Talon is waiting for, then shrugs. 
"Viscountess Ariadna of House Gotha."

"Our House has very close ties to a number of other noble houses, most especially the prior royal house of Panteer. Both Thul and Organa would like for us to throw in with them to make their claim easier. We are… well, not interested in what either side is offering."

TALON:
“With the contributions of the Sith and Republic encouraging their efforts, it’s no surprise.” Talon shrugs.

“Would you prefer I acknowledge your title and proper name in private?”

ARI
"Indeed. And simply 'Ari' is fine, even if we're in private. It is who I am being for now, after all. I am endeavoring to embrace 'myself', and my own personal skills." Ari flashes a smile.

TALON:
“I will call you Ari, then. The rest of what you said makes very little sense to me — I assume it isn’t a reference to coming of age and choosing your en'casn'im'ch'ah nuhn.”

Talon slowly blinks, in her mind thinking something along the lines of …Sure. Embracing yourself. If you say so.

ARI
"No, it is not a reference to coming of age, nor choosing… ah… I'm afraid I'm not familiar with the term. But since it only has to do with the fact that I'm out on my own anyways, I am guessing that it has nothing to do with… that."

TALON:
“When we enter adulthood we choose a —“ Talon pauses, clearly trying to find the word, “— core name, taken from our full name, and it often encapsulates one or both of our families.”

“I think I’m beginning to understand. You are able to test your abilities and pursue skills without familial oversight and limitation. Taking a job with a bounty hunter crew is an admirable step.”

ARI
"Yes, it is a good way of putting it. And that is an excellent point as well. I look forward to having opportunities to test and grow here." Ari relaxes her posture slightly, leaning back on her arms. 

"If it is alright to ask, then, why is that you're here?"

TALON:
“There will certainly be many opportunities. I look forward to seeing what other skills you possess.”

Talon shifts her weight to her other foot. “Are you asking why this line of work, or what I was doing on that planet in particular?”

ARI
"More the former. Why this line of work, why you aren't… wherever you're from."

TALON:
“I am Chiss,” Talon says matter-of-factly. “I am here to explore, to learn about other cultures — even the perplexing ones, like humans.” She cracks a half-smile. “The work is interesting, and there’s much to discover.”

ARI:
"Chiss? I'm not familiar, my apologies."

TALON
“It has proven quite effective, particularly for language acquisition. Some species balk at my questions, though.” Talon shrugs.

“There’s no need to apologize. We aren’t particularly prolific outside of The Chaos — what you likely know as the Unknown Regions.”

ARI
Ari nods, quietly absorbing the information. 

"Well then. Are most Chiss so curious about learning the language and cultures of the rest of the galaxy? And how did you know to take advantage of the, ah, armistice to come explore now?"

TALON
“I wonder, at times, whether either side understands what the terms ‘truce’ and ‘peace’ imply.”

Talon considers. “Chiss take pride in their ability to acquire and apply knowledge, though we all pursue it in our own ways. I acquired my ship prior to the Treaty of Coruscant — but news of it has reached any people who participate in trade, I would expect.”

Talon stands and approaches, her stance purposely relaxed. “You should work on your posture.”

ARI
"Once upon a time, some did. I'm sure. Today we have… what we have." 

Ari frowns and stops leaning back, straightening up. 

"Pardon? What's wrong with my posture?"

TALON
“You hold yourself like someone who has been taught how to stand.” Talon stops directly in front of Ari.

“There’s different ways of standing — in the military, we are taught to present ourselves like this,” Talon demonstrates by straightening her spine, subtly inclining her head, and drawing her feet together. 

“To alter perception and be ‘Ari,’ your appearance should be less regimented. The goal being to naturalize your stance to demonstrate confidence that appears innate rather than learned.”

ARI
"Oh. Oh! I understand. I'll work on that, thank you…" Ari cocks her head curiously, studying Talon's stance, then hops to her feet and positions herself where she can see her reflection in the mirror. She stands as normal, and scans her own reflection, studying how she normally holds herself. Straight, shoulders back, head and chin level with the ground, poised. 

"So you're former military?" She asks casually, continuing to eye herself in the mirror.

TALON
“For my own purposes, I found shifting my hip slightly outwards assisted with my overall posture.” Talon watches Ari move, her face remaining neutral. “I also modified my wardrobe.”

“Chiss civilians do not embark on explorational endeavors outside of Ascendancy space,” she says slowly.

ARI
"Hmm. I did always want colored hair," Ari mulls quietly to herself, running a hand through her long dark blonde locks. 

"Pardon, my mistake. Current military… but also an unallied bounty hunter? Is that unusual for Chiss?"

TALON
“It is unconventional. The Chiss wish to remain independent, however; the Sith have worked feverishly to remove this option.” Talon pauses, gauging Ari’s reaction and considering her phrasing carefully. “And so I am here — to learn outside the confines of any official alliances and without the limitations created by this protracted conflict.”

ARI
"Yes, that sounds like them." Ari says, somewhat disdainfully. 

"It's almost a pity you're here now instead of years ago, you might have seen a better world… ah, but that's probably not polite of me to say. Apologies."  Despite using the word, her tone doesn't sound like she's sorry

"Learning is always a worthwhile endeavor, I feel. And so much better when it can be done freely and at one's own indulgence."

TALON
“I prefer direct over polite when the option presents itself.”

Talon nods and runs a hand over the edge of the scar on her face. “I’ve begun to enjoy the autonomy — it’s not something I’d previously experienced.”

“The blonde is pleasing to the eye, but a more dramatic color would suit you as well.” She pinches a piece of blue hair between her fingers and peers at it. “I never had the inclination to change mine."

ARI
"I am at the very least pleasing to the eye," Ari laughs as if amused by something. She eyes her reflection again and shifts her hips outwards, mimicking Talon, but frowns. She takes a half step back with one foot and tries again, and seems more content with that. She settles back and tries relaxing her shoulder. As she keeps chatting, though, her posture subconsciously keeps slipping back to the noble poise. 

"So people on the winning side aren't entirely pleased either? Eh. I suspect no one but the Sith purebloods are, personally, but I haven't exactly conducted a survey."

"Autonomy is good. It has its own drawbacks, of course, but… it's refreshing. I look forward to it. On that note, any other questions or things to settle?"

TALON
“It takes a while to get the hang of it without thinking, but that’s a good start. Different clothes — shoes in particular — will also help.”

Talon sighs and pushes her hair out of her face. “I am unsure if anyone will ever truly be pleased. The Chiss, we simply wish to be left alone.”

“My concerns have largely been alleviated, though I’m curious how you’ll perform in the field. I’d like a report on your plan for maintenance and diagnostics, and consistent updates following that — clearly I was lax in my oversight previously. Do you have any objections?”

ARI
"I look forward to being able to show you," Ari says as she experiments a little more with shifting her stance. Finally she sighs and straightens back up. 

"Well, in that case I should get back to work and continue reviewing the current state of things. Could you possibly move that gentleman out of the hallway, by chance? I can hear his irritated sighs through the doorway and they're annoying."

TALON
“Yes, I need to inform him his services will no longer be required anyway. I’ll leave you to get settled in.” Talon makes her way to the door, pausing before stepping back into the hallway. “Thank you for your assistance today.”

ARI
"Thank you for the job," Ari responds. Once Talon steps outside, she moves back to the mirror and tussles her hair again, frowning thoughtfully.

TALON
Talon locates the engineer. She informs the former crew member he does in fact no longer have a job and should absolutely not request a reference of any kind, and offers the suggestion that he learn to take pride in his work as space is too dangerous for his kind of determined mediocrity. 

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