Sick and Twisted Affair.

Caer flopped into the over stuffed chair and rubbed her temples.  She let her ‘gaze’ look around the room and couldn’t help but smirk a bit at Vaulks choice of  decor, richly made tapestries, thick rugs and of course some of the best furniture one could buy. The chair she was sitting on probably cost more than her ships maintenance. The paintings in the room depicted various things but the main theme seemed to be beautiful women and men in various poses. Likely present or past employees of the Purebloods.

She loved this room. It was cozy. It had a feel of being lived in and it was clean. It was a clean sort of clutter that she didn’t seem to mind and it didn’t stir up her neat freak desire to clean it. Books stood in several book shelves, couches were lined with pillows and throw blankets.  A bar stood off to one side, adorned with different types of drinks and of course glasses. She could tell he hadn’t been in recently, there was no wine glass sitting on the table.  Which meant he was probably in the control room brooding.

Sighing she jumped when a hand appeared before her holding a glass of wine. One of the male dancers she recognized as Surshan smiled, the young man gesturing to her. His accent when he spoke was exotic and she couldn’t help but smirk as he spoke, “We saw you come in, you looked tired so I was sent by the girls to see if you had anything you needed.”

Caer chuckled and shook her head taking the wine glass. Alderaanian red. Her favorite. Her girls and guys knew her so well. “Thank you Surshan.  Vaulk know I’m here?” She paused as she drained the glass and then shook her head. “Stupid question, of course he does. What’s his mood today?”

Surshan gave a gentle roll of his bare shoulders and refilled her glass once she’d emptied it. “The same. Though no more girls or families have been attacked, which in my opinion is a good thing. Many of the girls have hired a body guard so maybe that deterred them.”

She nodded at Surshans words and sighed a bit. “Doesn’t mean much. That’s for sure, and I’m sure most of them are still worried sick. Anything at all from the kidnappers? No ransom notes or anything?”

Surshan sat down on one of the couches across from her and shook his head. “No, that’s the weird thing. Nothing at all. No word on who did this and that’s what’s so strange. Gangs are always happy to take responsibility. Think that it gives them street cred and all that; but not this time. Nobody has claimed anything and in fact a couple rival gangs sent envoys to assure Vaulk that it wasn’t them.”

Caer arched a brow. “How’d that go?”

“Well, none of the guards have been asked to dump a body, so that’s something.” Surshan grinned.

“Huh. Well he knows I’m here so I’m sure he’ll be along shortly. Got someone to finally tell me that they ‘might’ have seen something but I’d have to pay them a thousand credits for the info. I told them that I can tell if they’re lying. They swear that they might have seen something, but it’s one of those gray areas of whether or not the actually did see something or if they believe so much they saw something because they’re so desperate for money that they convinced themselves they saw it.” Caer took a drink from her glass before setting it aside. “Either way I want to talk to Vaulk about it before I hand some mook a grand.”

The young man nodded and got to his feet. “In the meantime, what can I do for you?” He winked at her as he slid onto her lap.

Caer snorted and gently shoved him. “Get your oiled ass off of me for one. This is genuine leather.”

Surshan gave a little pout and kissed her cheek, not moving from his spot. “You wound me! I can give you a massage you know, I’m great with my hands.”

“And tongue, and legs, I know. I’ve seen you perform.” Caer gave him a smirk. “But sure a massage would be nice.”

Caer waited for Surshan to get to his feet and then took his hand as he lead her to the table in the back. She peeled off her armoring and under top, crawling onto the bed and flopping onto her stomach. “Mmmph. Bed too soft. Going to sleep.”

“That’s fine, honey. You know you’re going to anyways.” Surshan chuckled and dug around a box for some oils. The younger man crawled onto the bed straddling Caers hips and began to gently work his thumbs and the palms of his hands into tense mucles. “Good heavens. I won’t even ask you what has you all knotted up. I know. But do try to make my job a little easier.”

Caer made a grunt and turned her head to the side,  one arm tucked under her head. “Yeah, I’m pretty tense about it. I hate it when Vaulk is angry. He’s that quiet angry that puts you on edge, you know? Loud angry I can handle, I know what might happen. I know when it might even happen. But the quiet angry? I can’t really handle it that well. It’s like being stuck in a room with a poisonous snake. Sure it might not bite but then again it might.  Even I’m not invulnerable to Vaulk and his moods.”

The young man chuckled and continued to work on her shoulders brushing her braided hair to one side. “Nobody is, but Vaulk also knows what many don’t. When to stop and who’s to blame. If you screwed him over some how? Sure, he’d probably put a contract on your pretty little head. But you’re his favorite little Miraluka.”

“For now. But that’ll change eventually. Even I know it. We serve a mutual interest in one another. Nothing more and nothing less.” Caer murmured.

“You want it to be something more?” Surshan asked, not even pausing.

“Oh please, as if that would ever happen. Besides, you do not fall in love with a guy who pretty much could murder you at his whim. It’s bad business…and bad relationship practice. Anyone with an ounce of sense knows never to go for the bad boy. Bad boys generally tend to be the abusive type who kill their girlfriends or end up killed.” Caer couldn’t help but give a little groan as a particularly nasty knot was worked out from between her shoulder blades.

“So what do you want, then?” Surshen chuckled and dug deeper into the muscles on her shoulders.

“You would ask the million credit question.” Caer sighed or tried to; it was hard to do something like that  while on her belly with a man straddling her back. “I don’t know. I want to feel wanted by someone- and not for a few hours and a few credits, so you shut your mouth.”

Surshen laughed out loud on that and rolled off Caer, flopping onto the bed next to her. “Oh come on now, it’s not so bad. Especially once the lights are off.”

Caer rolled onto her own back, grabbing a pillow and covering her chest. “I’m a warrior. I respect what you guys do, but I just can’t do that. I’d get bored quickly. Besides I’m not going to quit my job as a Luka Sene just to bounce sheets all night long. I do get jobs from them sometimes and I can’t just give that up. Besides, I’m so stupidly picky as to who I let near me. Being one of the girls would end disastrously for me.”

The young man propped his head up with his arm and gave her a faint smile. “Totally can respect that.  It’s not an easy job and nobody really wants it. It’s one of those things that you fall into.”

“Do you think he’d actually want me here permanent like?” Caer lifted her head and turned to ‘look’ at Surshen. “I know me being here once in a while works but I’m not sure how he’d feel if I suddenly decided I was going to take up residence.”

Surshen grunted a little as he sat up. “Who knows.  All you can do is ask. Hell, if you want try to make it sound like it was his idea.”

Caer threw the pillow at the mans back and rolled to put her shirt back on. “Sure, because you know I’m totally capable of that.”

“Sure you can. It’s not like you’re incapable of talking to him. I’m pretty sure you two have some pretty good conversations and do a little more than bang each others brains out.” Surshen chuckled lightly and got to his head, heading for the door. “Boss should be back soon. I got to get to work.”

Caer waved him off and then sighed flopping back onto the bed. She rested an arm over her face and fell into a sleep as she waited for Vaulk.


Hunting for family.

“When did you last see her?” Caer asked quietly, her voice soft and full of sympathy.

The woman tried not to let the tears fall from her eyes, but they spilled over onto her cheeks the harder she tried to fight them. “Three days ago. She was with her friend Marlee’a. They were supposed to just be out front. But then Marl screamed and came running into the apartment hall crying. Her face was covered in burns. She said a man came and threw something in her face and then took my little Suki.”

Caer’s jaw clenched and she nodded, giving a gentle pat on the woman’s arm. She stood up from the broken and dusty couch and adjusted her blades on her hips. “I’ll help find her okay?”

The woman nodded and thanked her for her time, showing her out the front door, begging Caer into swearing she’d call her up first thing if she found her daughter. Dead or alive.

Caer had gone door to door in the apartment, asking the tenants if anyone had seen or heard anything. Most feigned ignorance or worse outright slammed the door in her face, too scared or too reluctant to come forward. Frustrated she shook her head and headed back to Vaulks place.

He’d asked her when she’d shown up three days ago to ‘take care’ of a matter for him. One that would require some discretion but not so much that the message would not get across to the ones who were treading on Vaulks territory.

Neither he nor Caer liked to see the girls abused and when someone had taken it upon themselves to start kidnapping some of the workers families or the workers themselves, Vaulk had not reacted kindly to the transgression. She had shown up after her blow up with the Marran and the best place for her to cool her heels had been Vaulks place. He’d take her mind off of things at least for a little while. Plus the bonus of working off some tension might have also been part of the reason for her arrival on Nar Shaddaa.

This was something she could do. Something she could feel useful in. Hunting down and dealing with those who would do harm on someone else. Especially when those someone elses were just trying to make a living the best way they knew how on a planet full of Hutts, cut throats, Sith Lords, Jedi’s and whatever else happened to be skulking about in the depths of the planet.

She didn’t care or mind what others thought went on between her and Vaulk or what her work entailed with him. If people wanted to think her a whore… well there were far worse things to be called than a whore. Besides she knew the work she did for Vaulk helped more girls than she’d probably helped in her entire career as a Jedi.

Caer had told the Arbiters she’d been hunting a fallen Seeker and she’d continue to tell them that. They didn’t need to know what she was up to and she knew they would never understand helping someone on Shaddaa. Especially a Pureblood who owned a brothel. Believe the lie, she told herself. She was hunting and she was doing good. Just not necessarily their idea of good. Caer also knew that Tom would frown heavily on such an idea, since he well.. hated Vaulk with a passion.

So she’d come back to the planet to resupply and hopefully speak with Tom, but he’d not been around. Only two arbiters, the cat guy Caer called grunt kitty and Toms new girlfriend. She had found herself lectured once again when she’d cracked a few jokes about her outfit being a murder outfit.All she could do was internally shake her head at the fact that people seemed to think she’d just happily go off and murder people for shits and giggles. As if she was genuinely too stupid to realize the difference between right and wrong. She’d given up even trying to speak with them after that wondrous experience and had gotten her supplies and left the Monastery again.

She’d need Noodle for this job and that was who she’d gone to pick up. He could smell things and give her information other creatures could not. He could also point her in directions she might not think to go in. Sure he was just a cat, but he was a cat who she connected with and could use her animal empathy to communicate with. With any luck he’d be able to help her find the missing girls, help find the ones responsible for it and then she could make Vaulk happy. Caer liked it when Vaulk was happy. Not that he ever hurt anyone or that he ever became unnecessarily violent, no. But he did have a way about him that made it seem like the room dropped twenty degrees and he would brood or worse disappear into his rooms. She hated it when he did that because then she felt like she couldn’t go into his inner sanctuary. So.. when he did that, she would often go and hang out with the girls who would sit and gossip or teach her dancing techniques or sometimes try to convince her to do a show with them.

This is why she did what she was doing now. Because those girls were important to her. Those girls’ families were important to her. Maybe it was because they worked hard. They weren’t heroes. They weren’t in the news or rub elbows with Kings, Queens, Senate or the Council. They just did what they had to do in order to survive.

She could respect that. She’d learned a lot more from those girls and guys who worked for Vaulk. They were paid to strip, have sex, sometimes even do some pretty questionable things, but she couldn’t help but like them. Her time with the Syndicate and the time with Vaulk had made her feel fond of those girls. She even had some feelings for Vaulk that she’d never tell anyone; she didn’t want to ruin that good ship by admitting she was rather fond of him too.

Punching in the settings back to Nar Shaddaa, she rubbed the spot between Noodles eyes as he sat in the co-pilot seat. “C’mon Noodle. Let’s go find some missing girls.”

The cat blinked at her and then proceeded to lick his armpit. She sighed and punched the hyperdrive.

I’ve got nothing to hold onto

I cant run, too dangerous to open the door
I cant hide, theres nowhere to go anymore
Ive got nothing to hold on to
I cant break through, living in the eye of the storm

“You’re not happy here.”

Caer could still hear the words he spoke to her standing there in the middle of the pathway.  Tom had stood close to her, his words soft and concerned. It brought back memories of fonder times of the two of them talking for hours about philosophy and life in general. But his words pulled her back to the current time and she had taken a step back to put some distance between them.

How was he able to put so much inflection and tone in those four words? He’d always had a way with words.  Not like her, she couldn’t make it so that she could say something and have it come out the way she intended for it to sound. It always came out wrong, always came out like she had no idea what she was talking about or worse yet, she meant it to be rude or mean.

It wasn’t that she wasn’t happy. It was that she had nothing to do. She had no purpose, no use and the idea of it chafed her worse than wet leather. The fact that it felt like she’d become less and less of a person and more of a thing to be used, a tool to be wielded; no individuality, no distinction from anyone else. There was nothing to her anymore.

The worst though was that she couldn’t seem to bring herself to really care. She felt so… defeated. She had never felt like that before and it seemed like she just couldn’t bring herself to really want to fight anymore.

The need to get up every day, the need to put on an attitude that wasn’t her, the act of going through the motions of just getting up, facing people, eating food she didn’t really taste, having conversations she didn’t really care to engage herself in and later remember; it just wasn’t there anymore.

I’m watching all of these dark clouds
Im watching blue skies turn to gray
And the lightning has struck ground
And a million eyes start to rain
Im watching everything go down
Im watching everything wash away
Lonely streets don’t talk now
Nobody hears what they got to say

All her conversations turned to fights. All her efforts melted in the rain and all her accomplishments felt like she’d buried them under the lowest level of Coruscant. Had she really become that different? What had been so life changing that she couldn’t be the person she used to be. Off hand comments that those she knew used to make people laugh or chide her teasingly were now the source of everyone’s ire.

It was depressing. That’s what it was. It was depressing to feel like she had to struggle to even just be herself. Deep down it hurt and she buried that hurt more and more every day. It hurt and depressed that she served no purpose. It hurt even more knowing that it was partially her fault. Her fault for trying to be the good soldier. Trying to do the right thing and failing every time.  It was easier to bury that hurt, the low self esteem and the lack of usefulness with a flippant callous attitude that pushed people away.   I t was just more simple to make people want to be anywhere else than near her.

I know I got to be strong
But its hard to hold on and on and on and on and on

She was lonely on some level. She knew that was a big part of it. Caer knew that her attitude of kriff ’em and leave them probably made her sound sluttier than she intended, but it seemed like that was what was expected of her. Afterall it was easier to claim being more promiscuous than she actually was. It wasn’t even the idea of being with someone, but more the thought of having someone she could go to and talk without judgement. Someone she could trust with her life. Vaulk was good for a lay or two and some good drinks, but she knew that he’d turn on her faster than a rabid manka cat if the mood struck him. She supposed that was part of the appeal.  But still- she wanted a confidant. Someone she could trust implicitly. Someone who wouldn’t hold anything over her head, stab her in the back or worse, go tattling over a needed vent of frustration.

So numb, surrounded by a violent force
Inside, fighting through a deepening war
I need something to hold on to
To get me through, living in the eye of the storm

Caer thought about the past few days. Her conversation with Ani and how she said she wanted to try and fix things. That she wanted to try and find a way to fit into the group. It was something she had wanted to make an effort towards.

But the conversation from earlier made her want to reconsider that effort. Caer didn’t want to think about the whole mess, she didn’t want to consider the ramifications of it all. But her mind rolled forward like an overburdened mine cart set free on a track. Caer’d had no idea that Alti had been taken. She’d just assumed the woman had ran into pirates- it was kind of in her job description it seemed.  She’d dismissed it as something she assumed someone else was handling.

Then the subject of Vyennis had come up and Caer had made her usual comments. Usually a ridiculous and totally impossible threat of violence towards someone and the backlash had been almost enough to knock her off the ledge. It had been hard not to throw up her defenses and claw back at all the cattiness that had been thrown her way.

Instead, she’d walked off. She’d forced herself not to feel anything and walk away with her head held high.

How did any of it make sense? A joke about violence go so terribly wrong, yet when a conversation so casually spoken on comms about crushing kneecaps and harming a prisoner was considered okay? Where did this double standard come from and how could she learn the rules of the game so she could participate?  That was what she’d nearly asked Tom as they stood there and he tried to draw her out.

She was so tired of trying to learn rules that felt like they were constantly changing. It exhausted her to try and keep up. Instead she had told Tom that it seemed ridiculous that a conversation would take a turn like that since everyone played knights who wear white gloves to hide all the blood on their hands. Nobody was an innocent. Nobody was free of the blood.

Caer couldn’t even remember what his answer to that had been. She’d just walked away.

And she kept walking.

Watching open hearts breaking
Watching lovers turn to enemies
All of our memories fading
We forget the ones we really need
Watching evil men break dreams
Watching good intentions turn to greed
Never satisfied taking
All the power just couldn’t be

Now we got to be strong
But it’s hard hold on and on and on and on

I can’t run, too dangerous to open the door
I can’t break through, there’s nowhere to go anymore
I’ve got nothing to hold on to
To get me through living in the eye of the storm

-Eye of the storm