Ask  Plot  Coruscant A Man of Wealth and Taste

Discussion in 'Deep Core and Core Worlds' started by Callum Attar, Jul 31, 2019.

  1. Callum Attar

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    .

    A Man of Wealth

    .
    and Taste


    [​IMG]

    Coruscant. Home sweet home. Dressed in the usual, semi-formal attire he often wore - its colour scheme favouring Sith black - the Acolyte stepped out of his airspeeder, and promptly handed the keys off to an Imperial who seemed to work as a glorified valet. It might've felt a little odd to some, but Callum had experienced this so many times by now it was normal.

    The pureblood found himself before a rather austere-looking building, with no small amount of security, all of which seemed to be very well armed and - he presumed - equally well trained. This was one of the Empire's many footholds in the Ecumenopolis, a building in which Imperial assignments were issued, Intelligence was processed and, in his case, Reports were provided, in person, to be logged in the Imperial Database.

    To one as exalted as a Sith, even a simple Acolyte, this process was nothing more than a formality. By sole virtue of being, he stood above them, and they - bureaucrats - would not question his methods, period.

    Callum calmly moved past security, weaving past endless halls, his motions suave and practiced, until he found himself at the doors of Conference Room 35-C, of section 3 of the building's east wing, on the 52nd floor. Though it was none's right to complain, the man was not tardy. Despite his general dislike of doing any form of work, he made it his business to be on time for these meetings. Keeping up appearances should be a top priority, after all, for one of his particular... disposition.

    A quick glance at his watch told him the time had now been right. He opened the door and calmly strolled in, the uttering the words "Good afternoon, gentlemen." An action he had made countless times before. He knew what to say, when to say it. His story had been prepped and he was good to go. This would be over in a couple of minutes at most, and then he would finish the job, go home, and enjoy a little free time, for a change.

    Though cordial in every way, as per usual, his eyes only now bothered to scan the room, and were promptly horrified by what they found. The nagging feeling in the back of his spine, that had been irritating him ever since he'd waited on the other side of that door now had a name that went along with it. A source: Darth Tagus.

    The last time he'd met this Mirialan, he'd wound up so tired he could barely speak, literal sweat pouring down from him after he'd been commanded to slay a woman with Force Lightning, something they both knew was out of the Human's league.

    For the briefest of instants, thoughts like Why is he here? flooded the man's brain before he remembered: This individual had read his emotions like a book. Only this time, this was a meaningless report. Here he stood, a man with nothing to hide.

    And if he was to get out of this in one piece, he needed to sell that particular lie like there was no tomorrow.

    So, the first rule of business was: He knew this Darth. Tagus had wished him no ill will when last they met. And an Honest Sith would have a moment of surprise, followed by fear - this was a terrifying Near-Human after all - and would then Calm. The Kriff. Down.

    A breath was all it took for the Coruscantian to lower his heart rate and though someone like Tagus might've caught something, no bureaucrat would've seen so much as a crack in his composure.

    "Lord Tagus." - he said, offering a simple but respectful salute, his tone steeled and his lips sporting his patented, ever-charming smile - "A pleasure to see you, as always." Simple, short phrases. Though empty pleasantries he knew the Darth disliked, they were surrounded by non-Sith, and therefore they were things he could not do without.

    What he would not ask, was what the Sith Lord was doing here. That much was plainly obvious, and Tagus did not suffer fools, or their questions.

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  2. Darth Tagus

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    Tagus detested busy work and this mind of thing just stank of the stuff. But he had been asked to be part of the board hearing the debriefing because he had been around. The board had told him this Sith was one of their most effective operatives and Tagus had been intrigued enough that he hadn't said no straight away.

    So here he was.

    The others wore their suits but Tagus wore his regular robed armour regardless. He had taken his mask off but that was mainly to make the officers uncomfortable when they made eye contact with him. Sometimes it was the little things he enjoyed about being who he was.

    The fear he felt from the acolyte was another, small, pleasure he allowed himself.

    "Acolyte." He responded to the salute with a brief nod, "I was in the area... and these officers seem to believe your effectiveness is something I need to see first hand. So..."

    His eyes glowed slightly brighter yellow.

    "Report."


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  3. Callum Attar

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    It was funny. Once upon a time, this Mirialan had told him that when next he was with someone who could see through what it meant to be Sith, that he should respect their intelligence. Still, Callum supposed such a bold faced lie was the same as honesty in their world.

    Why Tagus was here remained a mystery. But even though the Coruscantian didn't know much, what he did know told him the green-skinned, yellow-eyed menace never did anything by accident. And while whim could very well be a driving force to this Sith Lord, the Acolyte would not qualify as that. None did these briefs unless they had good reason. None. And Attar took pride in his ability to fool civil servants and the Imperial system. To them, he was buried in the middle of a herd. It was the only way he had to be able to have his way. So any of them volunteering his name to a Darth was difficult to believe.

    Still, how big a fairy tale the Darth had spun was irrelevant. The fact was, Tagus's power and standing trumped everything. And Callum lacked the ability to worm his way out of this situation. This time, the only way out was through. The Acolyte put on his usual, charming smile, offered his superior a cordial nod and proceeded to spin a fairy tale of his own.

    "We are gathered here today to discuss an individual named Mok Januun." - Callum's tone was friendly, even possessing a slight joking nature to it. It seemed to cut through the gloom Tagus seemed to ooze, if only for an instant: a couple of the paper pushers sketched out discreet smiles. Evidently they liked being let in, and a Sith like himself treating them in this way was a small gesture, but one akin to letting them sit at the big boy table. And if he was to spin this story, he'd need to step up his game. By charming the pants off of everyone he could.

    "This Muun, a member of the IGBC, seems to have conveniently misplaced a substantial number of files over the past few years, leading to some orders having been lost in translation, so to speak. Never anything so large that the Clan would notice, but nothing so small that we wouldn't. Small things in and of themselves, but ones that have piled together to do significant amounts of damage to the trade route under his purview."

    "My task was, simply put, to make this individual feel more... partial to the Empire's ways." An introduction. Not brief, but not overly complicated. He'd actually gone as far as to wink at one of the female members of the panel, who seemed to have been particularly flustered, especially with an actual Darth in the room.

    Theatrics were rarely how the Acolyte conducted himself, but the way he saw it, Tagus would likely not be looking at the minutiae himself. He was far too busy. So, provided he stayed polite enough, but was able to distract the bureaucrats and sweep them up into the story, that plus the overwhelming pressure that the Mirialan offered would keep everyone from asking too many questions.

    "I am pleased to inform you that Mr. Januun has since made it clear to me that his previous oversights will not be happening again, and that he will be making a public announcement to the Clan detailing his plans to expand the agreements on this very route and lower his rates, in three days time. A meeting I have been invited to attend." - a polite pause, to allow the information to sink in, and the Acolyte to gather his thoughts. After a few moments, the man was back on the horse, this time his tone considerably more polite as he directed his speech at the Darth himself - "And one I would be honoured to have you be a part of, my Lord."

    Half-truths would be the key to this. The Acolyte truly hoped Tagus would pass on his offer, but his bet was hedged: An actual Darth participating in this meeting would scare Januun so badly that the Muun wouldn't even dare talk back. And so, odds were, even in a worst case scenario he would still have a chance to come out ahead.

    For now, the basic details were done and over, and he would allow the panel a chance to ponder on them, before he delivered the report on the how.

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  4. Darth Tagus

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    Tagus was not the kind of person who stuck around for things that were beneath him but he was going to stick around for this because he was, admittedly, rather curious. Callum had proven himself to be a polite and somewhat competent leader of men and Sith when they had worked together but this? The officers here were speaking as though he was more effective than half a legion of his fellow Sith.

    And that was interesting.

    Either they were right, in which case he would be taking over direct oversight of Callum effective immediately for the good of the Empire... or they were wrong and he had somehow managed to convince them that he was better than sliced bread. If that was the case? Well that was still interesting so Tagus would still be sticking around.

    So he settled in to listen.

    And, it turned out, to watch the show.

    Leaning back in his seat in apparent boredom, Tagus watched keenly as Callum wrapped the officers around his little finger with the barest hint of effort. It was rather interesting to see how the man worked, all things considered. But one thing he did notice was that Callum had said a lot.

    Without actually conveying much actual information.

    "An adequate summary." he replied with a small smile, "But I believe I asked for a report. How did you manage to come to such a favorable arrangement?"


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  5. Callum Attar

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    Tagus had seen through his little display. That much was to be expected. In their previous interaction, Callum had been left with the impression that very little escaped the Mirialan. Which was why he couldn't hide this information like one normally would.

    The Sith Lord before him was a mysterious individual, with no doubt no small amount of depth and layers to his persona. That made him a nightmare for people like Callum. But the Acolyte firmly believed he had discovered something about the Darth. Something not many others might be consciously aware of. This stern, practical, callous individual was still a Sith. Enslaved to his desires in some way or another. And Attar believed he'd found an inkling of how said desires manifested in the green-skinned man: Interest. The Coruscantian knew - or at least he firmly believed he did - for he too suffered from the same ailment.

    Tagus was perpetually surrounded by a sycophantic, narcissistic lot, most of which was too zealous to even be capable of intelligible thought. In short, he was bored. Out of his mind, presumably. And so he latched on to whatever interested, or amused him. It was understandable. Desirable even, in someone in such high a station. It gave him an eye for talent. And this would greatly help the Empire and everyone involved. Except the talent. The world was a show in such a man's eyes. And toys would be made to dance while they were useful, or amusing. This, Callum knew, because he was the same.

    Useful toys were fine. The amusing ones, however... To them, ignorance would be bliss. The more they caught on to the scheme, the worse it would get. Because Tagus's mind sought the same as anyone's. To be challenged. And the Acolyte's best guess was that he didn't much like to win, because it'd mean that his little pet would grow less interesting, but he definitely didn't like to lose. Because toys capable enough to beat him, could be capable enough to overthrow him. They therefore needed to be bent, or broken. An impossible situation for whichever poor bastard that was strung along.

    So, all of Callum's flourishes, all the honey dripping from his tongue and all the theatrical antics were there to lead Tagus to a singular conclusion. He needed to be pegged as some charming, but simple Acolyte, who was able to use pretty words to dazzle common mortals, but little more than that. Being magnetic was fine. It was a non-threatening explanation for why he might be valued. It was serious displays of intelligence along with said powers of seduction that'd get him in trouble. That would be when Tagus really started paying attention. Particularly because his story wasn't as water-tight as he was trying to lead everyone to believe, nothing good would come of that.

    This, was today's deception. To hide under the covers of a banal existence. To trick the intellectual snob into thinking they weren't even in the same league.

    While he reinforced this reasoning in his mind, a few seconds elapsed. During that time, the Acolyte stood in silence, looking like a puppet whose strings had been cut. Just like he would if he were nothing but some measly demagogue. "Of course, Lord Tagus." - he finally replied, his tone a little shaken, but the gears of political speech winding back up.

    "In the Intelligence I was shown, I found Mr. Januun to be a bit of a romantic. I believe this is what whoever issued the assignment wanted me to see. The precipitating factor that originally weaponised this member of the IGBC against the Empire was a mistress." Callum took a breath, to revise his speech. This was coming across as too well-put. That was bad. He needed to start dumbing it down, or he'd be in serious trouble.

    "The Agents detached to the case reminded me that people take these drastic actions for three reasons. Money, Jealousy and Love." - a cliché that he was certain any smartass would've said, and that these walls must've heard hundreds of times - "In this case, he was limiting how much money he'd make, so that left us with a combination of doors number two and three."

    "The Intelligence suggested that this mistress, a female Zeltron, had had another affair with a member of the Empire, and gotten pregnant as a result. I presumed that Januun did this out of spite. So, I found him in his house in Nar Shaddaa and confronted him." - here, Callum's tone shot up, as if a rhetorical 'you see?' was tacked to the end of the sentence, displaying his straightforward connection as something requiring otherworldly intelligence, another tactic to pass off as some daft but charming man - "Suddenly, with the woman as possible collateral damage, the Muun was more open to our business."

    Not a lot of information was offered, still, but he needed to do this bit by bit. Until the Darth got irritated, or tired of asking.

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  6. Darth Tagus

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    Tagus watched carefully as Callum continued to toe the party line and lay down layer after layer of pure honey to be poured directly into the ears of those who were happy to accept such lies. Because at the end of the day that was what Callum was doing; he was lying but he was doing it with such charm that the officers here were just lapping it up and accepting it because it was what stroked their egos just the right way.

    One or two of them were physically attracted to the young acolyte and that helped them to buy into what he was selling. Tagus himself wasn't buying it but that was to be expected. This dog and pony show wasn't being put on for him, it was being put on for the brass.

    Listening to the rest of the presentation, Tagus leaned back in his chair slightly.

    "So you managed to do all of this..." he gestured with his hand dismissively, signally he didn't actually think the man had accomplished all that much, "By yourself?"

    His smirk was sarcastic indeed.

    "Most impressive. Anything to add, Acolyte?"


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  7. Callum Attar

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    This was unbelievable. Tagus seemed to be buying the act. He seemed to be buying it! Callum's heart just about leapt out of his chest in joy. That sardonic little smirk and the hand gesture implied exactly what the Acolyte had been hoping, praying even, to see. Dismissal. Plain and simple. He was closer than ever to the end of this critical juncture, and he could not let up.

    Hearing the Darth's remarks did feel a little hurtful. Particularly because, he thought, the way he'd used this Zeltros woman as a bargaining chip was one of the more ingenious things he'd done in the whole of the assignment. That was, however, in the version of it that had actually happened. Not in some fairy-tale esque crap where he, a singular Acolyte, had managed to slip past the hired defenders of an IGBC member of some renown.

    Still. This was the home stretch. All he needed to do now was feign some modesty and bring this home. "I do not deserve your compliments, my Lord." - he responded with a smile, after a brief moment of careful consideration. A vivid display of very thick skin, to actually reply to something that sarcastic with such words. The weirdest thing was, it wasn't all a lie: Callum desperately didn't want Tagus's compliments or his favour, after all.

    "But I am but a lowly Acolyte. While my power does not grow, I am forced to remit myself to the fact that, as it stands, my pen is mightier than my sword." - Perhaps for the first time since the conversation had started, some amount of actual, heartfelt truth slipped out of the Coruscantian's mouth. Having been a firm believer in the power of words from a young age (presumably because they'd helped him so), Attar truly believed that his speech had and would continue to carry him places his prowess with the lightsabre could not. He practiced daily to shorten that gap, but some things were easier than others.

    His tone was apologetical. It was never easy for a Sith to admit his personal power was lacking, in any circumstances. But he was before a Darth, and anything else wouldn't feel enough, somehow. Even with how little he cared for actual Sith ranks, meeting someone capable of wearing this title of Old was enough to tug at anyone's heartstrings.

    "And that is my story for today, thank you all for listening, and thank you, Lord Tagus, for sparing the time." - he needed to quit while he wasn't behind. He was given an out, and he took it. Now came the time for inquiries. This was when he'd think on his feet and trudge through.

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  8. Darth Tagus

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    The show was over.

    And now it was time to talk to Callum properly.

    The officers were impressed enough but as he was the highest ranked amongst them, they all looked to him to see his opinion of what had been said. In the end he waved a hand and one of the officers gave some small speech to Callum commending him for his efforts as Tagus simply stood and left the room.

    What he did not do, however, was leave the area.

    When Callum was released he would find Tagus waiting for him in a corridor. A corridor that was suspiciously empty for such a busy building at this time of day. Tagus smiled at the acolyte and waved a hand, closing and locking the door behind the man with a simple application of the Force.

    "Acolyte." he greeted Callum with an almost serene (and clearly fake) smile, "I believe you have some explaining to do about the nature of the show you just put on. Sate my curiosity would you?"

    His eyes narrowed slightly.

    "If you would be so kind."


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  9. Callum Attar

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    The empty corridor caught had caught his eye before Tagus had. Once he saw the Darth, everything clicked. By everything, of course, he meant that he was in serious, serious trouble. There was no point in trying to flee, or explain anything away. But this didn't mean that the worst case scenario had come to pass.

    So, having silenced the many voices saying He knows. He knows! in his head, the Acolyte looked on in silence. Many Sith had very high, often absurd standards of conduct for those around, and beneath them. And a hate of sycophants was not uncommon. This could be simply that. Either way, it wasn't good, but he knew his options were limited the instant a bona fide Darth had decided to listen in on his report. What he was looking for, ironically, was something stereotypically Sith: the lesser evil.

    In a fraction of an instant, Callum weighed his choices. He could admit to having done wrong just now, but that would make him spineless and probably draw greater ire from Tagus, so that was out. Likewise, he could deny everything, though that might be misconstrued as an insult to the Councillor's intelligence, and that too was a big, Big no-no.

    So, what was left to him, was the job he was given, and the one that if he had played to begin with, would not have landed him here. So, returning the Darth's smile with one of his own, the Acolyte displayed a courteous, respectful and above all else, contrite but simple salute and then responded: "Of course, my Lord. I am at your disposal."

    It was important never to lie in the truest sense of the word. Callum had merely said he was at the Darth's disposal, which was the gospel truth. He lacked the power to disobey commands, plain and simply. But that said nothing to what he actually wanted to do... Which was run. Run far, and run fast, like there was no sodding tomorrow. Because by the time this was done, there genuinely might not be.

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  10. Darth Tagus

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    It seemed that Callum was not ready to die.

    The young acolyte made no move to avoid the confrontation that was to come and Tagus would consider that a point in the young man's favour mainly as a gesture of kindness to the young man. What happened next would depend entirely on how Callum explained himself and how much, or how little, it endeared Tagus to the young man.

    Because being the darling of the officers back in that room would do nothing to save the young man should Tagus decide that he had had enough of him.

    "Then let's talk."


    /End Thread

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