The Things We Leave Behind
The Things We Leave Behind
Summary: A tactical and planning meeting turns personal as two soldiers recall some of their sacrifices.
Date: 09/03/2011
Related Logs: The Job Offer
Krik Taija Talisa 
War Room
Secret room in a secret place. Don't you wish you knew?
IC Date

Things have been proceeding apace, now that the core, well, most of what will be the core command detail of the battlegroup have arrived at the secret volca—er the base beneath the estate on Dantooine. Fighters are being checked and double-checked, equipment is being flagged as it arrives, people are moving into their rooms, and generally everything it settling in to an almost easy flow. And as ordered, Tali is working on entry and egress points to the base. The Jedi Museum (why are we not surprised?) is the fallback, used only in emergency escape route, and the others are being worked into the field plans she has spread out over a table in what will one day be the war room. Markers are laid out on the grid map. Terrain, sentries, observation and sniper points, they're all being added.

Taj has been busy coordinating living arrangements, as ordered. She's spent most of the day running up and down the halls, answering questions, and yelling at people to clear hallways of the boxes of personal items. This group isn't just occupying, they're moving in like a family to a home. After several hours, she strolls lazily into the future war room with a cigarette dangling from the side of her mouth and smoke trailing behind her. "I swear to God, this is like having a couple thousand kids." She left two at home, though its a rarely discussed point from her. "At least we don't have communal bathrooms or showers, either. That was the first thing I checked. Private stalls are a godsend."

"I wouldn't know. I had that stuff tied off when I made it past boot camp." Career soldier, thy name is Talisa Duval. "As long as they get themselves settled in, and I don't have to start dropping bodies, I suppose it'll be alright. Although I might still consider it before the end of this thing." Clearly she means the plan she's working on. She starts it, Krik finds the faults, the perfect team, "Makes you wonder how large this place really is, if everyone can have their own room."

Krik drops his homemade cigarra now that it has been smoked to its ends and it is then crushed underfoot, the heel of his aftermarket boot grinding it into nothingness as he watches as people filter back and forth. The man raises an eyebrow questioningly and then looks elsewhere, only to do the same. It's a busy place. He gives a dismissive shrug of his shoulders and incoherent grumble before moving deeper down the corridor until finding more familiar faces. They happen to belong to Taija and Talisa, with Tomas lifting his brows and expression in general in silent greeting before folding his arms over his chest and coming to stand near to them. "It looks like we're all on schedule, then."

"Yeah, I was looking that claim over," Taj asides, moving to the table and plucking the smoke from her mouth. "It doesn't hold water. I mean, it -does-, but only if we move some couples in together. That shouldn't be a problem. We've got about eighteen hundred berthing compartments as far as I can tell. Most are about the size of a dorm room. There's some state rooms for the ranking officers like myself.." And Krik appears, the woman dipping her head to him. "And the both of you. Enough to house six squadron leaders, their XO's, Marine command, and other ranking officers. Got a pair of pretty swanky guest quarters, too. Apparently Ian intends to entertain - or had at some point. Ian also has be drawing up a military ranking structure." She looks between them. "Have to run all the way up to O-Eight. Thinking we might dump our old Imperial ranking structure and build our own. Opinions?" She pulls hard on another drag.

"Hayseed. Nice to see you made it back in one piece." Tali doesn't look back to the big man walking into the room. Chances are good she knew he was coming even before she heard his voice. It's like creepy human spidey sense. That or she heard his non-verbal grumblings preceding him. "Looks like. Equipment is coming in, so are the ships. But we have to go and pick one up from the yards." For the moment, she sets aside the terrain map she's been working on. "Would be a waste not to put people together if they've already decided to sleep together. Give them separate rooms, and it's just a waste of a room." A glance, finally, to her XO. Who is nothing if not popular with the ladies. Most of them, "Right, farmboy?" And then to more serious concerns, "Our own. Personalizing things like this will help to make it a more cohesive group. We left because we couldn't live with what the Empire stood for," most of us anyway, "So why use anything the Empire used to maintain their order and discipline?"

The pilot looks from one face to the next before glancing casually over his shoulder to the rest of the area behind him. He doesn't pay it much attention or do such long. He's responding in the middle of turning back to them. "I can do the vehicle pickup easily enough," replies Krik, "Not hard to do these days." He does rather well in not mentioning his privy affairs just yet and instead waits for his attention to be piqued at the idea of rank structure. There's a thoughtful sound from him and then he speaks up with a clipped, "Use the Republic's. We're fighting with the same end-goals in mind."

"Hell, almost forgot about the frig. Good catch, Tali. But its not that simple, Krik. It'll need a crew. Nebulon-B class frigate." Taija pulls an ashtray over and flicks her smoke into it. She's been so busy with housekeeping and letting the others handle the more practical aspects of organization it slipped for a few hours. "Right with what I'm thinking. On both accounts." The rooms and ranks. "We left that behind. We build what's ours to keep." She then looks to Krik and shakes her head. "I'd rather avoid adopting the Republic's, too. Our goals aren't exactly the same and I'd prefer we keep this about as separate as we can. Oh-" Taija lifts her smoke and points it at each. "Standing orders from Ian. Filter it down. There's a guy out there named Lance Corbet. He's a Confed pilot with a stick up his ass and a penchant for ganging up on people like us. You are to avoid him at all costs. I don't care how good you think you are. We're also to avoid any and all dark users. Not that I think any of us have a problem, but we are to disengage immediately and withdraw from the area if we run into one. We don't have the manpower for that yet." A pause. "But we will." She takes another drag.

"The crew we've got milling around in the halls out there, so that's not really a problem. And if Krik wants to go pick it up, he's got my blessing, so there's no problem there either. But that things's sitting at a spacedock at the Kuat yards. Which is currently under the control of the Corporate Security Authority. And that is going to be a problem. With they're 'we're a neutral party' stance these days, letting the word get out that they were providing ships for an anti-imperial group..would not look good for their bottom line." The mention of using Republic ranks gets a look on Tali's face like she just sucked on something sour. "No, Republic anything." And even deeper scowl at the mention of avoiding dark users. "How is this Corbet going to find out about us, exactly?"

Taija looks from Tali to Krik and nods. "Got my approval. Make it happen. But I wouldn't be so quick to call us anti-anything. As we personally know, there are people fighting for them that may not like them. We strike -for- them. My only alliegance anymore is to you all and those who I give my word to. I'm not sure the Drive Yards will care too much. They'd have to catch the frig to trace it, anyway." As for Corbett? The older woman shrugs. "As far as I know, he doesn't know about us. But he's got sway with the Confed. We're operating as a black outfit. We don't have a lot of intel feelers out there yet. So until then, we keep away."

"We're still going to need to come up with a good cover story. And uniforms. We certainly can't use what we're wearing now. I might take a trip out to see what I can bring back. We go around dressed like this, people are going to know who we are. Depends on how much Ian was involved in this transaction. We could potentially pull off something, though…if we le them believe we were on the up and up." There's a wry turn to her lips, "Hard to keep away from someone you've never met, nor even seen." Talisa is already calculating away in her head.

"As far as I know the ship is bought, paid for, and just awaiting someone to come pick up. Dump the Imperial uniforms for now. Besides, we're black. Its probably better if we don't overtly advertise for right now. There will be a time for pride later. Get some professional business attire and a crew for it. If you need spending cash for it, I can get it in a few minutes." Taija looks between them.

Tali is just about to answer, when one of the Marines pops his head in and motions for Krik to join him, the conversation continuing on in the man's absence, "Depends on how Ian played it. We could certainly find enough around here to come off as an Outer Rim indepent group. When you find out, let me know. I'll see what I can do to get the team together. Which brings up another point. I am not happy about that single egress. Just like the three etries, I wold really like it if we could find some way to add a secondary ship egress from this base."

Taija nods. "I'll talk to Ian and see, but I'm pretty sure its available whenever we can go grab it." The the rest, she nods. The smoke is lifted and inhaled from. "I'm in agreement, there. One route in and out stinks. What I'd like to see about is a secondary that we don't ever use except in emergencies. Perhaps a second one that leaves vertically out of the hanger and exits..wherever. We'll have to talk to Ian about that, too, since that's major construction work. Setting up this group with firepower and paychecks is already heavy on us." Yes, that includes Tali, too. "Like you said, ducks in a row. If you've got any other recommendations, I'd like to hear them."

"I'd rather be tight on funds than end up dead in this hole in the ground." Not that she's not used to bases anywhere, and everywhere, but she seems to like places with zero gravity best, "A secondary egress that would allow us to leave, like with that third entrance, undetected, unexpectedly by the enemy would not only heighten the chances of keeping us alive, but would give us the element of surprise." A thoughtfulness, as Tali considers what else she might add to the topic, "Ian owns the estate that's overhead, I take it?"

"I understand the sentiment but we've gotta have capital to cover construction. Right now I just don't know that its there. I've got two hundred fifty grand to dole out for customized gear. I don't know what it would cost to hire a discreet firm to do it. I kinda doubt we've got the engineering capacity to handle it." Taija taps the ashes into the tray. "The estate? I would assume so. Why?"

"We also need to keep tabs on who will be coming and going. As much as most of us like to think of this place as one step up from a dead moon, there is civilian traffic. We need to make sure that we control how many questions people wil start asking about who all the people are coming and going from this place. Because I don't imagine the people moving in here will take kindly to being told that they need to stay in this hole, as nice as it is, to avoid being seen by the local populous." Tali is seated at a table in the soon to be war room, her plans for the ground defenses set aside for the moment as she sits talking to Taija, Krik having left for parts unknown.

"Access in and out is controlled via keypads. I would imagine we'll have Marine guards at the entrances once we get set-up." Taija plucks the smoke from her mouth again and stuffs her other hand in her pants pocket. "So you want to know that the local area is secure? That the population isn't going to rat us? Dunno. I would imagine this can't be too far out from most from being stationed on a ship. Rotating people out for R&R should be easy enough. We've got the manpower to handle it."

"It's not our people getting in and out that worries me as much as the unknown variable of civilians, visitors, and whomever else Ian might decide to have over. Far be it from me to be the paranoid one, but frankly, I have no idea who he's in bed with, besides the Jedi, and that worries me. We're running the risk of being trapped down here not knowing who's above and what they know. And I have no doubt that those guest quarters will be put to use, so that adds the potential to have a threat inside the base." It's clear the whole Jedi thing is making her more Debbie Downer than usual. "Too many questions, and not enough answers."

Taija shrugs. "That's actually more of a concern for the Marines to deal with. While we work overarcing operations, they are going to be mainly concerned with internal security and who gets in and out. I've got you working defenses, sure, but that's a detail to leave to them. Whomever Ian has over I'm sure will be vetted. If they aren't, I doubt the soldiers will be much obliged to give them the time of day, let alone a pass."

"And a Marine might very well end up working on this, but it's still something I'm going to be thinking about. I don't know what happened to most of these people, in the three years since we scattered, but I know Marines, just like I know pilots. And not many of us did much work out of pocket. We got used to letting our guards down because we were in fortified Imperial strongholds, on ships, at space stations. It's easy to overlook things just because you got comfortable with never having to worry about them." But if Taija doesn't want to continue the discussion, so be it, "We also need to get these planes in the air to shake them out."

Taija nods. "Fair enough. Worry if you like, but that's something for the Marines to take care of Tali. They can and will handle it. Remember, we've gotta trust each other for this venture to work." She takes a final drag of the smoke and stubs it out into the tray. "Yeah. I wanna take one of those bad mothers out and see what it will do. It should be a pretty good time. I'll have to check out a few maps, see if I can't find us a firing range to practice gunnery. At the very least, get with Krik. I want one of you to get training sorties organized and get out pilots familiar with the Defenders. We may not use them much but I don't want the first time to be in combat. Our people are good but like you said earlier - it doesn't mean they aren't rusty."

"When he decides to show his face again, I'll mention it to him." Tali pauses, looking back down at what she was working on. All of this still isn't sitting well with her. But she's clearly not gong to start down on that road a second, or is it a third time. "How long before all of our personnel have been moved into the dormitories? I'll need to meet with them in groups to get all of the information on our location and the estate above disseminated." Might as well focus on something she's supposed to be thinking about. "And just who is it exactly who's coming in as command staff for the marines?"

"We're probably looking at another thirty-six hours before we get people all moved in. I'm still coordinating the shared living dorms for the people who are involved. Probably about sixty hours before people are situated and comfortable." Taija takes a small notepad out from her back pocket. "Uhm, got a list of names for potential Marine Staff, but its going to have to be Ian's choice at the end of the day." She tosses the pad down onto the table. "We still need to discuss ranks. I'm open to suggestions for titles. I doubt you want everyone addressing you as 'Squadron Leader' still. The title always struck me as horrible since I've seen SL's not leading squadrons and Flight Lieutenants leading them."

"That'll give me time to finish up this perimeter." A frown, but that fades without further comment, eyes drifting to the doorway and then back again, "To tell you the truth, I have no idea. Hell, it might just be easiest to go with everyone's job title. Tack something on after that to specify. Pilot is under Lead Pilot, is under…you get the idea. Yes, I understand that we're a military outfit, as much as we can be, but we also need to work a lot closer than we used to. I don't want people starting to get hung up on titles, well, I suppose that's more your call than mine."

"Works to a certain extent. The problem is going to come when we have people alternating out with section lead positions based on who is available for tasking." Taija takes a long breath, crossing her arms as she sits on the corner of the table. "I know what you mean about titles, though. The problem is that we need to have a clear chain of command attached. And we may have people pulling double-duty. This frig we have coming will hold two squadrons. Which means that the wing will be divided into two parts and if it comes down to splitting forces, I don't want to have to overwatch both when I can easily split command and deal with it from people I trust in the field. Catch me meaning?"

Tali's hand rise, rubbing at her temples, "So you go with acting for the people who are filling in." She drops her hands back down to the table, "I'm not saying go with no set ranks at all, just don't make them..hell, what the frak do I know. I'm just a damned pilot." Frustration is really starting to take hold of the woman. "Naval officers: SubLT, 1st, 2nd, 3rdLT, LTCommander, Commander, Captain, Admiral."

Taija furrows her brow at Tali, looking at her for a few long seconds. "Tali?" The older woman turns more to face her. She doesn't seem to be on the verge of yelling or scolding. Or even lecturing. "What's gotten you so on edge? Is it Ian and the whole junk with him having Force cabilities? Or is there more?" That's genuine concern.

"That's part of it. I hate the idea of working with someone who could reach inside my head and pull my strings and me not be able to do anything. Someone who could take away the only thing I've got left that actually belongs to me. It terrifies me. I hate the idea that we came all this way, only to find out that none of this was ready for us. I hate that things can't be the way they used to be. I hate that it seems like every time we climb over a wall, we've got two more waiting for us." One thing's for sure, Tali is a fighter, not a planner.

Taija nods, turning her eyes back to the table as Tali finishes. She nods a few times. "I'll make you a deal. From this moment forward, if you ever see Ian use that one someone we work with without permission or you have real, genuine concern that he has, you come to me and I will rip his ass apart in a way that his mother never had the guts to do. If you ever see him do it to me without my approval I want you to tell me. That wing crest? From now on I live and die by it. It applies to every member of this group. The force is a slavery I won't abide in this group. Liberty or death, Tali. I'd rather be dead than controlled like we all once were." By the tone of her voice, she means it. Its in her eyes, too. "As for the rest, it will take time. But we'll get there. As a team. I can't and don't want to do this without you. But I'd like to make sure you're as good to go as you can be. If you have concerns, I want to know about them. I want to try and work through them. And I'm not some magical operator, Tali. You know me."

"He's a Jedi he'd just do it to you and you'd never know the difference. They all went around, waving their hands around, as if it were the most normal thing in the world. As if it were okay for them to do it, because the Force has 'spoken' to them or whatever the hell they call it that makes them different from us. At least the Sith…you know? They knew what they were doing was wrong. They knew because they liked being wrong. They liked doing it, because of the power it gave them." Tali could go on, but she has to shake herself out of the oncoming rant, "I'll come to you if I see it. With you or anyone else. But I swear to you, if he tries something with me, and I figure out what he's doing…" He might not make it to the tongue-lashing by Taija. "I was going to be getting married." Subject change.

Taija lets it go. She knows how furious Tali would be. The only difference between how the two women would handle it would be with how quick violence was resorted to. She simply nods. "Come to me first. Don't confront him right away. Bring the person with you. Then the three of us will go together and make him understand." The unsaid finishing words: 'With Pain.' But that last part catches her off guard. "Tali- I- when??" She blinks a few times.

"Three years, you know? I guess I had it pretty easy, easier than probably most of the rest of you did. Found some good crews, some good jobs. Kept under the radar. Got to where I was happy, for the first time in a long time. It wasn't combat flying, but it was good, honest work. I wasn't ashamed of it. I wasn't ashamed of me." A nod, as the conversation, from her part at least, shifts, "Yeah, I'll find you. Don't know what we'd be able to do against him but, I will." Marriage? More than a little surprising, from the woman who spent all of the years she served with Taija acting like a female hound dog. "About…" A glance at her wrist, "four hours ago. We were going to do it right at sun—" A firm press of her lips, "What are your thoughts on this rank structure?"

"If you had it good, then I'm glad. That's the absolute best thing I could have hoped for you all. Finding that sort of atmosphere was something I would have paid money for each of you to have if I could have." But the rest of it all comes crashing to a halt. "Four hours ago?" Taj's arms drop from the cross and she takes a breath. "Hon, you're not kidding are you?" Eyes wide, she looks like she might drop dead. "Did you-" She can't even finish that question.

"A few of us got lucky, I guess. Managed to live something close to normal lives. I figure the rest, most of the rest of us had it pretty bad. Seems like you were one of those. And I'm sorry for that. Because you deserved to have the life you wanted to." The one that included her kids. "He's probably still waiting for me. The landing pads over on Bespin get pretty hectic that time of the day. Not unusual to be late for a landing." So no, she didn't divulge secret information.

Taija doesn't know whether to smile or burst into tears. She opts for an in between - a sad smile. "Thanks. My kids are safe, though. That's what is important to me. One day, maybe after all this is over, I'll earn the right to see them again." She probably hasn't been home in.. at least three. Probably four or five years. Who knows if she has even talked to her husband. "Tali? You left a man at the altar for this?" She takes in a breath and swallows. "Oh my God. You- I had no idea. What.. Wh.." Her former CAG is officially rendered speechless and horrified.

"I hope you do get to see them." She's not going to go beyond that. She may not be a breeder herself, but she's no stranger to knowing the bond between parents and their children. "Because this wasn't over. It's not going to be over for a long time. And I swore an oath. Whatever life I made for myself these last few years, I made a commitment first. To you, to Ian, to Krik, to all of us who walked away from the Empire. Every day I woke up and it was like I was in a dream, where none of this had happened, where I could just live my life. Then I got your message, and I realized the real dream was the one I had been living for the last nineteen months. And it was time for me to wake up. And I thought…I'd rather live without him than live with him knowing I hadn't done everything in my power to give him the life he deserves." So here she is, fighting the good fight for love…or something.

Taj doesn't comment on her family anymore. This isn't about her or her family. She's totally fixated on Tali and what she's just heard. At some point her hand has lifted to cover her mouth in some reflex reaction to either happiness or tragedy. "Oh my God, Tali." She sighs, rising off the table. "I don't even know what to say. And you could've left yesterday. At the pad." The idea sends a shiver down her spine, causing her to straighten. "Tali, you need to go to him. I can talk to Ian. See about bringing him here. With us. For you."

There's a moment, longer than she'd likely ever admit, that Talisa seems to actually consider doing just that. Getting up and finding the first ship she can and getting back to Cloud City. A strange place to have a wedding, but then, what pilot would ever want to be married on the ground? "No. It's not safe for him here. It'll never be safe for him. I'll never be safe for him. It was just a dream. Until this is over, better he be out there somewhere living his life, than here with me waiting to die." Her eyes rise, bridging the distance between where she's still sitting and where her Group Captain is now standing, "We all sacrificed something to get to where we are now." There's a pointed look in her eyes. Weren't they just talking about Taija's children, and by inference, her husband? "The only difference is, I did it a few days ago, and not three years ago."

Taija shakes her head and looks away. She can't argue with the point she's made. Taj left her own family behind for this. Why should Tali be forced to bring hers here? She closes her eyes and lets out a long breath. "Tal?" She swallows and looks back to the other pilot. "If we ever find someplace safe enough or you think you can bring him here or you just can't bare it.. You tell me. I will spare you nothing short of my life to help you find him again. I.. My God, girl. I'm so sorry."

With very few exceptions, everyone who defected with Ian left behind something they would have wished they didn't have to. Tali, despite the dredging up of exactly why she's been so awful to live with these last few days, is quiet, and almost reserved. It's the only way to be, once you've cried all the tears left inside of you. "You've got no reason to be sorry. You didn't know. And even if you had, I would have come anyway. I have a lot on my conscience that I have to make up. And maybe one day, if it's safe, and I've earned the right, I will go and try to find him again."

Taj nods slowly and looks to the floor. "When its safe. Maybe we can go find our husbands. But I'm with you, Tali. We have to earn it. We each have our own sins to pay for and the weights on our minds." Her eyes lift again. "You, yours. I have mine. I won't criticize you for it. But just know that if you need to talk.. Or you need to plan a strike to release a weight- you find me. Not as a senior officer or any of that crap. As friend. It doesn't have to be more complex than that."

"If he'll still have me. That man has a temper like you would not believe." Probably the only sort that could put up with Tali's attitude. But there's a fondness there. "But maybe one day we'll have a chance to find out." She even manages a laugh, short and dry, but something, "Could you imagine the complaining if I did that? 'Just cause she's hormonal, she gets to go blow up a planet? Man, where can I get a uterus?'" And then, more softly, "It's good to have a friend. Thank you, Taija."

Taj smirks. "I scared my husband quite a bit, too." 'Course, she's Kuati. Just reverse the roles, there. But she laughs at the sentiment. "Psh. Please. I'll bet you Palpatine was actually just a really ugly chick who never got over being scorned by a guy from that planet he decided to wipe out. Or should I say -she-." Taj grins. "But it stands. In fact, we may be doing something similar for Ian. If he gets it, we all do. Especially you." To the last, she just nods with an easy smile. "Don't mention it. We're in this together."

"You're Kuati. You're supposed to scare your husbands. You're like those female spiders that pull the male's head off during mating." Of course, that's said with no small amount of affection. There is no true species bashing here. "A damned ugly woman, if he was. I'm not one to judge people just on their looks, but for real." Palpatine had a face not even a mother could love. "Ian? He wants to bring a wife here? Or he wants to blow up a planet?" Tali pauses, looking, well, almost shy for a moment, "Would you like to see him?"

Taj gets a good rolling chuckle out of that. "We don't pull them off. We just nearly sever to remind them who is in charge." Its said primly, with all the dignity of a lady. Uh huh. "Decapitation is just an unfortunate rumor." To the rest, she nods. "Ayep. Her and I met about a year before the defection. We became pretty good friends, too. You might remember her: Ona Delamont. ISB was convinced she was a spy for the Imperials against the Rebel fleet. Yeaaaah. Not true. Apparently she went missing some time back. Dunno what Knighted Bumblebutts was doing in the meantime. Some jerk kidnapped my husband? I'd tear a hole in the galaxy if I had to." To the prospect of seeing Tali's man, Taj perks! "Yes! Give picture!" she sweeps around the table.

"A rumour you perpetuate no doubt." She knows how Kuati women are. They not only wear the pants, the probably have them hand-tailored to their exact specifications. "I imagine he thinks she'll be safe here. I mean, who wouldn't be safe with a Jedi for a husband," said with no small amount of sarcasm, "although I was sort of under the impression the Jedi didn't do that sort of thing. Being tied to emotions and people instead of the greater good." A shrug, as Talisa lets it go. The first few buttons of her shirt are undone and she pulls out a small holoprojector, which has been attached to a chain like a pendant. Unclipping it, she offers it over, "After Keye asked me to marry him, he started carrying this around. Whenever he'd go off on a job, he'd make me little recordings, just telling me how he was doing, what he was hauling. Nothing special."

Taj shrugs with a smile. Oh so innocent. Rumors are better when they aren't confirmed or denied. Helps keeps the men in the kitchen and makin sammiches. "Apparently they got married back when we were still together. Real quiet-like. Not sure I'd like a Jedi for a husband, either. It would just get too weird in the bedroom." She chuckles, a little nervously, at the thought. The projector is taken up though and she smiles at it with her description. "Awww." Women will be women - even Kuati women. She gives a little gush at that idea. "No, that's special. He's thinkin about you while he's off and working. Takes time out to do that for you? That's adorable." She looks back. "Can I?" She wants to watch one. It was assumed, but she wants to make sure.

"How would you fake it without them knowing, am I right?" Girl humour, you've got to love it. "Sure, I don't mind." And just as surely, she trusts the woman to skip forward over anything that might be too personal. The first, and most of the rest of them are either with Keye at the pilot's console of some freighter or the other, or back in his bunk at the table. The first is in the cockpit of some old tramp freighter. "Hey, Tali, we just took off from Tattooine. I swear, I've got sand in places I never knew existed on my body," he begins, continuing on about the livestock they were hauling, and the water they traded for. Just little snippets.

Taj snickers horribly at that joke. "Awesome. Ohmigawds, awesome." But she starts up the first one and lets the projector work and she sighs, looking at the man. "Aw Tal. He's a striking fellow. You found one handsome hunk of ass. Look at those shoulders." She waggles her brow at her friend and looks back to the hologram. Watching in more silence, she just holds her smile, admiring the way he talks to Tali. Even Group Captains have hearts. And even they can melt. (Probably.)

"And then they ask you how they were, and they're going to know when you lie and tell them they were the best you ever had. Oh. My. God. No." Tali settles sideways on her chair, using the back to support her side. There's still humour in her eyes, but there are also tears, streaming in silent little rivulets down her cheeks. This is one of the longer ones, probably because it was the first one, and he's in the cargo bay now, scratching one of the baby rontos behind its ears. "Wait till he gets up right there, then you can tell me about his ass." Clearly, Tali doesn't mind someone else admiring Keye. And he does have a nice ass, and humour in his voice as his body moves out of the frame of the camera. "I suppose this is why we never bothered to get a pet. They're all fun and games until you're shoveling manure off the deck." Then he's back, looking about ready to head to sleep, "I miss you, Tali." And despite the fact that he can't hear her, might never hear her again, she answers, as the first recording ends, "I miss you too."

Taija laughs hard at the first part, leaning back and holding her stomach. "I sense a disturbance in the- whut?" She rolls her laughs to a stop and looks back to watch the recording. The older woman doesn't look at Tali so much as the hologram. But she sure doesn't bother to hide the involuntary bend of her head to check out the rear. Not exactly depth as expected on a projection like this but the impression is there. "That's an ass that you surely would't mind watching step to the shower every morning. Mm." She grins but lets the rest play out in more silence as her hand comes up to clutch something beneath her shirt. Her own necklace. She plays with it beneath the fabric and she looks back to see the tears from Tali. "Aww hon. That's.." Heartbreaking. "Beautiful."

"No joke." But it is. Funny how the right two women can turn some of the most serious men in the galaxy into the most hilarious. "I don't envy that woman her job." But that's quietly said, because part of her does envy, not the relationship with Ian or any Jedi to be sure, but just to have the hope of seeing her husband again. And despite the tears, Tali's head almost mimics Taija's. Hey! She's allowed to look. The first recording ends and the next keys up, but doesn't start. Tali's hands rise, wiping the tears away with a tired, practiced sweep of her palms on her cheeks. "He's a good man. A hell of a pilot. That's how we met. Shipping outfit was looking for a pilot and we were fighting over who would get the contract."

Taj watches the recording key and hits the power button to shut it off. She settles it back onto the table carefully in front of Tali so she can take it up when she's done with her cheekwipe. "To agree to marry you? For you to say yes to him? I kinda doubt 'good man' really covers it. He might have a temper but my bets on you getting something really special out of him." She looks back out to the room where the recording was playing. "So you started in a fight? How am I totally not surprised. Did you try and drink him under the table for it?" she challenges with a grin.

The recorder is reclaimed, reattached to her necklace, before it disappears back under her shirt and the buttons done back up. "He's an excellent cook." That's something worth marrying a man for isn't it? When you yourself could burn water. And have, as Taija can attest. Many a pot and pan have gone to an early grave after a visit from Tali in the galley. "I didn't think he was ever going to ask me. I was pretty sure I was going to have to threaten to shoot him if he didn't." A sniff, "I did not start the fight. I clearly submitted my application before he did. And I didn't try, I did. And then I took him to bed while he was too drunk to say no." Which, despite Tali's actions is not like her. She talks a good game, and she loves to look, but Taija could count on one hand the number of men that have passed through Tali's bed since she met the woman. "Not my fault he was a lightweight."

"Well if he can cook, put me down for one. My husband can't cook for shit. You know how annoying that is?" She shakes her head and leans against the wall. "Yeah, I know the feeling. On Kuat? The men still ask the women, but its not the same. Its like we need convincing so generally the guys have to make a production of it. But you also have to gauge the woman for it. And if the guy doesn't ask by the time we want it? We're -supposed- to move on. But lets be honest? How many times have you stuck around for a guy longer than you should have?" Taj winks. Passing a guy through a bed is one thing. Making an effort for something real is different. She chuckles at the mention of the drinking contest. "Uh huh. Lightweight. And you took advantage. He must've had some good lines. Those eyes are amazing in person as they looked on there? Almost the color of a stormy sea. I likey."

His eyes? "Better."