Re: RPG - Battledome II: The Cleansing
I need to post too, but hey a bit of a late start might help reignite some interest in this one
It was like thousands of voices cried out for a sequel and were suddenly silenced...
I need to post too, but hey a bit of a late start might help reignite some interest in this one
POST COMING SOON honest
Still hoping to continue, if not, please bother to send another good rpg my way. If this round wasn't too terrible anyway.
PART I: TRAPS
"I don't like being helpless," Nossk growled as he watched Demarq attach one final diode to the reptileÃ¢Â€Â™s bare torso. Ã¢Â€ÂœIÃ¢Â€Â™m not gonna be stuck watching while some merc guns me down as I float around with wires sticking out of me.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœDonÃ¢Â€Â™t be an idiot,Ã¢Â€Â Demarq barked curtly as he ran a quick check of his partnerÃ¢Â€Â™s vital signs on the tankÃ¢Â€Â™s control screen. The TrandoÃ¢Â€Â™s complaints about entering the bacta tank had been unending, and increasingly irrational, since he had first proposed the idea, and it was beginning to grate on his nerves. Ã¢Â€ÂœYouÃ¢Â€Â™ll be unconscious the majority of the time. Some merc decides to gun you down, youÃ¢Â€Â™ll be dying in your sleep. Besides, if we donÃ¢Â€Â™t get you healed up you wonÃ¢Â€Â™t last two minutes out against the remaining competitors in this hole.Ã¢Â€Â
Impressed as Demarq was with the TrandoshanÃ¢Â€Â™s regenerative abilities, natural biology can only act so quickly. Underequipped as the pair still was, they needed to be in prime condition as soon as possible to gather a decent stash of weapons if they hoped to stay alive. Now that a day had passed in the battledome, the competition was becoming more and more cutthroat. They had been lucky so far, but to trust more in luck would be foolhardy in the extreme.
The Trandoshan would be back in perfect condition in a weekÃ¢Â€Â™s time, despite the gravity of his wounds. With the accelerated healing of the bacta tank, he would hopefully be ready for action in a single night, even before DemarqÃ¢Â€Â™s own newly-bandaged hand was finished healing. At least, thatÃ¢Â€Â™s what Demarq was counting on. He moved to the tank and initiated the filling process. Life-sustaining bacta began streaming down the glass walls of the tank and collecting at the bottom.
Ã¢Â€ÂœAnyway, I envy you; while youÃ¢Â€Â™re floating around regenerating, IÃ¢Â€Â™ve got to keep your *** alive. Gerba went through the trouble of putting a whole swarm of Bartokk in that last house, because he wants as many of us as possible to die. Why put life-saving equipment in the middle of a death match? This whole thing could be a death trap.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœYeah, well,Ã¢Â€Â Nossk growled, Ã¢Â€Âœwe get another swarm of those things and IÃ¢Â€Â™m not around to save your hide, weÃ¢Â€Â™re both screwed.Ã¢Â€Â
The pirate made an amused noise half-way between a cough and a chuckle. Ã¢Â€ÂœSorry, I thought you just said it was you who saved my hide. YouÃ¢Â€Â™re funny, Fido. Anyway, IÃ¢Â€Â™m going to go fortify our position a little bit in case I have to do it again. Yell when the tankÃ¢Â€Â™s done filling.Ã¢Â€Â
He stopped on his way out the door by the table where theyÃ¢Â€Â™d placed all NosskÃ¢Â€Â™s equipment. Ã¢Â€ÂœYou donÃ¢Â€Â™t mind if I borrow these do you? They might come in handy.Ã¢Â€Â Before the Trandoshan could say that he most decidedly did mind, the pirate had scooped up the remaining grenades and was bounding up the stairs.
Improvised defenses (alternately known as Ã¢Â€ÂœtrapsÃ¢Â€Â) are one more thing an effective space pirate has to be familiar with: when the defending vessel is outgunned, their only hope of resistance is to take advantage of their home turf. Most took a passive route, simply attempting to stop the pirates from advancing with jammed blast doors and force fields. Demarq had never been sure of the thought process behind such methods: did they think that the pirates would get frustrated and simply leave them alone? It was safe to say that it never happened that way.
Offensive traps were far more effective, snares set up with the intent of blowing or tearing or ripping apart the invader who was stupid enough to trigger them. The mechanics inventive enough to improvise such traps are few and far between, but Demar had been around enough to have witnessed a few of the surprising ones. Sure, there was the usual proximity mine, the transformer rigged to explode, but those werenÃ¢Â€Â™t the really impressive ones.
One cargo frieghterÃ¢Â€Â™s mechanic had let loose his shipment, which consisted of a small pack of hunting nix hounds, on the pirate invaders. Two of the pirates fell to fatal bites, and to make up for the lost crew and cargo Demarq was forced to sell the freighter and buy a new set of dogs. Another mechanic had even rigged charges in an attempt to breach the hull and expose the invaders to open space. Half a ship is better than no ship, after all. Luckily for Demarq and his crew the mechanic wasnÃ¢Â€Â™t aware of the auto-seal safety feature that activated in the event of a ship depressurization.
At any rate, Demarq didnÃ¢Â€Â™t have a lot to work with in the prefab house, so he couldnÃ¢Â€Â™t attempt anything too fancy. However at the same time, NosskÃ¢Â€Â™s arsenal gave him enough firepower to stop a small battalion of mercs should the need arise.
First, Demarq assumed his attackers would be entering through the houseÃ¢Â€Â™s front door. Sure, there were other entrances- windows- that one might try to use, but if they thought the house might be occupied, it was foolish in the extreme to attempt a difficult entry that robs one of the ability to defend himself. The door is a much more tactically sound option, especially if the attackers had superior numbers. Which they always do.
Using the blade of NosskÃ¢Â€Â™s blade, the pirate pried up a good-sized splinter of the wood at the bottom of the door, under the knob. He then tied a cloth bandage (heÃ¢Â€Â™d found yards of the stuff in the med lab downstairs) to the knob, wrapped it around the jutting splinter, and tied the other end to the pin of one of NosskÃ¢Â€Â™s remaining three frag grenades. The body of the grenade he taped to the wall using tape heÃ¢Â€Â™d discovered downstairs, so that when the door was opened the pin would be yanked. He left the timer at three seconds, enough time for the door-opener and a few friends to step inside and get close to the blast area.
Demarq moved to the window to make a similar set-up, but as he peered over the window ledge he locked eyes with a man, standing outside the front door to the next house over, looking slightly ill ((NOTE: THIS IS RANDO. When he saw someone working in the next house over. Just to avoid any confusion.)). Before Demarq could react, the man had jumped back inside out of sight. Unsure of what to do, the pirate abandoned the window for now. He didnÃ¢Â€Â™t like being watched.
He moved upstairs, the location any interlopers would be most likely to search first. He took stock of his resources: the plan was to eliminate as many opponents as possible without depriving himself of the a way to defend himself, should it come to a straight firefight. For that reason, the carbine he now owned (it had previously belonged to a Rodian who lay rotting in the street outside the house) had to remain at his side. As effective as NosskÃ¢Â€Â™s slugthrowers were, Demarq just felt more comfortable with blaster technology. Most of the universe probably felt that way.
Anyway, that meant the carbine could not be involved in a trap. However the slugthrowers, particularly the shotgun, could. In the main bedroom, Demarq dragged the dresser beside the door, placed the shotgun (loaded with a single round, so as not to provide the enemy with additional firepower, of course) so it was aimed at the door frame, and strapped it down with medical adhesive strips. A strip of fabric cut from the cheap linens on the bed connected the trigger to the door handle, and that was that.
Of course, he was stuck in the room now. Demarq opened the window and inched along the sloped overhang outside it to reach another window on the second story, reentered the house, and moved back downstairs.
Now for the best trap ever, his coup de grace: Demarq dragged all four chairs that were placed around the kitchen table down to the basement. If Nossk had any interest at all in what his partner was doing, he made no mention of it and merely continued to sulk. Once all four chairs were in the space below the staircase, he went to work prying off the seats and snapping off the backs, leaving four posts connected by a square framework around the middle. A little hewing with the knife made the posts pointy enough for his purposes, and before a quarter of an hour had passed there were 16 stakes ready and pointed at the staircase above.
Ã¢Â€ÂœTankÃ¢Â€Â™s filled,Ã¢Â€Â Nossk called out, clearly not pleased that the time had come. Ã¢Â€ÂœYou gonna get me into this thing or what?Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœWait a minute,Ã¢Â€Â Demarq commanded with the annoyance of a man who was nearing completion on a large project and was being asked to stop. He pried the top off the third step from the top of the staircase, sawed it in half (it was hardly the sturdiest of wood. Remember that one time Nossk knocked a whole staircase over by hitting it with a dead body?), taped the halves back together and gingerly placed it back on the step. It could not support any weight whatsoever, but stayed up by itself easily enough. He repeated the process for the fourth and fifth steps, carefully leaned over, and pulled the door closed. Voila, instant pit of death.
Ten minutes later, Nossk was loaded into the bacta tank and glaring at Demarq. A few commands entered into the computer, and several lights lit up on the console: Ã¢Â€ÂœTissue regeneration in progressÃ¢Â€Â, as well as Ã¢Â€ÂœAnesthetic IV activeÃ¢Â€Â. The glowering eyes of the Trandoshan began to flutter, and before long closed entirely. Nighty night, Fido.
Exhausted from the dayÃ¢Â€Â™s work, Demarq collapsed next to one of the humming machines, his carbine across his knees. His head tilted back, and he allowed his eyes to close. Just for an hour or twoÃ¢Â€Â¦
A loudspeaker thundered as though it were right in his ear. Ã¢Â€ÂœATTENTION COMBATANTS: A MED FACILITY ON 1ST STREET IS IN OPERATION. REPEAT, A MED FACILITY ON 1ST STREET IS IN OPERATION. TARGETS ARE AVAILABLE ON 1ST STREET OPERATING MED FACILITYÃ¢Â€Â¦Ã¢Â€Â
DemarqÃ¢Â€Â™s eyes flew open at mach 5.
SON OF A-
PART II: THE FIGHT coming hopefully this weekend?
Rando swore outright, about to pray that he'd misheard something. Rather, his first reaction was to open the door to the stairs. The lights blazed on and nothing, he wasn't dead. He walked down the steps, counting them. Fifteen from head to foot, still alive. The space was empty, wall to wall blank. Rando turned back toward the staircase, which was when he noticed the door.
Hand on the control he cautiously keyed the door. It slid open, his skin hadn't melted off yet. The space within was a number of shelves, with a few scattered clay jars. Magnificent hand crafted pieces. A similar design was rendered to each, an insect of some kind coupled by a location. A park, a garden, a city for example.
The stench of his work became the forebearer of his appearance, Flying W had descended the stairs as well.
"Quaint, are they empty?" W snatched one, reaching over Rando's shoulder.
His examination covered the contents, dried out husks of what once had been animals. Flying W made no move to touch or remove them.
"It's too bad he left these here, such a horrid locale. Hutts..." With that he replaced the cover of the jar and set it on the ground.
Rando moved out of the way, the other man removing the other five jars. Then the shelves and finally he stepped into the closet and closed the door. He returned in a couple of minutes thereabouts, ecstatic.
"What's so exciting about a closet?"
"What's so exciting about death at the hands of the other crazies looking for medical treatment?"
The front door was blown open. Someone else had a few choice words on the state of the kitchen. Flying W had left the drained corpses where he'd cut them. A keen distraction, who knew if the cause of the gore was still around after all.
Rando was about to throw himself into the small cramped space when a hand stopped him.
"Take the cover off every jar, space them six inches apart, and then immediately run through this door. Do not look back or stop."
Flying W disappeared, Rando did as he was told. With that he flung that door open, the first step in had been a hole in the floor. He passed six rungs of a metal ladder on the way down. But he'd managed to close the door.
"Where are we?" Rando rubbed his bruised head.
"I'd say a rudimentary sewage system beneath the battledome. Or a very good facade. Sounds like fun doesn't it?" Did this place smell worse than the corpses? His nose felt like it had shut-down completely.
Above, the party in search of the med facilities had finished their sweep of the rest of the house. The basement was all that was left.
Four of them strode down, taking no effort to hide their entrance. Survival at this point was all that was left, thought had been ruled out. A woman among them clenched the stub where he arm had been, wrapped in a used under shirt she'd already stained the lot of it red.
"Cleo! C'mon, just one more step and I'm sure it'll be here! C'mon, one more ste-" Her companion fell silent, eyes darting from one side of the blank room to the other. Then to the floor.
His last thought was of an evening on Raxus Prime, so long ago before the pain removed any chance of even that.
Cleo screamed, but there was nothing to do. The three behind her were too confused to make a retreat, she wasn't in the usual condition to beat them around to escape. They were trapped on the stairs, until the next fellow stepped off from the foot to investigate.
The once stoic basement was alive with the chittering of new life. Thousands of insectoid legs began to reach up and over the edge of their jars. Having been in contact with the moisture in the air, they'd been given new life. Escaping their purposefully dried shells.
And they were hungry. Working as a single entity they struck, with barely a minute passed they'd already begun to drag them down and off the stairs.
"We'll be safe so long as we stay in an environment with more or less moisture in the air than where they hatched. So, unless Gerba manages to completely alter the environment within the battledome, I'd say we're alright." Flying W was ahead, walking down the muck spread track running on the edge of the pipe.
They stopped at another ladder, Flying W began to ascend.
"If I'm right, we'll come out on the main street in the middle of the new found mob."
Rando ascended first, poking his head out right where he didn't need to be. The bacta tank. With Flying W pushing him to continue he was caught between.
Something bit him and stayed there.
[OOC] Anyone interested in still playing? ReadyÃ¢Â€Â¦CLEAR! [/OOC]
Welcome to the world of Teth.
A world controlled by the Hutts.
Gerba the Hutt is the ruler in residence. Like all Hutts he loves power and he loves what it brings: the chance to do whatever he wants.
Gerba has a lust for blood, and like all Hutts Gerba likes a showÃ¢Â€Â¦
Ã¢Â€Â¦And that was exactly what Nell Terigo planned on giving him.
One of GerbaÃ¢Â€Â™s guards coughed up blood, and spasmed before death took him. A yellow-haired Correlian walked in her bantha calf fur boots over the two dead guards lying on the floor of the docking bay.
Nell Terigo jumped at the sound of the loudspeaker and her blaster pistol came up immediately. She spun around carefully, looking for the source of the sound.
Ã¢Â€ÂœAttention, attention! Many of you have heard of my rebellious cousin Nelba the Hutt.Ã¢Â€Â IÃ¢Â€Â™m sure youÃ¢Â€Â™re also fully aware that he has a bounty on his head of three million credits from Black Sun.
A large, orange-red lizard that stood taller than the human female stepped after her with large talons that clacked on the duracreet heavily. One of the creature's eyes was an unsightly mess of pale scars, and the other eye glowed yellow with a strange sentience.
Ã¢Â€Âœ He has been my guest for some time, but now he will join the Battledome and since all is recorded, the one who takes him down will be able to claim their reward with Black Sun, after all his bounty is for death.Ã¢Â€Â
She holstered her blaster and went to the terminal next to the door, attempting to override the auto lock her unauthorized ship had set off when it docked, Ã¢Â€ÂœCome on, come on!Ã¢Â€Â
The exotic animal dealer cursed angrily at the terminal as it locked her out and set off another alarm. The large red lizard suddenly charged and with its spine armored head wrenched and twisted the heavy door partially open.
Ã¢Â€ÂœThank you, Red.Ã¢Â€Â Nell pet the creatures neck as she stepped through, carefully avoiding the jagged metal.
The large orange-red reptile paused for moment, then quickly leapt back over to the closer of the two dead guards, ripped off the arm, and chewing it happily slipped through the broken door with a strange ease for such a large creature.
Name: Nell Terigo
Appearance: She has yellow hair bound up loosely, light brown eyes, and lighter freckles. She has the build of a well-practiced pole dancer and wears a loose dark blue set of mechanicÃ¢Â€Â™s coveralls over a cranberry colored tank top, and bantha hide boots.
Weapons: A Charric Rifle that in her hands or a long holster on her right thigh, a blaster pistol strapped to her other thigh, a large knife in her boot, grenades hanging from a bandolier across her chest, and a stokhli spray stick strapped to her back. Oh, and her huge bright orange-red mutated, extremely poisonous hssiss lizard with one eye and no depth perception.
Starship: YT-2000 registered as Ã¢Â€ÂœThe Lost Cause.Ã¢Â€Â
Brief History: Nell is an Exotic Animal Dealer from Correlia ready to start some hell.
Gerba laughed at the top of his lungs as he watched the events unfold, Ã¢Â€ÂœAnd too my favored guests, I present you with complimentary sniper rifles so that you may also join in the entertainment!Ã¢Â€Â
The wealthy corrupt guests cheered with blood lust, and perhaps a drunken stupor from the readily available food, drinks, and spice.
Gerba definitely knew how to throw a party.
A half-naked twiÃ¢Â€Â™lek slave girl with a nose ring dropped her serving tray, spilling dark red wine on the tiled floor and screamed at the top of her lungs.
Out of the shadows from the arching entrance of the dais, an armored guardÃ¢Â€Â™s corpse fell to the ground with a bloody smackÃ¢Â€Â¦without the head. The merriment of the wealthy and wicked came to a slow, sickening halt as everyone turned.
With a low, menacing growl a large one-eyed lizard stepped into the light and crushed the gotal guardÃ¢Â€Â™s helmeted head between its jaws.
The remaining guards finally began to react and blaster fire went wild. The large, deadly lizard leapt and struck like lightning, dodging blaster fire and catching a Rodian in the throat.
While Red continued to wreak havoc and justice on anything armed or merely annoying, Nell carefully climbed down the decorative stone archway and dropped lightly next to the podium beside Gerba.
She smiled and pulled out an adhesive grenade in one fair-skinned hand, Ã¢Â€ÂœHello there, IÃ¢Â€Â™m going to hurt you a lot for the thingsÃ¢Â€Â¦Ã¢Â€Â
Nell pulled out her charric with her other hand and shot a guard aiming for her, Ã¢Â€ÂœÃ¢Â€Â¦you did to me and mine you REPULSIVE SLUG EXCREMENT!!Ã¢Â€Â
Gerba stared, his lipless mouth agape in shock. He had no idea who this human was.
Ã¢Â€ÂœThis probably wonÃ¢Â€Â™t kill you,Ã¢Â€Â Nell activated the adhesive grenade and shoved it into the HuttÃ¢Â€Â™s mouth.
The yellow-haired human turned to the edge of the dais overlooking the battledome as the grenade went off behind her.
Ã¢Â€ÂœKATRAY!!!Ã¢Â€Â She screamed at the top of her lungs.
They'd crawled clear from the sewer. Rando suffered tearing the rodent's jaw loose as it bled, and screamed, and then died. It'd attempted to take the whole of his calf in its mouth and then tear the oversized chunk loose.
The fun part was slowly removing one tooth from his jaw at a time as Flying W poored an anti-bacterial agent over the open wounds before bandaging them.
The bacta tank was a wreck, Rando guessed this part of the complex was built before hand and then abondoned as such.
"We're in the walls. That's clever." Rando pulled the last molar loose with a flick of the surgical knife they found. He threw it aside.
"You noticed too, huh. Yeah, I guessed we walked further than I thought." Flying W gathered what he could of the stash of supplies and shoved them into an over-the-shoulder bag.
"We need to keep moving." Rando got up, testing his leg. In his luck would be to die of some disease after everything.
"Yes, yes we do." W put a hand on either side of a locker, it crashed onto an overturned droid."The first time I opened this, I felt a draft."
Seemed a space behind the locker had been cut out. Crudely, as if someone had kicked holes in it.
Flying W looked up,"I smell fun."
Rando smelled blood.
OMG Gojan has returned! Now I must re-read and get posting again...
Tressah was making her way to the five pillars when she heard the crowd gasp. Some of the competitors turned to see what they were looking at however Tressah decided that this was the opportunity she was looking for. With a run up she snatched at the few handholds on the pillar in the centre.
She hefted herself up with as much speed as she dared. Below the shooting, slicing and screaming continued. She was a mere metre from the top when someone decided to shoot at her. She held tight and continued moving, she knew that sheÃ¢Â€Â™d be a sitting duck if she tried to shoot back.
Her fingers stretched to grasp the top of the pillar and she pulled herself up. There sat a jetpack, it was old and its paint job was marred. Tressah was tempted to just put the thing on but she had a feeling that it was probably booby-trapped like so many other things in the Battledome.
She took a moment to check it out and as she did, something caught her eye. People were milling about GerbaÃ¢Â€Â™s personal box. Something was very wrong. Tressah smiled, it seemed that someone had finally penetrated the HuttÃ¢Â€Â™s security systems and at least got close enough to cut the HuttÃ¢Â€Â™s flesh.
Katray had been making his return through the corridors when his relay to the security systems showed him the Hutt under threat. He quickened his pace however he already knew that it was simply not possible for him to reach the Hutt in time to protect him.
No emotion touched Katray as he saw Gerba die. He simply stopped in his tracks. There was no longer a need to go to Gerba, the Hutt was dead. The programming in KatrayÃ¢Â€Â™s chip searched for his next objective.
His search was done within a millisecond and he headed towards the Battledome. He paused as he heard someone shout his name. The voice had come from GerbaÃ¢Â€Â™s personal box but it wasnÃ¢Â€Â™t a voice that was authorised to order him about. His helmeted head turned to look momentarily then returned to the Battledome.
Katray walked to the balcony edge, there were still many competitors left in the Battledome. He wasnÃ¢Â€Â™t supposed to enter until it was down to twenty, yet his main objective was now redundant.
The voice called again, this time he looked over at GerbaÃ¢Â€Â™s box to see the woman who shouted his name. His database searched for her identity but found nothing, however his human mind felt a touch of familiarity. He made his decision, he leapt over the balcony edge and joined the Battledome.
Post coming this afternoon. It'll be a good one.
First things first: Hi Gojan!
Second things second: I vote that we keep Gerba alive a little while longer. Have some more fun with him that way. All in favor?
Third things third: my post.
Continued (sort of) from my previous post:
PART II: THE FIGHT
Demarq felt a searing hatred toward the Hutt at that moment. Not that he hadn't been expecting a trap of exactly this sort, but still, it just wasn't fair. The first time things were starting to go their way, and now they probably had an entire quarter of the Battledome knowing exactly where they were. That sadistic Hutt was going to pay for turning what should have been a relaxing couple of hours into yet another battle for survival.
He still had a good while before he had to start worrying: it would take the combatants some time to make their way to the street Gerba had mentioned. Even then, there were dozens of houses on that particular street. The prisoners and mercs would be fighting each other and trying to search all the houses at the same time, which shifted the odds a little bit closer to Ã¢Â€ÂœreasonableÃ¢Â€Â on the Fairness Spectrum. They might not even figure out which house they were in at all, since the basement was fairly well-hidden.
Yeah, maybe, if you hadnÃ¢Â€Â™t left a present for them at the front door, sneered the self-critical portion of his brain. Nothing screams Ã¢Â€Â˜occupiedÃ¢Â€Â™ like a grenade blowing up 4 of your buddies.
Better than just hoping no one finds us, defended the cautious portion of his brain. Besides, we didnÃ¢Â€Â™t know for sure there was any kind of trap associated with the tank. Some rest would have done us good, and we couldnÃ¢Â€Â™t have risked resting without some sort of alarm system.
I could go for some cake, mused the portion of his brain that really liked cake, but no one paid it much mind.
All he could do now was wait.
<Hey Isamm, get over here!>
The RodianÃ¢Â€Â™s eyes darted left and right, to make sure there were no other mercs close enough to take a shot at her. Satisfied, she let her carbine fall from her shoulder and sprinted over to the buildingÃ¢Â€Â™s door where Neepa waited for her with his usual calm stance she could never hope to imitate. He looked vaguely amused at her nervous expression, which always irritated her to no end. As usual, however, she kept quiet; after all, he was the seasoned mercenary. Indignant sass is no way to address a superior, even when that superior is your older brother.
<IÃ¢Â€Â™ll crack open the door and secure the area inside,> Neepa buzzed to his sister in their native tongue. <Just make sure you cover my back. Can you handle that?>
His sincere concern bugged her even more than his comfortable stance did: she was a warrior too, dammit! She didnÃ¢Â€Â™t need his protection! Still, she bit back her spiking anger and nodded that she could in fact handle it.
<Good. Because here we go.> He eased the door open slightly, peered inside, then kicked it the rest of the way open.
Isamm flinched slightly, almost expecting the door to be rigged with explosives. Of course it wasnÃ¢Â€Â™t, and Neepa went about his business securing the interior of the house. He headed upstairs, and Isamm wandered her way about the ground floor. It looked identical to the other two they had already been through, with the exception of the open cellar door. Someone had clearly been here already.
<Neepa!> she shouted, hating herself for relying on her brother so heavily. WhatÃ¢Â€Â™s the matter little girl, afraid of the dark scary basement? She took a step closer to the door, and heard a faint buzzing from the darkness beyond.
Suddenly Neepa was at her side. <Interesting. SomeoneÃ¢Â€Â™s been here already. Step back, Isamm.>
She did, letting her self-loathing embroil her as he did the task she should have been able to do. He took a bold step into the basementÃ¢Â€Â¦and promptly disappeared with a crash.
She peered her head inside. It was nearly pitch black, and she could only make out the reflection of the faint light from her brotherÃ¢Â€Â™s eyes from his position where he lay two meters below.
<Isamm, the stairsÃ¢Â€Â¦theyÃ¢Â€Â™ve been knocked overÃ¢Â€Â¦I thinkÃ¢Â€Â¦I think my leg is broken. I need you toÃ¢Â€Â¦figure out a way to get me upÃ¢Â€Â¦>
Before Isamm could do so much as move, however, the buzzing rose sharply in volume. There was another brief reflection- something hard, like a shell, or a carapace, and suddenly Neepa was screaming.
Isamm wanted more than anything to be the hero. She wanted to jump down there, beat down whatever was attacking her brother, and more than anything she wanted to save him for once. But all she could do was stand there, frozen, and she hated herself for it.
Thankfully she didnÃ¢Â€Â™t have to hate herself for long, because a black claw shot out from the darkness and snapped around her ankle. She too was dragged into the darkness, and before long there was nothing left to hate.
Elsewhere, a merry band of prisoners stood outside another door in the endless sea of identical prefabricated houses. The leader, a woman dressed in dark leather, kicked in the door and jumped through, the sights of her blaster rifle held at eye-level. She whirled once, twice, then motioned to her four men (two other humans, a twiÃ¢Â€Â™lek and a wookie) where they waited expectantly. They split up, and had fully searched the house from top to basement in 45 seconds.
Ã¢Â€ÂœNothing,Ã¢Â€Â the woman spat unnecessarily. Ã¢Â€ÂœAll right. Next house. Move it.Ã¢Â€Â
Yet elsewhere, a Gamorrean kicked in the front door to a house, stepped inside, and nodded to his companions. Two human males, a twiÃ¢Â€Â™lek male and a Devaronian male all crowded in, trying to be the first to get at whatever loot the dwelling might hold.
Before they could get very far, the grenade that had been taped to the doorframe exploded, engulfing them all in flame. The sounds of the blast and their screams rang through the faux neighborhood.
A story below them, Demarq sighed. Well, it took them an hour and a half, but they found us. ItÃ¢Â€Â™s going to be a long nightÃ¢Â€Â¦I hope.
Ã¢Â€ÂœYo Cap, we got mercs approaching the front door! You better make your search a quick one!Ã¢Â€Â
A human male, the one known as Cap and the leader of this band of prisoners, swore under his breath. He thought heÃ¢Â€Â™d gotten lucky, finding this place after the initial trap had been sprung, but before anyone else could respond to the explosion. Right place right time, heÃ¢Â€Â™d thought. Unfortunately, there was apparently a merc group that was in a slightly-less-right place at that right time, and his ragtag group couldnÃ¢Â€Â™t stand up to armored professionals in a firefight.
Ã¢Â€ÂœRingo, lay down some fire, make them take cover, buy us some time. Allie and Kooper, you get the upstairs, IÃ¢Â€Â™ll take the ground floor. Holler if you find the med gear. We gotta find a good place to stake out.Ã¢Â€Â
The prisoners about their orders, Cap did a quick check of the ground floor. Nothing out of the ordinary in the sitting room, or the kitchen (though, didnÃ¢Â€Â™t those other houses have chairs at the table?). He was about to check the basement door when a shot far louder than RingoÃ¢Â€Â™s blasterfire rang out.
Ã¢Â€ÂœAllie? Kooper? Report!Ã¢Â€Â Cap bellowed over the blasterfire in the adjacent room.
Ã¢Â€ÂœKooperÃ¢Â€Â™s down, some kind of trap they set up in the room. Took a slug to the face, itÃ¢Â€Â™s not pretty. IÃ¢Â€Â™m searching the room now.Ã¢Â€Â
Cap nodded. He had expected more traps after seeing the aftermath of that grenade in the entry hall. Ã¢Â€ÂœRingo, what kind of resistance are we looking at?Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœActually, they ainÃ¢Â€Â™t mercs. Five prisoners, three humans, a tentacle-head and oneathose fuzzballs. Woozie? Wookzy? Whatever. One of those.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœWookie, you ignorant ***. Just keep Ã¢Â€Â˜em pinned down. Keep track of them while I search the basement.Ã¢Â€Â
There was a slight pause as Ringo tallied up his opponents. Ã¢Â€ÂœSay, whereÃ¢Â€Â™d that one human chick go?Ã¢Â€Â
Right on cue, a blaster bolt came through the side window, splattering RingoÃ¢Â€Â™s head against the charred wall and adding his headless body to the pile of grenade victims where it looked right at home.
Cap swore again, more severely this time. Ã¢Â€ÂœAllie, RingoÃ¢Â€Â™s down, theyÃ¢Â€Â™re coming in!Ã¢Â€Â Before he could get a shot at the female dressed in leather that had gunned down his point man, she ducked out, presumably to rejoin her four men and invade.
One of the human males was the first to enter the house; he committed a bit too much to his entry, aimed squarely into kitchen, and took a shot from Allie perched on the steps to the second floor. Allie squatted down further behind the banister for cover, and Cap stepped out from inside the kitchen to take the other human. 2 down, 3 to go.
The prisoners were more cautious now; it took a good 5 seconds for them to try again. It was a two-pronged attack: that damn woman was back at her window, firing at Cap and forcing him back into cover. Meanwhile the wookie charged in and crashed headlong into the banister Allie was hiding behind. It was all she could do to get out of the way, but it seemed like the enraged creature was immune to blaster bolts. It shrugged off her attacks, grabbed her ankle, and dragged her down the stairs where he continued to pound on her.
The twiÃ¢Â€Â™lek also took this chance to enter, momentarily cutting off the leather-bound womanÃ¢Â€Â™s line of sight. Cap used the opportunity to riddle the tentacled alien with energy before retreating further into the kitchen and working his way around the other side, through the study to the other side of the sitting room. The wookie was still pounding Allie into pulp against the wall, blood beginning to mat its fur. Cap took careful aim, and let loose three shots into its skull. The beast collapsed mid-pound and fell atop Allie without so much as a whine. Cap didnÃ¢Â€Â™t bother checking to see whether Allie was alive. It was just him and that leather-woman now.
He headed back through the study to the basement door and opened it. That woman was younger, and probably faster than he, and he needed every advantage he could get. Before he could take a single step, he felt a searing pain as a knife entered his back. He staggered back, looked into the womanÃ¢Â€Â™s sadistic smile, and collapsed on the kitchen floor.
Ã¢Â€ÂœBasement, huh? MightÃ¢Â€Â™ve missed it. Thanks for the tip.Ã¢Â€Â She removed the knife from CapÃ¢Â€Â™s back, stepped over his corpse, and began descending the stairs.
After two steps, however, the step buckled under her weight. A single thought ran through her head- trap! and then she was falling: a quick drop to a sudden stop, impaled on four of the waiting stakes.
A man sitting against the far wall stood up and stepped over to her. He was very attractive, although too lean to be healthy, and his right hand was rolled up in a bandage. He stopped right in front of her face and squatted to her eye level.
Ã¢Â€ÂœOoh, so close. Thanks for playing.Ã¢Â€Â He reached over to her belt and pulled out the knife, still covered in CapÃ¢Â€Â™s blood. Ã¢Â€ÂœAnd thanks for this.Ã¢Â€Â He drew the knife across her throat, and that was that.
Demarq wiped off the knife on the womanÃ¢Â€Â™s clothes and tucked it into his own belt. Two hours in and IÃ¢Â€Â™m out of surprises. Time to see what else the universe can throw my way.
**OH boy this is taking longer than i thought. here's something to chew on while i finish this mother up. it'll be done this evening. It'll be worth it, i promise
After the first three hours, they began to come faster. At first it was just one or two at a time; since one would usually take a nosedive into DemarqÃ¢Â€Â™s pit of spikey doom, it was easy enough for him to shoot the looming silhouette in the doorway without becoming a target himself thanks to the near-darkness around him.
At that point it was mostly prisoners who were attacking: small bands (or, more rarely, solo expeditions) of poorly-equipped and starving individuals who went down without a fight. The cityscape was their ideal combat area: hit-and-run tactics could allow the unfortunate prisoners to take down a few mercenaries and instantly climb to the top of the technological foodchain. As such, the mercs preferred to stick to the zones where there was less of a chance of being jumped by a starving Chadra-fan: the open area in the middle, and the borders of the forests. Now that they knew there was a medical facility for the taking, the mercs with wounded limbs and groups with wounded members were slowly making their way across the hellscape that was the battledome, headed right for Demarq and his unconscious companion.
He had picked up a number of weapons from the beings that fell into his stair trap: primarily blasters, so he had no need to worry about ammo. What was beginning to worry him, however, was the dwindling efficiency of his last line of defense: each time he removed an impaled victim from his pointed chair-legs, he risked destroying the setup. Already two of the chair frames had fallen apart from the abuse, so he was down to eight posts, and had to hope the victims would hit the target. Even then, a large enough individual, or one with body armor, would destroy his trap for good, making him one man with a blaster and an unconscious lizard.
5 hours in, the chair trap had long been demolished. A particularly robust merc in full battle array (solo, no less!) had taken the setup out when he finally fell. He was wearing some kind of night-vision helmet, so in the time it took Demarq to down him he managed to tag the pirate in the arm with two shots from his blaster. Demarq applied medical treatment as best he could, and got the arm working again with minimal pain, but all the bacta in the world wouldnÃ¢Â€Â™t save him if one of those shots had hit him in the head.
The growing body count- must have been 15 corpses in the basement alone, not to mention the ones littering the hallway above- were put to use in interesting ways. The first thing Demarq did after healing his arm was to stack up the bodies for cover. At a glance, it was hard to pick his face out of the stack of bodies, and he had more than enough time to pick off his opponents even when they were using flashlights.
Additionally, though the pit had stopped being useful as a deathtrap, invaders to his turf still had to jump over the three steps he had sabotaged to get down there. And since Demarq had been making good use of the knife he lifted off the pitÃ¢Â€Â™s first victim, he made sure there was always a fresh coat of blood on the step immediately after the gap. Several bodies left head-sized stains on the wall after slipping and bashing their lovely skulls into the wooden foundations of the building.
Demarq seemed to have things well enough under control, and could have continued that way for a good couple of days, until he encountered Black Mesa.
Generally mercenaries groups form because there is strength in numbers. For this reason, any solo merc, a one-man army, could probably take down a good dozen garden-variety thugs-for-hire without breaking a sweat. Taking jobs as a group means a bigger split, which means less money for weapons and equipment, which means less overall effectiveness of each member. A solo merc doesnÃ¢Â€Â™t need to split, so he gets better stuff, and is overall more formidable. Makes sense.
However, the planet Happar is known for 3 things: its isolationist tendencies, its large mafia-style rackets, and its (literally) cutthroat approach to economics. Racket bosses planet-wide employ assassins to take out their targets totally legally, so Ã¢Â€ÂœmercenaryÃ¢Â€Â is a legitimate career choice for the more naturally brutal of the Happar people. Most mercenaries work on a regular paycheck for one mafia boss or another, but the best of the best work freelance. In each major city, there are perhaps a dozen mercs that are in high demand, and they are very often hired by opposing clients and wind up fighting each other.
That is, until in Happar City some of these cunning killers came together and decided to incorporate: make a merc monopoly and completely clean up the inferior competition. Why waste manpower fighting each other, when they could join forces and force all the lesser mercs into submission? Long story short, they cleaned up, and decided to take their show on the galactic road, calling their exclusive merc company Black Mesa. They were numerous, well-equipped AND experienced, and any one of them was a match for a veteran merc.
Anyway, enough exposition: Black Mesa was vying for that sweet, sweet prize money of GerbaÃ¢Â€Â™s, and wanted to get at some medical supplies. So they ended up on the first story of DemarqÃ¢Â€Â™s little fortress.
Demarq knew something was different when there was no one in the doorway. Just a clunk noise, and a small sphere hurtling through the air toward him, bounced expertly down from the hallway. It plopped softly off the wall of bodies surrounding him, rolled a few feet, and chirped quietly. Demarq was still a little bit in awe of the situation- he had heard no sounds of combat from above for the last two minutes- and just barely managed to get his mind moving in time. ThatÃ¢Â€Â™s aÃ¢Â€Â¦grenadeÃ¢Â€Â¦
The blast was large enough to blow the wall of corpses back and pin Demarq against the wall. He had regained his wits with enough time to duck behind his cover, but now he needed to be on the run before his attackers came back down.
IÃ¢Â€Â™m lucky they want the equipment here. If not, they could just use a thermal detonator and flood this place with fire.
The stench of torched bodies filled the air around him; Demarq shoved bodies off of himself and staggered to his feet, coughing in the smoky aftermath. Before he could think, a black armored body was on him, grasping his throat and shoving him up against the wall. An expressionless helmet regarded him coolly as just another threat that was about to be put down. He felt the powerful hand tighten, about to snap the frail bones of his neck.
No time to think. DemarqÃ¢Â€Â™s hand was on the hilt of his knife, and as he heard his larynx crackle he plunged that knife into his attackerÃ¢Â€Â™s middle. An inch above or below, he would have hit solid plate armor, but he dug into the sweet spot and twisted as best he could, anything to get that hand off his neck.
His opponent gurgled something indeterminable and slumped over. Taking a ragged breath that hurt almost as much as the choking had, Demarq hurdled at full speed to the space under the stairs. He looked up, and there was another one, looking down at him through the gap in the stairs.
At that point, he knew he was in serious trouble.
He took a step back, and the spot he had been standing in a second before shriveled and dissipated. He has a disruptor rifle. Sweet Jedi teats, IÃ¢Â€Â™m not going to last a minute longer.
Before his opponent could get in position to take another shot, Demarq had whipped out one of NosskÃ¢Â€Â™s remaining two grenades, kissed it, lobbed it up through the gap, and made a break for it.
The fragÃ¢Â€Â™s blast tore apart the rickety staircase, and sent the two mercs who were standing on it raining down. Miraculously they survived the blast (What kind of armor are they wearing?), but Demarq risked firing a shot into the now-ruined torso area of one soldier, scoring another kill, before ducking behind a support pillar. Not a moment too late; another laser blast filled the air behind him. Just getting his breath back, Demarq was again alarmed to hear the familiar clinking of a grenade approaching. No time to appraise the situation, he leapt, full-out, to the depths of the basement. The support pillar was engulfed in flame, and DemarqÃ¢Â€Â™s legs took a fair share of shrapnel, not to mention an accelerated trip into a cloth-covered sofa that had been shoved into a corner.
His reality swam before him, everything going out of focus for half a second before rematerializing. As it did, another black helmet was in his face, a large black glove heading to cover his face. However, his left hand still held his knife, and in it went, straight through the faceplate. Blood gushed out, but before Demarq could celebrate his momentary victory, an energy blast came from the ruined stairs. Blaster bolts may move hundreds of miles per hour, but in DemarqÃ¢Â€Â™s eyes, this one moved with a terrifyingly slow inevitability. His eyes tracked it, he knew what was coming, but although the rapid firing of the synapses in his nerves were too slow for his liking, his screaming brain saw it all in slow-motion and wanted to get it over with already.
The disruptor bolt tagged his left hand as it held the knife still embedded in his opponentÃ¢Â€Â™s face. For an instant there was no pain, only wonder as the atoms that made up one of his primary manipulation tools dissipated into nothing. The palm went first, separating the fingers from the wrist, and they began falling, but long before they hit the ground there was nothing left. Simultaneously, the wrist was dissipating into the air, retreating further and further toward his sleeves until it was gone altogether. The knife clattered to the ground, and that was it.
Demarq was beyond rage at this point: the walls of crushing despair enveloped him. Not even the exquisite pain of the disintegration could get more than an anguished wheeze out of his injured throat. He was less than a man now; after fighting so hard, this group of mercenaries had dealt him a career-ending blow, and he had not even halved their numbers. He had no chance to survive, never did. His "good" (though still bandaged, at least it still existed) hand grasped the last grenade and gave it a half-assed lob in the general direction of the merc who took from him his will to survive. The merc dodged out of instinct, rolling toward the bacta tank, but wasnÃ¢Â€Â™t counting on DemarqÃ¢Â€Â™s last attack to be more one of apathy than desperation. The grenade landed a bit too close to the delicate medical equipment, and the blast destroyed the merc as well as the terminal that was operating the bacta tank. The hum that had filled his ears for hours droned down to nothing, and the faint blue hue of the tank was replaced with red emergency lights lining the rims.
DemarqÃ¢Â€Â™s remaining hand groped around on the ground for his blaster carbine, but before he could find it a heavy boot pressed down on his wrist. Four mercs gathered around him, gazing down with expressionless helmets. They werenÃ¢Â€Â™t enjoying this victory. This was just another job completed, with reasonable losses. Demarq tried to gurgle something, anything; he had promised himself years ago that his last words would be a witty remark, but he wasn't even in control enough to do that. Such a promise seemed trivial now anyway, after he had failed so utterly.
IÃ¢Â€Â™m sorry, trandoshan. IÃ¢Â€Â™m sorry Duchess. IÃ¢Â€Â™m sorryÃ¢Â€Â¦everyoneÃ¢Â€Â¦
The muzzle of the merc's rifle was aimed right between his eyes, but he found himself looking elsewhere. The bacta tank was bathed in a dark red, sinister light, making it hard to see, butÃ¢Â€Â¦was that movement?
YO SCIFI G2G HOMES
((Yo everyone else, this one's all me, just lettin you know.))
Five hours earlier.
Ã¢Â€ÂœTankÃ¢Â€Â™s filled!Ã¢Â€Â Nossk called out impatiently. The pirate captain had disappeared a few minutes ago with the remainder of his explosive arsenal, leaving the Trandoshan to twiddle his claws as bacta slowly filled the large transparisteel tank. When the cyan miracle liquid finally stopped cascading down from the spouts at the top of the healing unit, the TrandoÃ¢Â€Â™s anxiety spiked; for the next eight or nine hours he would be unconscious and helpless, trusting his life completely to a space pirate heÃ¢Â€Â™d met not a single day ago. He had to strain his feeble memory to recall a more absurdly suicidal endeavor. Still, he called out to the human, unable to deny the fact that his odds of survival were even slimmer if he didnÃ¢Â€Â™t manage to get himself fighting fit, and soon. Ã¢Â€ÂœYou gonna get me into this thing or what?Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœWait a minute.Ã¢Â€Â Demarq barked in agitation from the other basement room.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWait a minute,Ã¢Â€Â Nossk murmured mockingly under his breath, Ã¢Â€ÂœIÃ¢Â€Â™m a skinny little human, watch me make stupid traps and waste all my handsome, Trandoshan, badass friendÃ¢Â€Â™s grenades.Ã¢Â€Â
Before long Demarq returned to the bacta tank room and began preparing the reptilian for bacta submersion. In scant minutes Nossk was riddled with needles, nodes, and monitoring devices, and no more pleased with his situation than he was before he became a Trandoshan pin cushion. The pirate jammed one final needle through NosskÃ¢Â€Â™s thick scales, most likely with just a little more force than was absolutely necessary.
Ã¢Â€ÂœAlright, now climb on in Fido, IÃ¢Â€Â™ll wake you up when itÃ¢Â€Â™s time for school.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœSometimes I wonder,Ã¢Â€Â Nossk remarked, dipping the bottom half of his battle-torn body into the tank and donning a breathmask, Ã¢Â€Âœif itÃ¢Â€Â™s possible to hate someone to death.Ã¢Â€Â
With that the scaly brute slid completely into the rejuvenating tube, and waited for the human to commence the healing process. He stared through his blue-green tinted cylinder as Demarq typed a few commands into a computer console, and immediately felt a couple of the needles stir as their adjoined tubes injected something into his body. The room quickly began to warp and distort, and despite the fact that he was floating upright in the tank Nossk felt like he was falling over. The next moment everything was black.
Some time later the big Trandoshan opened his eyes, although at first he wasnÃ¢Â€Â™t so sure he had. He felt his eyelids open, but still that all-engulfing darkness was there, swallowing his world in infinite nothingness.
Am I dead? Nossk thought, immediately wondering if Demarq had failed to protect him. That horrifying moment, when the reptilian believed that heÃ¢Â€Â™d been ended in his sleep, suffered a simple death without resistance nor honor, was perhaps the most terrifying of his life. Had he truly been sent to the Scorekeeper? If so, then where was his exulted deity now, as he hung there in the dark? Had his failures displeased her so much that he would be denied even his reckoning?
IÃ¢Â€Â™ve shamed no one, do you hear me Scorekeeper? NO ONE!
Yes, thatÃ¢Â€Â™s what heÃ¢Â€Â™d said. ThatÃ¢Â€Â™s what heÃ¢Â€Â™d roared to the dust and the Bartokk as he winked at death and thrown it the finger. The Scorekeeper had said herself that she felt no more love for him; had blamed him for failure when heÃ¢Â€Â™d fought his best, and while his battles hadnÃ¢Â€Â™t quite gleamed with glory, he was still alive wasnÃ¢Â€Â™t he? Still surviving, even now trying to mend himself so that he could escape this place and live longer still.
She has no right, Nossk snarled in his empty purgatory, no right to condemn me like this. My entire life IÃ¢Â€Â™ve spent proving my worth and drenching my hands and her alter with blood; IÃ¢Â€Â™ve grinned at death like an old friend only to slap him in the face and remain with the living, all just to lay more faith and worship at her feet. Now she casts me aside like a dirty rag, leaving me stranded and alone, staring down the greatest trial IÃ¢Â€Â™ve ever faced. She is no god of mine.
Ã¢Â€ÂœCan you hear me, Scorekeeper!?Ã¢Â€Â Nossk bellowed to the vacuum around him, Ã¢Â€ÂœI donÃ¢Â€Â™t need you, *****! Even if this is death, IÃ¢Â€Â™d rather stay here than eat in your hall with whores and traitors!Ã¢Â€Â
After such blasphemy the Trandoshan honestly expected lightning, or fire, or some divine force to strike him and his heathen tongue down, but there was nothing - only the emptiness in which he floated. It was some moments before a voice rose in response.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWhores? Traitors? Oh my, it certainly didnÃ¢Â€Â™t take very long for you to become a vindictive little lizard now did it?Ã¢Â€Â It was the very same voice that had taunted him in the basement last night Ã¢Â€Â“ it was his Scorekeeper. The Trandoshan, rather than rendered awestruck and speechless with this second divine apparition, was infuriated.
Ã¢Â€ÂœDonÃ¢Â€Â™t call me lizard, devil-woman.Ã¢Â€Â Nossk growled to the shadows, Ã¢Â€ÂœYou cursed me even as I killed for your glory.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœYou fought like an imbecile, and very nearly died.Ã¢Â€Â The ScorekeeperÃ¢Â€Â™s voice echoed, thick with disdain.
Ã¢Â€ÂœIÃ¢Â€Â™VE BEEN ROTTING IN PRISON FOR THE PAST YEAR!Ã¢Â€Â (HeÃ¢Â€Â™d in fact lost track of time, and had no idea it had been half again as long) Nossk bellowed, furious with the unfairness of it all. Ã¢Â€ÂœWHERE WERE YOU THEN, ALMIGHTY HAG!? Did you expect me to be freed and fight on as if nothing had happened!?Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœIt is no fault of mine that you were imprisoned.Ã¢Â€Â The feminine voice pointed out.
Ã¢Â€ÂœAnd it is no fault of mine that my *** got crippled. The odds were against me; this is war, it happens, so stop being so gorram pissed off over a few scrapes and get over it.Ã¢Â€Â Pride and excitement flooded the TrandoshanÃ¢Â€Â™s non-corporeal body. Telling off the deity that had scolded him so brutally felt good, very good, and with each word that passed his pointed teeth he felt more powerful. To hell with the consequences, he might be dead already anyway.
Ã¢Â€ÂœRarely do I let a mortal speak to me in such a way.Ã¢Â€Â The Scorekeeper spat.
Ã¢Â€ÂœYeah? Ask me if I give a frack.Ã¢Â€Â The reptilian shot back, flexing his arms as if he was making ready to fight. The gesture was useless in this metaphysical state, but to Nossk diplomacy through physical force was second nature. For some time there was nothing, and the Trandoshan nervously wondered if the goddess had simply left him to hang in limbo for all eternity. At last, the insulted deity spoke.
Ã¢Â€ÂœYou were always a defiant one, Nossk of the Trandos, but a respectful one. I wonder whatÃ¢Â€Â™s become of that loyalty?Ã¢Â€Â The ScorekeeperÃ¢Â€Â™s patronizing voice pondered.
Ã¢Â€ÂœReally? After being so nice, I really dunno what would make you seem like a two-faced wad of Sith spit. Wait, wait, wait, IÃ¢Â€Â™m getting a little somethingÃ¢Â€Â¦was it that time you called me disgrace and abandoned me? IÃ¢Â€Â™ve killed things for less, woman.Ã¢Â€Â Nossk couldnÃ¢Â€Â™t explain the freedom and wit with which the words were flowing from his mouth. Never in his life had he ever been one for words; heÃ¢Â€Â™d always felt they were thoroughly lacking in the way breaking things or hurting people got his feelings across. Now, though, as he traded words with this infuriating god-woman, the retorts he spat left him strangely satisfied.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWhat use do I have for an incapable servant? Can you truly blame me for letting go of a troublesome burden?Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœIncapable servant?Ã¢Â€Â Nossk hissed, fuming, Ã¢Â€ÂœIf you are really a goddess, you know my past. You know what IÃ¢Â€Â™ve done, what I can do Ã¢Â€Â“ and you still think you can call me Ã¢Â€Â˜incapableÃ¢Â€Â™?Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœFor all your talk of former glory, youÃ¢Â€Â™re still here arenÃ¢Â€Â™t you?Ã¢Â€Â The voice answered. A shimmering image of a woman appeared in the blackness in front of the Trandoshan. She was aglow with white light, and it was impossible for him to make out any further details. The figure gestured to the emptiness in which they argued as she spoke.
Ã¢Â€ÂœAnd where is Ã¢Â€Â˜hereÃ¢Â€Â™, devil-woman?Ã¢Â€Â Nossk snarled, remembering that his current predicament, aside from arguing with his angered goddess in an endless sea of darkness, was largely a mystery. He still didnÃ¢Â€Â™t know where this was, or what it was, or how he could leave, or if he even could leave.
Ã¢Â€ÂœThis is death.Ã¢Â€Â The Scorekeeper said simply.
NosskÃ¢Â€Â™s eyes widened in shock. He was dumbfounded.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWhat?Ã¢Â€Â He breathed. The Trandoshan toppled from the high ground heÃ¢Â€Â™d held, completely disarmed by his disbelief.
Ã¢Â€ÂœIs it so hard to believe? The little miracle you found in that basement was rigged; the moment you lost consciousness, you condemned that human to death.Ã¢Â€Â The Scorekeeper explained, practically cooing as she relished the reptilianÃ¢Â€Â™s bewilderment.
Ã¢Â€ÂœNoÃ¢Â€Â¦Ã¢Â€Â Nossk couldnÃ¢Â€Â™t believe his ears. Could he have gotten them both killed by trying to heal his own wounds? Would Demarq really fight to the death just to protect his helpless body rather than run?
Ã¢Â€ÂœYou left that man to fight dozens as you slumbered peacefully in your tank, so let me ask you, Trandoshan, who truly abandoned whom? Who is the betrayer now?Ã¢Â€Â The light enveloping her body dimmed enough for Nossk to make out a smug smile on her face. The lizard-manÃ¢Â€Â™s jaw clenched, his eyes narrowed to burning slits Ã¢Â€Â“ subdued anger slowly started building again with each beat of his heart.
Ã¢Â€ÂœYou lie, witch.Ã¢Â€Â Nossk growled through grinding teeth. His fists tightened unconsciously, digging his claws into the scales of his palms. Blood dripped slowly into the infinite nothingness below him.
Ã¢Â€ÂœOh. WeÃ¢Â€Â™re fracked pretty hard, I can believe that. ItÃ¢Â€Â™s this whole being dead thingÃ¢Â€Â¦Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœWhat about it?Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœIt sucks! I donÃ¢Â€Â™t believe IÃ¢Â€Â™m dead, and I donÃ¢Â€Â™t believe that spineless human is either. Now IÃ¢Â€Â™m getting bored, so let me out of this place before the pirate kills everything.Ã¢Â€Â The Trandoshan demanded.
Ã¢Â€ÂœDonÃ¢Â€Â™t make demands of me, lizard Ã¢Â€Â“Ã¢Â€Âœ
Ã¢Â€ÂœI think we had a conversation about that word.Ã¢Â€Â Nossk interjected; the Scorekeeper carried on as if he hadnÃ¢Â€Â™t spoken.
Ã¢Â€Âœ Ã¢Â€Â“ for all your impudence IÃ¢Â€Â™ve told you the truth: the human is dying, and the tank your body hangs in has been shut down Ã¢Â€Â“ including your breath mask. YouÃ¢Â€Â™ll both be dead in moments.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœThatÃ¢Â€Â™s a little different from dead.Ã¢Â€Â Nossk shot back, starting forwards through the intangible darkness towards the glowing figure of the Scorekeeper. Ã¢Â€ÂœGet me out of here. Now. I want to wake up.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœItÃ¢Â€Â™s not so simple Ã¢Â€Â“Ã¢Â€Â The image tried to explain as he approached, but the Trandoshan would have none of it.
Ã¢Â€ÂœI disagree.Ã¢Â€Â He interrupted, not sure if it was possible to harm the shining figure in this place, but determined to try anyway.
Ã¢Â€ÂœThe system failed, but there are still strong anesthetics running through your physical body; itÃ¢Â€Â™s quite impossible for anything to remain conscience with so many drugs present.Ã¢Â€Â The Scorekeeper said, unflinching as Nossk drew nearer and nearer.
The TrandoshanÃ¢Â€Â™s huge hands wrapped around the figureÃ¢Â€Â™s throat as he brought his sneering jaws inches from its face. His claws felt solid matter as they gripped the glimmering form, and though he was by no means convinced that this was truly the Scorekeeper in all her glory, he was reasonably sure that he would be able to tear this strange envoy apart if she didnÃ¢Â€Â™t give him the answers he wanted.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWrong answer.Ã¢Â€Â Nossk applied pressure to the tender throat beneath his claws, curious as to whether or not this thing needed to breathe in this place, be it a dream, delirium, or some sort of spiritual congress with an image of his abandoned goddess. Regardless, the mercenary refused to believe that there was nothing he could do besides float around inside his own head and wait for him and Demarq to die. If the human was about to be killed as well, that meant heÃ¢Â€Â™d stayed by his side, and intended to fight to his last breath to keep the other combatants from ending the Trando as he slept. If a mere human could summon that much courage, then there was no reason why he couldnÃ¢Â€Â™t force himself to wake up and fight.
The ScorekeeperÃ¢Â€Â™s visage regarded him curiously, despite the vice-grip on her trachea.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWhy do you want to go back so badly?Ã¢Â€Â She inquired thoughtfully. As always the image was calm and serene as the chipped, grimy claws left indentations in her immaculate, marble skin.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWhat are you, a fracking idiot? You think I want to die?Ã¢Â€Â Nossk shouted, briefly tightening his death-grip.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWhat if I offered you forgiveness and redemption for your insults, your failures, your defiance Ã¢Â€Â“ a place of honor in the afterlife. If you abandon your intention to return to that foolish reality, that is.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœEternity with you?Ã¢Â€Â Nossk snorted with laughter for just a moment before his eyes locked with hers again, seemingly aglow with his furious resolve, Ã¢Â€ÂœNot a chance in hell.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœThink carefully, Trandoshan. Hunters like you spend their entire lives driven by nothing more than a need to satisfy me with their prey; only such a belligerent thing as you would cast your belief aside so quickly and violently, but now that you have, what point is there is living? Why would you keep killing? Keep surviving? Your life would have no purpose anymore.Ã¢Â€Â The Scorekeeper said, hoping to appeal to his practicality and sense of loyalty Ã¢Â€Â“ it was a poor choice.
Ã¢Â€ÂœHe saved my life, probably twice. IÃ¢Â€Â™ll start with paying that back and figure it out from there, since youÃ¢Â€Â™re so gorram curious. Now no more talk, get me out of this hellhole.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœYouÃ¢Â€Â™re really telling me youÃ¢Â€Â™d rather save the humanÃ¢Â€Â™s life?Ã¢Â€Â The figure laughed; a high-pitched, irritating noise that wore on NosskÃ¢Â€Â™s already threadbare nerves. Not a wise decision considering the location of his hands. Ã¢Â€ÂœCamaraderie hardly suits you, Nossk. But I have a generous alternative: The men about to kill him are professionals, theyÃ¢Â€Â™ll realize your unconscious body will simply suffocate and leave you for dead, not worth the ammunition Ã¢Â€Â“ I will let you return to your precious mortal coil after theyÃ¢Â€Â™ve left, even guaranteeing your survival, you couldnÃ¢Â€Â™t ask for a better Ã¢Â€Â“Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœYer makinÃ¢Â€Â™ me repeat myself. Twice.Ã¢Â€Â Blood welled up around the tips of NosskÃ¢Â€Â™s claws. Every muscle and nerve in his body screamed for him to squeeze with all his might, but he held off just a little longer. Ã¢Â€ÂœFirst, I told you to shut yer ever-fracking mouth and take me back. Second, and you better get it through yer shiny little skull this time, I said I ainÃ¢Â€Â™t lettinÃ¢Â€Â™ him die.Ã¢Â€Â
The glowing formÃ¢Â€Â™s lips curled into a smile as it dribbled precious red fluid down his hands, as if the last laugh was still somehow hers.
Ã¢Â€ÂœCould it be that the great and ruthless Nossk has Ã¢Â€Â“Ã¢Â€Â
But NosskÃ¢Â€Â™s patience had finally just expired.
Ã¢Â€ÂœI SAID I AINÃ¢Â€Â™T LETTINÃ¢Â€Â™ HIM DIE!Ã¢Â€Â The Trandoshan warrior bellowed, and finally he bowed to his instinctsÃ¢Â€Â™ demands. Powerful claws clamped down on the witchÃ¢Â€Â™s tender throat like a bony vice; Nossk heard cracking as its solid shape gave way.
In that moment, as NosskÃ¢Â€Â™s rage assumed control as it had so many times before and crushed the life out of his deityÃ¢Â€Â™s mind-fracking reflection, his world exploded.
The ScorekeeperÃ¢Â€Â™s body erupted in a shower of blazing light, in the matter of an instant turning the TrandoshanÃ¢Â€Â™s world from one of utter darkness to blinding white. NosskÃ¢Â€Â™s eyes widened in understandable surprise, only to be shut against the dazzling light a moment later. The reptilian struggled to understand what had just happened, but before he could conjure so much as a single comprehensive thought, he felt himself begin to fall.
A wave of dÃƒÂ©jÃƒÂ vu swept over him, and when he next dared open his eyes, the world was blue.
The stage was set.
The setting: the cellar was bathed in a harsh red light, shining upon a grim tableau before the inoperable bacta tank.
The four executioners: rifles raised, faces blank, minds calm, and target all but defeated.
The protagonist: lying crippled, hand disintegrated, sleeves now devoid of aces, resigned to his fate.
The pissed off newly healed Trandoshan brute just back from holding congress with his vengeful goddess: awake, rejuvenated, furious, bloodthirsty.
LetÃ¢Â€Â™s break a leg.
The gunman leveling his blaster at DemarqÃ¢Â€Â™s beaten body was just a brief moment away from sending the pirate to meet his own god. The muscles in his hand began to tighten; two pounds of pressure built on the three-pound trigger. None of them saw the huge lizard floating motionless in the tank stir back to life, nor did they notice as he glanced down at the collapsed humanÃ¢Â€Â™s burnt and bleeding form. Not a one witnessed his glassy eyes narrowing with hateful vengeance, gleaming like motes of fire in the turquoise cylinder. Two and a half pounds pulled at the rifleÃ¢Â€Â™s trigger.
Ã¢Â€ÂœI SAID I AINÃ¢Â€Â™T LETTINÃ¢Â€Â™ HIM DIE!Ã¢Â€Â
A resounding crash and an earsplitting roar made sure the other half pound never made it. All four mercenaries whirled in the direction of the sudden cacophony, silently wondering what it could possibly be that theyÃ¢Â€Â™d all missed. As their eyes met the source, the soldiers, seasoned though they were, could not help but be awestruck. There, quite impossibly, stood the Trandoshan, who until moments ago had been quietly comatose and most likely dying.
Nossk panted air back into his deprived lungs, having already torn off his useless breath mask. The floor was flooded with thousands of credits worth of bacta, and still more dripped from the TrandoÃ¢Â€Â™s naked and revitalized body, silhouetted against the shattered bacta tank by the crimson emergency lights. Shards of the tube protruded from his clenched fists where heÃ¢Â€Â™d broken through, but he paid them no heed. In fact, he never remembered feeling more alive, more powerful, or more perfectly on time.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWhat in the name of Ã¢Â€Â“ is that a Trando?Ã¢Â€Â One of the men spoke into his team comm, his voice thick with confusion, anxiety, and, most importantly, fear.
Ã¢Â€ÂœOf course itÃ¢Â€Â™s a gorram Trando, look at the thing.Ã¢Â€Â Another responded.
Ã¢Â€ÂœBut arenÃ¢Â€Â™t those tanks made of transparisteel? No normal humanoid can just break through one of those, not even a Trandoshan.Ã¢Â€Â Interjected a third.
Ã¢Â€ÂœFrack that, look at his eyes, heÃ¢Â€Â™s gotta be on stims.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœDoesnÃ¢Â€Â™t matter, light him up.Ã¢Â€Â
Nossk heard exactly none of their conversation, but blaster bolts were usually a pretty good sign that it was time to fight, and heÃ¢Â€Â™d just gotten his breath back. The Trandoshan roared another war cry at the shaken mercs, and charged. Some say it takes a special kind of man to fight naked. Others say it takes a crazy kind of man to fight naked against a quartet of armed and armored professional soldiers. As fortune would have it, Nossk was just that special kind of crazy.
A pair of hastily-aimed blaster bolts scorched through the air over NosskÃ¢Â€Â™s right shoulder, but the other two gunmen had to sidestep to shoot around their comrades, buying the Trandoshan the precious seconds he needed to close the gap between himself and the mercenaries. Once the frenzied reptile was within armÃ¢Â€Â™s reach, the blood began to flow.
Nossk didnÃ¢Â€Â™t even try to stop as he reached the first of the mercs - he simply lowered his left shoulder and drove into him. The Trandoshan reared upwards as his shoulder smashed into the manÃ¢Â€Â™s abdomen, lifting him off the ground and propelling him several meters away where one of the basement walls put an end to his brief airborne journey. Nossk shifted his weight and wheeled immediately to his right, where the soldier whoÃ¢Â€Â™d been standing abreast of the man now slumped against the duracrete had swiveled his long-rifle to bear on the rampaging reptilian. The weapon wasnÃ¢Â€Â™t exactly ideal for the up-close-and-personal style on which Nossk thrived, and he grew eager to show him why. The Trando (some part of his subconscious registering the two other mercs trying to draw beads on him as he bolted across the bacta-slick floor) swung his arm out in a wide arc, catching the lengthy barrel of the mercenaryÃ¢Â€Â™s rifle as he spun to face the hired gun, and pushing it aside; the weapon discharged harmlessly into an already-useless console.
Grasping the gun barrel tightly, Nossk wrenched the weapon towards him this time, sending the surprised mercenary reeling into his arms. The Trandoshan grabbed him around and neck and turned so that his new friend was between him and his companions, making the soldier an effective human shield. His captive saw what was about to happen, saw that the crucial command had already gone from his partnersÃ¢Â€Â™ brains to the muscle of their fingers, and understood at once that there was no way of stopping it. The two other mercs fired.
Ã¢Â€ÂœNo! DonÃ¢Â€Â™t Ã¢Â€Â“Ã¢Â€Â The man screamed, but before he could finish a brace of blaster bolts burned into his chest, cutting him off mid-plea. Nossk felt his weight go limp in his arms.
Not wasting so much as an instant, the Trandoshan held the corpse out at armÃ¢Â€Â™s length and kicked it in the back, sending it lurching towards one of the allies whoÃ¢Â€Â™d just unintentionally blasted him into the next life. The merc caught the body out of reflex, taking his blaster off target and branding his masked face with a look of unbridled disgust and astonishment. That priceless expression was wiped clean as NosskÃ¢Â€Â™s fist plowed through the manÃ¢Â€Â™s faceplate, spewing dozens of tiny shards into the tender flesh as well as breaking his nose outright. The mercenary reeled backwards, dropping his weapon as his hands flew to his mangled face. Blood streamed between his fingers, and the man flailed blindly around the basement, effectively blind.
The last gun standing gave up on trying to squeeze off another round, and instead opted with knocking the rioting lizard-man to the ground. He dropped low and delivered a sweeping kick to NosskÃ¢Â€Â™s knees, collapsing the top-heavy juggernaut with little difficulty. The Trando hit the ground hard, but still managed to snap a savage kick at the recovering soldier, who now saw his rifle spinning across the basement floor. A second strike to the groin had the merc doubled over, his head dangling in the air over NosskÃ¢Â€Â™s body in a way so perfect, he couldnÃ¢Â€Â™t help but feel warm and tingly inside. The Trandoshan grabbed his helmet and pulled him closer still Ã¢Â€Â“ their skulls were now so near one another that they could hear whispers between them, as young lovers might, if Nossk was ever such a thing.
As it happened, the Trando did whisper to the man in his arms; what he hissed, however, was anything but sweet.
Ã¢Â€ÂœThis is the end.Ã¢Â€Â
NosskÃ¢Â€Â™s opened his jaws wide, revealing his maw of jagged teeth, and fastened them around the mercenaryÃ¢Â€Â™s throat. The weak, flexible material around his neck gave way easily, and in seconds the reptilian felt warm, life-granting fluid running down his chin. He threw the hemorrhaging body from him and stood up, surveying the carnage heÃ¢Â€Â™d created. Blood ran thick with bacta across the floor, mixing in strange, swirling patterns about the bodies littered there. Nossk picked up a fallen blaster, almost as an afterthought, and fired two rounds each into the motionless figure slumped against the wall and his wailing partner, who still clutched his ravaged face. The Trandoshan then tossed the weapon away, and for a few moments just stood there.
He was quite a sight to behold: tall and powerful, his healed body streaming with blood not his own, his eyes gleaming red like some sort of fairy-tale demon, his massive chest heaving up and down with each invigorating breath. He decided he very much missed being alive. A rasping breath from the basement floor reminded Nossk why he was here, and he immediately picked his way through the quartet of bodies towards Demarq. He appraised the humanÃ¢Â€Â™s condition at a glance - the bruises, the shrapnel in his legs, the disintegrated hand Ã¢Â€Â“ and extended a hand to him. The pirate grasped it with his remaining hand, and the Trandoshan hauled him to his feet. The two stood facing each other in silenceÃ¢Â€Â¦until Nossk finally found the words.
Ã¢Â€ÂœYou look like hell, stumpy.Ã¢Â€Â
"Gerba's dead! Dead I tell you!" voices cried.
The Hutt lay in his own liquids but it didn't necessarily mean he was dead. Hutt's were renowned for their super thick hides. Besides a Hutt could play dead like nobody's business.
The medical crew came to retrieve Gerba's huge body, immediately he was dunked into an over-sized bacta tank. The small medical chamber went into lock down. Other medical rooms would be open, but this one, with Gerba inside was impenetrable.
Tressah put on the jetpack and quickly launched to the other polls. She knocked two other jetpacks down and watched as the contestants below squabbled over them. The last two she grabbed for herself. She had a feeling they would be good bartering tools.
(Sorry for the short post, shall do more later).
I'll try to make a brief one.
Shrapnel ricocheted off of Kal's armor as the missiles detonated. A distant explosion from the direction of Gerba's booth, drawing the attention of everyone in the area, including Nelba. Kal knew he had little time before everyone recovered, and the fighting continued. He rose to his feet, sprinting towards the Shell Hut. He scooped up a thermal detonator on his way, then leaped onto the metal shell, thumbing the button on the det. Nelba looked at him, panicked. He desperately tried to cycle the iris closed. 'Oh, no you don't." Kal shoved the det through the closing gap, then sprang back as it detonated, amplified by the hardened shell of the Hutts armor.
Kal looked at the mess he had made. "Well. That went well enough."
Sorry for short, but if my allies or anyone else wants to continue from there, they're welcome too. I'll try to get back into this.
[OOC]Sorry Mel! It was super late when I posted this and I didn't see your post! I didn't meant to ignore you! Sorry! Can we put your post's events as taking place after mine?[/OOC]
Gerba the Hutt wasnÃ¢Â€Â™t deadÃ¢Â€Â¦yet.
He garbled and choked on the glowing blue adhesive slime that held his mouth open and shut at the same time. The Hutt was already growing darker and mottled from the ruptured blood vessels inside his thick, blaster resistant hide. His huge eyes bulged and blinked. He could still breathe through his nasal cavity, or what was left open of it.
NellÃ¢Â€Â™s hopeful eyes overlooked the huge expanse of the battledome but couldnÃ¢Â€Â™t make out the one she was looking for.
Her lips pursed angrily and Nell asked without turning, Ã¢Â€ÂœStill there?Ã¢Â€Â
Gerba gave a muffled angry and very, very frightened choke.
Nell Terigo adjusted the setting on her charric, the very rare and hard to get a hold of charric, to the pain setting and smiled pleasantly at the source of damn near all her problems.
RedÃ¢Â€Â™s large, eerily white teeth crunched happily through a granÃ¢Â€Â™s armored breastplateÃ¢Â€Â¦and chestÃ¢Â€Â¦while he was still screaming. With a final sickening chomp, the lizard reached the gooey insides and the three-eyed mercenary went quiet.
Hssiss are a very highly adaptable species. These versatile lethal creatures even change to best survive the environment they grow to adulthood in. To such extremes that the heavily armored black hssiss of Korriban hardly resemble their gigantic green brethren on Mimbar.
Nell had found Red on Onderon, and the harsh, untamed world of beasts, and war showed in every scale and sinewy muscle of the dark force dragon. He moved and looked like a soldier lizard. Armor would have fit like a second skin, and the damage would have been legendary.
His head and dorsal spikes that stretched down all along his tail were larger and more pronounced than most hssiss. The tail itself was a massive deadly whip that nearly tripled the length of the lizard. Red bore huge striping of scars (almost healed completely by time and hardly visible on a first look), from battling drexl, the untamed beasts of Onderon, and Mandalorian soldiers.
The dais full of the wealthy and wicked guests of the Hutt and their bodyguards had definitely been emptied considerably. The huge red lizard wreaked a bloody kind of mess that only animals could create.
Nell Terigo adjusted the setting on her charric, the very rare and hard to get a hold of charric, to the pain setting and smiled pleasantly at GerbaÃ¢Â€Â™s slow suffocation.
Nell wasnÃ¢Â€Â™t very good at planning, pretty much everything that had led her to this point had been a healthy helping of luck and very difficult. She was finally going to save the ones she loved and end the hell that had plagued her for so long.
She should have seen it.
Anyone who dealt with HuttÃ¢Â€Â™s knew better than to forget about their wily majordomo. The pathetic creature trembled uncontrollably from where he hid behind GerbaÃ¢Â€Â™s bulbous mass. He sweat fear from the screams of those being torn to pieces by the hssiss lizard, and his wide eyes were pinned on a ornate wall decoration that would save himÃ¢Â€Â¦if he could only get to it.
There it was, the pretty ornate stone and secret switch. The twilek majordomo would have to leave his hiding place to reach it. His leku twitched and dripped sweat. He was breathing too quickly, too loudly, they were going to find him. He knew it.
The human female was speaking, in low, cold tones, he couldnÃ¢Â€Â™t hear over GerbaÃ¢Â€Â™s choking and the screamsÃ¢Â€Â¦waitÃ¢Â€Â¦When did the screams stop?
The frightened twilek turned to the right. Huge teeth dripping some blue body fluid were only inches from his face. The majordomo shrieked and lunged for his only hope. Large blood-wetted talons cut through flesh and bone and pinned the twilekÃ¢Â€Â™s calf on the stone tile. The majordomo screamed but the ground started to shake. Somewhere nearby huge gears turned and rumbled. He had still been able to reach the hidden switch and pull it down.
The huge lizardÃ¢Â€Â™s yellow eye went wide and searched for the source of the sound. The majordomo coughed a laugh as the entire dias around GerbaÃ¢Â€Â™s raised throne began to slowly fall to pieces, showering down on the battledome below.
Red glared rage at the majordomo, and opened his jaws to end the twilekÃ¢Â€Â™s life.
Then Nell screamed. Without hesitation the hssiss immediately leapt over the massive Hutt to where the yellow haired human fell. There was no ground for the well-thinking lizard to land on, just huge chunks of stone being wrenched apart by lowering durasteel support beams.
NellÃ¢Â€Â™s eyes were wide with that Ã¢Â€ÂœOh-@#$%-my-ass-really-didnÃ¢Â€Â™t-see-that-comingÃ¢Â€Â look as she tried to grab onto anything tangible as free falling stone escaped her fingertips. The hssiss leapt from sun-faded stone to stone as they fell farther and faster towards the battledome floor.
High above them the majordomo angrily sulked and nursed his leg as the HuttÃ¢Â€Â™s raised platform pulled into a special escape chamber with Gerba still choking and sputtering.
With a roaring howl, Red snatched the female by the tough holster strap over her shoulder, shredding through a good portion of her blue coveralls in the process. Strong, powerful talons and scaled muscles leapt from stone to stone trying to put off the eminent crash to the ground. Red twisted and turned like a grackelcatÃ¢Â€Â¦
The world was a big blue of bright red-orange scales, stone, and the sandy battlefield below for Nell as she tried to maintain control of her bearings.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWell this is gonna hurt.Ã¢Â€Â
She shut her eyes tight.
THENÃ¢Â€Â¦Three months earlierÃ¢Â€Â¦
Nell Terigo came back from the dead.
She gasped and coughed for breath as she flung her head from the gray murky swamp water. The yellow-haired human clawed at reeds, and rotting bog lilies. Nell was covered in black silt and blood...her blood. Nell cried out in pain as she pulled herself onto a shallow bed of sand overshadowed by towering faded brown reeds.
She had been dead for five hours.
Nell choked on air and coughed up mud, swamp water, more blood and what might have been vomit.
Thick black smoke and hot orange flames burned from a huge wreckage of metal that might have once been some kind of transport starship. Something trapped inside howled.
She rolled over and collapsed onto her back, clutching her stomach, mouth agape in agony. The hair hanging in her face was burnt and the right side of her long brown leather jacket was covered in black burns and red blood seeping from underneath.
Nell inhaled, and tried not to scream as her body convulsed.
Then a darkness came through the reeds, very like the essence of a shadow coming into solid form. Nell cried out and tried to crawl away despite the burning pain that screamed through her. Her right eye had burst a blood vessel and was wide with terror.
Ã¢Â€ÂœAbsolutely, not love,Ã¢Â€Â The dark figureÃ¢Â€Â™s rotting hand grabbed her long, and loose yellow hair and pulled her out of the water. Nell screamed and kicked, blood on her lips and voice hoarse.
Ã¢Â€ÂœIÃ¢Â€Â™m the reason youÃ¢Â€Â™re still alive, lovely, lovely creature.Ã¢Â€Â
Tears left streaks through the dirt on her face. Nell knew she wasnÃ¢Â€Â™t bleeding anymore. Her blood no longer left her body, as if something unseen held it in place.
Ã¢Â€ÂœLovely, lovely creature.Ã¢Â€Â He continued to drag her, unbothered by her screams and attempts to pull free from his darkened rotting flesh, Ã¢Â€ÂœI canÃ¢Â€Â™t heal, of course. I merely kept you from leaving your lovely flesh.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœLET ME GO!!Ã¢Â€Â Nell screamed through her tears and suffering.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWeÃ¢Â€Â™ll let your pretty flesh heal itself, love,Ã¢Â€Â The darkness shrouded humanoid pushed aside the reeds and pulled his struggling prize along, radiating with glee.
Ã¢Â€ÂœAnd then, love, weÃ¢Â€Â™ll have some fun.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœHey little Nellie, its me.
IÃ¢Â€Â™ve found out everything that happened, andÃ¢Â€Â¦well I have honestly no clue how to react to thisÃ¢Â€Â¦
You deservedÃ¢Â€Â¦you had so much life ahead of you.
I should have told mom to put you in a conventÃ¢Â€Â¦forever. Then IÃ¢Â€Â¦youÃ¢Â€Â¦none of this shouldÃ¢Â€Â¦have happened.
IÃ¢Â€Â™m going to take care of this, Nell.
I still canÃ¢Â€Â™t help but think this is partly my faultÃ¢Â€Â¦I mean if it hadnÃ¢Â€Â™t been for the bounty on my headÃ¢Â€Â¦the whole accidentally getting captured thingÃ¢Â€Â¦and my little sister having to get me out of every jam IÃ¢Â€Â™ve ever been inÃ¢Â€Â¦IÃ¢Â€Â¦canÃ¢Â€Â™t believeÃ¢Â€Â¦
Ã¢Â€Â¦IÃ¢Â€Â™ll fix thisÃ¢Â€Â¦I promise.
Save me a bottle of the good stuff, pretty girl.Ã¢Â€Â
The holovid message flicked off and the image of Nell TerigoÃ¢Â€Â™s brother vanished. She had been Ã¢Â€Â˜deadÃ¢Â€Â™ for thirteen days.
A low growl came from the reeds.
The dark force sensitive being paused, then slowly turned unable to sense the creature through the Force, Ã¢Â€ÂœWell now, what are you, then?Ã¢Â€Â
Nell smiled with dirt and blood covered teeth, Ã¢Â€ÂœI call him Ã¢Â€Â˜Red.Ã¢Â€Â™Ã¢Â€Â
Huge pieces of sun-bleached stone rained down on the side of the battlefield where mercenaries and prisoners alike still fought the hulking dome of Nelba the Shell Hutt. Limp pieces of bodies, expensive food dishes with their half eaten delicacies, and the weapons of few mercs hit the ground like hail.
When the huge brightly colored lizard crashed to the ground amidst the chaos of stone he was able to maneuver his flexible scaled body to reduce the impact of the hit. But it was a long, long way to fall.
The lizard and human rolled and clumsily smashed into a wall of stone that had pierced into the ground, and more stone showered violently on top of them.
post-comin', fear thee not the death of this thread, for it is reborn; fear only for the player characters to be left behind in the swiftly rising tide of plot...
Name: Rancher Ã¢Â€ÂœCrunchÃ¢Â€Â Grax
Species: Chistori ()
The reptilian Crunch stands nearly 2.3 meters tall. HeÃ¢Â€Â™s dressed in battle armor scavenged from corpses across the Battledome. The various pieces are hastily cut and bent to fit the ChistoriÃ¢Â€Â™s massive frame. The armor is almost unnecessary thanks to the warriorÃ¢Â€Â™s thick, scaly hide characteristic of his species. Perhaps most frightening is CrunchÃ¢Â€Â™s jaw that allows him to dispose of enemies without even firing a blaster.
Weapons: Crunch intends it to be the heaviest piece of firepower he can find. Until then, his claws and maw should suffice.
It smelled like carnage. It smelled like war.
Crunch threw his head back and roared as the age-old instincts overtook over his mind. His glorious, violet scales glistened in the battle-stricken daylight. The ChistoriÃ¢Â€Â™s vision became a sharp, hazy, red color as Crunch transitioned to predator. He deftly dipped to the side allowing blaster fire to fleck over his shoulder. In one fluid motion, Crunch scooped up a rock and hurled it at the top of a nearby hill. The perched assassin went down as the makeshift projectile collided with his skull.
Crunch gave a toothy grin and rolled aside. That was his thing: improvisation. Mama Grax had always known her little Rancher would go far. He had one thing his forty-something siblings did not, and that was cunning.
Crunch, still crouched to avoid blaster fire, turned his head and narrowed his beady little eyes at the newcomer. It was an ugly little human prisoner packing a repeater rifle that was much too big for him. To be fair Crunch thought all humans were ugly. But this one was especially ugly.
Ã¢Â€ÂœGo away,Ã¢Â€Â growled Crunch starting for the village. It seemed like the perfect place to find equipment.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWait,Ã¢Â€Â cried the prisoner jogging forward to catch up with Crunch. Ã¢Â€ÂœAlliance! Alliance! We can help each other out, eh? Like a partnership. How Ã¢Â€Â˜bout it?Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœI work alone,Ã¢Â€Â replied Crunch simply. It was a clichÃƒÂ©, but rightly so. His people had always fared better on their own. It was nothing personal. Although in this case it was. Crunch just didnÃ¢Â€Â™t like the smell of this human.
Ã¢Â€ÂœThe nameÃ¢Â€Â™s Gardo,Ã¢Â€Â said the prisoner panting under the weight of his weapon. Ã¢Â€ÂœWhatÃ¢Â€Â™s your name?Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœCrunch,Ã¢Â€Â said the Chistori really just wanting to be left alone.
Ã¢Â€ÂœYou a prisoner Crunch?Ã¢Â€Â inquired Gardo not getting the message.
Crunch had in fact been a prisoner. The wanted mercenary had been in the holding cell of two Rodian bounty hunters when the pairÃ¢Â€Â™s greed led them to set their coordinates for Teth. So Crunch modified his escape plan. He knew better than to underestimate the hunters whoÃ¢Â€Â™d bested him, so he waited until the ship landed. When one Rodian made the mistake of getting too close to the holding cellÃ¢Â€Â™s bars, Crunch grabbed him and used him to coerce the second bounty hunter into unlocking the door. After a light lunch, Crunch emerged from the ship to find Teth in chaos. He was a little late to the party, but the Chistori decided that the best way to celebrate his freedom was to wreck a little havoc.
Ã¢Â€ÂœIÃ¢Â€Â™m with you brother,Ã¢Â€Â said the annoying prisoner. Ã¢Â€ÂœSome Mando already took care of the Shell Hutt. With your brawn and my brains, IÃ¢Â€Â™ll bet the Galaxy we could take down Gerba. Word is the slugÃ¢Â€Â™s already hurt real bad. What do you say?Ã¢Â€Â
Crunch thought about it. Not the partnership; that just wasnÃ¢Â€Â™t happening. Crunch was pondering the likelihood of taking Gerba down. He hadnÃ¢Â€Â™t gone near the Shell Hutt for a reason. Not only was durasteel hell on his molars, but bloaty Hutt skin was perhaps the least appetizing thing he could think of. Concerning Gerba though, it made a lot of sense to skip a little bloodshed and go straight for the reward. Might as well give it go. But heÃ¢Â€Â™d need a weaponÃ¢Â€Â¦
Crunch slowly turned around to see Gardo aiming his beautiful-looking Mandalorian Heavy Repeater at the Chistori.
Ã¢Â€ÂœYou must be as stupid as you look,Ã¢Â€Â the human was saying. Ã¢Â€ÂœDid you really think IÃ¢Â€Â™d team up with the likes of you. You made this too easy! I canÃ¢Â€Â™t believeÃ¢Â€Â”Ã¢Â€Â
Crunch wasnÃ¢Â€Â™t listening. His eyes were focused on the wonderful thing glistening in GardoÃ¢Â€Â™s clammy palms. Three words went through CrunchÃ¢Â€Â™s mind. Words Mama Grax long had to put up with until the day Crunch left home:
I want that.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWell I gotta say it was nice knowing you Crunch,Ã¢Â€Â continued Gardo. Ã¢Â€ÂœI guess IÃ¢Â€Â™ll see yaÃ¢Â€Â”Ã¢Â€Â
Faster than anyone, least of all Gardo, could imagine, Crunch snapped his head forward and bit the unfortunate prisonerÃ¢Â€Â™s face clean off. Crunch lept forward careful to cradle the repeater in his arms as the body fell to ground.
The Chistori wiped his mouth off and continued towards the mock village, repeater rifle in hand.
((<3<3<3 I love the Chistori...in the SW RPG they have natural damage reduction and increased constitution, making them pretty badass. And on top of that, once a day they can go into a battle rage and become even MORE badass. My character earned the nickname Tinycuts because at the end of every battle he'd end up with dozens of tiny wounds all over hos body, but remain standing...
I was apprehensive about adding a new player, but I can't wait to see where Crunch ends up going))
((post coming! honest!))
((Thanks Gunslinger. I totally understand how late I'm coming in, so i'll approach everything accordingly. Hope this thread gets back into swing))
Ã¢Â€ÂœYou look like hell, stumpy.Ã¢Â€Â
ItÃ¢Â€Â™s hard to get into a mood to banter when youÃ¢Â€Â™re still coming to terms with the loss of a limb and suffering from fatal injuries. Instead, Demarq coughed a little blood onto his companionÃ¢Â€Â™s feet.
Ã¢Â€ÂœAw, you little dungbag, I just washed those. Make yourself useful and bleed your way over to the med supplies. I mean, the ones that didnÃ¢Â€Â™t get completely blown up.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœSbehÃ¢Â€Â¦Ã¢Â€ÂDemarq panted, reality beginning to swim before his eyes as his adrenaline reserves trickled with most of his favorite blood onto the ground. Ã¢Â€ÂœCaaaaakeÃ¢Â€Â¦Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœHEY!Ã¢Â€Â the Trandoshan barked; if he had been an avian species, he might have ruffled his feathers. Ã¢Â€ÂœNo bleeding out while IÃ¢Â€Â™m talking to you. Get over here.Ã¢Â€Â
With all the tenderness of a worker in a mill handling a bag of flour, Nossk hefted his handless companion over his shoulder, picked up the pirateÃ¢Â€Â™s fallen carbine, and picked his way across a floor covered with blood, bacta and bodies.
A timid voice came from the doorway above them, above the fallen staircase. Ã¢Â€ÂœOh hey uh is the bacta tank in here? They said there would be a bacta tank in here.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœIt blew up,Ã¢Â€Â Nossk replied. Ã¢Â€ÂœGo away.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœOh uh okay.Ã¢Â€Â The faceless individual in the doorway to the rest of the house turned to the rest of his group. Ã¢Â€ÂœHey guys, it blew up.Ã¢Â€Â With an audible groan of disappointment, the would-be attackers slumped their shoulders and left the battle-scarred house of death.
And that was that.
Nossk, meanwhile, was hard at work keeping Demarq from crossing over into the sweet release of death. Ã¢Â€ÂœAinÃ¢Â€Â™t getting off that easy, nubs. We might be even, life-saving wise, but you donÃ¢Â€Â™t get to leave until I get to call you some degrading nicknames to your conscious face.Ã¢Â€Â
The bacta tank was a lost cause entirely; its entire chassis was bent and broken as a result NosskÃ¢Â€Â™s fortunately-timed emergence from his trance. There were several cabinets against the wall, however, which were scorched on the outside but had protected their precious cargo from harm. Nossk grabbed a roll of bandages and some packets of bacta, and set about his business.
The stump where DemarqÃ¢Â€Â™s left hand had once been was bleeding the worst: though disintegrations do not leave any charred matter behind, they do leave lots of blood vessels only partially finished, saying hello to the wide world with cheery spurts of blood. Nossk looked at the injury for a minute, shrugged, and slathered the bloody stump with bacta before wrapping a bandage around it.
Next on the list of injuries were DemarqÃ¢Â€Â™s legs; he had apparently taken a good deal of shrapnel in one of the many grenade explosions (that must have been one hell of a bright fight, Nossk mused). He looked at the mess of metal and burns and skin, shrugged, and slathered them with bacta before wrapping them up in bandages.
Then he realized what a terrible idea it was to leave the metal in there, unwrapped them, and picked out the metal bits how covered in blue goop, before rewrapping them in the old gooey, bloody bandages. Why waste?
Though Demarq had done a good job bandaging his hand, Nossk decided to take a look anyway. You know, while he was already at it. In the process, however, he managed to rip off the scab that was healing quite nicely, causing the wound to ooze blood again. He fixed it, of course, with a liberal application of bacta and a scab-free bandage. Sometimes it is okay to waste.
The pirateÃ¢Â€Â™s only other injuries appeared to be internal, sustained during his short rocket-propelled flight across the basement. As little as Nossk knew about human biology (were they or were they not allergic to bacta? He could never quite remember), he was pretty sure that DemarqÃ¢Â€Â™s ribs were just bruised, not broken. They only moved if he pressed really, really hard.
Demarq awoke an hour or so later. He coughed, tried to caress his throat (still injured from the choking incident with that one merc. See my previous post, Space Pirate fans!) with his left hand, only to feel smooth cloth bandages against his skin. He looked down, surprised to see white fabric where his hand should have been, and sighed. I really wish this was not reality.
He changed his view from the Stump of Depression to the rest of his body. All things considered, the lizard appeared to have done a decent job, though the leg-bandages looked a little sloppy. This raised his spirits by a few Joy Points, but not quite enough to overcome the Gloomy Points granted by his newfound Unidexterity trait. Oh well. I guess youÃ¢Â€Â™re still alive.
He then looked further away, at his surroundings. Nossk had switched on the basements lights, and while some of them had been destroyed in the fire/explosive-fight, there was enough light to see by. And MAN were there a lot of bodies around.
Demarq decided to share this sentiment aloud. Ã¢Â€ÂœMan, there are a lot of bodies around.Ã¢Â€Â
Nossk looked up from his task of inspecting a corpse. Ã¢Â€ÂœYou say something, stumpy?Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœI said man, there are a lot of bodies around.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœA lot of buddies around?Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœBodies. A lot of bodies around.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœOh, bodies. Yeah. There are a lot of bodies around.Ã¢Â€Â
Hopefully this illustrates how many bodies were actually around. Man, there were a lot.
-There were the bodies of the 6 Black Mesa mercs that had been the last to go down
-There were the bodies of everyone who had fallen into DemarqÃ¢Â€Â™s spikey death trap
-There were the bodies of everyone Demarq had shot from his hiding point behind his wall of bodies
-There were the bodies Demarq had shot earlier and used as his wall of bodies
SO MANY BODIES. Probably 40 or so. MAN.
Anyway, Nossk was busy poring through the pockets of each of those 40 bodies (man, thatÃ¢Â€Â™s a lot of bod-), taking whatever he could find for food, ammo, weapons, medical gear, and other assorted crap. Normally the prisoners had next to nothing, but a few had gotten lucky. Mixed in with the deep pockets of the several mercs who had fallen, Nossk was amassing quite a little stockpile, particularly the weapons.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWeÃ¢Â€Â™ve got four different models of rifles,Ã¢Â€Â Nossk mused aloud as he sat before his impressive pile of death-instruments. Ã¢Â€ÂœI figure if I hold one in each hand, and you do the sameÃ¢Â€Â¦oh wait, thatÃ¢Â€Â™s just three. Whoops.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœNot to worry, Sparky. IÃ¢Â€Â™m just proud you can count that high.Ã¢Â€Â
Nossk snorted indignantly. Ã¢Â€ÂœNo need to get all defensive. ItÃ¢Â€Â™ll grow back in a day or so anyway.Ã¢Â€Â
A few seconds of uncomfortable silence passed.
Ã¢Â€ÂœTouche, my scaly companion. As proud as I am of my ability to produce my own body heat and to create children who do not eat each other, I bow to your evolutionary superiority in this regard.Ã¢Â€Â
Nossk shook his head. Ã¢Â€ÂœWhatever, Nubs. I got bored of that sentence after about three words. Now that youÃ¢Â€Â™re awake, whatÃ¢Â€Â™s the plan of action?Ã¢Â€Â
Though he made sure he didnÃ¢Â€Â™t show it, Demarq was glad to see that the trandoshan still deferred to his command. Though their positions of physical dependence had switched, Nossk recognized that DemarqÃ¢Â€Â™s leadership abilities had kept them alive thus far, and didnÃ¢Â€Â™t think his career-ending injury had made him less of a man. Though it may seem silly for him to be putting so much stock in the lizardÃ¢Â€Â™s opinion, Demarq had to assume the role of captain. Without proper order, mutiny is the only logical result.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWell, youÃ¢Â€Â™re back in fighting shape. That gives us a big advantage. I can still shoot, though itÃ¢Â€Â™ll be easier once I get this bandage off. WeÃ¢Â€Â™re pretty well offÃ¢Â€Â¦except that without my other hand, itÃ¢Â€Â™ll be a lot harder to fly a ship off this rock. I donÃ¢Â€Â™t suppose you know how to pilot a ship?Ã¢Â€Â
Nossk paused for a moment in thought.
Demarq spoke again before the trandoshan could say a word. Ã¢Â€ÂœThe fact that you had to pause tells me everything. We need to find ourselves a pilot, and a good one, if weÃ¢Â€Â™re going to have a chance of escaping. We need to get back out there and see if we canÃ¢Â€Â™t find someone like that to join our merry band.Ã¢Â€Â
Nossk glanced around the room all those damn bodies. Ã¢Â€ÂœYou interviewed all these guys before you took them down, right?Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœTheyÃ¢Â€Â™re different. The mercs can probably fly, but they have no reason to ally with us. The attacking prisoners did so in groups, so they had no reason to join us either.Ã¢Â€Â
Nossk snorted. Ã¢Â€ÂœSo why should anyone join us, then? How are we supposed to motivate anyone to join up when theyÃ¢Â€Â™ve already got this far by themselves?Ã¢Â€Â
DemarqÃ¢Â€Â™s eyes regained a bit of their luster as he answered the question he had been hoping Nossk would ask. Ã¢Â€ÂœThatÃ¢Â€Â™s the reason I went after you first, you glorious bastard. Pain is scary, and youÃ¢Â€Â™re really, really good at it.Ã¢Â€Â
Demarq struggled to his feet; the wounds on his legs cried out in pain, but he could feel that all but the biggest of them had already sealed up entirely. Bacta is wonderful stuff.
Ã¢Â€ÂœStuff all the gear you can into your bag, then boost me up out of this basement. ItÃ¢Â€Â™s time we got moving.Ã¢Â€Â
[OOC]Sweet the gang's all here! It's a party now![/OOC]
The whole world was spinning as Nell felt herself ebb out of unconsciousness. A hot liquid was dripping down her ear, and her pale hand revealed it to her as blood dripping from her somewhere on her head. The corellian was pinned on her side under stone against and against RedÃ¢Â€Â™s tough scaled stomach.
Nell lifted her other hand to find her fingers caught in a death grip around her Charric. The delicate and rare weapon seemed undamaged. Her knuckles were white from the strain, but her stiff fingers were unable to open and she struggled to pry them apart. When her hand finally came loose it smashed into a piece of stone.
Nell sucked in air between clenched teeth and angled her body so she could put the precious Charric back into its appropriate holster. Damn thing was expensive.
Nell coughed from the thick clouds of sand and dust still filtering the air. She peered up from the awkward angle at the height she had fallen from, and felt even less motivated to move. There was no way she had survived that, not without a broken neck or something.
She had been Ã¢Â€ÂœdeadÃ¢Â€Â for three months.
Eventually, Nell dared to moveÃ¢Â€Â¦slowly, her lips parting, teeth clenching, and eyes shutting tighter for every new hurt as she struggled against the heavy stone and red-orange scales, until she managed to snake her way out and free. The non-lethal stokhli spray stick holstered to her back got her stuck more than once, and the half meter long weapon was more than likely the major source of the more painful of her bruises.
Ã¢Â€ÂœRed? Come on Red, you better get up now too.Ã¢Â€Â Nell climbed onto the unmoving beast, leaning against his side and the dorsal spines on his back. She pulled on a spine weakly trying to shake the large creature awake. The huge lizard had managed to take the brunt of the fall. She pulled harder when she couldnÃ¢Â€Â™t feel him moving, or breathing
Ã¢Â€ÂœCome on, get up!Ã¢Â€Â NellÃ¢Â€Â™s face twisted as she tried to keep herself from crying, Ã¢Â€ÂœÃ¢Â€Â¦pleaseÃ¢Â€Â¦get up.Ã¢Â€Â
The blonde corellian leaned her forehead against the unmoving creature and closed her eyes tightly.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWhat the hell are you doing here?Ã¢Â€Â
Nell turned abruptly to the side to see right next to her, a human male, his ruffled hair and devilish, cocky grin identifying him as the typical corellian smuggler to most people.
Ã¢Â€ÂœKale?Ã¢Â€Â Nell gaped with disbelief.
She never blinked, but then as quick as her brother had come, he was suddenly gone.
Before Nell could mentally digest what just happened she heard an angry roar on her other side. An angry, wounded, and dust-covered wookie threw off the stone on top of him. The thick furred mercenary stumbled to his bare feet, and raised his hand toward Nell as if it were supposed to be currently holding a blasterÃ¢Â€Â¦that he noticed unhappily to be missing.
Nell angrily and clumsily grabbed at the blaster pistol at her thigh (now twisted around to almost behind her hip) and unloaded almost an entire blaster pack on the wookie merc before he finally went down. Nell stood up with one hand still holding to RedÃ¢Â€Â™s dorsal spine for support and shrieked, Ã¢Â€ÂœAre you crazy?! IÃ¢Â€Â™m trying to GRIEVE over here!Ã¢Â€Â
Red growled like an old wampa woken early out of hibernation as he stood up on all fours and shook off stone and dust.
Ã¢Â€ÂœForce Red! Why donÃ¢Â€Â™t you take your sweet time next time.Ã¢Â€Â Nell kicked the one-eyed lizard solidly in the side, not affecting the hardened creature but was still smiling with relief. The field was still clearing from the chaos of the sudden death of Nelba the Shell Hutt and the showering death hail of stone from above that left a few crushed bodies in its destructive wake.
Red limped slightly, bearing the equivalent of reptile bruises, and one of the dorsal spines on the lower end of his back had been crushed and partly broken off. Some of those remaining alive got down and hid as the huge lizard moved past, unsure of how to deal with this new threat, others just started shooting.
Nell held onto Red with one arm with her bantha hide boots pressed into his side as the one-eyed lizard suddenly charged at three sullustans while dodging fire. He trampled/impaled two with his massive talons, running through them like an Aratech vibromower on a grassy field and leaving them in just as many pieces.
The third duro sighed and looked up toward the heavens with relief, and didnÃ¢Â€Â™t see the huge powerful scaled tail whip coming at him like a sonic chargeÃ¢Â€Â¦silent, then BOOM, no more thankful duro.
A mandalorian in black armor with a red mythosaur skull on his shoulder piece managed to dive out of the way at the last second. If Red hadnÃ¢Â€Â™t been sprinting like a runaway grav-train while dodging blaster fire he might have gone back and finished the job. He knew the smell of mandalorian all too well.
Nell was too busy holding on to try and take out more of the battledome competitors with aiding blaster fire. Her arms were growing more covered with cuts and gashes from the sharp scales. She cursed herself for leaving her handler jacket and gloves on the ship. An exotic animal dealer with as much experience as herself should have known betterÃ¢Â€Â¦
That was when Red ran right into and through a huge towering pillar on his blind side. The huge monolith shuddered from the force of the hit, but didnÃ¢Â€Â™t fall. The hssiss reeled dizzily for a moment in almost a full circle, and shook his head trying to regain focus.
A jet pack slammed to the ground with a musical surprisingly cheery clang as it was rendered completely useless. Nell regained her footing back on the lizardÃ¢Â€Â™s side and climbed up onto Reds back between the spread out dorsal spines.
Ã¢Â€ÂœYou okay, Red?Ã¢Â€Â He didnÃ¢Â€Â™t answer out of hurt pride and embarrassment.
The lizard reeled again in the direction before he finally started running and picked up speed again. Nell leaned down as close to the lizardÃ¢Â€Â™s ear slit as she could get, Ã¢Â€ÂœLetÃ¢Â€Â™s find Kale.Ã¢Â€Â
Nell tried to keep low away from any blaster fire that may come their way, and pointed in RedÃ¢Â€Â™s line of sight, Ã¢Â€ÂœSee, over to those buildings? Lets start there.Ã¢Â€Â
Kale was always more at home in civilization.
Ã¢Â€ÂœLet me know when you smell Katray.Ã¢Â€Â Nell held her hand against the charric by her thigh, ready for whatever was coming next as the mock village structures loomed closer.
A few short minutes saw the unlikely pair once more standing in the street just outside the accursed, now corpse-strewn house where theyÃ¢Â€Â™d just endured the past several hours, fondly regarding the long-dead Rodian in the road like an old friend. Despite all the recent chaos, blood loss, and hysterics, Nossk was in a rather outstanding mood, although that may have had something to with his current appearance. On an unrelated note, it might also have been because Demarq let him make a new staircase out of dead bodies to replace its demolished wooden predecessor.
The Trandoshan had gone on a sort of ghoulish shopping spree with the dozens of corpses littering the cellar floor, and picked out his choice weapons after heÃ¢Â€Â™d assembled a considerable stockpile of death-dealing apparatus. The towering Trando now had a small arsenal festooned about his scaly body, from the pair of vibroblades hanging from his left hip to the repeating blaster he hefted onto his shoulder and everything in between. The lizard-man was back in his power-house element, and it was none to soon for his weary, wounded, and diminished human companion. Before leaving the house (which had once again sharpened their paranoia of basements), the pirate captain had insisted that Nossk destroy the remainder of his little weapons cache, an order he reluctantly obeyed by tossing a frag grenade into the beautiful mass of weaponry (his stock of the destructive little orbs had been replenished by the mercenariesÃ¢Â€Â™ ammo bandoleers).
And so the patched-up pair of prisoners took to the streets once again, this time with a more specific purpose than staying alive or looting some booty: They were going to start a crew.
The small bands of prisoners roaming around in laughable, temporary alliances had all been easily slaughtered so far, but that was quite simply because the two of them had been fighting as a line of work for years beforehand, and had a rather obvious advantage. But what if someone was to round up the few that were still venturing about on their own, alone but still elite in their own right? This new gang of escaped convicts would be, at the very least, the match for any mercenary squad, the only issue would be keeping together a group of men all killing for a prize only one of them could walk away with. ThatÃ¢Â€Â™s where NosskÃ¢Â€Â™s big bad scaly self would come in, where all the diplomacy and smooth-talking in the world wouldnÃ¢Â€Â™t get the message across as well as a few snapped limbs.
Ã¢Â€ÂœSo where to, boss?Ã¢Â€Â Nossk asked the wounded pirate, emphasizing the last word with thick sarcasm.
Ã¢Â€ÂœSurprise me Sparky, pick a direction.Ã¢Â€Â Demarq growled impatiently, limping heavily on his torn leg and trying not to think about the itching sensation that lingered where his hand should have been. Ã¢Â€ÂœGhost limbÃ¢Â€Â they called it, and now he understood why.
Ã¢Â€ÂœI pick that way.Ã¢Â€Â Nossk said at once, pointing down a random street.
Ã¢Â€ÂœThanks for letting me know, now start walking.Ã¢Â€Â
This process continued for several blocks, winding and weaving their way through the deceivingly large faux village with no other guide than NosskÃ¢Â€Â™s brilliant sense of direction. A couple days of ceaseless combat seemed to have thinned out the BattledomeÃ¢Â€Â™s ranks quite a bit; either that or there was some elaborate game of hide-and-go-seek that the wayward duo werenÃ¢Â€Â™t cool enough to get told about. Regardless, the only sentient theyÃ¢Â€Â™d come across was an eccentric Gran who opened fire with his blaster the moment they came into view. With no opportunity or particular desire to make their offer of recruitment, Nossk snapped off a quick burst from his newly acquired Merr-Sonn repeater, and that was that. The task of assembling an effective crew, however, grew more daunting by the minute.
Hope reared its bedazzled, glorious head as they rounded the next spontaneously-selected corner. He stood in the middle of the street, covered in scraggy brown fur and the bottom half of his prison coveralls. A recoilless rocket launcher was poised on his shoulder, seemingly daring any brave challenger to take his best shot. Nossk stood frozen at the mere sight of the heavily-armed, confident figure. He and the human watched and waited.
The Chadra-Fan glanced in the newcomersÃ¢Â€Â™ direction, and proceeded to quite violently flip the frack out. The tiny furball began chattering excitedly, and waved his oversized weapon in their direction, still squawking his high-pitched surprise and alarm.
Ã¢Â€ÂœI want him.Ã¢Â€Â Nossk exclaimed abruptly, instantly amused by the tiny alien with the missile launcher. Surely something with so much gusto and chutzpa (and a huge gun) would be a valuable addition to their soon-to-be fellowship. Ã¢Â€ÂœCan we keep it?Ã¢Â€Â
Demarq sized up the diminutive creature, nervously hoped that the excitable thing didnÃ¢Â€Â™t decide to paint the nearby houses a new shade of red, and finally sighed in resignation. Ã¢Â€ÂœDo whatever you want, but youÃ¢Â€Â™re cleaning up after it.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœThis is gonna be the best.Ã¢Â€Â Nossk growled victoriously. He took a few steps towards the jittery alien, at which the Chadra-Fan immediately began to freak out in a considerably more vigorous manner; the Trandoshan stopped. Ã¢Â€ÂœPut that thing down.Ã¢Â€Â
The Chadra-Fan squeaked a quick but distinct negative.
Ã¢Â€ÂœNo, you put yours down first.Ã¢Â€Â Nossk said a little louder, still keeping the barrel of his underslung repeater trained on the tiny prisoner.
A long string of ear-splitting chitters responded, which, although indecipherable, sounded thoroughly insulting. Despite his Trandoshan friendÃ¢Â€Â™s insistence on continuing the endless conversation, Demarq was rather certain that the lizard-man had absolutely no clue what the little thing was saying.
Ã¢Â€ÂœNo, donÃ¢Â€Â™t you try to play me like that!Ã¢Â€Â the reptile yelled, Ã¢Â€ÂœI said you first!Ã¢Â€Â
The pirate captain was about to intervene, about to explain to Nossk why it would be impossible to enlist the aid of a jittery creature that could neither understand them nor be understood, when a deep rumble shook the ground beneath their feet. At first Demarq was terrified that the twitchy little bastard had snapped and actually fired the little death cannon perched on his tiny shoulder, but the confused look on the Chadra-FanÃ¢Â€Â™s face coupled with a conspicuous absence of death laid waste to that theory.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWhat in the hell - ?Ã¢Â€Â The pirate began, his puzzlement only deepening as the tremors grew increasingly violent. It was as if an earthquake was ripping through the Battledome itself, and for a brief moment the human considered that throwing one into the mix would be just like the sadistic little slug. A moment later, Theory #2 was cast aside just as quickly and completely as the first.
One of the pristine white houses farther down the street was instantly reduced to an explosion of splinters as a massive, leathery body crashed through it. As the shattered timbers and roofing tiles rained down on the shell-shocked occupants of the little suburb neighborhood, the rest of the creature started to take form as it emerged onto the street. First the huge, talon-tipped hands; then the arms, thick as tree trunks and strong enough to level the home with a single sweep; then the titanic torso Ã¢Â€Â“ fat, gnarled, and unbelievably enormous. The rancor trudged through the remainder of the buildingÃ¢Â€Â™s foundation and stepped into the street, appraising its surroundings with the slow comprehension of a true semi-sentient juggernaut.
Even the bewildered ball of missile-toting fuzz was rendered speechless.
It was at this fortuitous moment that, at the far end of the now-too-crowded street, a massive (although still dwarfed by the rampaging monster that had just made its stunningly dramatic entrance) red hssiss lizard skidded into view. On its back, nestled between the double row of dorsal spines, sat a human woman, presumably its master (how one could manage to tame a dark side dragon, none of them had the time or knowledge to ponder).
The rancorÃ¢Â€Â™s attention shifted from the three miniscule humanoids previously engaged in a worthless argument to the infinitely more interesting, not to mention meal-sized, beast and its fair-skinned rider. The one-eyed lizard ground to a sudden stop as it appraised its new adversary, taking care not to throw Nell. The living weapon bent low on its front legs as it slowly began to circle the huge creature, its single eyeball jerking every which way as it searched for a weak spot among the thick layers of brown flesh. He had found none when the rancor opened its drooling, gaping maw and roared its murderous intent to whoever might be unfortunate enough to be within earshot.
One of its mammoth, ponderous legs shook the earth and pulverized the pavement as it took a slow, deliberate step forward
The last thing Nell had seen was the giant monster growing ever larger as Red closed the distance between them. She felt the familiar roller-coaster ride as his powerful bounds brought them scant meters away from the extraordinarily lethal monstrosity, dodging its sledgehammer fists as Red bolted between its legs and lodged his fangs into the meat of the rancorÃ¢Â€Â™s right thigh. Venomous daggers sliced as deep as they could through the larger beastÃ¢Â€Â™s natural armor, but even so drew hardly a drop of blood through the impossibly thick hide. Now, latched onto the rancorÃ¢Â€Â™s leg like a vice and largely immobile, the agile lizard was an easy target for the giant creatureÃ¢Â€Â™s flailing arms. A fist the size of a small speeder crashed against RedÃ¢Â€Â™s ribs, throwing the dragon skyward and taking a sizeable chunk of the rancorÃ¢Â€Â™s leg with it.
All at once the eerie neighborhood became a spinning blur as Nell was sent hurling through the air, lizard and all. The huge hssiss was tossed only a few meters, but Ness sailed through the air for about half a block before coming to an abrupt stop in the most unlikely of places - a thoroughly confused Trandoshan's open arms.
"Hi." The gun-bristled reptilian said amiably.
Nell reflexively rolled out of the TrandoÃ¢Â€Â™s arms, landing gracefully on her feet before whirling to face him. She took in his considerable armaments at a glance, and instantly snapped a savage kick aimed at disarming the reptile of his massive repeater, or at least knocking it off target. Before her leather-shod foot could make contact with the cold metal, however, she met unexpected resistance. The human standing nearby had leapt between her and his Trandoshan companion, blocking her strike with his left forearm. For an instant his attractive face was contorted with pain as he winced from the blow, and Nell noticed with no small degree of astonishment that the forearm holding back her kick ended with a bandaged stump rather than a hand.
Ã¢Â€ÂœNow hold on there sweetheart.Ã¢Â€Â The pirate panted, trying to keep a straight face despite the unbearable pain lancing through his ravaged arm. Ã¢Â€ÂœThis is hardly the time.Ã¢Â€Â
Nell returned her foot to the ground, still maintaining her fighting stance. Again she lunged for the reptilian, understandably assuming he was the largest threat and thusly deciding he should be dealt with first. Just as before the man stepped in her way, pale and bandaged yet somehow dangerous in his own right. His eyes shone with the pain and agony just moving must have caused him, but at the same time they were indescribably aflame with resolve: there was no way he was going to allow her any closer to the Trando - oh no, he had other plans.
Ã¢Â€ÂœThatÃ¢Â€Â™s really a bad idea,Ã¢Â€Â the pirate remarked again, not reaching for the pistol on his thigh but still blocking her path. Ã¢Â€ÂœIf youÃ¢Â€Â™ll let me finish, Fido here might be the only thing capable of keeping your little pet alive.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœWhat? Against a rancor? Thanks Stumpy, but IÃ¢Â€Â™ll take my chances with Re Ã¢Â€Â“Ã¢Â€Â
Demarq had no intention of letting her finish her skeptical protest. In fact, once heÃ¢Â€Â™d established that she was no longer going to try to kill either of them, he lost most of his interest in here entirely Ã¢Â€Â“ at least for the moment.
Ã¢Â€ÂœNossk, launcher.Ã¢Â€Â He called over his shoulder.
Ã¢Â€ÂœGot it.Ã¢Â€Â The Trandoshan immediately let his repeater clatter to the ground and took off at a dead sprint down the road. He vaulted duracrete blocks and large, deadly-looking splinters from the wrecked house, keeping his glassy eyes locked on Chadra-FanÃ¢Â€Â™s missile launcher. The first time Red had been tossed through the air, heÃ¢Â€Â™d landed squarely on the tiny alien, crushing him to death instantly. His oversized weapon, however, still lay perfectly operable and ownerless on the cracked asphalt. Nossk bolted back and forth, dodging even more debris that hurtled through the air as the two beasts battled. He dove to the side as a complete, and rather affordable bathroom set threatened to cut his interesting little obstacle course short. Nossk pulled himself to his feet, took a few moments to orient himself among the thickening dust and rubble, and took off yet again. Both Nell and Demarq looked on with considerable anxiety, each quietly concerned for their respective lizards.
Ã¢Â€ÂœMine eats people, you know.Ã¢Â€Â Nell commented, wincing slightly as Red was once again thrown through the living room wall of a nearby house.
Ã¢Â€ÂœSo does mine.Ã¢Â€Â The pirate captain responded casually, cheering inwardly as Nossk spun neatly out of the way of a falling cinderblock and continued on his way.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWell I can ride mine.Ã¢Â€Â The beast trainer persisted, observing as her hssiss shook off the wood and drywall like a wet dog and once again leapt at its significantly larger foe.
Demarq thought for a moment. He supposed technically he could ride Nossk, but it was probably not the wisest of ideas. Ã¢Â€ÂœWell you got me there, mine talks though.Ã¢Â€Â
The Trandoshan dove forward as a kitchen window smashed to pieces behind him, showering him with glass as he rolled back to his feet within arms-reach of his precious objective. Nossk grabbed it up and quickly checked to ensure that it was loaded before hefting it onto his shoulder. He peered down the rocket tubeÃ¢Â€Â™s sights at the dueling monsters, but the lightning-fast hssiss was everywhere at once, practically crawling over the rancorÃ¢Â€Â™s body like a squirrel in a cartoon holovid; it was impossible to get a clear shot.
Ã¢Â€ÂœOh ya? Well mineÃ¢Â€Â™s bigger.Ã¢Â€Â Nell snapped.
Demarq paused noticeably before turning to face the concerned trainer watching her friend and companion fight just as the pirate was. His expression was one of stung disbelief.
Ã¢Â€ÂœOh no you didnÃ¢Â€Â™tÃ¢Â€Â¦Ã¢Â€Â
Their argument was cut short as Red was thrown a third time, instantly grabbing both their attention. The crimson reptile sailed through the air, a sensation he was in general quite unfamiliar with, and came down in a scaly heap where Nossk had stood a moment before. The Trandoshan had leapt just clear of the crash zone, taken a knee, and finally drawn a clear bead on his enormous target. It was impossible to miss.
Nossk grinned a positively devious grin and let fly.
When the smoke cleared, Demarq turned smugly to Nell, who was coughing into her sleeve as a wave of dust swept over them.
Ã¢Â€ÂœMine just blew up a rancor.Ã¢Â€Â
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