The mismatched pair straggled their way through two more blocks of the creepy, picture-perfect suburban town Ã¢Â€Â“ save the blood smears and corpses, naturally. Demarq walked ahead, hand planted on the butt of his commandeered slugthrower pistol, eyes scanning the sides of the street like an over-zealous crossing guard. As of this moment the Ã¢Â€ÂœpartnerÃ¢Â€Â heÃ¢Â€Â™d sought out and rescued was virtually useless. The bandaged, limping hulk staggered as fast as he was able, using his shotgun as a makeshift cane. The pirate captain could hear him panting from the pain and effort, but he had no intentions of stopping, or even slowing his pace for that matter. He had the feeling that the Trandoshan could push himself at least a little further before his broken body betrayed his stubborn pride and collapsed.
Suddenly a loud thump made Demarq whirl on his heels, pulling the handgun as he turned. Nossk had fallen on the sidewalk, and was now leaning against a blocky electrical transformer. Maybe heÃ¢Â€Â™d been wrong about the lizard-manÃ¢Â€Â™s limitations.
Ã¢Â€ÂœYou didnÃ¢Â€Â™t stub your toe, did you Rexy?Ã¢Â€Â The pirate remarked condescendingly, dropping the pistol back into its holster. He approached the transformer casually, crossing his arms over his chest and preparing to patronize the reptile back onto his feet. He was about two meters away when he finally understood the words Nossk had been hissing.
Ã¢Â€ÂœGet down, you stupid, stupid human!Ã¢Â€Â
Demarq hunkered down and sprang behind the transformer, more out of instinct than anything else. He assumed that the Trando had seen something he hadnÃ¢Â€Â™t, and poked his head up above the boxy machine theyÃ¢Â€Â™d taken cover behind. A thick-fingered hand grabbed him by the shoulder and pulled him back down. The captain turned, and stared into the glaring, teeth-baring, bandaged face of the brute heÃ¢Â€Â™d felt it necessary to have.
Ã¢Â€ÂœFor the love of the hunt, donÃ¢Â€Â™t look!Ã¢Â€Â Nossk hissed, tightening his grip on DemarqÃ¢Â€Â™s shoulder. The pirate was inwardly astounded by the strength still left in that torn body; outwardly, he shoved the arm aside and drew his pistol again.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWhat did you see?Ã¢Â€Â Demarq whispered back angrily, reasserting his control over the crippled reptile.
Ã¢Â€ÂœA man. A green man with a long nose. He was holding a gun and a bag.Ã¢Â€Â Nossk growled.
Ã¢Â€ÂœA green man with a - ?Ã¢Â€Â The pirate gave the Trando a puzzled look, but comprehension dawned on him a few moments later.
The idiot doesnÃ¢Â€Â™t even know what a Rodian is. He realized. He nodded, back to Nossk to show his understanding.
Ã¢Â€ÂœHow far away?Ã¢Â€Â
The lizard gave the human a blank stare, then shrugged, wincing at the unconscious motion. Demarq rolled his eyes, not quite used to dealing with this particular sort of brainlessness.
Ã¢Â€ÂœHow many houses up from us?Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœWas it more than two?Ã¢Â€Â the pirate inquired, sure he couldnÃ¢Â€Â™t have missed a target closer than that. As it was he wasnÃ¢Â€Â™t quite sure how the Trando had managed to catch something he didnÃ¢Â€Â™t, especially considering his condition. Still, he supposed, those enormous eyes had to be good for something.
Nossk wrinkled his brow for a moment in deep concentration, and then nodded. Demarq sighed in relief at finally having received some inkling of information. The pirate leaned out to the right side of the transformer, pistol in hand, and narrowed his eyes. Sure enough, a Rodian crept across the lawn of a white house, holding a carbine in his right hand and what couldÃ¢Â€Â™ve been some sort of bag in his left. He was about 2/3 covered by the hedges he scurried behind, and the shade of the plants was eerily close to his skin tone.
Damn heÃ¢Â€Â™s got good eyes.
Demarq leveled his pistol at the scampering Rodian, touched his finger to the trigger Ã¢Â€Â“ and waited. The looter pelted across the lawn, over the sidewalk, and behind a large tree on the side of the road. The pirate watched, breathing slow and deep.
Ã¢Â€ÂœYou couldÃ¢Â€Â™ve emptied half the clip into him by now, whatÃ¢Â€Â™s you pro-Ã¢Â€Âœ The Trandoshan began, switching his grip on the shotgun as if heÃ¢Â€Â™d make the shot himself.
Ã¢Â€ÂœShut up.Ã¢Â€Â Demarq interrupted, cold and calm.
Finally the Rodian made a break for it, sprinting from his tree towards the other side of the road. About halfway there he abruptly spun like a top, clutched his shoulder just above his heart, and stumbled onto the pavement. Demarq calmly holstered the smoking handgun, stood, and strode towards the body.
Ã¢Â€ÂœGet up.Ã¢Â€Â He ordered the Trandoshan.
By the time Nossk hobbled to his side, Demarq had already retrieved the RodianÃ¢Â€Â™s carbine and gone through the contents of his bag, which heÃ¢Â€Â™d tossed into the rucksack before putting it back on. The pirate liked the feeling of holding a real blaster again, and he took just a moment to run his fingers over the checkered handgrip before addressing his humbled companion. The neat shot through the alienÃ¢Â€Â™s chest was simple, clean, and efficient, not even the ever-criticizing and unhappy Trandoshan could argue with that, especially at this range.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWeÃ¢Â€Â™re taking that house.Ã¢Â€Â Demarq informed the Trando matter-of-factly.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWhy? What was in the bag?Ã¢Â€Â Nossk growled, his legs still aflame with the pain it had caused him to regain his feet.
Ã¢Â€ÂœBandages, antiseptic, bacta injections, stims; essentially medical supplies.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœSo weÃ¢Â€Â™re Ã¢Â€Â“Ã¢Â€Âœ
Ã¢Â€ÂœGoing to get you not quite so useless, yes. Follow me.Ã¢Â€Â The pirate explained simply, setting off and mounting the duracrete steps to the white house. The walkway up to the front door was lined with spring flowers. A welcome mat greeted them at the doorstep. Nossk spit on it as he limped through the threshold. They emerged in what appeared to be a kitchen, following the layout of most of the other houses heÃ¢Â€Â™d looted thus far.
Ã¢Â€ÂœStay here.Ã¢Â€Â The human said, dumping his pack next to Nossk. He raised his carbine and proceeded out of the room. Over the next five minutes the pirate captain searched the ground and upper floors of the house room by room Ã¢Â€Â“ and found nothing. Disappointed, Demarq began to think that perhaps the RodianÃ¢Â€Â™s bag was all there had been in the house, or maybe heÃ¢Â€Â™d been carrying it before even entering this particular building. The human returned to the kitchen where he relayed the barren state of the house to Nossk.
He was surprised, on entering the kitchen, to find the TrandoÃ¢Â€Â™s chair dripping with blood. HeÃ¢Â€Â™d removed the old bandage from the stab wound in his thigh and replaced it with one from the RodianÃ¢Â€Â™s bag of supplies. The captain noticed an empty bacta needle on the table. He silently approved of the lizard-manÃ¢Â€Â™s use of his time while heÃ¢Â€Â™d been sweeping the house.
Ã¢Â€ÂœDoesnÃ¢Â€Â™t matter, IÃ¢Â€Â™m fine.Ã¢Â€Â Nossk replied impartially, Ã¢Â€ÂœAs long as we donÃ¢Â€Â™t have to search any more basements.Ã¢Â€Â
Demarq froze, shooting the Trandoshan a surprised look. Nossk thought he might have just understood what he was thinking. His leg burned all over again at the very notion.
Ã¢Â€ÂœYep.Ã¢Â€Â The pirate said happily, remembering where the basement door was located in these nigh-identical houses. It had gone almost unnoticed last time, and that was before either of them had any reason to despise the concept of cellars. Demarq located the basement door, turned the knob slowly, and pulled it open. Nossk sat in one of the kitchen chairs, his shotgun trained on the doorway. There was nothing.
The pirate captain raised his carbine and began his cautious descent of the cellar stairs. Unable to manage them himself and hold a weapon at the same time, the Trandoshan remained where he was, watching both the front and basement doors. One minute passed, and already Nossk grew restless; heÃ¢Â€Â™d heard nothing from the open cellar door. Thirty seconds later the Trando struggled to his feet and began limping towards the steeply descending stairs. Just as he hit the first step, nearly reeling and tumbling down the entire staircase, he finally heard the aggravating humanÃ¢Â€Â™s voice for the first time in what seemed like hours.
Ã¢Â€ÂœHey Rexy, get down here.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœIÃ¢Â€Â™m already on my way.Ã¢Â€Â Nossk snapped back, staggering drunkenly down another step.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWell hurry it up damn it, this basementÃ¢Â€Â™s a lot nicer than the last one.Ã¢Â€Â The humanÃ¢Â€Â™s voice grew louder, and a moment later he was going back up the stairs and through the door. A moment later he reappeared with the rucksack Nossk had pillaged earlier in the Battledome. Even so he was back down the stairs before the Trandoshan had made it halfway, and disappeared around a corner at the bottom. Nossk neither expected nor received an offer to help him.
It took another full minute for Nossk to struggle down the remaining stairs, and after that staggering around the corner after Demarq seemed like a limp in the park. He rounded the divider and froze. Taking up most of the decent-sized cellar, including computer systems, meters of tubing, and whatever else it required to run was a huge, ten-foot tall bacta tank.
Ã¢Â€ÂœGet comfortable Rexy, IÃ¢Â€Â™ll be back in a bit.Ã¢Â€Â Demarq announced, snatching up his carbine and the remainder of NosskÃ¢Â€Â™s fragmentation grenades.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWhere are you going with those?Ã¢Â€Â The Trandoshan growled accusingly, playing scenarios of being stripped of his gear and abandoned in his head. His grip on the pump-gun tightened.
Ã¢Â€ÂœIÃ¢Â€Â™m going to see about fortifying this place. WeÃ¢Â€Â™ll be here for awhile.Ã¢Â€Â With that the pirate captain bounded up the stairs two at a time, and disappeared through the cellar doorway.
"I AM A SEXY SHOELESS GOD OF WAR!" - Belkar