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Zeris Mons

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Zeris Mons last won the day on May 17

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  1. I stumbled off of the dead dianoga, head pounding, waiting for the adrenaline spike to go down. This was a big one, it would take a minute. It didin't take long to realize that my companions had survived their encounter with the other beast, and I'll admit I was a little surprised. The tusken, sure, I fully expected him to survive. He was the kind of guy that would break a dragon's tooth, to borrow an arkanian saying. But the jawa? Well, maybe I was being a bit harsh. Rodents had their own ways of ensuring they didn't get stepped on. ___________________ I looked over the crates. With my finger, I started ticking off what I thought might be needed by a caravan on that hellscape of world. Portable shelters, certainly. Weapons? Better keep to the simple ones, none of that high tech nonsense. Slug throwers, basic blasters, and anything with an edge. Air and water filters definitely. Couldn't get enough of those things where we were going. My eyes landed on one large box, easily the size of a human body. Frowning, I scrubbed the grime off the label. My eyes widened. A smile crept across my face. I pointed down at the crate. "This. We'll need this." The label read [JOBEN T-85 SPEEDER BIKE]
  2. I only caught a glimpse of the second creature moving towards the jawa before the flailing of the tentacle that held me turned everything into a blur again. I honestly found myself hoping the little guy would be alright and somehow make it out. Not sure what came over me. Might just be all the blood rushing to my head. CRACK!!! The sound of the gunshot echoed wildly through the water-filled tunnel. I wasn't sure what the tusken had hit with his long rifle, but whatever it was it made the dianoga holding my recoil in pain. For just a brief moment, it held me still as it cringed. And that was enough. I bent at the waist and wrapped my metal fingers around the slimy, slippery tentacle. It was too wide for my hands to close around it completely, and so slick it would slide out of my grip the second the creature started moving. However, I knew one thing the creature didn't. Grip is friction, and friction is just slipperiness vs force. It had slipperiness, but I had force. My fingers tightened like vices, and the rubbery flesh indented, and then tore as my hands made their own holds in the creature's cartilaginous limb. As my metal digits embedded themselves in the tentacle, the dianoga gave something of a moan that clearly denoted pain, and its grip on my leg instinctively tightened. It began shaking me, aggressively this time, like a child waving their arm when they find a spider crawling up it. Even as my head swam, my hands did not let go. Instead, they began to twist. With a tearing noise, I twisted the tentacle in two, and dropped down. I only briefly registered the boom and accompanying flash of light of the tusken firing another shot as I dropped down onto my own dianoga. The tunnel wasn't deep, and it didn't realize yet that it needed to run. Fine by me. I landed on its head, and the killing instinct took me, the instinct that bypassed all thought when I was in a fight for my life, and separated everything into Need to Kill and Don't Need to Kill. With a brutality that didn't even slightly resemble my echani training, I extended my armblades as I landed feet first on the dianoga's bulk, and began driving them into the slimy meat again and again and again.
  3. Gross...gross...gross... The word ran through my head in a silent mantra. The squelching, the slime, and the stink, all conspired to tickle my gag reflex. I focused as hard as I could on just not throwing up, if for no other reason than to not embarass myself in front of my new partners. That's why I didn't notice what was swimming behind us. I saw the tusken climb up onto a pathway that I had completely missed in the gloom. That tusken had sharp eyes or something, because even seeing him clamber up onto it, I still could barely make it out. I reached out for the path, but jerked to a stop a few inches from it, my foot caught in a particularly sucky spot. I yanked my foot up, but whatever I was stuck in didn't come loose. I jerked again, and kicking, but still the weight that had settled on my foot remained. I turned to pull my foot out from whatever had snagged me by hand, when I saw the shadows swirling through the water. At that point, I came to a sudden realization. I wasn't stuck. I was grabbed. No sooner had I realized this fact then the creature decided to play with its new toy. I found myself suddenly lifted straight up out of the muck and dangling by my foot in the air, being waved back and forth like a toddler with a new doll. I made several grabs for the tentacle, but the rapid shaking threw me off just enough to keep me from getting a grip. "HEY!" I called out, not sure what they'd do but hopeful they could do something.
  4. The downside of brawls when you're actually good at fighting is that they don't last long. Sure, it's fun to punch big, tough, thugs in the ego, but once people understand that you are actually dangerous they tend to back off. Or double down with blasters. Either way, the fun is over pretty quick. I suppose that's why bar brawls are the best. Nothing suppresses a creature's survival instinct like alcohol, and if you get them good and mad they'll just keep coming. I grimaced. I hated sewers. With a passion. With a raw, unbridled passion. It wasn't the smell necessarily. It was the work afterwards. The long tedious work. As it turns out, you can't just power wash cybernetics the same way you take a shower. No matter how careful you are, that stink and filth gets in every little crack and crevice and joint and sits there for weeks. You had to take apart every single piece and clean it separately just to get rid of that stench. But...getting into a firefight with law enforcement really didn't sound like a good idea either. A bounty hunting license would probably get me in more trouble than not here. No legitimate bounty to track, so I'd be seen as a violent thug who let loose for the fun of it. Which, to be fair... I stopped next to a sewer grate, and wrenched it off. "Alright...let's go."
  5. As I followed the jawa Kiv through the city, I began to consider his companion. I made it my business to read people. Well, not their likes of dislikes and stuff. Or their temperments. Or really their personalities in general. What I meant was I knew how to read how dangerous a person was. And this tusken was dangerous. He walked with the kind of energy and stance that said Hi, if you cross me I'll skin you, fold your skin into a hat, and look dang proud of myself wearing it. Not a bad person to have around, so long as they stayed on task, and a heap of trouble if they went off book. I'm mixing my metaphors, and maybe I was just being a little paranoid, but having two of those kinds of people hanging around together seemed like a recipe for trouble, and the jawa probably wouldn't help matters. I'll admit it, I felt a little nauseous at the sight of that blue, furry face. I don't like squibs. Shoot me for it. "Alright," I said. "I'm looking for food packs, air purifiers, and water purifiers. As many as you can, don't care if they're used." I thought for a second. "Except for the food packs. Those need to be unused," I added. What in the- Did someone actually start a barfight? Deep down, I knew what had happened before I even saw the two bouncers standing in front of that brown bedecked murder man. Great, I thought, and I honestly couldn't tell if I was exasperated or excited. It was a very odd feeling. I turned to look back at the squib. "Don't make me track you down," I said, wagging a metal finger like a disapproving mother. I walked towards the two Abyssians, while the tusken swung that club of his while shuffling through the puddles of blood and teeth on the floor. Quickest (and most fun) way to end this I figured was to put down the biggest guys in the bar and clear a path for me, the tusken, the jawa, and our contact to leave. That those guys happened to be the bouncers was pure happenstance. It also occurred to me as I walked over that I could have just left the tusken alone. I didn't need to get involved. I could have just covered the squib and finished our business. Ah, screw it. How often did you get the chance to fight Abyssians? No one could take a punch and keep on swinging like those cyclopes? "Hey," I said, coming up behind the bouncer holding the rifle of the drunk. Then, with a quick chop, I cut down with my hand into the gun, knocking it to the ground, and with two swift punches I down the drunk and got the bouncer good and mad. I grinned.
  6. In the skies above Bothawui, The Crate dropped out of hyperspace. In the cockpit, a single alarm blared. I grumbled to myself, fumbling under the control panel until my metal fingers closed on what I was looking for. With a yank, I pulled out a metal cylinder. The alarm died away. Last time I buy a pressure reader from a swap meet. "We're here!" I called out.
  7. I mostly ignored the little jawa's chatter as I booted the ship up. Flip the switches for the thruster primers, cycle on the gravity generator, flip the switches again because there's always one primer that doesn't catch the first time. When Kiv brought up price, I nodded while I booted up the nav computer. "I've got some good pay from my last few jobs. Plus some salvage to make up the difference," I said while absentmindedly waving my hand towards the clutter near the rear of the ship. "If either of you are hungry, there's a footlocker with rations under the seats on the port side." As I did, I hit the ignition, and The Crate hummed to full power. "Strap in. And say goodbye." The Crate lifted off and ascended into the sky.
  8. Squib. Of course it had to be a squib. "No," I said, flatly. "You're collateral. You come with me. If your friend wants to come, that's his decision." I crossed my arms, and they scraped unpleasantly as I did. Anything I got for free, even information, was worthless without guarantee, especially from this little jawa, considering it looked like I just helped rescue him from a previous business partner. I wasn't about to hand bad equipment to Oka, so making sure this little info broker was being straight with me was a personal matter. Plus, if this turned out to be bad info, I could punt the jawa a lot farther than his friend. "Now come on," I said, moving to lead the jawa back to The Crate.
  9. I'll admit I panicked more than a little when that power box turned weapon managed to right itself. It got worse when I realized it was powering up to blow. So when it dropped, stunned by the jawa's ionization blaster, it took me a moment to get my bearings. Not a lot throws me for a loop, but after headless plant monsters, evil trees, Imperial Knights, Jedi, and now random infobrokers, Saber-cats, a hutt crime lord, and a tricked out gonk droid, I think I can say I was thoroughly off balance. After a moment, I realized the fighting was over. The remaining Saber-cats were contenting themselves with their new meals, the hutt's cronies either were those meals or long gone, and the hutt himself was...not a concern. I slid over to lean against the wall, and breathed. My heart was pounding in my ears, and as the adrenaline slowly faded my skin was left tingling. I took long, deep breaths, savoring the sensation. The local was crying out, the mandalorian in his arms, and I could feel the emotion he felt, even as a stranger. And yet, the only emotion I could dredge up was...satisfaction. And anticipation. I was an addict. There really wasn't any point in denying it. And I've never been able to muster up enough of a reason to not feed that addiction. I know that sounds bad, and I guess it is, in a way. In my line of work, and in the circles I fly in, life expectancy over middle-age is a luxury, not a guarantee. I'd always assumed I'd die doing something stupid, a smile on my face and my heart pounding in my ears. Then I'd be one more corpse in a galaxy full of them, and that'd be it. But at that moment, listening to the howl of the tusken over his fallen companion, I began to wonder if maybe I was missing something. And if I was...was it worth giving up what I had to get it? As I sat there, my mind roaming over the connections I'd made and left behind in my life, I alighted onto one in particular. You see, I hadn't actually had a plan for when I found this "magnificent" Kiv. I'd jumped into the situation for another chance at excitement, and maybe a chance at some info on some new bounties. But now that I was feeling all reminiscent, a square metal face popped into my head, pulled up out of memory. A face I owed, big time. Oka Geb, the skakoan cybernetics engineer who'd taught me everything I knew about the subject, and who'd installed my own for demonstration. I didn't know anyone else in the galaxy who'd cut off a 16 year old girl's perfectly healthy arms and replace them with mechanical replicas, or who'd do it pro bono. I owed that man, and when I'd last seen him he hadn't been in the best of situations. He'd been stuck on a nightmare planet, condemned to stay there for the rest of his life, and perpetually running low on everything he'd need to survive. I looked over at the jawa. "Hey Kiv!" I called out. "Your droid promised your services. Where can I get good quality survival gear? In bulk?" I thought for a second, before adding, "...cheap?"
  10. Wait, did he just call that droid BoomBox? That was the only thought I had time for before the sound of clanking metal accompanied me flying through the air to smash against the rear wall. As it turns out, the combat predictive algorithms of ocular cybernetics are a bit stumped when it comes to FREAKING GONK DROIDS laying out a surprise arsenal. Go figure. While the repulsors kept me pinned against the wall, a past job surprisingly popped into my head. It had been a simple job to arrest a devaronian weasel who'd managed to con over 500 people out of their life savings with a ridiculous cruise opportunity, and had had the misfortune of his latest victim being the son of a muun banking administrator. It should have been a simple grab and go, but the little imp had somehow gotten his hands on two actual B2 super battle droids. Me, unaware of this fact, had found myself pinned down by automatic blaster fire on a hotel balcony while my payday scurried towards the turbolift. This gonk droid thing's boxy waddle and overkill arsenal reminded my so much of that sticky situation, that an idea immediately occurred to me. You see, big and nasty droids like this often have the same weakness. A blind spot if you will. Using the force of the repulsor and my strong, cybernetic limbs, I crabwalked up the wall and leapt away as soon as I was out of the repulsor field's area of effect, landing feet first on top of this "BoomBox". You see, overbuilt, boxy droids like these often have a very hard time looking up. Guess there are some disadvantages to not having a neck. I almost...almost...punched through the things metal plated top, but thought twice about it when I remembered I was literally standing on a power generator. Well, this thing didn't have arms, so... I jumped off, kicking with my feet to knock the thing off balance and onto its side. As I landed, I turned and looked at the jawa. "YOU!" I shouted, both in frustration and exhilaration. "I NEED TO TALK TO YOU!"
  11. Great. Animals. Like I haven't had enough of those by now. Then things got interesting. The sound of blaster fire echoed up through the vent, mixed with the loud fwump's of incendiary grenades. I picked out the sounds of a holdout blaster and what sounded like a rifle of some kind spraying their energized death through the room. The smart thing would have been to not jump into the middle of a firefight. Anyway, I cracked open the vent with sharp blow from my left elbow, and dropped onto the hutt's head. Rather than try to maintain my perch, I slid down his slimy back. I doubted I would get better cover than this mountain of blubber, and I had to hope the jawa was slippery enough to avoid getting mauled in the seconds it would take for me to evaluate the situation. Particle fields around the feeding pit. Pissed off hutt. Scummy lowlifes, no real fighters among them. Saber cats. And a mandalorian and...a local? The heck? Plus side, the odd pair seemed to be having a wonderful time killing the cats. Downside, I had no idea what they intended for my little target, and given my incredibly brief association with the rodent, I doubted he had a lot of friends willing to risk their lives for him. In the second or two it took to evaluate the situation by peeking out from around the bulk of the greasy crimelord, I also noticed the controls on his gonk droid. "Pardon," I said, moving past the hutt and reaching for the controls, dancing out of the criminal's reach as I fiddled with the controls, trying to find some way to lower the particle barrier.
  12. I eyed the vent. It was surprisingly clean, none of that rust or gunky buildup you usually see. Clean priests I guessed. "If I die in a vent... He had really better be worth it." Now, I did consider just taking the stairs. It'd be risky, but it wouldn't be the first time I'd gone the direct route. In fact it'd probably be the closest thing I had to a MO at this point. But...and this sounds silly...I'd never actually gone through a vent system before. I know it sounds ridiculous when I just put that out there, but it was true. I'd never had the opportunity to crawl through ductwork in a situation where it would actually be a viable strategy. I'd always thought it would come up at some point, and if I was being honest with myself I kind of wanted to do it. Sure, that was probably the end result of way too many holovids on long cargo runs with a bunch of rough Outer Rimmers, but the little girl in me really, really wanted to peel that grate off and wiggle through. Painting a look of resigned frustration on my face, I looked both ways, wrenched off the grating, and squirmed inside. The first thing to hit was the smell. It was so musty I had to concentrate not to choke and gag. After that, I started crawling through, feeling my way ahead until I found what I assumed was the dropoff that led to the next level. Alright, just do it gently...
  13. "...He makes you say that, doesn't he?" A brief pang of sympathy for the droid flickered through me. I'd dealt with puffed up bosses before, and unlike me this droid didnt have the hands to cave their face in when they stepped on that last nerve. Fine...I'd already "bought the hangar" so to speak, I might as well take the ship that went with it, as smelly as it might be. Besides, my last deal with a small, hairy, fast talking rodent had gone...reasonably well. "Alright. He better be worth it." I was already doubting he was. The droid hadn't even promised hard credits, just information and "services". Well, if this guy was some kind of info broker, he might be able to point me in the direction of some bounties on this dust choked oven of a planet. I couldnt be the only one who'd thought a remote little world like this would be a good place to hole up. Worst came to worse, I could dunk the little gremlin in a tank of soap water and leave, paid in full for my work with the good, warm feelings I'd get from that. Now I kinda hoped he didn't hold up his end. _________________________ After one quick scaling up the side of the monastery, and the droid leading me to the hole its master had presumably used (I swear I could still smell him), I was inside. And this...was not a monastery. This was a chop shop. Half disassembled speeder bikes hung from the ceiling in chains. Burly men and women of about a dozen different species sweated and grunted as they cut through metal and pulled out the guts of the vehicles I'm positive had not been acquired legally. A twinge of nostalgia welled up for a moment, happy times spent crawling over excavator engines and digging through scrap heaps semi covered in snow playing out in my head before I sent them packing to the back of my brain. Time to be going. "HEY!!!" A deep, phlegmy voice boomed over the racket of the work stations. "NEW GIRL! GET OVER HERE AND HOIST THIS THING!" I glanced towards the source of the noise to find a large chevin beckoning me over. Im pretty sure he was angry, although with that much face it was hard to read his expression. I complied, which might seem odd given I'd flattened the side of a guard's skull a few minutes ago for just stepping on me, but the difference was that now I was on the job. Professionalism was key, and I could use the practice. Plus it was easier than dealing with the racket he might make if I ignored him. "This," as it turned out was a modified swoop bike that looked like it had more thrusters bolted on than some starfighters. It was a miracle it was in one piece, and not spread over the course of a mile along with the galaxy's longest red stain. The chevin was trying to hoist it down onto a workbench, and struggling with the monstrosity's criminal lack of proper weight distribution. I took the other end, and after a moment's wrestling and a few choice, muttered words, we got it down. "Thanks," he said, wiping his brow with an oily cloth. "Yeah," I said, not sure what else to add. "So...boss, I gotta-" "Shove off it, i know you dont work for me." My expression must have been telling, because he chuckled and elaborated. "Lady, you're pale as bone and wearing a black overcoat on a planet with two suns. A short circuited gonk droid could tell you were an offworlder." "Then...why-" "I needed a hand." His gaze narrowed. "But I dont need trouble. So you came in the front door, agreed?" A smile crept onto my face at the cantankerous foreman's guff. I nodded. He thumbed towards the rear wall. "Stairs are over there." I nodded once more, and left him to his work. Alright...let's find that "magnificent" jawa.
  14. Oh for...I swear, I'm going to KILL the next short furry humanoid that screws me over... I ducked behind the corner of the nearest building, a chunk of sand-colored stone shattering as one of the slugs came close to hitting me. Well, to be fair, this was probably more my own fault. Dropping the guard was one thing, but hitting his head on the street until he passed out (I hope) was probably a step too far. The rough voices spoke in a language I didn't understand, but the tone was unmistakable. Someone was giving orders, and it wasn't to retreat. Aaaaand now I had a choice. I could run, weaving through buildings to keep them from lining up a clean shot. Find some spot to hunker down until the heat died off, then get off this planet as soon as The Crate was refueled and fixed up. Or...I could fight. It was a completely idiotic idea. I wasn't getting paid. I'd piss off whatever powerful bloke these guys worked for. Plus there was the very real possibility that I'd get hurt, or even killed. The little voice in my head told me what I needed to hear. I can beat them up and call it resume' building. My little voice is a moron. I dashed out from behind my cover, my cybernetic legs propelling me faster than should have been possible. I didn't run for the shooters though. I ran instead for their downed mate, the one I'd clean the street with. Two of the guards got off a shot, but both were wild and whizzed past me harmlessly. It wasn't easy to hit a moving target. I scooped up the dazed guard, held him in front of me, and ran at the gun-wielding guards. To their credit, four of them had enough trigger discipline to not shoot one of their own. Unfortunately for my unconscious new meat shield, the fifth one didn't. A crack sounded, pair with a sudden splash of blood and a metallic ping as the slug passed through his dangling friend's leg and ricocheted off my metal ankle. Then I was one them. There are two things you have to remember when going hand to hand with a group carrying firearms. First, if you can, never let them get their distance. A lined up shot, and bang, fight's over and you're squealing on the floor. Second, if you can't do that, then always, always, always keep moving. As I moved into the center of the group, I let go of my shield, his face slapping in what sounded very painfully against the street. I then grabbed his ankles, set my stance, and before the group had registered what was going on, I swung my improvised flail into the nearest guard, sending him sprawling under the weight of his now thoroughly addled friend. The remaining four held their composure admirably, trying to move away while raising their guns for a shot, but I didn't give them time. With my legs using their full power, I leapt at the next nearest guard, crossing the space in a blink, my fist driving straight into his solar plexus and dropping him. Before he hit the ground, I was moving again, delivering a kick to another guard's hip, a solid crack telling me he wasn't going to be getting back up anytime soon. The third guard actually managed to get a shot off, but his panicked aim didn't come anywhere near me, and before he realized what had happened I had yanked his gun out of his hands and smashed the butt into his face. The fourth guard threw down his weapon and ran, and I felt a small twinge of disappointment. But I didn't waste time dwelling on it, already moving. Good thing I did, as a ringing gunshot and a puff of shattered cobblestone where I'd been standing let me know the final guard had gotten me in his sights. This guy was bigger than the rest, a burly specimen of his species, and probably the one I'd heard shouting orders before. I dashed towards him, and he raised his arm to block. Which was a mistake. A second later, he was writhing on the ground, his forearm bent at an unnatural angle. I finally stopped, elation surging through what flesh I had left, and I let my eyes drift over my victory. Four guards, all either unconscious or in pain, sprawled across the street. I think I might have a problem. Now where'd that jawa go?
  15. I pocketed the gem gratefully. I wasn't sure how the thing worked, but I knew I'd feel more comfortable having it on me. This job...it had been what I needed. I felt that old drive, like someone had poured a gallon of high-grade catalyst in my intake port. A part of me was itching to get back to work on myself, push my body and my augments to the next level. "Thank you," I said to the Jedi who'd so briefly been my employer. I looked around. "I'll wander around here. There's always work around a place like this." I strolled away, hands in the pockets of my coat. "You've got my number, if you ever got more work," I called out, as I moved into the city itself. My first clue that something was up was the pitter patter of little feet on the dusty road. The second clue was the hooting brown blur of cloth and stank dashing past me as I emerged onto the intersection. The final clue was the klatoonian who collided with me and sent us both tumbling to the ground. I think the klatoonian dismissed me at first, probably because of my height, because as he got up he barely giving me a glance, much less an apology. He also stepped right on my gut and pushed off that foot to stand up again. Now, I try to keep my temper under control, but I'll admit that when I get pissed off, it usually happens very quickly. Maybe it was the heat, or maybe it was the complete lack of respect or decency, but I found myself a little...piqued. With one metal hand, I grabbed the klatoonian's ankle, lifted him off my gut, and slammed him sideways into the ground. Then, before he could realize what happened, I rolled over, grabbed his head with my other hand, and slammed the side of his face against the road. I repeated the action two more times before I saw his eyes lose focus and my brief burst of irritation passed. "Watch it," I growled at the addled klatoonian as I got to my feet. I looked around and saw the jawa some distance away. "Hey!" I called out. "Is this yours?!" I kicked the klatoonian lightly for emphasis.
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