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Paying Dues

Posted on Tuesday October 27th, 2020 @ 7:43pm by Rhea Nyx & Jai Damodar

Mission: When a Hutt Laughs
Location: Zhar System
Timeline: MD1-1100

A beat-up but otherwise solid VCX-100 light freighter dropped out of hyperspace at the rendezvous point. The adolescent boy set the nav controls to idle and jumped up from the pilot seat.

"Jai!" He called out as he ran back to the passenger compartment. "We're here!"

Perfect timing. Jai had just reassembled his blaster after a thorough cleaning. After giving it a final examination, he spun it in his hand and holstered it at his hip as he stood up in one fluid motion.

"Felt us drop out of hyperspace," he said gruffly. "Why are you off the stick, Tmu?"

The adolescent boy cringed under the implicit criticism. "I... just..."

"We aren't under fire," Jai said, "but how would you have known that?"

Tmu crossed his arms. "I ran an auto-sweep. Nothing showed up on sensors."

"That just means we didn't drop into a war zone," Jai chided. "Sensors can't warn you about an ambush. That's why they're called ambushes." He grunted again. "Did you at least make contact with the rest of the Wing?"

"Not yet," Tmu said. "You said never to use your call sign."

The Drexl's IFF transponder was locked down for good reason. Maybe when Tmu was older, but until then...

Jai gave a wry chuckle at that. "So I did." He tussled Tmu's had and then popped him behind the shoulders back toward the cockpit. "Let's see where these jokers dragged us this time."

The rally point was nothing impressive. A literal hole in a rock. Jai kept Tmu on board the Drexl and made his way to the cluster of pilots. He had payment to deliver.

Nearby, still musing over her earlier conversation with Sol, Rhea Nyx watched as the VCX100 landed. Add one more to the list of tardy folks, she reckoned. She ran a gloved hand through her short hair stifling a yawn. She longed to be in her Fang right now, taking shots at the Empire or the Republic, but it was out of the question. Part of her hated idling around on the ground, yet it was necessary at times; besides, they wouldn't be idling around for much longer. Would they even be around for much longer in three days' time, Rhea wondered as she slipped her helmet back over her head and made a move towards the latest arrival.

Pushing the thought aside, the Mandalorian tapped at the side of her helmet gathering the scan results of the ship and its occupants before she made any further moves. She half wondered when did she end up on the welcoming committee, considering she was probably the least-people-friendly person on base. She figured she could use some fresh air and a change of scenery from the holotable she's been staring at for the past 6 hours, lest she missed something vital. She waved a hand catching Jai's attention as she moved to meet him.

Great. The Protector. Jai shrugged. He supposed it made no difference in the end. "Hey, Mando." Jai held out a gloved hand with a stack of credit sticks. "For this month's payment on the Drexl." He held it tight and stared down Rhea before releasing. "Make sure Sol gets it."

"Why don't *you* hold onto that and *you* make sure Sol gets it when he's back, Jai." she shot back with a shrug ignoring the staredown and letting the stack of credit sticks fall to the ground without even an attempt to grasp at them. She didn't do admin. It's enough she had to deal with people and the current situation; credits and shady deals Sol or others made were none of her concern. This was his squad, not hers, even if she was the one responsible for it for the time being. Maybe it was about time she got more involved with the admin side of things, she figured. 'Sol's going to get much more than just it when he comes back,' she thought 'actually, he's probably going to get it regardless if he comes back,' she added silently to herself.

"Nice of you to finally join us," she said addressing Jai. "Get some rest, refuel the ship. Briefing at 1600," she added brushing a gloved hand past a vambrace, no word from her contact yet; which may or may not be a good thing, Rhea wasn't sure yet. She hoped she'd have an answer soon.

"Fair enough." Jai's deep voice rumbled from deep in his chest. "Where is Sol anyway? Jobs seemed pretty scarce last I checked in."

"He's busy," Rhea replied. "What'd you catch this time?" she asked.

"Just turned in a bounty," Jai said. "An Umbaran wanted for cannibalism throughout the Inner Rim. Sneaky bastard." The payout could catch him up with Grakkus or Sol, but not both. "So what happened? Why are we running?"

"Had to evacuate. Avoiding a New Republic strike fleet headed to Horizon base," she explained, "as for what happened, still clarifying details. Hopefully we'll know more when Sol gets back," she added, 'provided Sol makes it back in one piece' she thought.

Absolutely all of that made Jai scowl. "You mean Harizzo is not even here? Do we know if he made it out?"

“Yes,” Rhea spoke, “he made it off Horizon base,” she added without elaborating further. “So don’t even *think* about running off with the payment.”

Jai squared up his shoulders and looked down at Rhea. "You got a problem, Mando? Just say it." He rolled his arms up and gave a light flex. "Otherwise I got some goods to swap out." He scoffed down at her and turned away. "I'll wait around for Sol before I hit my next target."

Rhea raised an eyebrow curling up a hand into a tight fist to keep her anger in check. Damodar was seriously starting to damage her calm, but Rhea was well aware he wasn't the main reason for that, it was part of a series of events over the last 48 hours and counting. Or maybe he was just looking for a fight for some reason. She let out a silent breath uncurling her fist at the same time, letting her hand rest on the belt that housed her Westars, now was not the right time to get distracted and start a fight. She still had work to do.

"I'm sure you must've noticed we're in the middle of an evacuation; c'mon, big guy, your brain cells cannot be *that* lonely; I mean, we *just* talked about what just happened and why we're here for now," she remarked her hands indicating the scattered members of Grey Wing at the bolt hole as a reminder of the squadron's current circumstances. "*Everyone* on here has at least one problem on their minds right now," she added, allowing anger to briefly slip into her voice.

"Then I guess we're done here," Jai said, turning away. "Let me know when Sol returns. I have something to tell him."

Rhea shook her head, "Not how it works, Damodar. Sol's not coming back here today, so you'll have to deal with me for the foreseeable future." Rhea shrugged brushing a gloved hand past an armour plate on her chest. "Unless you got a problem with that?" she queried in a casual voice with just a hint of sarcasm slipping in on the edge of her tone.

"You turned down my credits," Jai said without turning around or even stopping. "Don't tell Sol I never tried."

Rhea laughed, “that would be because I don’t normally deal with credits side of things in this outfit.” She spoke, “Most of the regulars are aware of that, but I’ll give you a pass just this once since you’re technically new here,” she spoke, a hint of sweetness in her voice as she caught up with him in several quick steps. “Try not to take offence to that,” she added.

“you said you have something to tell Sol, so is there some sort of a dialogue that’s meant to go along with those credits ?” She tilted her head to the side briefly glancing over at Jai. “Re-negotiating the rent, perhaps, or looking for more jobs? I got some potential leads for you, but since you’re not interested...” Rhea trailed off with a shrug, “I guess I’ll handle them myself after Grey Squad is secured at the new location.” She noted a gloved hand clasped over a vambrace on her other wrist, she’s already had to put one job on hold when this whole mess began. “You’re okay for credits and paying off everyone you owe, right?” She asked looking over Jai again; it’s not like a lot of bounty hunters did this sort of thing for pure fun.

Jai turned around and regarded Rhea with stonewall silence. "You talk too much," he said at length. "You know that, Mando?" He turned back around and returned to the Drexl.

Rhea watched Jai leave rolling her eyes, "and you don't seem to listen much, at all." she said watching him leave. "Don't say I didn't give you any chances or options," she added with a long sigh. Rhea shook her head and tapped at her commlink, "Elam, keep an eye on the VCX100 & its occupants. Any signs of trouble, have Yates deploy Delta squad and contact me right away."

There was a pause before the engineer replied, "understood."

'Okay, moving on....' she thought, heading back to the heart of the base to continue her work. She really had to keep the mercenaries, bounty hunters and other assorted villainy on a shorter leash when it came to the rest of the squadron members, and if her giving them a bit of grief put the target on her own back, Rhea didn't mind, as long as it kept Grey Wing Squadron safe, however, this approach wouldn't work as well if her being in charge ended up on a more permanent basis. 'Dammit, Harizzo' she thought, 'K'oyacyi! you better get your arse back in one piece.' she thought, well aware he wouldn't hear her, but to some extent, the thought gave her a small amount of peace.

Content with things for the moment, Rhea activated the holotable again and resumed checking the navigational charts of the Outer Rim.


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