Resh Hour 2: Boots on the Ground | Scene 1

Fortune indeed favors the bold. A few days after Renci Tosh submits her report to her handler, she receives word to swing by the Nabat dead drop. A package is waiting for her, new technology for her to field test, and she smiles when she sees the contents. Now to pick up a few other things to make the next mission easier….

Renci gives Nyn Kablo a call, and they meet for morning caf at the local Jawa Java. Nyn has a vibrorapier, and Renci is curious about it and where she might buy something similar for herself. She tells Nyn about going up against an electrostaff, and how a knife, while useful for clearing vines off doors, is literally not going to cut it in that kind of fight. She adds that a sword would also be good for ceremonial reasons.

“Ah, oui, your organization does love such zings. It is one of ze reasons we merely ally with you and do not join up officially,” the leader of the Nabat Twi’lek Resistance cell tells her. Renci nods agreeably, commenting that it is a military thing, and some people like that kind of stuff for a sense of belonging. It just comes with the territory.

Although Nyn’s sword was a gift from JT, she does know a merchant she can recommend. She refers Renci to the Cutting Edge, a warrior outfitting shop run by the Twi’lek Par Wehar. Renci thanks Nyn and heads there. As she enters, she sees a sign on the register that says, “You pay for the whole blade, but you only need the edge!” Renci inquires about vibroswords and pulls out a watermelon she has brought along for testing purposes. Par is amused to watch her try out her knife on it, and then they munch on the slices of fruit, discussing vibroblade options. Par tells her, “I can sell you one right now, but it is used, and we don’t put warranties on used equipment. It is sold as-is.”

Renci tries the available weapon out on another watermelon and deems the blade inferior to what she was hoping. However, she agrees to buy it and to pay the manufacturer’s suggested retail price because she wants it now. She has still got a few days of recuperation before her mission to Rannon which she can spend modifying the weapon to suit her personal tastes. Renci goes through a bunch of cool action poses with the sword in front of the mirror in the armor changing room. “Oh, I gotta show this to JT!” She sends a comm message and then notices in the log that the last ten messages in their chat conversation have all been from her, without JT responding back to any of them. She frowns a little, a bit of her good cheer departing. Prior to leaving the shop, she inquires about parts needed to modify the vibroblade’s edge. The Cutting Edge, despite its name, does not carry monomolecular edge attachments. However, it does have the serrated edge attachment, which Renci picks up. She also gets a gaffi stick… just in case. It is cheap, so why not? She recalls Renn saying something about a black market tech dealer he knows… maybe that would be a way for her to get the monomolecular edge components. Her pulled muscles will heal just as well on the way to New Meen as they will sitting around in her apartment, so she heads over to Z’voak’s landing bay to catch the midday shuttle.

* * *​

It is never terribly difficult to find someone in the small town of New Meen, and it is even easier when they are atop the local cantina, stripping tack from an enormous kinetic glider. Renci catches Renn Herkin’s attention, and as he drops down from the roof, she notes that he is moving easily and looks a lot better than he did when he dropped her off in Nabat at the start of the week. She sets a watermelon down on one of the tables under the awnings outside the cantina, then demonstrates her new vibrosword against it. He pulls out his hunting knife, which is itself a vibroweapon, to see how they compare. It seems to move more easily through the melon’s thick skin than her sword does, so she asks to examine it.

Renci is very impressed with the balance and the edge of the knife. She asks Renn how he fit so much into such a small weapon. He seems confused by the question, telling her he got it from Dead-Eye Dortho, a shady arms dealer on Tatooine who would sometimes service his Czerka. Renci replies, “No, you got this from an artist.” She decides she would prefer to have her sword rebalanced like this knife, rather than mess any further with the edge. They discuss the special part required to change the frequency of vibration in the hilt, and Renn thinks it is the kind of thing Overcharge would carry. He warns her that it will likely be quite expensive, and Renci says money is not a problem.

Renn cracks a smile and tells her, “That’s good ta hear from someone who’s payin’ me.”

“Well, I did just get a promotion,” Renci explains, “and it comes with a bit of a pay raise.”

Thinking that might impact future exploration jobs for her, Renn asks, “Is this the kind of promotion that involves a change in work, or just a new title?”

Renci considers a moment before answering. “Mostly just a new title, but probably also a change in work… not because I want it, but because we’ve been doing a lot of things poorly for twenty years. I’m going to do them well.”

“Do ya not quite trust yer superiors?” Just how different is the Rebel Army from the Imperial Army? Renn wonders. They probably commit fewer atrocities, but maybe leaders are corrupt no matter the military.

“I trust them,” Renci asserts. “I just don’t think they all quite make the right decisions. A lot of them were veterans of the Clone Wars, but that was a different type of war. They’re still trying to apply those techniques. Mon Mothma is one of the good ones—” Renci cuts herself off. “But there’s stuff I shouldn’t say about our forces.”

Renn does not press her. He does not care about the details of the Rebellion, just how it affects the friends he has who are part of it. Not that he thinks of Renci as a friend, per se. Though he supposes he and JT are friends? She would certainly say so. It is such a different galaxy once you stop distrusting everyone around you all the time, he reflects. This is something he is slowly getting more used to.

Renci is still talking, so it is clear there are things she cares about on this topic. “This war is not going to be won with capital ships blasting each other in deep space. We simply don’t have the ships. That would take a hundred years to get enough people, enough planets, enough ships. We have to win it some other way.” They discuss the relative sizes of the Rebel Navy and the Imperial Navy, which ends in a bit of a glum silence.

Renn changes the topic back to Renci’s original reason for coming to talk to him. “Regardin’ dealin’ with Overcharge… do ya feel comfortable navigatin’ the seedier side of society?”

“I’m not a criminal like JT,” Renci says.

“I’m not a criminal either—”

“I could start listing some crimes,” Renci jokingly interjects.

“Well, war crimes aside…” Renn clarifies, “I’m not a criminal the way JT and Kash are, but I’ve certainly had ta interact with that sector. D’ya want me ta just throw ya ta the wolves, or d’ya want me ta come along?”

Renci considers. Here in New Meen, Renn seems relaxed, more so than she has observed before. She is not feeling any pressure or judgment from him, just a sincere offer of help, if she wants it. She is confident she can handle this Overcharge person, but there is no harm in having some backup. She invites him to come along to personally make the introduction.

* * *​

It is overkill to take a starship from New Meen to Nabat, but it does mean they can get to the Enclave that night, and the ship is still enough of a novelty to Renn that any excuse to fly it is worthwhile. He docks the Resolve at Z’voak’s landing bay and then leads Renci down through the twisting tunnels of Nabat to a section she has not visited before.

As they enter the Enclave, Renci is hit by a wall of noise—or is that music? She has not been to a rave since just before basic training, but that seems to be where she is now. Neon lights flicker, both on the walls and on the dancers, and a smoke machine must be running overtime somewhere on this floor. The booths along the edges of the room, though, have slicing stations, most of which are occupied by frantically typing individuals with poor posture. Renci weaves her way through the crowd, keeping an eye on the back of Renn’s jacket ahead of her, and marvels that he brought Mira along with him to this place. The kiros bird is scrunched down, talons clamped firmly to his left shoulder, tail wrapped around his neck. He and Renci get some looks as they pass. Neither of them really fits in style-wise, so it is clear they are there for a business meet, not as regulars.

Renn stops at a table at which sits a pile of concealing robes, presumably containing a person. He gestures to Renci to slide into the booth and says, “Overcharge here might have what yer lookin’ fer.” Then he grabs a nearby chair and sets it at the end of the table, taking a seat that does not crowd either woman but keeps him available to provide Renci with whatever level of support she decides she wants.

Renci places her vibrosword on the table and then asks Renn for his knife. She demonstrates to Overcharge how well balanced it is and says she is looking to install a similar vibro-dampener in the hilt of her sword.

Overcharge bobs her hooded head up and down. “I have the component. But it won’t be cheap. After all, if you could have gotten this from a regular vendor, you wouldn’t be here, would you?”

“I haven’t actually looked there,” Renci replies. “I came here because my—” Renci quickly runs through a list of descriptors… associate? That sounds comical, like she is playing at being streetwise. Employee? Just keep it simple, she tells herself. “—friend recommended you.” They haggle back and forth a little, settling on a price that is only a two-thirds markup from MSRP. “I wasn’t going to make a quip about your name, but I think you’ve earned it,” Renci comments as she tucks the part into her utility belt and gets up from the table.

She can hear the smirk in the other woman’s voice as Overcharge replies, “You’re not supposed to choose your own handle.”

Renn stands as well, then pauses at the table to tell Overcharge that he used the items she sold him, and they worked really well out in the field. She says that is good to hear and asks how his bird is doing, looking up at Mira on his left shoulder.

“Fortunately, she’s not who I had ta use the kit on, but she’s well,” he replies, reaching up to give the bird a soothing stroke.

“I appreciate you bringing more business around. You and your… friend are big spenders.”

Renn wishes Overcharge a good night, and she replies that her day is just starting. Outside the Enclave, he bids Renci farewell, telling her he is heading back to New Meen. “I’ll pick ya up at Z’voak’s at the end of the week—” He cracks a grin. “—ta drive ya ta yer next job.”

Renci returns to her apartment. Although she keeps her bedroom neat and orderly, the front room—more a workshop than a living room, really—is a disaster zone of components and empty Jawa Java cups. She looks around at the mess, fondly remembering the time she and JT spent working together here on customized emergency beacons for the Rebellion. She clears off some space and spends a while installing the serrated edge and vibro-dampener. She tinkers with some settings, hoping to fit the sword even more perfectly to herself, to improve the accuracy, but she cannot quite get it to work. Instead, she redirects her efforts to removing unnecessary decorative pieces from the gem-encrusted weapon, lightening it a bit. Whoever the former owner was, they seem to have loved sparklies.

It has been a long day, but she is not yet ready to call it. She heads up to the mesa top, the upper level of Nabat, and goes to her favorite roof. There, she tries out the sword with the pair of jumpboots that Rebel Command sent her to field test. She practices launching herself up from the roof and slashing about, spending a while getting used to the new gear. Once she is comfortable with the large, clunky red boots, she clicks the heels together and says, “Yeah, just like home.” Then she does a jumpboot backflip off the building, sheathing the vibrosword on her back.