“Last warning! Settle down or take it outside!”
The command, shouted from behind the muzzle of a shattergun, stirred Erinyes from her reverie. Both the order and the weapon seemed to be aimed at Delphidian patron who was shouting his leathery face off at a nearby sabacc table. The grey-skinned sentient spun and drew himself up, looking ready to answer the bartender with another tirade, until he spotted the shotgun’s muzzle and snapped his mouth shut.
So much for having a rousing brawl with my drink, Erinyes thought, polishing off her glass of tsiraki. For a hub of the exciting underbelly of galactic society, Port Ol’val seemed awfully stingy about giving people a good time. The first bar she’d visited had turned out to be a creep house extraordinaire, full of furniture made from resin-sealed corpses. The whole thing was just so eerie and Arconan that Erinyes barely finished her second drink before bailing for less macabre pastures.
Ruby’s Tavern was much more inviting, but no less risky in its own way. Were the bouncers or bartenders assets for the Arconan intelligence service? Was the fetching Human woman at that sabacc table—no, two tables over, not the one with the Delphidian—one of the Shadow Lord’s operatives? The need for constant vigilance put a serious damper on having any fun, which left Erinyes as wound up as… well, as wound up as Lucine Vassano would’ve been on Chyron, probably. Granted, Vassano probably would’ve called ahead like a normal person, instead of skulking around alone and unannounced while she–
Erinyes’ train of thought was diverted by a pair of presences in the Force. One was a Dark Jedi of some description, nearby but not getting too close, and not someone Erinyes had sensed before. The other was… the most mountainous Chiss she had ever seen, and Erinyes’ eyebrows shot upward at the sight. She couldn’t sense the Force on him at all, but somehow, the man’s presence there was as towering as his physicality.
Great, it’s the welcoming committee.
More by reflex than conscious intent, Erinyes flexed her hand to ensure that her lightsaber had a clear path from its wrist holster to her grip. The enormous Chiss noticed the gesture, however, and raised a beefy hand. “There is no need to arm yourself, Consul Ténama. I am General Stres’tron’garmis, scion of House Garmis, of Clan Arcona—but you may simply call me ‘Strong’.” He extended the same hand in greeting.
“It suits you.” The gap between their eye levels didn’t seem to change as Erinyes stood to shake Strong’s hand. “Will your friend be joining you, or is this the part where you take me to some Arconan holding facility?”
“Mistress Tir’eivra will arrive momentarily. As for our location, we had not planned to detain you unless you proved unwilling to have a polite discussion. I have found that such matters proceed more smoothly in a more relaxed environment.” Strong turned and inclined his head towards the approaching server. “My typical order, if you would, and Mistress Tir’eivra’s as well. I assume Consul Ténama will also require another drink, he said.
“Oh, yeah.” Erinyes started to sit down, paused when she noticed that Strong wasn’t doing the same, then looked up when she heard high-heeled boots clicking across the tavern floor. In front of her was a very shapely figure, coated in black latex and perched atop what looked like weaponised footwear. Forty-five degrees later, Erinyes finally spotted the woman’s head, with the thick black ponytail emerging from the top of her helmet.
“Mistress Alaisy.” Strong nodded by way of greeting, received the same gesture in exchange—kriff, the woman might’ve been even taller than him—and turned back to Erinyes. “Battlemaster Alaisy Tir’eivra, Consul.”
Alaisy offered Erinyes the same nod. “Curious, seeing a Taldryan Consul on Ol’val unaccompanied.”
“Well, aren’t you a sight to behold.” No, stay professional, Erinyes reminded herself. “Nice to meet you both… Are all Arconans this tall these days? What the kriff do they feed you here?” That refill couldn’t come soon enough.