The accommodations were a fry cry from what Tisa was used to. She had grown up in comfort and wanted for very little, attended to by servants constantly. Though now, for the first time, she wondered if they were just slightly better treated slaves? Her shoulders slumped at the thought. So many beliefs she had held were no either shattered or, at best, called into question now that she had finally accepted the truth about the Empire. Her paradigm that she thought was so strong, that she believed with all her heart, was held together with idealism. When properly nurtured and reinforced, idealism could be stronger than beskar. But when constantly pushed, tested and bent to make exceptions and excuses, small fractures appear which only grow with time leading to its eventual failure, unless careful attention was taken to mend it, and the Empire was not renown as nurturing.
The same was true about leading soldiers, she thought. She was the firm voice of authority for her men preferring to lead through inspiration rather than intimidation. She did not demand respect like so many of her peers did, but rather commanded it with her words and actions, leading from the front rather than commanding in the rear. She had continually earned the respect, trust and loyalty of those under her command, and she figured it was likely a good part of why she was not dead.
Tisa shook her head, trying to shake loose the thoughts for now. It was painful to think about and her inner nature as a zeltron was predisposed to avoid such negative thoughts and emotions. She still had work to do though, and the Empire had taught her discipline, and even modesty, at least has much as a zeltron could.
The black sheathed zeltron slumped down in the chair at the small table in room. Wear from years, if not decades, of use had turned the chairs proposed offer of comfort into such an illusion that it may as well have had holographic cushions. In a way it was wonderful symbolism for Nar Shadda; pretty displays and a thin veneer of hospitality smeared over the hard reality of the place. As it was, she could easily afford a better room, but a better room meant more attention wanted and un-wanted, and she was trying to lay low.
Reaching over the table she picked up her holdout blaster. It was tiny, fitting into the palm of her hand, and looked more like a child's toy that a weapon, but she knew that despite its almost toy-like appearance that it could get the job done, especially at close range. Slowly she slipped a finger through the trigger guard and looked at the weapon tiny in her hand as she thought about her situation. Was this her life now? Constantly on the run from one grimy planet to the next, constantly looking over her shoulder, unable to ever go home again.
Slamming the small blaster on the table, she pushed herself to her feet and mentally chastised herself. Now was not a time for self-pity, as if there ever were such a time she thought. She had to focus on her objective and find a way off this planet. Seeing the price on her head in the cantina just a short time ago only reaffirmed that.
With a resigned sigh Tisa collected her things from the table, checking the small blaster out of habit, and slid each object back into their various pockets in and under her poncho. She walked to the small mirror in the room and checked her lines, making sure nobe of the concealed items were obvious before taking a moment to fix her hair. Looking good certainly did not hurt when trying to book passage, or negotiating price. She leaned closer to the mirror, meeting her own gaze, looking into her eyes for... something. She was not sure what it was exactly, but it wasn't there anymore, at least not that she could see.
Her gaze drifted down and she took a deep breath, blinking away some tears she could feel trying to form. She exhaled and shook it off. Grabbing her rifle from the corner she slung it over a shoulder under her poncho and then stepped out of her room, securing the door behind her, for what it was worth. She made her way down the narrow hall and past a new arrival checking in and stepped outside.
Tisa pulled her hood up, mostly in an attempt at anonymity, but also to protect from the faint drizzle that was falling, causing the streets to light up with blurry, multi-colored hues of the bright holo-signage flanking it for as far as the eye could see, each one offering different diversions and delights of mind, palate and flesh. It was all so over-the-top gaudy to her that she imagined the only one could live here for anything length would be to numb the senses from the various, unrelenting onslaughts.
"If I am going to be here much longer, getting a little numb might do me some good." she thought aloud in a soft mutter.
Giving her hood another tug, she walked down the street, going a different direction from where she had come before, her experience in law enforcement reminding her to not settle into a pattern and to take side streets and double back to look for anybody following her.
"You got any pickled rankweed?" the pink-skinned beauty asked as she looked over the various jars, tubs and bins of the multitude of plants and herbs that hung off of and surrounded the small kiosk.
"Dasso? So ta-nee waja wos-ka." the proprietor, some species that was un-familiar to Tisa who was sitting on a stool, responded in a language she did not know or even reconize.
"Basic?" she asked with a semi-frustrated sigh.
The shopkeep slapped a smallish, disk shaped droid with two small arms that hovered beside him, knocking it halfway to the ground before the replusors brought it back up to eye level.
*Bzzzzt* "Really? I get f-fe-few inquiries about t-th-tha-that." the semi-functional droid, apparently cobbled together from spare parts, translated with a stutter.
"If you do have some, then I'll take whatever you got. Whole leaves too, if you got'em." she told him, consciously trying to to speak less properly, dropping a very small stack of credits on the counter.
The proprietor pointed to a synthleather pouch behind the counter at the other side of the kiosk, which the droid zippered over to fetch with its tiny, metallic arms.
"Keep the change." Tisa said as she grabbed the pouch and slipped it under her poncho.
"Saan pichalay." the alien responded.
"Uh yeah. You too." she said over her shoulder as she stepped back out into the night.
Tisa's shapely form, sheathed in black, slipped into the small, open booth. It was one of a handful that lined a side room, reducing the noise and smells from the rest of the cantina at least somewhat and meaning a few less people, while still giving a decent view into the cantina proper. She pulled out the pouch and opened it, inspecting the contents, and picked out a few errant bits from among the shredded plant and withdrew one of the handful of whole leaves and sprinkled some of the shreds only the leave before rolling it up. She brought the small bundle to her lips and gave the exposed edge of the leaf a lick as she heard a voice, causing her to look toward it.
"I could watch you lick that all night." said the human male who was standing, with some effort, at her booth.
"Are you a ship captain?" she asked.
"Huh? No. Wh-"
"Then shove off, laser brain." she groaned and slipped the small bundle between her lips without even looking at the human anymore.
"Hey! I thought you zel-" was all the retort he managed before he was cut off by a slap on his shoulder.
"Ya know Lok, that askavarian girl was eyeing you earlier. I think she is about to settle up, so you better go seal the deal before she's gone." said a rather lithe mirialan male.
"Oh. Okay! Thanks." the human said and then walked off with a bit of s stumble. Tisa watched him for a moment and then glanced up to the mirialan.
"Thanks." she said out of the corner of mouth as she began to check her pockets. Finally realizing the small, but vital item she had forgotten to purchase she closed her eyes and slammed the back of her head into the back of the booth. A flash of warth near her face caused her eyes to flash open, spotting the small, open flame emanating from the tiny metal cylinder in the mirialan's hand. "Thanks again." she said with a near sigh and leaned forward, igniting the end of her cigarette. She took a small drag and exhaled a small puff of fragrant, intoxicating blue smoke.
"Forget about it." the mirialan said , flashing what was best described as a roguish smile. He extinguished the flame and sat the firestick down on the table, letting it stand on its end. "And don't mind Lok. He's just had a bit too much." he explained, looking in the direction the other man had walked away, which was met with a bit of a shrug from the pink skinned woman. "I'm Eion by the way." he added.
"Tisa." she replied, slipping the smoldering cigarette from her mouth between to fingers and letting out a long, wisp of blue smoke.