Era of Rebellion - Navigation

D. Wade Hyde and Christopher Levy.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:8:34) in the Essesia system: Esseles (Calamar: The Calamar House).
El-Nay Darr, Tycho Starlight, and Yul-Kari.

Calamar was a hub of culture and civilization, and Tycho was impressed. It wasn't as packed as some of Nal Hutta's bigger cities, or indeed the great city-moon of Nar Shaddaa. It was, however, cleaner by far, beautiful and temperate. It was a place of trade, art, entertainment, and beautiful surroundings, both in nature and architecture. Even the local wildlife was something to marvel over. There was so much to see in the entertainment district that he didn't think he'd ever get around to it all. As it was, however, their first stop had been an easy decision. Both he and El-Nay were hungry. There was no shortage of places to eat, but he wanted a fine dining establishment. Frankly, life was about to get even more dangerous than normal. If death was looming at his doorstep, he at least wanted a good meal first. He found a place that specialized in all manner of exotic cuisine and they were showed to a little table for two, complete with a lovely crystal candleholder. The hostess lit the candle, tapped the table to bring up a menu for each of them, then left them to peruse it while they waited for their server. "I'm glad we're getting this chance to sit down to a nice meal," Tycho said. "Our lives have been hectic lately ... sounds like it's only gonna get worse. We deserve a break, right?"

As El-Nay stepped forward into The Calamar House, she began to feel slightly uncomfortable by how formal the place felt. She froze briefly as she looked at all of the older, wealthy individual who had gathered for their dinner. Then there was her ... a young woman, with visible bruises upon her body and face, and a wild hairstyle that was anything but high society. "Tycho..." she whispered quietly, squeezing his hand as if to ask if they were in the right place. As they came to the table, she was surprised as the host pulled out her chair, as she did not normally eat in the kind of restaurant that did that. "You sure we're supposed to be here?" she asked him, as she leaned forward across the table, her gray eyes darting around at the other diners. She felt like everyone was staring at them ... they were not of course, but that was still how she felt.

"We're paying customers, so yeah," he said, giving a shrug, "I guess we're supposed to be here. I don't think they care who we are... we came with money. As long as we don't make a scene we'll be fine. So ... y'know ... don't make a scene." A smirk touched Tycho's lips and he glanced over the menu. "They sure have plenty to choose from here, don't they?" And they did have quite the diverse menu. Not for the first time he looked up at her and realized just how lovely she was. She had irritated him seven ways from Sunday at times, and they had had their negative moments, but when he'd seen her in the dress at the clothing store, he'd decided that he was pleased to be near her, even if just to look at her. He, himself, made a dashing figure in a fine, red and black silk suit. His hair had been slicked back and he had even shaved. He looked quite different.

"What can I order?" El-Nay asked, as some of the items on the menu seemed quite extravagant, and she did not want to choose something too expensive and offend him. She had never been on a traditional date before, as all of the guys on Corellia found her too much of a tomboy, and far too physically conditioned for their tastes. She reached across to take her glass of water, but as her eyes were not focused on the glass, she inadvertently tipped it over, spilling it upon the table. "Eep!" she squealed frantically, before picking up the glass to prevent what was left in it from running over the table. Someone from the wait staff hurried over to clean the mess, as El-Nay brought a hand to cover her cheeks, which were rapidly flushing red with embarrassment. "Sorry," she mouthed to Tycho, hoping she had not just made a scene.

Tycho let out a good-natured chuckle, amused by her little mishap. The smile that remained after the laughter faded was a very genuine one and there was a twinkle in his eyes. He seemed to be warmer than usual, more lighthearted. It probably made him much more pleasant to be around. "Don't worry about it," he said. "You're just nervous. Don't be. And get whatever you want. We're about to do something stupidly dangerous, so we should treat ourselves, right?"

"Good evening, honored sentients," said an attractive Iridonian woman as she stepped up to the table. "I am Yul-Kari and I'll be your server today. What can I start you off with?"

Tycho looked over the menu, letting out a, "Hmm..." He flipped through the drinks. "I'd like an iced zobah ... and how do the Torta-balls sound?" He looked to El-Nay as he asked the last. The Torta-balls were a type of local fish with various veggies and dough rolled up into a ball and fried, and came with a dipping sauce. They were known to be a delicacy here.

"Torta-balls? They sound ... uh ... fine. Wait. They're not too salty are they?" El-Nay, asked, switching her gaze from Tycho to Yul-Kari. She was glad to be here ... away from the hardships of life, but she knew that all of this was just a temporary diversion, and that at any moment it could be shattered by the Empire, the Black Sun, or any number of enemies that they were rapidly accumulating. "I need a drink," she said, glumly, as she instructed Yul-Kari to bring her not one, but two Corellian ales.

"Oh no," Yul-Kari assured her, "they're not that salty. It's a fairly bland fish with local seasonings and vegetables, breaded and fried. Sort of a meatball. So, we've got a Torta-ball appetizer dish, iced zobah and two Corellian ales. I'll be right back with your drinks."

Tycho grinned to himself and said, "Now all we have to do is make it through the rest of dinner without spilling any Corellian ale." The bounty hunter gave her a wink and went on. "I was thinking we should go do something after this. Take the rest of the evening off and just enjoy some time... um... the entertainment district has a whole lot to do, according to the hotel brochure. We can find something interesting while we're waiting." He tapped the table a few times and brought up a listing of various entertainment venues and activities so they could look at their leisure.

"Oh don't worry, Tycho," El-Nay began, as she reached to grab her first Corellian ale, heartily drinking the cold brew more rapidly than she should. "If I spill any of it I'll just lick it," she said, grinning across the table towards him, before knocking back the rest of the first glance. "Can I ask you something?" she asked, but did not give him a chance to reply before just going ahead and asking anyway. "Why are you being so nice?" she asked, before sticking her fork into one of the torta-balls. She stared at it for a moment, before bringing it up to her mouth to gently run her tongue over the ball to taste it. "Mmm," she moaned, slightly obnoxious as she had no social graces, before she sucked the entirety of the ball into her mouth. In one bite she swallowed it whole, before bringing the napkin up to her mouth to wipe the traces of the juice from the ball off her lips.

Something about the way she ate the Torta-ball seemed suggestive, but he said nothing about it. He skewered one of the balls and dipped it in the thick, white sauce, then munched it down. It was crisp and juicy and not at all greasy like one would expect. "Mm ... these are even better than I thought they'd be. Good pick, me." He swallowed and gave her a cocky smirk. "Why do I have to have an excuse to be nice to you? I'm not a nice guy, but I'm trying to have a good time with someone I like. I don't like a lot of people and it takes some time and effort to warm up to someone. Besides, haven't you had enough of me being mean?" He scrolled to a holotheatre, drug that off to the side, then scrolled to the park and arboretum, dragging that off to the side, then finally to a concert hall. The three info sites were displayed off to one side on the tabletop. "Go on and look those over ... see what you want to do after dinner. Maybe there's even a good place to go gambling here. If that's your thing."

"It's just ... usually when some is nice to me it's because they want something," El-Nay said, breaking eye contact, her voice trailing forth as she played with the remaining balls on her plate. "You like me? You really like me, Tycho? You're not just saying that?" she asked, unable to look at him as she spoke the words, her mind still unable to get over the manipulative nature of the last bounty hunter she got close to. She began to look over the events he had selected, but none of them really suited her. They were all too high class for her, and she simply shrugged her shoulders towards him. "I wish there was a shockboxing match or something..." she said idly, as she moved her hand back to her food. She did not know what to make of the man sitting in front of her. There were moments when he was incredibly sweet to her, but he was a little too quick with his hands ... and that scared her.

There was no doubt that Tycho had a volatile temper sometimes, and often a hard, cold exterior. He was tough on her and even laid his hands on her, to try to toughen her up, to make her stronger and break her of bad habits. Unfortunately, it wasn't really the right move, it was just difficult for him to find other ways of dealing with problems. Guile and persuasion he could do, not diplomacy. He was making a real effort, though, because he truly did like the girl. He even felt responsible for her somehow. "If I didn't like you, I wouldn't still be here," he said succinctly. He drug the three locales off the table to clear them from the list, then started punching up some other things from the list. "There's a gambling den and an arena. sabaac, pazaak, et cetera. The arena doesn't have a shock boxing match tonight ... droid gladiator tournament." He glanced across the table at her, eyebrows raised.

"I used to shockbox," El-Nay revealed, looking up to him as a twinkle came to her eyes that normally had not been there as she reflected on a happier time of her life. "Against the guys. Couldn't find any other girls who did it..." she said, nodding her head proudly, as her hand instinctively formed a fist and punched into the palm of her other hand. "Wish I could find a fight. Blow off some steam. Kick some ass," she said, her voice growing loud with enthusiasm, causing some of the other patrons to take a quick glance towards them. "What are you into? Like gardens and shit?" she asked, as she looked back down at the arboretum he selected, trying to understand why anyone would go to look at nature.

Tycho chuckled. "Can't imagine a girl wanting to tangle with you," he said, earnestly. He hadn't seen her perform all that well so far, but that was in comparison to a professional, seasoned bounty hunter. As far as fighting ... well, she was certainly a scrapper. Being so hard-headed helped too, of course. Half of fighting was not giving up. "Me? Well ... I mostly like gambling, drinking and fighting, not necessarily in that order. I do appreciate a good symphony, though. It's relaxing or sometimes inspiring or sad. I guess there's a tiny spot in me that enjoys things that provoke the emotion. Or ... maybe I just like music. Either way, there you have it. Is fighting your only passion in life?"

"There've been one or two," El-Nay said, referencing the women she had encountered during her travels as a bounty hunter ... the foremost of which was Kerrie. "I find my center in fighting. There is no confusion to it. You have an opponent, and you have an objective..." she said, before moving to the next glass of Corellian ale, savoring the cold, frothy beverage as it went down. "The noise of life escapes my head and out my fists. They say violence doesn't solve anything, but for me ... it solves everything," she said, before taking another large, obnoxious gulp. Her wrist then moved to her face to wipe the suds off, as she became slightly intoxicated, and her table manners went even further downhill. "Do you like the Max Rebo Band?" she asked, before leaning back in the chair, her cheeks starting to become a bit more rosy as the alcohol hit her. Beneath the table her foot moved towards his shin, rubbing against it playfully, whether she was aware she was doing it or not.

Tycho chuckled at her response. She was still young and brash, and violence solved everything in her mind. It was likely the only way she knew how to respond to situations. "Spoken like a true Mandalorian," he said, smiling. It was far from an insult or a joke, as he knew that combat was integral to the Mandalorian culture. Whatever else they were, they were first and foremost warriors. He had only ever known one Mandalorian before her and he hadn't been taught a whole lot about the culture. He was already learning more just being around her, observing her, feeling her. "I've heard of them, but never listened to their stuff." His eyebrows lifted as he felt her foot on his shin. Footsy, huh? He slowly moved his leg to rub his shin against hers, a light grin touching his lips.

El-Nay sat there quietly as their under the table play continued, and she brought her left hand up to rub the back of her neck. It was suddenly getting hot in the restaurant, and she switched her focus from the Corellian ale back to the water in the hope it might cool her. "How old did you say you were?" she asked, after clearing her throat. The appetizer was cleared and soon their main course was brought to the table. The man who sat in front of her was a contradiction who went from beating her one moment to flirting with her the next. Suddenly she was not feeling very hungry as a range of emotions came over her. She was suddenly feeling very unsure of herself, and was worried that she might be making another bad decision. All of the Corellian ale she was drinking was not helping either. Could she trust him? She wondered, looking at him more carefully with each passing moment.

"Thirty-seven," he said, succinctly answering that particular question. Maybe it was cheating, but he could sense bits of emotion from her, and he reached out to feel more. He felt a longing in her, rising to the surface, an attraction, and a great deal of anxiety and confusion. He could understand all those emotions. The majority of the time he hadn't been all that nice to her. He'd beaten her up, then later smacked her on more than one occasion. He had, however, gone out of his way to protect her and be there for her when she needed it. Tycho was getting better with emotions the more he got used to sensing them, but he was still socially stunted in a way. He swallowed back a bit of nervousness he felt, thanks to her. "I'm not going to take advantage of you," he said. "I'm not going to feed you lies to try to get you in bed. I know you're afraid I'll be like him, but I won't. I like you, El-Nay. I don't ... y'know ... love you, and I'm not gonna tell you that to screw you. But I do really like you." With that said, he went to digging into his food, not sure what else to do.

El-Nay was surprised when she heard the man's age ... he was old enough to be her father. She listened to what he had to say, and she wanted to much to believe him. "If you want to keep hitting me, you're going to have to give me a chance to hit back," she said, looking at him from across the table, before finally taking a bite of her entree. She looked at that scarred face of his and all she could think about was punching him. He had hit her so many times without giving her the chance to fight back, and while she was not sure she could beat him ... all she wanted was a chance. "You wanna get out of here?" she asked, playfully biting at her lower lip, before putting her silverware down. Suddenly she wasn't hungry for food, but rather something else.

Tycho tilted his head to the side as he watched her and searched her feelings. "You're a very interesting young woman, you know that?" He said, smiling faintly. "We'll be scrapping a lot in the future, considering I'll be training you. You'll learn like I did. Full impact. I suspect you'll enjoy swinging back." He tapped a button on the table and after a moment their server materialized there... figuratively, of course. "We need our food to go," he said. Yul-Kari nodded and took their plates to pack the food. Tycho just shrugged and looked at El-Nay. "No sense in wasting food. I'm sure we'll need it to build up our energy again later." He might have meant fighting, for that might have been what was on her mind; it was hard to tell. However, when he said it, he let his foot wander up her leg, but didn't quite go all the way to her thigh.

"I don't like it when you talk like that, Tycho," El-Nay said, as a shiver ran up her thigh from the movement of his foot, causing an involuntary moan to softly escape her lips. "Do you know how many Black Sun thugs had their guns drawn down on me? And you had a vibroblade that was about to pop my knee cap off..." she explained to him, making excuses before rising from her chair. "I'm not a child. I can handle myself in a *fair* fight," she insisted, as she waited for him to lead her from the restaurant. She did not think she needed training, and if she was going to see him as a lover, then she would need to feel he saw her as an equal.

Tycho stood and took the bag of packaged food when the server returned with it. He produced several hundred credits in chits and left the extra over the price of the meal as a tip. He led her along to the door and out of the restaurant. "You need to understand, the Black Sun are dangerous," he said. "I know you know that, but if I hadn't been the one to punish you, you'd probably be dead. I know that probably doesn't make you feel better, but you also need to know something. When I was sixteen, I was taken on by a bounty hunter for training. He was a Mandalorian and the most skilled fighter I've ever seen. He never taught me anything about the culture, but he taught me everything else I know ... save some experience I've picked up along the way. His teaching methods were brutal. If I made stupid mistakes, he punished me. When we trained, it was full impact, getting beat up by him over and over until I was a match for him and he decided my training was done. My methods ... all of them ... I got from him." He paused and looked at her, frowning. "Maybe those methods are wrong, but it's what I know. I'm sorry."

As they walked from the restaurant into the streets of Calamar, she let out a huff as he continued to talk about the incident. "Look, Tycho. I get that you had to do it, but just because you did it doesn't mean you got over on me," she said to him, turning around to face him. "What I'm saying is ... try that shit when there aren't a bunch of guns on me, and you don't have a blade on me," she said, bringing her fisted hand up to pound her chest again. She brought both of her hands up, balling them into fists, and parting her legs in a defensive stance. "Hit me now!" she yelled at him, as she began to bob and weave, in preparation for his strike. She felt like she had to prove herself to him somehow, or else he would never stop talking to her like a child. "C'mon. Hit me!" she screamed, before moving her right fist forward in a quick jab at his jaw, trying to motivate him.

Tycho's eyebrows raised as she got more and more pumped, amping up for a fight. "Right here, on the street?" He asked, surprise in his tone. It really wasn't fair. Before the punch came, he *felt* it coming, *sensed* the danger. He reacted by instinct honed by years of fighting and training. He bobbed his head and upper body to the left so that the blow sailed past harmlessly. At the same time he brought up his left fist in a sharp hook for her right ribs. Then, he danced back and took up one of the forms of a Mandalorian fighting style.

El-Nay's eyes went wide in shock as her punch missed, having never failed to land a blow at the close of range before. But before she could give it another thought his fist connected with her ribs and briefly knocked the air out of her. She screamed at the top of her lungs in a combination of frustration and anger, as she was not sure what to do about this guy. "I've never seen anyone that fast before," she muttered, more to herself, than him, before spitting down onto the ground in front of her. It was only then she noticed his stance, which only served to further irritate her. "Are you mocking me? Who taught you that?" she asked, recognizing it as one of the exercises she had done with her parents in childhood.

"Of course I'm not mocking you," he said. "This is me taking you seriously. This is the best fighting stance I know, taught to me by Odell Darr. Like I said, best fighter I've ever met." He frowned, thinking that perhaps the fight was over, but he kept his guard up just the same. "He was one hell of a taskmaster, but it was worth it ... now I can teach that all to you. I know you're proud, and you should be ... that doesn't mean you don't have anything to learn." His voice was an appeal, as if he felt it important that she should learn more, be able to defend herself better. She wasn't weak or useless. She could fight. She just needed to know how to fight *better*.

When she heard the name he spoke it shattered her, and almost immediately changed the way that she viewed him. "No!" she screamed, both in anger, and the deep desire to deny what he described had happened. She had met people who had encountered her father and been trained, but he never wanted her to learn. Furious, she began to run towards him, and would attempt to tackle him to the ground. Her emotions had overcome her and she was acting with a blind rage with no stratagem.

Tycho saw it coming from a mile away, without any need of the Force. She had thrown caution to the wind and simply charged head-on. When she slammed into him, he stumbled back a few steps, then used her own momentum and the proper leverage to swing her around and pin her against the wall of the building. The way he was holding her there left his face entirely open for her to rain down any blows she wished. But, hoping to disarm her, knowing how confused her feelings for him were, he surged in to press a deep kiss to her lips.

"Oh come on!" El-Nay screamed in dismay, as she was pinned to the wall. He had an answer for every action that she tried, but she was not willing to give up. Just as she was planning another attack in came something unexpected ... a kiss. Her eyes closed instinctively as his lips connected with hers and in that heat of the moment she saw an opening. She pressed her face closer towards hers, meeting that kiss with her own intensity, and offering a teasing motion of her tongue in an attempt to distract him. A moment later her knee came up, backed by the full force of her body, on a direct course towards the man's testicles. She had been a street fighter on the streets of Doaba Guerfel ... and a dirty one at that.

The kiss had been to disarm her, to stop her in her tracks, and it seemed very much like it was working. What was more, he was falling into the moment, enjoying it thoroughly. He tasted her tongue against his lips and opened his mouth, ready to tilt his head and deepen that kiss. Then, a horrible pain struck him and he let out something that sounded very much like a quiet squeal. He backed away several paces, his hands on his crotch. There was a look of horrible betrayal on his face when he collapsed to his knees and began to groan in agony.

Finally, she thought to herself as she watched him stagger, and an excited look came over her face. She did not bother wasting time taunting him, nor did she celebrate her brief, minor victory. She surged forward as he collapsed, and grabbed the sides of his head, holding it in place while raising her right knee into his nose. She felt as she was redeeming herself, and there was no anger or hatred towards the man as she struck. Her motivation was nothing more than honor and the unwavering desire to prove herself. "I got this far on my own. Why can't you respect me?" she demanded of him, but decided not to strike again, having felt that she had proved her point.

He cried out, his head knocked back hard. On his knees as he was, he didn't fall back, instead rebounding forward. His head hung as copious amounts of blood ran from his nose and the split in his lip. He coughed, one hand planted on the ground while the other held his face. There was a rage building inside of him that seemed to give him strength and push away the pain. She stood over him, speaking, but he could barely focus on her words. "I do respect you," he snarled, his words barely intelligible. "Otherwise..." He suddenly sent a sharp uppercut between her legs, slamming his fist as hard as he could into her crotch. Turnabout is fair play, isn't it? When she dropped, he unceremoniously followed through with a headbutt straight to the nose, returning that favor as well. "Otherwise ... I'd have left you ... behind ... instead of..." He huffed, trying to breathe straight with his nose broken and filling with blood that ran down his throat. He gave up on talking and rolled away from her, then held himself up on all fours. Blood dripped to the pavement, pooling under him, as he watched her closely for another attack. His anger was simmering, but not boiling over.

El-Nay's eyes rolled back in her head as the man's fist connected unexpectedly with her vagina, sending waves of pain that flowed outward and soon enveloped her body, momentarily crippling her. Before she could respond his head came to her nose, shattering it instantly, and causing a massive gush of blood. With that complete, she fell face forward onto the ground, her body spasming, barely remaining conscious. She began to cough, practically choking, as the blood began to run down her throat. "I-I..." she tried to speak, but she could barely utter even a single syllable. "I fucking had you!" she screamed, after clearing some of the blood from her throat. She should have finished him when she had the chance. He was teaching her a valuable lesson in terms of not letting her guard down and always pushing through to the bitter end.

"Yeah," he began, then coughed and spat blood, though it still ran from his nostrils and clogged up his poor, smashed nose. "Yeah ... *cough* ...y-ya did. Do I look like ... I won..?" He reached down and cradled his genitals with one hand, moaning again as another wave of pain ran through him. It was a constant, horrible ache, but over and over waves of even worse pain coursed through him as it throbbed and *throbbed*. She might have been down for the count, but so was he. The two hits together had robbed him of strength and the will to fight. Even his anger was subsiding in the face of the pain and weariness. He coughed again, then reached up to hold his hand over his face, trying futilely to stem the tide of blood. It hurt. Bad. "Okay... you've proved..." He coughed and groaned. Even coughing sent spikes of pain through his head. "...oh stars ... hurts ... you proved ... yourself. Are we d-done?"

El-Nay was motionless on the ground for a good, long while, even as he tried to speak to her. She pressed her hands to the ground, in an attempt to raise herself from the pavement, but after getting a few inches off the ground she collapsed back down. The best she could manage was rolling her body so that she could wind up at her back. She brought her hand up to examine what was left of her nose, when the blood started rolling down into her throat causing her to violent choke. She did her best to sit up, resting on her elbows, before turning her head to look at him with her bloody, battered face. "No. We're just getting started," she said, before offering him a smile, flashing her blood stained teeth to him.

Tycho looked at her in a whole new light. There was surprise on his features, and then a hint of admiration. This girl had spirit! Even after the beating they'd both taken, she was still willing to keep going. He found that he could summon the strength as well, unwilling to give in if she wouldn't. He began to push himself to his feet with great difficulty, stumbling like a drunkard once he did find his feet. He planted himself, unfairly drawing on the Force to steady himself, to rejuvenate himself. He reached up and wiped a streak of blood from his face, then laughed. His laughing was interrupted by a few coughs, but he didn't care. He wasn't sure what was funny, but he couldn't help himself. "Need a hand up, or you got it?"

"Fuck you!" El-Nay said to his offer of help, before pressing down on her hands to get back up onto her feet. Unfortunately, she had gotten up too fast, and had lost so much blood from her nose that was unable to maintain the kind of balance he was. She shook her head like an animal, trying to focus herself, which caused a flurry of blood droplets to fly in every direction. It was then that the sound of sirens began to fill the night skies of Calamar, indicating the Ringali Shell Security Force was on the way. Locals who had observed the fight on the streets were concerned that the man was trying to kill the girl and they had notified the proper authorities. "Shit!" she grunted, feeling as if the fight had not been fairly decided. "I don't want to spend the night in an Esselian jail," she told him, before hurriedly moving down the street, wobbling with each step, as consciousness began something she had to fight for.

"That makes two of us," he groaned, hurrying along with her as well as he could, all things considered. He knew his testicles were swelling already. He could feel it and knew that he wouldn't be doing much moving for a while. They both needed medical treatment. The whole thing had been stupid, yet he had to admit to himself ... it had been fun. He coughed out a single laugh. "You sure know how to show a guy a good time."

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