It had been hardly a few minutes since Gerba had released his prisoners, yet already Nossk emerged onto a tableau of chaos. There were dozens of humanoids already on the surface and moving fast, generally towards the Northern forests or the southern village and armor cache. The TrandoshanÃ¢Â€Â™s cellblock had been at the Western side of the compound, making the small village his closest landmark. Nossk made for it at a dead run.
Some of the prisoners were engaged in their own little battles, either individually or with allies, but for the most part they seemed to be unconsciously having a race for weaponry and armor. Nossk snorted in disgust. The key to being a warrior was in your body and your spirit, not your gearÃ¢Â€Â¦or your head. Not that he shunned weapons or armor, far from it; he just didnÃ¢Â€Â™t see them as the first priority Ã¢Â€Â“ his being finding someone to fight.
A lithe, almost skeletal creature leapt from another entrance to the cellblock Ã¢Â€Â“ the doorway Nossk would have exited through had be gone to the other end of the hallway Ã¢Â€Â“ completely without warning. NosskÃ¢Â€Â™s adrenaline flared, and with alacrity some would consider impossible for a creature of his size, ducked and sidestepped two quick jabs from the stick-figure man. Nossk had always considered himself a straight-up bruiser - huge, strong, and tough as a Juggernaut Assault Mech Ã¢Â€Â“ but his time in the neglectful prison had reduced his muscle mass considerably. He was still strong compared to any standard humanoid man, but it didnÃ¢Â€Â™t measure up to his former glory. As he was learning, however, (slow as always) he had become quicker on his feet with the loss of mass. He wasnÃ¢Â€Â™t sure if this contradiction of his style pleased or dismayed him.
An educated man would recognize the attacker as a Yevetha, a lithe humanoid species most often characterized by the retractable claw that was hidden under each wrist. Nossk was most definitely not an educated man, and so all he saw was a skinny man with a pair of blades in his hands and a set of oversized shoulder pauldrons that heÃ¢Â€Â™d gotten from Force knows where. The agile prisoner was no doubt quick and perceptive enough to get through the minefield to the stash of armor, but the pickings must have been slim for him to have made such an ill-fitting and ineffective selection. Nossk, however, was absentmindedly thinking that the shoulder armor would look just about right on himÃ¢Â€Â¦
Regaining his balance, the Trandoshan made a wide horizontal slash with his new axe. The Yevetha leapt backwards, narrowly avoiding the attack by bending back at the waist; he could feel the air rush just above his chest. Nossk followed up his right-handed swing with a savage left kick, unthinkingly using his momentum to make the strike that much more powerful. From the YevethaÃ¢Â€Â™s horribly unbalanced position there was only one thing he could do to dodge the follow-up attack, and it was simultaneously the worst thing he could do. He dropped to the ground.
NosskÃ¢Â€Â™s foot cleared his opponentÃ¢Â€Â™s head and returned to the ground, just in time to launch him forward at his grounded enemy. The Yevetha began to move his arms upwards, hoping to use the TrandoshanÃ¢Â€Â™s own weight to drive his claws through the thick scales as the reptilian fell on top of him. At the same time Nossk began to bring his vibroaxe down. The two bodies came together; blood ran in a thick river where they met.
Nossk stood up without so much as a glance at the long streak of Yevetha blood staining his prison coveralls. The Yevetha had failed to bring his deadly natural weapons into position fast enough, and was punished for his mistake with a vibroaxe buried in the center of his chest. The Trandoshan wrenched the weapon free, splattering more gore onto his clothes, and took a few minutes to acquire the dead manÃ¢Â€Â™s oversized shoulder armor. He could only imagine what he would look like with no other gear on, but he was an admitted fan of shoulder-tackling, and they were better than nothing.
Toting his second bit of acquired gear, Nossk straightened up and took off for the cluster of buildings yet again, anxious for cover and the lure of close quarter combat. The final stretch was an uninteresting one - no ambushes, long range attacks, or even a separate fight to observe or intervene in Ã¢Â€Â“ and so another couple minutes of his long, powerful strides saw him pressed against the side of one of the villageÃ¢Â€Â™s faux-houses, panting slightly. The Trandoshan caught his breath and walked around to the front door; it was still intact.
Nossk kicked the door down without checking to see if it was locked, and stepped into the building. The first room appeared to be a kitchen, with a refrigerating unit, table, chairs, cupboards, and sink all placed neatly throughout the gently lit room. An overheard fan spun softly in the otherwise quiet air. The Trandoshan waited for an attack to come, but there was nothing Ã¢Â€Â“ it appeared that heÃ¢Â€Â™d actually selected an empty house as his first destination. He cursed his bad luck.
What the imperceptive lizard-man failed to notice, however, was the single open window standing out among its closed counterparts, or the faint footprints visible on the countertop where someone or something had entered the house.
The Trandoshan went first for the refrigerator, throwing its double doors wide and peering in hungrily: empty. It made sense that the Hutt wouldnÃ¢Â€Â™t bother stocking his fake village, but Nossk was nonetheless disappointed, and extremely hungry. He gulped greedily at the water streaming out of the thankfully functional sink, but while it hydrated him it served the double purpose of sharpening his hunger, much to his dismay.
Nossk pressed on, only glancing in the living room long enough to see that no one was there (again missing the finer details like the one missing chair or the wrinkled tablecloth), and ignoring the fresher altogether. He started up the stairs of the small prefab home, already bored.
There were only three rooms on the top floor: two bedrooms and a fresher. The fresher room was empty, and it was only in the first bedroom that Nossk finally found something interesting. He had just opened the door, throwing it open and stepping into the room with reckless abandon, when something fast and hard struck him in the face. He staggered backwards out of the room, crashing into the stair railing; the railing creaked and bent, threatening to snap and send the Trandoshan on a short trip back to the first floor. Nossk recovered and shook his head in a vain attempt to scatter the multicolored dots decorating his vision. He could make out his assailant well enough, however. He was human, and he stood in the doorway with a distinctly haughty, confident aura about him. His ruffled hair and devilish, cocky grin identified him as the typical Corellian smuggler to most people. To Nossk, he was just a skinny human holding a chair leg.
Ã¢Â€ÂœYou really are about as subtle as a Rancor arenÃ¢Â€Â™t you?Ã¢Â€Â The smuggler asked, condescending as can be, Ã¢Â€ÂœI mean I practically left a window open for you, and still you bust down the door. Then you just walk into a room without even a shadow of caution, and expect nothing to happen. WhatÃ¢Â€Â™s with all the blunt aggression? You trying to compensate for something, or are you really just that stupid?Ã¢Â€Â
Nossk raised his vibroaxe and growled low in the back of his throat. He dug his clawed feet into the carpeted floor and launched himself at the human, reducing a section of the doorframe to splinters as he swung the weapon in the constrained space. The Corellian simply sidestepped and let the Trandoshan rush past him, then cracked his makeshift club against the back of his neck. Nossk stumbled, tripped over his own huge feet, and slammed headfirst into the wall. The plaster buckled inwards from the impact, showering Nossk with a fine white powder. He got groggily to his feet.
Ã¢Â€ÂœYup, youÃ¢Â€Â™re just that stupid.Ã¢Â€Â The human commented smugly, bouncing his improvised weapon up and down in his hands.
The Trandoshan snarled angrily and charged yet again, bringing his axe down in a stroke that should have cleaved the CorellianÃ¢Â€Â™s torso from his left shoulder down to his right hip. The rogue ducked down and to the left, and rather than be neatly chopped in half he kicked at the reptilianÃ¢Â€Â™s legs as he leaned forward to put his weight into the axe-stroke. Nossk toppled forward yet again, and with the added motivation of a sharp strike with the smugglerÃ¢Â€Â™s chair leg, crashed into, and through, the closet door. He hit the wall with a room-shaking thud, and slid to the floor.
The fight was not, by any means, going well.
Ã¢Â€ÂœHow the hell have you stayed alive for so long?Ã¢Â€Â The Corellian asked, looking disgusted, Ã¢Â€ÂœHave you really gone your whole life fighting like this? Running at someone and swinging as hard as you can? Ya, because thatÃ¢Â€Â™s a smart way to fight, I mean look how far itÃ¢Â€Â™s gotten you now.Ã¢Â€Â
The Corellian shook his head and smiled, reaching into his pocket with his free hand. He produced a small, hold-out blaster, and pointed it at his grounded opponent.
Ã¢Â€ÂœIt was in one of the kitchen cabinets, not that you bothered to look, IÃ¢Â€Â™m sure. I didnÃ¢Â€Â™t think it would do much to a big guy like you as long as you were hyped up and kicking, but I think itÃ¢Â€Â™ll do ok as an execution weapon. Beating a man Ã¢Â€Â“ lizard-man, whatever Ã¢Â€Â“ to death is so uncivilized.Ã¢Â€Â
How in the Scorekeepers holy name, Nossk thought, a rare occasion in and of itself, did this happen? HeÃ¢Â€Â™s so much weaker, so much smaller, so much less bloodthirsty, how can I lose?
The Trandoshan looked into that cocky, half-smiling face that belonged to his soon-to-be killer, and was overwrought with shame and hate. He turned his head to the left, momentarily forgetting about the shame it would bring him not to look the man whoÃ¢Â€Â™d beaten him in the eye as he died, and gazed upon a miracle. Lying there on the floor, hidden from the CorellianÃ¢Â€Â™s view by the remnants of the closet door, was a large slugthrower pistol in a leather holster. Nossk fell on his side and groped for it, clawing the carpet to shreds as he tried to drag himself towards the handgun that was just out of reach.
Ã¢Â€ÂœPlease, donÃ¢Â€Â™t crawl. Watching you flail around like an idiot was bad enough, but donÃ¢Â€Â™t degrade yourself before you die. Have a little pride man, for ForceÃ¢Â€Â™s sake.Ã¢Â€Â The smuggler said, probably wondering if he could bring himself to kill not only a beaten man, but a broken one crawling on his hand and knees.
He shook his head and took aim at the prone Trandoshan. His finger tightened around the trigger.
Two thundering crashes echoed through the bedroom, accompanying a pair of large holes that had just appeared in the intact portion of the sliding closet doors. The smuggler reeled once, then twice, and lowered his pistol. He bowed his head to look at his chest, and was more than a little surprised to see two large, red holes that hadnÃ¢Â€Â™t been there before. Meanwhile Nossk pulled himself to his feet, and approached the dying, but still standing smuggler.
Ã¢Â€ÂœIt was in the closet, not that you bothered to look, IÃ¢Â€Â™m sure.Ã¢Â€Â Nossk hissed, breathing heavily but revitalized by his miraculous victory. It was one of the wittiest comments that the TrandoshanÃ¢Â€Â™s mouth had ever uttered, and may well be the wittiest it ever will utter.
The Corellian looked back up to regard the Trandoshan with a combination of hopelessness, confusion, and resignation. He fell first to his knees, never taking his eyes off his towering opponent, and then onto his face where he lay still.
Nossk took a few moments to catch his breath, and then went to work. He returned to the closet to grab the holster and two remaining magazines for the slugthrower pistol and strapped them on. He considered taking the smugglerÃ¢Â€Â™s small hold-out blaster, but his fingers couldnÃ¢Â€Â™t even fit inside the trigger-guard, so he left it with its last ownerÃ¢Â€Â™s corpse. In the CorellianÃ¢Â€Â™s pockets he found a pair of small ration bars, probably pilfered from somewhere else in the house. Inspired with the new life lesson that heÃ¢Â€Â™d learned at gunpoint, the Trandoshan checked to make sure there was nothing else of interest inside the ruined bedroom, and moved on to the next one. In this roomÃ¢Â€Â™s closet he obtained a small machete, which he hooked onto the back of his right shoulder by the strap of his pauldron. Nossk even went back to the bathroom heÃ¢Â€Â™d ignored, and in the medicine cabinet found a small, opened box of rations that the smuggler must have found earlier. Nossk ate four before shoving the rest into his pockets and moving on. The remainder of the house turned up empty, despite the TrandoshanÃ¢Â€Â™s belief that since it had worked twice, just about every room should have something special in it; he felt disappointed at the disproving of his new, and perhaps first ever, theory.
His neck and back throbbed with a dull ache where the smugglerÃ¢Â€Â™s club had struck him, but that would be gone soon enough. HeÃ¢Â€Â™d been hurt exponentially worse on a number of occasions and come out alive, and so was not particularly concerned about his injuries. Stretching the muscles out anyway and raising his new slugthrower, Nossk stepped out of the cleared house and proceeded on to the next one, perhaps the tiniest bit more cautious than heÃ¢Â€Â™d been before. Mayhap the Battledome would become a learning experience for the thick-headed reptile, as well as a proving ground, bounty hunt, and means of escape.
"I AM A SEXY SHOELESS GOD OF WAR!" - Belkar