Granpappa Radd looked lost in thought. He paced back and forth as we sat in his plush office, his rightful domain as CEO of VeyrdeTech Industries. As plush as you can get for Concord Dawn, that is. Rubbing his hand through his silvery goatee, he turned to me and Uncle Barve, both seated on a nerf-hide couch awaiting my grandfather's reaction.
"The boy seems geared up for a one man war, Tann'ika. You sure that's what we want?"
Uncle Barve barely bats an eye at the affectation. A full grown warrior in his mid-forties, he wouldn't let anyone but his father, former Cuy'val Dar and veteran of the Clone Wars, get away with calling him Tannor, let alone,"Little Tannor." He shrugs, "The kid wants payback. So do I. We both know you do too, Buir."
Radd’ba'buir nods, then smiles. He walks over and gestures for me to stand and spin slowly for a full inspection. He pats me on the backplate, just between the built-in jump jet nozzles mounted at my shoulder blades, a look of full approval on his face. "How's it feel, Zul?"
I flex and stretch to show that despite the heavy coverage of the armored torso plating, I'm actually pretty comfortable. "It feels good, Ba'buir. Uncle Barve made it like a second skin. Prime calibration skills."
Granpappa Radd smiles and nods. He walks back to the wall behind his desk and reaches for the vault keypad.
Uncle Barve smiles at the compliments. "All pleasantries aside, what now? The trail of Jinn and Xyla's killer's growing colder and cold-"
"No Tannor. Vengeance is best served cold." My grandfather pulls three durasteel cases out of the vault. One long one, about the length of my armspan and two square- box shaped, the third smaller than the second. He hands me the second box, big enough to fit a human head in. "Open that one first Zul'ika," he smiles.
I do as he says, and inside even with dramatically different colors and symbols, I can still recognize my father's rare buy'ce design: the hybrid ComMando. I feel a lump form in my throat and the heat of falling tears, as I pull the newly gold and black helmet from the box. I feel a sense of awe staring at my father’s helmet, which seems to follow the same detailing patterns and colors of all the Aliit Veyrde buy’ce, the Mandalorian mythosaur skull emblazoned on the T-visor’s faceplate.
"Osik...Radd'buir...I don't know what to..." I stutter, my voice a hoarse metallic whisper.
"Don't say anything, kid...Here." Radd's eyes are wet with tears as well, and I swear I hear a sniffle from Uncle Barve's direction. I take the smaller box and open it. It's a one of a kind VeyrdeTech Custom Heavy Blaster- The GVPG-MFP01. I recognize the unique lines of the vertically mounted double barrel blaster nozzles housed in the single box frame, as well as the side mounted micro rocket launcher. Xyla Konshi’s favorite colors, stark black and vibrant gold, adorn the surface…a pure work of art.
I remember as a kid asking why no one else had a blaster like hers. She used to tell me how Uncle Barve gave it to her as a wedding gift, which surprised her because when she and dad had first met, it was because Barve and Jinn Veyrde had been hired by Sheyf Tinte Vos of Kiffu to kill her. She used to be one of their Guardians, and must’ve karked the Sheyf off real bad to warrant hired Mandalorian assassins. My dad, despite Uncle Barve’s warnings, immediately fell in love. They married only a few months later. It seems fitting that it was kept painted black and gold...the colors of Justice and Vengeance.
Granpappa Radd smiles, having wiped his tears, and opens the last box himself. "This one's from us, Zul'ika. We had it commissioned by an old contact at Xamonet Weapon Labs. The plan was to celebrate your first successful mission as an adult warrior of Aliit Veyrde. Now, it's an instrument of Justice."
I smile sadly, accepting the black sheathed vibro sword with reverance.
The words flow from me without much thought, "Red for Honoring them...black for Justice...and gold... for vengeance..."