Celevon blew a smoke ring into the air, reclined in his office chair, booted feet cross on the surface of his desk. He was quietly humming to himself, the last of the week’s contracts had gone out, and only a few were waiting to return. Still he couldn’t help but feel something tugging at the back of his mind, as if he’d forgotten some small detail. Glancing over to the small desk along the wall where Lilly was filing away bits of paperwork with an air of repressed rage, he finally stopped humming.
“I feel as if we missed something, like I’m forgetting something important, Lilly, it’s bugging me,” he said aloud, finally.
The Fade ignored him, shuffling papers and glaring at the reports submitted by those who’d completed their contracts. Edraven shrugged to himself, sitting forward and letting his feet down to the floor, preparing to stand up and hit the bar in the corner. As he rose, the door to the office opened, and an incredibly foul and pungent smell wafted in, filling the room and overpowering the cigarette smoke that perpetually hung about. The Prelate tried to shut down his sense of smell, feeling his eyes water a little as a very ragged looking figure stepped into the office.
Robes torn, stained, and hanging limply off the extremely ruffled looking figure of the Ryn who stumbled forward to the chair before Celevon’s desk. Kordath’s head sunk down to be held in his filthy hands, shoulders slumped down as a long sigh escaped the exhausted looking Priest. Rubbing at his face, the Krath looked up to see the Prelate standing behind his desk, a look of perplexed anger painting the Obelisk’s face. With another sigh, Kordath leaned back in the chair, collapsing backwards slowly, before meeting Edraven’s stare.
“Kordath Bleu, reporting in,” spoke the Ryn, his very tone suggesting extreme fatigue.
Celevon pinched the bridge of his nose, counting down mentally before his hand lowered to his desk, finding a wayward datapad, “You left on a very, VERY simple mission two days ago, Bleu. Where the hell have you been?”
The Prelate’s complexion darkened as the Priest leaned forward, reaching across the desk to pick up Celevon’s pack of cigarettes and shaking one out. He leaned back in the chair, producing a pack of matches which proclaimed the “Frisky Jawa” as being the premier drinking establishment of Estle City, and lit it. Taking a long draw from the cig, Kordath blew out a stream of smoke and seemed to sink into the seat further, head hanging over the back of it as he stared at the ceiling.
“Honestly, you wouldn’t have believed me if I’d submitted a report, so I thought,” said the Krath, voice slowly gaining some semblance of strength as he continued, “it would be better for me to just come and do it in person. That way you could sense if I was making stuff up.”
The Priest chuckled, a dry, rough sound as he brought his head up to face the Obelisk. Lilly was watching the Ryn carefully, the Fade’s nose wrinkled against the pungent odor that had preceded him.
“Fine, lets start with the most obvious concern,” spoke the Prelate, his voice low and steady, “what the frak is that smell?”
Kordath sighed and held up a portion of his stained robes, an orange turning to black smudge some eight inches in length running down towards his legs, “Kyataran, Black and Gray, some sort of curry dish from the initial smell of it. Turned sour yesterday, not a good experience,” finished the Ryn, with a shudder.
“So, lunch is all over your robes. And two days late, I might add,” growled the Prelate.
“Yeah. Sorry about that, but honestly, that’s probably the least of the problems I had on this errand run of yours,” stated the Krath, reaching over the desk to stub out the cigarette, making the ashtray on his second try.
This time it was Celevon who let out a sigh, pulling his chair back and settling into it, “Fine then. I knew even sending you on a job as simple as a supply run for the Commissioner’s office was risky. I accept that. Now explain, from the start, perhaps?”
Kordath nodded glumly, taking a deep breath, and began his tale, “So I left your office, right? I left with Sight’s bloody dry cleaning in hand, and hit the cleaners on my way towards the spaceport. Dropped it off with them, by the way, who the hell let a family of Dugs open a dry cleaner? They barely speak Basic, they’re rude, and they kept going on and on about how I needed to make sure I had my ticket when I came back.”
“‘You come back, two hours, shirts done! No ticket, no shirts!’ I swear to Bogan they have no control of syntax,” said the Ryn, shaking his head. Realizing he was being stared at, the Priest coughed and continued.
“Anyways, I’m headed to Giletta spaceport to requisition a shuttle, right? As I’m going along, I feel a presence, a very familiar presence that could help me out with part of this job, and who I’d heard was getting released from medical soon. So I’m walking, right? And the Force, I swear it was the Force, guided my steps to the Frisky Jawa, this little hole in the wall bar a few blocks from the spaceport. And there’s Atyiru, sitting in the corner with a large bottle and two glasses, being fussed over by a med-droid.”
“She waves me over, big smile on her face, she still looks so damn frail but hey, what are ya gonna do? She’d just been released after taking a shot that nearly killed her, she wanted to live it up a little, that’s her decision. Anyways I go over, sit down, she pours me a drink even though I tell her I gotta go fly. Says it’ll help steady my nerves, and I realize she’s been there for a little while already. Asks me where I’m going, what I’m up too, ya know, the usual small talk between friends catching up. I tell her I’m on a supply run for you guys,” he stated, gesturing broadly at the room, “and that I gotta take a shuttle and fly to Port Ol’val.”
Licking his lips, Kordath glanced at the bar in the corner of the office in a longing manner, glancing pleadingly at the Prelate, and coughed once or twice in an attempt to get his point across. Celevon sat motionless, staring at him, and he mumbled to himself about a dry throat before continuing.
“So I tell her about needing to find a place to pick up supplies for the Fades,” he said, gesturing slightly towards Lilly, stone faced and staring at him, “and she couldn’t stop laughing. I ask her what the ‘monthly bill’ was about and she told me it was a ticket system to keep the ‘blood mynocks’ at bay or something. Wasn’t sure what she meant, but whatever, she told me what store to hit up.”
“Now, if I’d been bright, at this point, I’d have gone back and got the dry cleaning,” stated the Ryn, sheepishly, “since I’m pretty sure it’d been two hours, but I figured I could pick it up on the way back, ya know? So I’m sitting there, at the bar, and I’ll admit, I might have been pretty toasted by that point. I mean, if I was the guy working at the spaceport, and somebody in my state came to pick up a shuttle, I’d call security.”
Heaving a sigh, Kordath slumped down in his seat, “So, recognizing this, I brought it up with Atty. She laughed at me again, she was doing that a lot, now that I think about it, pulled out a comm unit and keyed it on. It was surreal, man, she cleared her throat and suddenly she sounds all…official, I guess, telling something poor guy at Giletta that ‘an agent of Galeres on a very important mission’ was coming to pick up a shuttle. And that I was to be given no trouble, it’s who ya know, huh?”
Kordath grinned a little, “So I thank her, I think I did, things are a bit fuzzy for a while here on out. I left, heading for Giletta, and for some reason I’m carrying a rucksack that’s clinking as I walk. Didn’t matter, pretty sure I was whistling on my way, just enjoying myself and trying not to stumble into traffic, ya know? Anyways, I got to the port, found one of the receptionist types, and announced that I was ‘on very important Galerian business’ or something. I’m sure I wasn’t that eloquent, honestly, but the point got across, I found myself on a shuttle.”
“And that’s when things got…well, dicey might be the word,” stated the Krath, shuddering, “I’m finally on the ship, right, and it sets in that I’m going to have to lift off and fly the blasted thing. Comms are telling me I’ve got clearance to take off, I can’t even find the ignition for the engines. After a little trial and error, by the way you can really cause a panic on a shuttle pad if you try to lower a Lambda’s wings while still parked, I turned the damn thing on. I just…I just sat there for a while, then remembered the rucksack, which I’d dropped in the co-pilot’s seat.”
“I open it, and find…four, five bottles of whiskey, not sure how many I started with. And a little note of flimsy with Atyiru’s hand writing on it, which I’m not sure you’ve ever had to deal with but it’s a bit on the whimsical side. What do you expect from somebody who can see the meanings of the words she’s writing, but not the actual letters, huh? Basically it said it was a gift and ‘supplies for your supply run’, her little attempt at a pun, I think. By the time I broke atmo from Selen, I think one of those bottles was empty, and I was hoarse from screaming.”
He shivered, patting at his robes absently, before Celevon threw a cigarette at him. Kordath nodded his thanks, lighting it and taking a drag, “The folks at the spaceport had actually managed to jam me at that point, I found out later. Apparently I caused a little ‘incident’ for people trying to land, in that I couldn’t stay in one space lane long enough, and was broadcasting on an open channel. People don’t appreciate the sounds of panic when trying to land a spaceship, I guess.”
“Anyways, yeah, I’m out in open space, trying to figure out if theres a way to dim the cockpit, and somehow set the autopilot to Port Ol’val, think there was a preset in there I guess. Some alarm woke me up, passed out from terror and attempted alcohol poisoning. Nearly messed the pilot’s seat when I opened my eyes, and the guys running the Docks at Port screamed me nearly sober when I finally got through and landed.”
“Stop, how did you even make it through to the Docks, good pilots crash sometimes and you were drunk, not to mention never flown before,” stated Celevon, glaring at the Priest.
“Well, about that,” said Kordath, a weak smile on his face, “most people don’t take nearly two hours to navigate the entry.”
“It took you two hours? Nobody shot you when you landed, how odd.”
The Ryn shrugged, waving his cigarette in the air a bit.
“I know, right? The Mal Company guys were livid, I finally got away from the Docks and tried to find somebody who could point me towards the store. Figured I could pick up the stuff for the Fade’s, your stuff from the Besadii, and hit the takeout on the way back to the ship. Seemed simple enough, started making my way through the Ducts, got sidetracked by the familiar sounds and smells of a spacer dive bar, and decided I needed to rehydrate, as it were.”
Kordath just stared back at Celevon’s glare at this point, waiting for the man to say something before continuing, “And so yeah, I end up taking a little longer to find the store after this, I’m pretty sure somebody tried to rob me at some point, because I found a second wallet on me when I went to pay. Don’t recall that but my knuckles were pretty beat up, so who knows, huh?.
Gesturing at another set of stains, closer to his forearms, Kordath shrugged, “Really confused the lady at the shop, asked me if I knew that the ‘products’ I’d asked for wouldn’t really help if it was ‘that big of a problem’. No idea what she meant, did ask her if she had anything that’d get blood stains out, because of my robes, and she started yelling at me and came at me with a broom. Crazy fricken broad.”
“So I’d gotten the supplies for you and Sight’s little helpers,” said the Priest, instantly regretting the statement as Lilly’s stare turned even colder, “and…and….and I headed off to find the Besadii warehouse you had listed on the datapad. That part was actually pretty simple, I walked in, I walked out, I walked back in to pick the stuff because I’d forgotten to take it with me. Asked around about the takeout place, which turned a bit confusing when I got to it, maybe because I’d been drinking, maybe the guy behind the counter was just a dick.”
“Old Brister? What did he do to you?”
“Was that the bastard’s name? Asked me what I was, said he’d never seen an alien like me, told him I was a Ryn, he said ‘No, this is Rin’s’ and would point at the floor. I said to him ‘I bloody well know this is Rin’s, and I’m a Ryn, and I need to pick up a bloody order of Black and Gray.’ We went back and forth on this for like, half an hour, he’d pick up his phone when it rang and say ‘Thank you calling Rins, how help you?’ and I’d go ‘Huh?’ and then he’d throw a little cookie thing at me and tell me to sit down and wait for my order. Never going back again, the place reeked and the package they gave me smelled like a Hutt that had died and been left in the desert for a month.”
Celevon smiled slightly, a twitch of the lips anyways, “That sounds like a Black and Gray, so, just so I’m clear here, you dropped off Sight’s dry cleaning, picked up all the supplies, and you obviously made it back to Selen. Why do you look as if you just pulled yourself out of a dumpster that was the scene of a hobo orgy half an hour ago?”
“Weeellllll…,” started the Priest, gritting his teeth and sitting up a little straighter in his chair, “I, ummm, hah, well. Right. I finally got away from the Kytaran place, got the food, got the caf and cigs, got the….umm, monthly bill items. Make it back through the Ducts, used Force shenanigans to get back onto my shuttle, and very slowly made my way out of Port Ol’val. Everything was going fine, except I checked the rucksack and only found one bottle left. Kept it on hand until I was about ten minutes from landing on Selen……,” Kordath tapered off, licking his lips.
“You drank the whole blasted bottle on the way in, didn’t you.” said Celevon, not asking.
Kordath shrugged, “It worked the first time, figured maybe it’d help the second time. I turned off my comms this time, ya know, courtesy and all. And don’t kid yourself, mate, the bottle was empty before I hit the upper atmosphere. So, you know how you read or hear about Jedi and Force users letting it ‘guide them’ as they pilot a ship?”
“…yes.” replied the Prelate, morbid fascination starting to win out.
“Well, that works, I guess, but it probably helps if you actually know how to fly as well, heh. I did land, technically, just…not…at…Giletta.”
“So what, Celeste? Korda? Where did you end up?”
“Oh I landed in Estle City, I’m sure you heard about it, hard to believe that didn’t make the local news. So the Force guiding your hand while piloting, well, you better stay focused on what you intend, and where you want to land, I guess. Being sloshed didn’t help. You know the ‘Tipsy Rancor’, over off main street? Popular place since it’s just a block or so away from the SPECTER headquarters?”
“I’m…aware of it’s existence, yes,” answered the Obelisk, slowly feeling a rising anger, of which he had no doubt of the source.
“Well, muscle memory and habit, I guess, it was happy hour when I got there,” stated the Ryn, shrugging.
Lilly finally broke her silence, “When you got there? You were explaining how you landed, are you just skipping that?”
“I just told you, I got to the Rancor at happy hour, the owner is thinking about turning the back into a patio now that I, umm, opened things up for him. If you think about it, it’s not MY fault, it’s the Force’s own fault for guiding me there,” said the Ryn, nodding as he spoke.
“Let me get this straight, Kordath,” growled the Prelate, “you landed at a bar?”
“In. I landed in a bar, trust me the security officers were very specific about that difference.”
Celevon’s head dropped down into his hands, rubbing at his eyes as he tried to process this, “So, you’re saying you crash landed into a bar?”
“Oh no, not a crash, apparently it was a beautiful flarking landing, stuck it, perfect ten, just the shuttle was tougher than the building. Umm, anyways, the landing was great, I don’t remember it at all, but the turnout at the bar was pretty good. Some debris got under the ramp, so it didn’t drop properly, made me fall out of the blasted shuttle,” said the Krath, waving at the curry stains, “hence this. Security said I was too ‘inebriated to be flying a shuttle’, apparently I said something like ‘Well that’s okay, I’m not flying it anymore anyways.’ Then I woke up in a drunk tank six hours later.”
Kordath coughed, grinning weakly under the Prelate’s glare.
“Well, I woke up, smelled myself, threw up, passed out again for a while. When I woke up again there was a jug of water and a box of crackers in my cell. Slept again for a while, I think, and then they booted me out. I headed back to the bar, figured I could at least salvage the supplies, if not lunch. Turns out the owner had, ummm, you…you’re not going to like this bit, man.”
“Go on,” quietly spoke the Obelisk.
“Well, the owner of the bar managed to get all of the cargo off the shuttle before security could get it towed off. Told me he was keeping the caf and cigs to restock and as a down payment on the repairs,” said the Ryn, cringing.
“And the ‘other’ supplies?” added Lilly.
“Well I asked about that, he said they had a lady’s room, so….I have no idea, what the hell did I buy?”
“How are you this thick at your age, Bleu?” asked the Prelate. “So, you lost MY cigarettes, and MY caf, as well as our lunch, and the medical supplies for the Fades. Where are Sight’s clothes?”
“Man, when I woke up in that cell, my pockets were empty, there was no laundry ticket when they gave me back my possessions. They also wanted to know why I had two wallets, but I managed to talk my way out of that. Hit the laundry on my way here, they chased me out after I walked in, probably because of the smell, and told me again, ‘No ticket, No shirts!’, so…yeah, I’m empty handed, Celevon, sorry.”
Standing up from his desk, the Prelate leaned forward, planting his fists against the tabletop, “Kordath, the level of failure here is…it’s hard to define, you’ve screwed up so thoroughly that I’m not even sure what to do with you….”
“Lilly, can we make sure that the bills for the damage to the bar goes straight to Kordath, and not to the office?”
“What? Hey wait, how am I supposed to pay off….,” the Ryn trailed off, avoiding the icy gaze of the Obelisk.
Lilly cracked a slight smile, “I’m certain that can be arranged, sir.”
“Kordath, just…just go, get cleaned up, I’m sure we’ll find a suitable job for you later. Possibly one of the garbage scows will need a scrubbing or something,” growled the Prelate.
“Right, right, I’m going I’m going, need a bloody shower anyways,” muttered the Krath, getting up to leave.
“I…I guess I’ll be back when you need me to do something?”
“Oh don’t rush, Bleu, don’t call us, we’ll call you,” said Lilly, noting the darkening expression on Celevon’s face.