Re: Grindhouse Rpg (by Audition Only)
((Alright, it's been a full month. Time to do something drastic.))
CachiÃ¢Â€Â™s ship reeked of time and use. It looked ancient and derelict (as the best ships often do), and the inside did not belie the rough, pock-marked exterior. Even as Dracmus sat in the tiny common room at the center of the craft, he wondered at how the ship had ever managed to fly. HeÃ¢Â€Â™d noticed that some of the armor plates looked shorn and mangled on the outside hull, and inside everything seemed to be in unorganized chaos. His eyes drifted to a greasy wrench resting on a counter where food might have once been served; a large machine with whirring lights and protruding wires occupied a full half of the table they gathered around; everywhere he looked, there was something out of place or forgotten, giving the vessel a grimy, well-worn feeling.
Drac decided he rather liked it.
The Duro sat at the open end of the long table, now wearing a large slugthrower that adorned most of his upper leg. Besides the weapon, he looked very much the same; bloody, bruised, skinny - but still oddly happy. It seemed impossible to extinguish the little alienÃ¢Â€Â™s high spirits, an occasionally annoying but valuable trait, Drac noticed.
Ã¢Â€ÂœI couldnÃ¢Â€Â™t tell you how many people want him dead.Ã¢Â€Â Cachi was saying. For the past quarter of an hour heÃ¢Â€Â™d been explaining to them who Governor Telk was and exactly why there was a price on an Imperial GovernorÃ¢Â€Â™s head. Ã¢Â€ÂœThe Rebels, naturally; any jealous subordinate of his; rich citizen who doesnÃ¢Â€Â™t like the way he keeps jacking up the taxes so he can embezzle even more of the peoplesÃ¢Â€Â™ money; hell, probably even his wife, judging by the way he keeps that TwiÃ¢Â€Â™lek girl around. In my, or our case, itÃ¢Â€Â™s the Rebellion.
Ã¢Â€ÂœA small sect of the self-proclaimed Ã¢Â€Â˜freedom fightersÃ¢Â€Â™ are laying low in some of the smaller mining communities, and decided that while they were here, they might as well make their presence felt and knock out an Imp official or two. Or, more precisely, pool their credits and hire someone else to knock out an Imp official or two. Well, Mr. Telk is first on their list.Ã¢Â€Â
The Duro spacer slid a datapad over to Drac, and when the Selonian picked it up to inspect the face displayed on its screen, he recognized the image instantly as the man whoÃ¢Â€Â™d strutted into the Blue Sun Cantina scant minutes after he himself had entered. His eyes widened in surprise as he placed the pad back down on the table.
Ã¢Â€ÂœIÃ¢Â€Â™ve seen this man before.Ã¢Â€Â Drac said, suppressing the excitement rising in his chest. Could it really be this easy? Ã¢Â€ÂœHe was in the cantina tonight.Ã¢Â€Â
Groww looked on with interest, feeling the excitement in his friend but not quite understanding why it was there. Language was a troublesome barrier indeed.
Ã¢Â€ÂœYes he was.Ã¢Â€Â Cachi agreed, smiling broadly. Ã¢Â€ÂœThatÃ¢Â€Â™s the very reason I was there, doing a bit of reconnaissance. You can understand why I was so reluctant to have my table and my view taken from me.Ã¢Â€Â
Drac nodded in comprehension.
Ã¢Â€ÂœStill,Ã¢Â€Â The Duro continued, Ã¢Â€ÂœI think IÃ¢Â€Â™ve seen enough. The Governor has two bodyguards; maybe three, IÃ¢Â€Â™m not sure if that scrawny little gillie he keeps is for anything more than looks. Anyway, the first is a big mercenary that goes by Smoke, very experienced, very dangerous. The second is another female, a Falleen, which is to say drop-dead gorgeous. SheÃ¢Â€Â™s a cold killer from what I hear, and walks around toting one of those ridiculous Imp repeaters. I heard someone call her Sheeka.Ã¢Â€Â
The eccentric pilot laid his hands on the table, palms down, and faced his two soon-to-be-partners. Ã¢Â€ÂœAnd thatÃ¢Â€Â™s all she wrote, gents. Two hired guards, one scantily clad slug-head, and we have ourselves a bounty. Now, what do you say?Ã¢Â€Â
Dracmus closed his eyes, and sifted through the information that had just been given to him. It was crude, with virtually no plan whatsoever, but the concept of facing only two professional soldiers was very tantalizing. How many had he and Groww gone through in the area?
Ã¢Â€ÂœWeÃ¢Â€Â™re forgetting something.Ã¢Â€Â Drac said, opening his eyes and seeing CachiÃ¢Â€Â™s smile falter. Ã¢Â€ÂœThe pit fighters. The prize money comes from the Governor doesnÃ¢Â€Â™t it? ItÃ¢Â€Â™s his entertainment, bought and paid for.Ã¢Â€Â
Cachi saw where this was going, and nodded his agreement, the grin was gone now.
Ã¢Â€ÂœThat money is all theyÃ¢Â€Â™re fighting for. If they have half a brain between them, theyÃ¢Â€Â™ll figure out that if we kill Telk, we kill their payday. If we do it, weÃ¢Â€Â™ll have to do it fast, or weÃ¢Â€Â™ll have half the cantina screaming for our blood.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœI donÃ¢Â€Â™t mind the risk.Ã¢Â€Â Said Cachi immediately, Ã¢Â€ÂœAfter all, thereÃ¢Â€Â™s no telling when heÃ¢Â€Â™ll be this vulnerable again. Tonight is perfect; we know where he is, who heÃ¢Â€Â™s with, and how to get to him. ItÃ¢Â€Â™s better than going after him while heÃ¢Â€Â™s locked in some Imperial stronghold behind a battalion of stormies.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœThis is true.Ã¢Â€Â Drac muttered. Cachi had a good point. A very good point. This would be their only chance in the foreseeable future to have the Governor this terribly exposed. It was now that Drac noticed he was referring to the job as Ã¢Â€ÂœtheirsÃ¢Â€Â. Why was he even going along with it? Why was he helping the pilot kill a man in cold blood for money? What happened to the honor of the Zeishan Sha?
Ã¢Â€ÂœCachi,Ã¢Â€Â The Selonian said, suddenly very quiet, Ã¢Â€ÂœIÃ¢Â€Â™ve killed dozens of men in my time, but I believe IÃ¢Â€Â™ve never murdered a single living soul. This man...before we decide to execute him, I must know; does he deserve to die?Ã¢Â€Â
The Duro gave him an appraising look, as if he was just now grasping the Selonian he was dealing with. His face remained expressionless as he spoke:
Ã¢Â€ÂœTelk has reportedly stolen hundreds of thousands of credits from the people living here, calling it taxes. Those Ã¢Â€Â˜taxesÃ¢Â€Â™ were supposed to be used to restore the city. If youÃ¢Â€Â™ve taken a look outside, youÃ¢Â€Â™ll detect a bit of foul play. Anyone who gets too loud about protesting it disappears in, say, a speeder crash. ItÃ¢Â€Â™s no secret that he cheats on his wife with that scrawny thing he always keeps at his side, which would explain why Mrs. Telk doesnÃ¢Â€Â™t accompany him on this night out. Even without hard evidence a file of his wrongdoings, anyone can tell that Governor Telk is no Antarian Ranger.Ã¢Â€Â
Drac felt relieved. Here was a sinner, to be sure, and a damn bad one. If he could think of no other reason, heÃ¢Â€Â™d do it for the people here, and the hope that the next man to take over wouldnÃ¢Â€Â™t be such a blood-sucking aristocrat. A slim hope, but a hope nonetheless. His code of honor would allow him this.
Ã¢Â€ÂœVery well, I agree.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœWell thatÃ¢Â€Â™s fantastic.Ã¢Â€Â Cachi said enthusiastically, not even looking at the black clad Zeishan Sha exile. His wide eyes were on the sand-robed Tusken beside him.
Ã¢Â€ÂœAnd you, my creepy friend?Ã¢Â€Â
Groww looked to Drac, who opened his mine and reached out with his Gift.
Will you fight with us tonight? We go to bring justice, but there is much risk. The choice is yours.
With hardly a pause, Groww rose to his feet and hefted his Gaderffii above his head. Startled, Cachi tensed and dropped his hand to the butt of his enormous slugthrower, but his actions were unneeded. The Tusken Raider bellowed one of those honking war cries that only his people could produce, and then promptly lowered his weapon and sat down.
Ã¢Â€ÂœHe says yes.Ã¢Â€Â Drac translated.
Another scant half hour of planning and the three were on the street again, striding purposefully back towards the Blue Sun Cantina, which Dracmus had hoped never to enter again.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWe use the side entrance.Ã¢Â€Â Cachi had said back in his ship, as he showed them the layout of the cantina. Ã¢Â€ÂœWe can block off the main elevator right from the start, avoid the crowd around the center stage, the patrons at the bar, and the gambling tables.Ã¢Â€Â
The trio walked past the main doors without a glance, and turned onto another street. Within seconds the side door was in view, and they came to a halt in front of it.
Back in the ship again:
Ã¢Â€ÂœAlright, we know Sheeka uses a Repeater.Ã¢Â€Â Cachi said, Ã¢Â€ÂœBut SmokeÃ¢Â€Â™s a bit of a wild card. He wears a blaster, but heÃ¢Â€Â™s got a vibroblade under his shirt, we should expect him to use either.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœObviously.Ã¢Â€Â Drac agreed. Ã¢Â€ÂœIÃ¢Â€Â™ll take the big one, Smoke. Groww can handle the woman.Ã¢Â€Â
The Duro winced slightly as Drac announced the pairings so casually. He hoped the Selonian wasnÃ¢Â€Â™t underestimating them.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWhich leaves the target for you.Ã¢Â€Â Drac finished, nodding to Cachi. Ã¢Â€ÂœIs that alright?Ã¢Â€Â
Cachi nodded. Ã¢Â€ÂœIf you two know what youÃ¢Â€Â™re doing, IÃ¢Â€Â™ll bag Telk.Ã¢Â€Â
And so it was decided.
Back on the street:
Drac reached out, grasped the handles of the double doors, and pulled. The Selonian, the Tusken, and the Duro crossed the threshold into the cantina. Stage one: Arrive, complete.
Ã¢Â€ÂœExcuse me.Ã¢Â€Â Said a figure at the side of the door as they walked past him. Ã¢Â€ÂœUnless you plan on entering the pit fight, I must ask you to leave your weapons in the check room.Ã¢Â€Â
Cachi looked nervous, apparently he hadnÃ¢Â€Â™t expected this. Perhaps further security had been put in place especially for the governor tonight. Either way, they did not want attention so fast.
Drac looked at the man, the species of whom he did not recognize. He reached out with his Gift, and took hold of the doormanÃ¢Â€Â™s mind. The man collapsed within seconds, utterly bewildered at the sudden and unbearable exhaustion that took hold of him. A Jedi would have called the technique Morichro, Dracmus called it improvising.
No one seemed to notice the short exchange, as there were people passed out and snoring throughout the bar, and the three continued. They passed the main elevator on their right, putting themselves between it and the Governor. Their only concern now was the private lift in the VIP room. They passed the side bar now, and to their immediate right, they laid eyes on Smoke and Sheeka, blocking the VIP roomÃ¢Â€Â™s entrance from everyone they didnÃ¢Â€Â™t approve of; in essence, from everyone.
Cachi sauntered off towards the primary bar, trying to look as casual as he could. Maybe passers by would believe it was the lights off the center stage that were making his domed head sweat, and not the prospect of assassinating an Imperial officer. Everything seemed to be going well.
The Duro took a seat at a table a few yards away from the bar, and glanced behind him. His glassy eyes took in the hundreds of amber-colored bottles with glee.
Back in CachiÃ¢Â€Â™s ancient ship, he had disclosed to them part of the art that was gunslinging. Indeed, the rounds now resting in the handle of his pistol were not the standard metal slugs he usually packed, but specialized, crimson-tipped cartridges he had showed to them with immense pride. Now, he got to use them.
The spacer abruptly whirled in his seat, tucked his pistol into his left armpit, and fired. The gunÃ¢Â€Â™s position muffled the flashbang of its discharge, and made the source of the flaming tracer round nearly impossible to determine for anyone who wasnÃ¢Â€Â™t paying close attention. As the mountain of hard liquor set fire, Cachi jumped up like everyone else, and ran towards the side exit. The route, incidentally, would take him back towards the VIP room.
The moment the two guardsÃ¢Â€Â™ heads turned towards the inferno, alarm etched on their faces, Drac and Groww began to move. A pair of discblades sliced through the air, criss-crossing elegantly as the Selonian guided them at Smoke. Groww pounded at Sheeka, voicing the Tusken war cry again and raising his Gaderffii for the first strike.
Stage Two: Raise hell, in progress.
SmokeÃ¢Â€Â™s mask blasted a massive cloud of smoke into the air as he exhaled in surprise. The mercenary could barely see the two small, glittering objects hurtling towards him through the air, but his reflexes saved him. He ducked at the last possible instant, and the two blades lodged themselves in the wall behind him. Snarling, Drac wrenched his arms backwards, and the discs returned to his hands.
Ã¢Â€ÂœAnd who the hell are you?Ã¢Â€Â Smoke asked, sounding insanely unsurprised as he pulled his blaster.
Ã¢Â€ÂœNo one of consequence.Ã¢Â€Â Drac responded, Ã¢Â€ÂœMy quarrel here is with the Governor, not you, and if youÃ¢Â€Â™ll forgive my haste, I have no wish to kill you.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœReally?Ã¢Â€Â the old merc said, blatantly unconvinced.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWell, see, thereÃ¢Â€Â™s a small problem with that little plan ya got there. See, I get paid to make sure people like you donÃ¢Â€Â™t kill my employer, he being the one you plan on killing. I assume a smart...thing, like yourself can understand why IÃ¢Â€Â™m inclined to refuse instead of letting you walk by and murder my paycheck.Ã¢Â€Â Smoke held his blaster ready, not firing until it was clear their fight was to be continued. It was strange, how some codes of conduct rule people who appear to have no leash at all.
Ã¢Â€ÂœI murder no one.Ã¢Â€Â Drac growled, and crossed his arms over his chest, preparing to throw again. Smoke understood there would be no more talk, and opened fire.
The Selonian dove to the side the moment his discblades were airborne, dodging SmokeÃ¢Â€Â™s first well-aimed bolt by scant inches. His own attack bore down on the mercenary again, and for a moment Drac was sure that this was it, that it would be impossible for the merc to dodge both of the blades this time. He was half-right.
Smoke only dodged the first one, and barely. The tips of its four blades nicked his shoulder, drawing a few drops of blood but otherwise causing no damage. The second discblade went careening through the air, deflected in a flash of sparks by SmokeÃ¢Â€Â™s vibroblade. Drac was bewildered by the speed in which heÃ¢Â€Â™d drawn the weapon, and lost hope for a quick and easy end to this fight. Smoke was a hardened veteran, and would not be killed so simply.
Dracmus stretched out with his Gift, and sensed Groww engaged in a very peculiar fight. He glanced over to see his friend swinging his Gaffi stick viciously in an attempt to land a solid blow on the Falleen woman dancing away from the powerful strokes. Whenever she could find an opening, she would loose a burst from her repeater at point-blank range, which Groww would in turn predict and avoid. It was like watching a lightsaber duel, but instead of the gleaming Jedi weapons, the combatants used a Gaffi and a heavy repeater. HeÃ¢Â€Â™d never seen a fight quite like it.
Ã¢Â€ÂœYou canÃ¢Â€Â™t afford to take your eyes off me!Ã¢Â€Â Smoke bellowed, and he was right. Only DracÃ¢Â€Â™s Force-enhanced reflexes allowed him to spin away from the mercenaryÃ¢Â€Â™s volley of blaster shots, and suddenly he was on the defensive. He threw a table down in front of him and huddled behind it, listening as chunks of the wood were scorched away by SmokeÃ¢Â€Â™s barrage.
Drac closed his eyes and reached out, trying to shut down his opponentÃ¢Â€Â™s mind as heÃ¢Â€Â™d done to the doorman. The moment he touched the mercenary, he knew the efforts were futile. Adrenaline and hatred burned together through his consciousness, and any attempt to gain control was instantly overpowered. Drac found himself getting frustrated.
He snapped up from behind his little piece of cover, raised his right hand, and sent a bolt of lightning coursing through the now smoke-filled air at the hired bodyguard. The unexpected blast knocked him off his feet, and made a smoldering wreck out of the Corellian suit shirt he wore. Smoke grunted in surprise, but showed no other outward signs of pain; Drac respected his immense self-control.
Smoke kick-flipped to his feet with the same startling speed in which heÃ¢Â€Â™d drawn his vibroblade, apparently barely affected by the fork of lightning that had just sent him to the floor. The mercenary stared wide-eyed at the Selonian standing before him, arm still outstretched. Before he had believed the would-be assassin had been a skilled fighter, but nothing more. The phenomenon that had just scorched his very expensive shirt proved otherwise, and all at once he understood what he was up against.
And so they stood for what might been seconds, minutes, or even hours, just staring and appraising what they both thought had been inferior opponents. It was Smoke that broke the tension in the air. His Merr-Sonn 434 Deathhammer roared twice, hurling two crimson bolts of energy at his Force-using enemy. Drac swept an arm through the air in front of him, and then sidestepped. The first shot tore past his ear, and Smoke saw the second impact directly over the SelonianÃ¢Â€Â™s chest.
Game over. He thought to himself with a smug smile, You played well, but itÃ¢Â€Â™s over for you.
Another streak of lightning blasted Smoke into the wall behind him. The mercenary struggled back to his feet, dropping his burnt and broken blaster as he did. He blinked black splotches of nothingness out of his vision, and gazed at the Selonian in shameless disbelief. He saw the blaster bolt explode dead center on his chest. He saw it.
To be painfully precise, what the mercenary had seen was the lethal bolt dissipating some six inches from his targetÃ¢Â€Â™s body. Creating Force Shields was an age-old technique of the Zeishan Sha, and Dracmus had learned it well before his exile. But to even be forced to use it...Smoke was witnessing a very rare event indeed.
Lowering his arm, Drac loosened the Shyarn in its sheath. Now, they could fight on even ground, blade to blade, man to man. It was the Selonian that charged. For one terrible moment a memory flashed in his mind. Here he was, Shyarn at the ready, charging a young, enraged Cerean man with the same weapon. He was the only one to walk away from that fight.
He closed his eyes against the memory, and shook his head violently to clear it. When he opened them a moment later, Smoke was a single step away, already mid-swing with his blade. Drac drew and parried with the same liquid-smooth movement, and drove the Cerean blade forward. Smoke twisted out of the way and swiped at the SelonianÃ¢Â€Â™s long muzzle, but his wiry opponent ducked out of the way. Still in a crouch, Dracmus extended a leg and spun on his opposite paw, knocking SmokeÃ¢Â€Â™s legs out from under him. He spun the sword in his hand so the blade pointed towards the ground and his prone enemy, and slammed it down.
Smoke rolled to his left, using the time it took Drac to regain control of his Shyarn to get to his feet again. He raised his vibroblade in both hands, and readied himself for the next attack. As they were at a distance, they appeared to be each otherÃ¢Â€Â™s equal in close-quarters combat as well. Smoke was enjoying himself thoroughly.
It was only now that Drac noticed how hard it was to breathe. The air reeked of burning alcohol and wood, and he saw that the bar had caught fire from the ignited liquor. Smoke was quickly filling the Blue SunÃ¢Â€Â™s interior, and Drac wondered how long it would be before they either had to move their fight outside or die of asphyxiation.
His thoughts were swept away as his black, wandering eyes fell on Cachi, sprinting full force through the thickening smoke towards them. He passed the Selonian and pounded towards the VIP room to do his part of the job.
SmokeÃ¢Â€Â™s eyes followed him as he ran in between the two fights raging outside the VIP area, and it was a full two seconds before he could think enough to act.
Ã¢Â€ÂœSheeka! ThereÃ¢Â€Â™s another one!Ã¢Â€Â The old mercenary bellowed, issuing a thick stream of white smoke from his mask that wove and clashed with the dark cloud around them. He slashed viciously at DracÃ¢Â€Â™s torso, throwing the Selonian off balance as he struggled to parry it. Smoke followed up with a solid kick to the cloaked beast-manÃ¢Â€Â™s head, knocking him to the floor in a heap of fur. Smoke whirled and took off after Cachi before Drac had hit the ground.
The Falleen woman had turned at her partnerÃ¢Â€Â™s yell, and instantly noticed the little Duro pelting towards the VIP room door. She jumped backwards and leveled her repeater, pulling the trigger the moment she had a clear shot. Taking into account her considerable skill and experience, Cachi could very well have been killed the following second. Taking into account the angry Tusken dueling her, he very well couldnÃ¢Â€Â™t have.
Groww swept his Gaffi upwards, striking SheekaÃ¢Â€Â™s repeater and shifting her spray of bolts into the cantinaÃ¢Â€Â™s ceiling. She turned to re-engage her opponent...
Cachi ran on. He had just reached the door to the VIP room, and was not surprised to find it locked. His slugthrower turned the handle and lock into a smoldering hole, and he kicked the door open. Governor Telk stood before him, his scantily clad TwiÃ¢Â€Â™lek cowering behind her employer. Before he could so much as raise his pistol however, a massive body crashed into him from behind. It rolled with the takedown, and when Cachi looked up from his spot on the ground, he saw Smoke, upright and terrifying, grasping a vibroblade in his right hand. He raised it, stepped so close that Cachi could see the ridges on the underside of his boots, and brought it down with terrible force.
Cachi closed his eyes as terror gripped him. It was all so fast; he thought, that when it was his time, heÃ¢Â€Â™d have time, time to think, time to be afraid. Now he only had time for the latter, and only an instant. He felt insanely depressed, disappointed that his life would end so soon, so normally, so boringly, on just another bounty. But there was nothing he could do about it, so he just kept his eyes shut tight and tensed, wondering if it would hurt.
There was a sound of rushing air, the distinct clang of metal on metal. And suddenly, Dracmus was there.