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Aurora Vallen
Jun 6th, 2021, 08:05:05 AM
South Docking Bays, CEC Island (https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/CEC_Island).

"After all these years, you're still flying that garbage?"

Aurora (https://fr.web.img4.acsta.net/pictures/15/09/01/12/52/249586.jpg) groaned and took a step forward, which had Enut, a medium-built man in his fifties, swallow with difficulty. She gestured towards her ship (https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/YT-1300_light_freighter/Legends).

"You don't talk about the lady like that, or I'll make sure I go do business with Shavak. What say you?"

He shrugged and went to fetch one of his employees. "Min min volgoth noh petchuck, Vallen."

The blonde nodded, hand casually resting on her holster. "You see to that. And Hati! Make sure you fix that boarding ramp! Told you last time it needed more than a clean up. You should know that at your age, boy."

She tossed a credit chip to Enut. "Make me want to tip well. I'll check on Turhaya in a few hours."

Without a look back, she headed towards the taxi station to hit Coronet City's other districts. She could always get a speeder but all the ones available at CEC Island were overpriced. She had better options. She was in town to get some new contracts, and she had someone to meet as well.

As soon as she had walked far enough from the docking bay, she chuckled to herself. She wasn't as much of a hardass as many people thought. And she thrived in organized chaos; but she wasn't one to be taken advantage of. It had happened a couple times in her life, and that had been way enough.

Taking a seat at the back of the taxi, she was glad that the silly droid driver kept to itself as it took her to the main hub of the city.

***
Kas tulisha abia al port = Chaos opens the door to opportunity
Min min volgoth noh petchuck = I want no bad blood between us
Turhaya = bright star

Maize Wayne
Jun 7th, 2021, 06:40:39 PM
"The Turhaya has landed, Maize."

The Corellian grunted as his assistant spoke, and given the athletic workout that Maize was doing -- essentially martial arts with a double-vibroblade against an invisible opponent -- Janes wasn't certain if the grunt was part of his routine or in response to his report.

"You did ask me to let you know when Miss Vallen was back in-system," he added dryly.

"I know what I ask you to do," Maize growled.

Janes, used to his employer's surliness over the past few years, was unruffled at the sarcasm and attitude. He continued to await instruction, blandly watching the older man work through his violent but nearly artistic routine.

Finally, Maize added, "You can go now. She will come to me."

"As you say, sir."

He rolled his eyes before increasing the ferocity of his workout, anger and anxiety fueling his movements. That Aurora had not reached out from wherever the leads had taken her was telling, he thought. Maize was certain she was going to bring bad news. The only question was how bad? In the moment at least, he knew he had time before Aurora Vallen contacted him to meet, so he continued working out his fear through his workout.

Aurora Vallen
Jun 8th, 2021, 04:51:06 AM
As soon as she hit the Axial Park district, Aurora headed to a friend's speeder rental shop. Elara and her had known each other since their youth in the more rural areas. She could have just rented a parking bay for her speeder when not on Corellia but it had been one of her friend's prides, so she kept it on display - maintenance included - and coaxed new customers like that. Of course, nobody could ever rent this one, Aurora was possessive like that. The arrangement had been working for a long time and Elara had the right to tinker with it in between visits.

They only briefly chit-chatted, agreeing to catch up later. The smuggler was on a mission, and it wasn't one she was looking forward to. She messaged Maize as soon as she left the shop. He wasn't going to be happy and she knew him well enough to know he must suspect news were bad. She had freaking done her best and even got herself into trouble to try to follow the damn trail. She let him know she'd be at his office in thirty minutes.

In the past, she had swung by his headquarters unannounced; and she realized that just sending him a heads-up was telling.

With a sigh, she brought the engines to life and sped off into the streets of Coronet City. She debated making a pit stop for caf, but she had the intuition the upcoming discussion would require something stronger.

Maize Wayne
Jun 9th, 2021, 05:52:33 PM
When her comm came through, Maize had already completed his workout and had gone to shower. He stared for a long time at Aurora's message, bracing himself. Or at least... trying to.

Is she dead? Or, has the trail gone completely cold? Does it even make a difference?

The Corellian swallowed hard and pocketed his device. Already, he wanted to throw something or hit something. Maize did neither, letting his fear fester as he dressed and awaited Vallen's arrival.

Aurora Vallen
Jun 10th, 2021, 09:21:58 AM
Aurora debated grabbing something on the way; but she decided against it, zooming to WayneTech headquarters. Nothing would make the news any better than what they were. She had tried her damn best to keep following the freaking trail but it had got cold. Hell, she had gone above and beyond.

With a sigh, she parked in the visitor area, and went to the reception, letting the employee know who she was. Of course, she was expected. She got on the lift and took a deep breath before she stepped in the private lobby of Maize's office.

It hit her in the guts at once before Janes even opened the office door. Maize was terrified of whatever news she was bringing. She wasn't some fancy Force user that made legends of good and evil run amok in the galaxy; but the few basic stuff she had picked up on over the years made his current state of mind almost suffocating.

Groaning, she thanked Janes and entered the room, bright eyes zeroing on her fellow Corellian at once.

"Hey, thanks for seeing me on short notice."

She debated trying small talk for his sake, but she hated it and he had already worked himself up. She walked up to his desk and perched herself on its edge.

"Trail has gone cold; but you suspected it even before I entered."

She didn't apologize for it because she had done all she could. Maybe someone else could follow further; but she had checked all her contacts, even getting in extra trouble, burned a bridge in a permanent way, but Kassandra had vanished.

Maize Wayne
Jun 11th, 2021, 06:09:45 PM
At first, Maize didn't say a word. He simply gazed into Aurora's eyes, anguish and torment laid plain on his face. He felt too much to try and hide any of this. Finally, lips pressed tightly, thinly together, Maize closed his eyes and found his voice.

"Is she dead?"

The words came out in a rush, barely above a whisper. And as taut as his muscles were, it was clear that it took everything in his power to say that, and to keep from breaking down.

Aurora Vallen
Jun 12th, 2021, 05:52:20 AM
She had dealt with her share of crazies, including lots of the dangerous kind, but she wondered how she held Maize's gaze as his anguish was placating at this moment. It didn't surprise her and she had always known her fellow Corellian to be intense when it came to Kassandra; but this went beyond any previous episode.

"I would have told you so, if she was."

She let her words sink in for a few moments before continuing.

"Based on contacts across borders, she has vanished. The trail has gone completely cold whether in imperial space, alliance, Hutt, and I even reached out to a contact who has a network in Wild Space. Whatever she's doing, she doesn't want to be found."

Maize Wayne
Jun 15th, 2021, 06:11:34 PM
"Well. Isn't that just frakking great," Maize growled.

He flapped his arms at his sides in frustration. In his mind, Aurora's news just put him right back where he'd started: stuck. Maize had no leads on how to find his wife, and was left with the uncertainty of what this meant for him.

"So what do I do now?" he barked, not exactly at Aurora, though it was out loud.

Aurora Vallen
Jun 16th, 2021, 05:28:43 AM
The reaction was no surprise. Aurora might not be that close with Maize, she knew him well enough to know his volatile temperament, especially when it came to his wife.

She had never been head over feet for someone like he was for Kassandra. In a way she liked it that way. She had had her share of various entanglements over the years but the whole marriage and epic love story was foreign to her.

That was why she didn't pretend to know what he went through. So she weathered the storm until he barked out loud.

"You could try bounty hunters who deal with yet another network than mine, although imperial, alliance, or even freaking Hutts had nothing on her. Or you learn to live without her."

She held a hand and stared at him before he could bark something else at her.

"I don't kriffin know what the hell you had with your wife; but if she wanted to be here with you, she would be. Pining over her is going to screw your life. Is it really what you want?"

Maize Wayne
Jun 28th, 2021, 07:04:47 AM
Maize laughed humorlessly at Vallen's question. His life was a continual screw up where losses were concerned... from his parents' murder to now Kassandra's deliberate disappearing act. He sighed heavily and turned away from Aurora, shoulders slumped.

"It never matters what I want," Maize said softly.

Then, with abrupt savagery, he picked up the crystal paperweights he'd commissioned from Ilum's sacred crystals and hurled them rapid-fire into the fireplace where they exploded and shattered against the lintel area's glossy permacrete. They were priceless, and yet, he didn't care. But, destroying them didn't vanquish the agony in his heart as he'd wished.

"I'll transfer your fee to you," he growled, finally looking Aurora in the eye again.

Aurora Vallen
Jun 28th, 2021, 07:13:42 AM
Aurora sighed at Maize's comment about how it never mattered what he wanted. She didn't know all the details of what he had gone through but she knew enough. She both wanted to smack him on the back of the head and hug him. He needed to get his head out of his ass but she also understood to a degree how it could be hard to do life when life was happy to screw with you.

She had kind of a devil-may-care attitude but she had her own history.

She didn't flinch when he savagely threw the paperweights into the fireplace. That wasn't a huge surprise coming from him for anyone who knew him. She sighed, not caring that he had destroyed something that pricey. Everyone's possessions were for them to do how they wished with.

When he looked at her again, she walked up to him, still holding his gaze.

"I'm taking that fee if you're going to take a freaking hug from me and let me drag your ass to that old hole in the wall tavern outside of Coronet City. Yes, where Spark and I used to drag you to when we were all younger and in town at the same time. Yes, the decoration is going to horrify you even with the joints you like eating at downtown. And I don't give a fuck. I remember how much you scarfed two servings of the food there."

Maize Wayne
Jun 28th, 2021, 06:46:36 PM
She'd spoken so rapid-fire and so matter-of-factly to him that -- in his distressed state -- Maize had very little idea what she'd just barked at him. Blue eyes assessed hers, frowning as his mind tried to rerun the last few seconds to figure out what Aurora had said.

Brow still furrowed, Maize cocked his head at her, and finally just said, "What? What did you just say?"

Aurora Vallen
Jul 7th, 2021, 07:09:28 PM
Aurora chuckled at Maize's question. "Boy, you remind me of Spark when I talk like a kriffin rifle."

She canted her head to the side and repeated herself much more slowly.

"I'll take the money but you're getting a hug from me and also a dinner invitation to that old-times tavern where we hung out a bunch of times."

She grinned to her fellow Corellian. "You always wolfed down half of their menu."

Maize Wayne
Jul 8th, 2021, 06:21:28 PM
The way Maize grimaced, it was hard to tell whether he was offended by the comparison to her brother, Spark, whether he was still trying to piece together if that matched what she'd so quickly said the first time, if he was horrified at the idea of a hug. He wasn't so connected to his own feelings to discern that either!

"Did I? I was probably drunk. That always makes tavern food taste better," he replied.

Aurora Vallen
Jul 8th, 2021, 09:11:33 PM
Aurora smirked at Maize's reply. "One of those times you were, yes; but so were we. Not the other one."

She couldn't help it. She had a stupid good memory.

The blonde canted her head to the side. "So if I hug you, you'd better not throw me into that freaking fireplace."

She didn't move forward though. Being down-to-earth and kind of a pain in the ass was her way to show she cared; but she was also somewhat careful around him given his state of mind.

Maize Wayne
Jul 24th, 2021, 01:45:11 PM
"No promises," Maize said gruffly.

Still, he half-smiled and then unceremoniously flopped down onto one of the low couches that sat perpendicular to the fireplace. He sighed heavily, arms folded across his chest as he sank down into the seat, staring up at Aurora.

"Have you ever been in love?" he wanted to know.

Aurora Vallen
Jul 24th, 2021, 03:00:36 PM
Well, at least he didn't call her completely crazy and he didn't shoot down the whole idea, so Aurora took that as a win.

She sat down on another couch after he did the same, crossing her legs. Then she stared at his unexpected question.

Fuck, he had to ask this nonsense, didn't he? She should have seen it coming but she generally avoided talking about her love life, or even her sex life, for both had been fairly compartmentalized in the last ten years. She wanted to just lie to his face but she answered truthfully instead.

"Twice."

She groaned, in disbelief she was sharing these stupid stories.

"First one, I was in my early twenties, making a name for myself in the underworld little by little. I thought we had a chance; but he wanted a proper wife that would make his imperial family proud."

He had got married alright, and got divorced and still had no kid. Fate could have some irony.

"And the other, well, I though it'd go well because she was a pirate. But apparently, my morality got in the way so it was a dead end."

Being too much or too little was apparently a freaking theme in her personal life but it was also why she was so unapologetic at this point. She didn't care if she was an acquired taste or if she troubled people. She had become successful and she was fine without any committed relationship at this point and she had about zero interest in kids either.

Maize Wayne
Jul 24th, 2021, 05:56:19 PM
Maize's dark blue eyes widened, then flicked from side-to-side. Otherwise, he sat perfectly still. Did not expect her to say all of that. He waited a beat, then lifted his brows.

"Do you need to talk about this?" Maize asked dryly. "I'm sure there's someone, somewhere, who'd care to hear all about it."

It was clear that that "someone" wasn't Maize. After all, he had his own problems to deal with -- asking Aurora had been more rhetorical, at least in his mind!

Do I have my own problems, though? he mused. Technically, my problem ran away.

He snorted to himself and arched his brows again. "So, are we going to your holy wall tavern, or what?"

Aurora Vallen
Jul 24th, 2021, 06:00:16 PM
He had asked and she had answered although his reaction, subtle but noticed, might be worth mentioning private crap.

She laughed at his retort. "Hell no."

Shrugging, she got back to her feet when he brought up her grand plan. Beckoning him to follow, she almost sauntered towards his office's door.

"Damn right. Let's go, I'm starving."

Maize Wayne
Jul 24th, 2021, 06:20:43 PM
Maize sighed and forced himself back up off the low couch. He started to follow her, then paused to check his appearance in the mirror. He scratched at the slight stubble on his jaw, shrugged at his reflection, then followed Aurora out.

When did I last leave the building? he wondered.

It had been a bleak few weeks while he waited for answers. Maize wasn't sure when he'd last been out! He made brief contact with his personal assistant, flicked his head in the negative quickly, then continued to walk to the 'lift.

Still not entirely sure why they were going to a holy wall tavern -- Was that the name of it? -- Maize asked Aurora as they entered the lift and he punched it for the lower level where she was likely parked.

"So... did you say your brother is at this tavern?" he asked, sounding rightly perplexed.

As far as he could remember, the spazzy, uncool brother of Aurora Vallen was a blue milk salesman. Or something like that. Maybe he had a delivery there? Truly, the WayneTech CEO had no idea what was going on.

Aurora Vallen
Jul 26th, 2021, 01:49:38 PM
Aurora glanced at Maize over her shoulder at his weird question about her brother. He really was way too deep into his problems. It wasn't that she dared think she understood. In a way it comforted her in having avoided being in love for the past fifteen years or so. It limited stress and worry. Granted she was still a little bit of a mother hen at times with people she cared about but avoiding matters of the heart or whatever flowery crap people called it was a good thing in her book.

"Nah. We went there the three of us back in the day; but I don't know where he is today."

She shrugged as they reached the parking lot and she led them to her vehicle, before hopping into the driver's seat.

"He was on another blue milk delivery last time I talked to him. The usual."

Powering up the engines, she headed towards the exit. Now that she thought about it, this had been a while since they had actually talked. It wasn't unusual for them not to talk all the time; but it had been a few months now and she should correct that. Hell, he could even be the one checking on her at times when she was too busy chasing her latest juicy and entertaining contract.

Maize Wayne
Jul 30th, 2021, 02:10:20 PM
"Oh," Maize said simply.

And then, the moment was gone. It was Aurora with whom Maize had a better relationship anyway. Spark was... awkward, to say the least.

Frustration rippled through the dark-haired Corellian as Aurora drove them to the tavern she had in mind. He closed his eyes, picturing his wife in his mind. It had been so long that she'd been "away" that the picture in his mind was not as crystal clear as it had been. Realizing that only angered him more, though. Fists clenched in his lap, he reveled in that pain because he didn't know what else to do.

Forcing himself out of that misery, Maize took a deep breath and re-opened his eyes. He side-eyed Aurora.

"So, besides taking me to get drunk, what's next for you?"

Aurora Vallen
Aug 1st, 2021, 10:36:43 PM
Aurora zig-zagged her way through the Coronet traffic. She might not have grown up in the city but she had learned to carve her space including when driving, two decades ago, and she wasn't going to let anyone forget it, including the idiots who didn't know how to drive. She didn't mind people too much but there were way too many morons in this freaking galaxy.

She eventually got them to the outskirts of the city, in the area where the hole in the wall tavern was located. It shouldn't take much longer before getting there. And she was hungry. It was weird but maybe it was stress eating due to how Maize's presence and dangerously shattered state of being. It was almost palpable even though now it had returned to the disquiet humming in her surroundings. She didn't know how actual Force users could handle this type of mess. She was fine not knowing!

When her fellow Corellian inquired about her upcoming plans, she shrugged.

"Not sure yet. I have a couple of contracts coming up in the next few weeks. I'll shoot a message to Spark as well. What about you?"

Maize Wayne
Aug 4th, 2021, 07:25:56 PM
Maize lifted his brows. His shoulders both twitched too, then he sighed. "I have no frakking idea."

Kassandra was gone. The kids had their own lives. Sure, Maize had the company and being its CEO kept him infinitely busy, but. He had devoted so much time and energy into trying to track down his missing wife--

Former wife? he mind chirp, annoyingly.

--that now, he really had no idea what to do with himself. Was running the company enough for him? Did it mean anything to him at all, really?

Maize didn't know the answer to any of the questions now rattling around his skull, and that was unsettling. He scowled at Aurora simply because her reply to his question was what prompted all of these further thoughts.

"Maybe I'll become a blue milk salesman too," he snarked.

Aurora Vallen
Aug 4th, 2021, 07:42:39 PM
And here she went again! Opening her mouth and saying all the wrong things. Oh well, she wasn't going to take it back, even when she felt Maize's grumpy and somewhat accusing gaze upon her.

"Chill, Maize," she retorted.

She burst into laughter at what he eventually added.

"Yeah, I can see you woo all the farmgirls and be among all these peasants."

They arrived to the parking lot near the tavern, and then led the way. She waved to the woman in her mid fifties at the bar.

"Hey Hania! Is my table available?"

The woman smiled and gestured towards the corner booth. "Of course, sweetie! Bringing you the menus in a minute!"

Aurora slid into the booth, and looked at Maize. "What do you want to drink? Hania know I always go for my usual ale."

Maize Wayne
Aug 15th, 2021, 03:10:25 PM
For a split second, the idea of uprooting his life in order to frak random farmgirls on blue milk runs didn't sound all that bad... But, then Aurora had to startle him out of that brief fantasy by startling him when she called out to the barmaid. He scowled at her just because that imaginary notion had sounded kind of fun.

"Corellian Ale," Maize replied.

In that moment, he was tired of fancy wines and champagne consumed with other gazillionaires at business meetings and soirees. Maize growled softly to himself, tired of his whole life, especially in the last several years that were spent waiting.


"And a fiery nerf burger. And don't let her scrimp me on the crisps."

He hadn't even seen the menu yet!