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Tarrian Skywalker
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“Good good!” Kiv exclaimed as he came to a stop. Snapping his fingers and pointing, Kiv directed Eyes towards the manhole cover on the street before him. Eyes, always annoyed, gave a sigh and utilized a manipulator claw to lift the cover up enough for the others. 

 

“Now you believe me…” Kiv added as he started to climb into the reeking sewer below. “I have strong sense of smell. This way worse for me then you. Eh, maybe not you big cousin, but you have mask wrappings, so you ok.”

 

Moments later, Kiv plopped into a puddle of dark brown and green. A slight curse came from the Jawa’s lips, as he shook his feet slightly. Darn water was going to get soaked into his cloak, and the bugs would swarm like at home. He had to grab his robes and pull them up slightly, appearing similar to some kind of Naboo noble woman. 

 

>Very pretty sir. And the smell matches your usual perfume< Eyes chuckled as he floated down, the manhole cover clanking after him. 

 

“Oh shush you. I should add an odor senser to your eye” Kiv growled slightly as he made his way forward through the sewage. Thankfully ahead there was a walkway that the sewage didn’t cover. Once there, Kiv led the way, talking once again. 

 

“You see, I normally don’t take this way. I prefer upstairs to downstairs. But my charm only go so far. Yes yes, but no worries. I have good memory how to travel here so you lady are getting good deal…”

 

>Left sir< Eyes commented. Instantly, and without missing a beat, Kiv turned in the said direction. 

 

“Only a little further now, and we will be at the cargo bays. See, you got good deal using my services. Not to mention lady, you have my strong cousin. He very strong and deadly. Killed a crime lord recently. Set him on fire. Very aromatic. Perhaps you recommend me to your clients, yes?”

 

>Sir, might I remind you that we are still in danger? < Eyes noted, floating directly in front of the Jawa. 

 

“Of what? Dianoga? Nah, they be exterminated by now…” Kiv waved the droid off, trying to get past, unaware of neither the eye stalks that had been following the group nor the large tentacles that were emerging from the deeper places of sewage, reaching curiously towards the new prey. 

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The black Tusken followed after the others, content to be away from yet another Jawa induced brawl. Even his people were usually more peaceful than that. Perhaps that was why the Jawas travelled in packs in those fortresses of theirs. Maybe they were mobile fight clubs of some sort. Strange. He shook his head as he considered it following the others. Strange. Shooting a look over his shoulder, Rru picked up his pace to put as much effort between the frackas and his ride.

 

The grate into the sewers held nothing on the stench that seemed to own the heavy still dark damp air of the vaulted tunnels that the group found them trudging alobg the edges of. Ahead, a walkway seemed to wind along the myriad mazes of this vast underground network of scum and waste management. As soon as he could, Rru pulled himself free of the stench, sending a pack of nesting rodents scurrying away in an eruption of chittering fright.

 

Had it not been for the guiding words of his ancestors directing his path, Rru would have missed the pathway entirely and still been mucking through the mire after the other two. He was extremely grateful; almost as grateful as he was for his breath mask that filtered out at least some of the nastier bits of poison and rot that clung to the air.
 

The rattling screeches as he gingerly made his way forward cut through the dark foul air announcing his discovery to the others. It was unfortunate, and even as he stepped cautiously from anchor point to anchor point to keep the thing from pulling entirely free of the wall, the Tusken had to dedicate the majority of his focus to it. The rest he kept directed towards the others somewhere in the pitch black ahead of him. Their movement in the liquid waste of millions was enough to direct his augmented senses.

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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.

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Kiv screeched loudly when the female was plucked and carried into the air. 

 

“Dianoga! I told you they were still here!” Kiv pointed out. 

 

>Should we do something to help?< 

 

Kiv slapped the floating orb, causing it to spin in the air for a bit. “Of course you should help,  you redundant piece of recycled refuse! Help her now!”

 

Having received confirmation, Eyes extended his manipulator arm and seized the small dagger at Kiv’s side and tried to fly at the tentacle tossing the female around wildly. With a quick dash and circling, Eyes gave the tentacle a slight cut. 

 

>My hope is that with this knife< Eyes rambled on with another slice to the tentacle while trying to avoid being smacked around. >is that you will be able to get free lady. Please standby…< 

 

However, there were two dianoga in the sewage. And the older, more mature, and magnitudes more hungry, one decided the jawa looked delicious. 

 

Thankfully, Kiv saw the tentacles lashing towards him. Instincts kicked in, and Kiv broke into a mad dash towards the nearest resident from Tatooine. 

 

“Big cousin!” Kiv cried out, tentacles flaying behind him. “Heeeeeelp!”

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The Tusken nearly clattered down off his precarious ledge into the muck below. He would have had it not been for his gaffi catching the railing and affording the nomad a chance to grab the rail as it groaned beneath his weight. The appearance of the tentacled beast had taken him by surprise, even if the ancestors had been warning him about the dangers of the putrid goo. He steadied himself as he adjusted his feet over the braces beneath the rusting walkway.

 

Shrugging his rifle from his shoulder, Rru settled it in the groove of his shoulder. In the shadowy stinky depths, it’s blast echoed up and down the tunnels with a deafening blast.

 

CRACK!!!

 

A single solid slug belched in a gout of flame from the end of the cycler. The Tusken’s aim was true as the bullet buried itself into the base of the tentacle that was hoisting the robotized woman in the air

 

Racking the bolt back in one fluid motion, Rru slammed another round into the chamber as he spun about, taking in the second larger beast as it’s cthuhlu-esque tentacles suckered abd slapped against the waters in a hungry slurping that was the stuff of nightmares.

 

CRACK!!!

 

A second shot shattered the air, flame illuminating the sun night-filled void of the tunnel for a moment, offering a moment of blindness to all who were caught unprepared.

 

The metal projectile bore into the water towards the center of the pursuing mass. A splash the telltale follow up to the reverberating deafening second shot as it tore out of sight.

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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.

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As the Tusken’s slug hit true, the creature behind Kiv shrieked and flailed in pain. Its roars and screeching almost matched that of Rru’s rifle. Almost. But where it lacked in volume, it made up for in length as it whimpered and began to swim away from the group. This prey was  not worth this kind of effort. 

 

“Ah! Many thanks big cousin!” Kiv gasped for air as he stopped next to Rru, patting his side. “I knew you were good to bring along. Always did. Always said, nothing like a Tusken to protect you, yes yes. That X-Pyre shots, right? I purchase some for you, maybe? I know a guy. “

 

Meanwhile, Eyes had stopped slashing and was grumbling after the first shot. 

 

>Someone could warn me before opening fire in a claustrophobic area. That would drastically improve my chances of survival< 

 

The second dianoga was screaming in pain, unable to get its prey off of it. At first it shook and flailed. And then it grew still. 

 

>Excellent work lady< Eyes commented as he flew close to the woman. >You will be happy to know we are only 500 meters from our destination. 

 

“Right you are you useless piece of tin” Kiv commented as he got close. “I remember this place like the back of my back. Right this way you two! The great Kiv never disappoints!”

 

A little while later, through another man-hole cover and through a loosely secured back door, the group found themselves in a large warehouse-like complex. Kiv clapped and rubbed his hands together, The energy that Kiv gave off was something akin to a child in a candy store. 

 

“Ooohoho, I love these places. And if Grees follows through, the security is diverted and…”

 

“Excuse me…” a monotone voice interrupted. Kiv froze as a black suited humanoid droid stumbled out, holding a single datapad. Surrounding the droid were three mouse droids, each one beeping to each other an impossible conglomerate sequence of binary. 

 

“I am Meepo, an M-3P0 military protocol droid and ordnance assistant. These are my assistants M-1, M-2 and M-3. Are you…” The droid glanced down at his pad. “Kiv the stupid ugly smelly Jawa?”

 

Kiv looked at the others and laughed. “Grees, he is such a joker. Little running gag between us. Yes yes, that is us. This is the buyer, yes yes.”

 

The droid studied the small group over. “Please note that the maximum dosage of X-treme Soap for soldiers is 20 grams per shower. I would recommend the max for each of you, as none of your smells would pass millitary protocals. I am under orders help you gather what you need, calculate how many credits you owe our common friend, and get you off world, to quote, ‘as soon as your kriffing keester can get airborne, whether willingly or otherwise, unquote”

 

>I must admit, i am liking Grees more and more< Eyes laughed. 

 

Kiv rolled his eyes. “You got any message for me specifically?” 

 

“Yes…” Meepo walked forward and handed the pad over. The three mouse droids followed and circled, each one taking a quick scan of the group. M-2, who scanned the Tusken, back off whimpering slightly, with a small manipulator hand popping out as if offering a peace sign. 

 

Meepo turned to Zeris. “You are the official buyer.  I am under orders to say that you can select what crates of quote, assorted survival supplies you desire. Given the wide and vague  range of what these supplies could be, you have full access to all of this cargo bay. Simply select what you want, and I will make sure it gets transported to your ship. Come, I will show you some of the supplies that Grees mentioned specifically,”

 

Kiv giggled slightly, not looking up from his pad, yet somehow following closely behind “Hey lady, maybe you let my big cousin look around too? I pay you back, yes yes yes. Got to keep family well armed, hehe.”   

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Rru shook his head as the little Jawa scurried up near him. If only the boys back home could see this, he would never live it down, if only . . . 
 

if only they were not dead. Slaughtered in the desert. 
 

He did not dwell on it long. The monstrous screams from the squidly monster as it was torn asunder by the robotized woman was otherworldly to behold. That technology, it truly did bring out the inner demons of those who worshiped at the foot of their altar. All he could do was watch, rifle in hand. It churned his gut the tortures their pilot put the beast through. It was not a hunt or even sport. The woman seemed to almost take some sort of primal savage delight from it. Once the beast was dead, and only then, did the Tusken turn, rifle in hand, careful to keep his eye on the off world woman. With his head hung low he followed after the Jawa. The only sound the dripping of condensation into the slime and goo below.

 

Climbing out of the manhole, the Raider inhaled the fresher air of the trash strewn back alley. He followed the Jawa through the door, rifle hanging loose in his hands. Another door into the unknown. The Jawa did not seem apt to not lead them into danger. No danger it seemed, as he shot a glance at Zeris, that was any more dangerous than their comrade though.

 

He froze as the mechanical being stepped from the shadows clad in the clothes of an off world businessman. ‘Another one . . . “ he shook his head as he looked from the muck-dripping Zeris to the droid that seemed to regard them with some level of disdain. It was mutual. Rru’s reflective covered eyes did not stray from robot until its rodent-like mechanical minions scurried forward. As M-2 ventured too close for comfort, Rru offered a threatening gutteral snarl, kicking his foot towards the chittering black box as it scurried away.

 

Rru finally tore his eyes from the droid enough to regard the stacks of crates. Somehow this little Jawa had managed to finagle some access to whatever goods and supplies the demon-droid’s seemed to have. He only hoped that they would not drag his comrades deeper into their cultish religion of man and machine.

 

Rru walked towards a pallet of smaller crates with little direction beyond the whispered guidance of his ancestral voices. Stopping at the pallet, he glanced over his shoulder at the droids before leaning his worn cycler next to the box beside him. Running his fingers along the top of the nearest box, the black Tusken found a loose corner and pulled it up. The wood creaked and the nails yelped as they were torn free. Inside, Rru looked down to see row upon row of writing styluses each contained in foam packaging, several rows deep filling the crate.

 

Scrunching his face in confusion, he popped one from it’s protective casing. He had seen many of these on Tatooine. He had little use for them himself; but even with a rudimentary knowledge of their basic digital writing function, he could not understand why this droid would have an entire crate of them individually packed. Holding it in his hand, the thing felt heavier than he would expect. He turned it over inspecting it, as if there must be some reason for the situation these pens found themselves in. Depressing the end of the pen with a clack, the truth became apparent. A needle jumped out of the port where the writing utensil would have been. It’s needle glistened in the light. Rru gsve a gutteral bark waiving at the Jawa. Maybe the little guy knew what these were.

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Kiv looked up from his datapad when Rru produced the small needle weapon. 

 

“Oooh, fancy fancy!” Kiv exclaimed, rubbing his face and eyes before examining further. “Didn’t think this was your kind of thing, big cousin. You strike me more gaffi stick then sharp knife. Hmmm, hmmm, let me see, maybe it's for your loved one? She may like it…”

 

Kiv had grabbed the device and brought it under his hood, as if to sniff and lick it. Thankfully, he only performed the former and squealed slightly, keeping the device pointed away from him.

 

“Ack! You try to kill me, big cousin? I joke, I joke, but still! Nasty stuff here.   Very nasty. Very very nasty. Not sure what poison. Hmmm….eyes! Get over here Eyes!”

 

Eyes, ever the obedient droid, floated over. >Yes sir?<

 

Kiv shook the needle pointed pen violently. “Scan! Analyze! Do whatever it is i programmed you to do.”

 

Eyes sighed and beeped a few times as he performed an initial scan. >results identify a nerve toxin. I am unable to figure out any more without…<

 

“Nerve toxin! Eek!”  Kiv shrieked again, holding the pen out and waving it violently for Rru to grab the device. “Nasty stuff, nasty nasty. Affects the brain! Nasty nasty. I see why you want it, big cousin. Make fun time in bedroom with Mando lady, yes?” 

 

“Please keep up” Meepo ordered, stopping briefly to make sure the others weren’t getting into too much trouble. 

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Rru canted his head as he raised a questioning eyebrow at the Jawa. Why he would want to use this weapon on what he could only assume to be @Rose Cariadus was beyond his level of comprehension. He did not vocalize that though, instead he simply asked, “What is bedroom?” He had been in and ransacked more than a few unsecured Jawa sandcrawlers and makeshift based. He could not recall a room solely dedicated to sleeping in any of them. Perhaps it was a culture thing Rose had not yet taught him about.

 

As the jawa waived the device about like some shamanistic magic stick after drinking bad gourd water, Rru snatched it deftly from the rodent’s hands, jabbing the business end of the protruding needle at the Jawa for good measure.

 

He did rather stink. It is what made them so easy to track. Inspecting the weapon, Rru carelessly tossed it aside as he snatched up a dozen and a half more of the devices and began sliding them into empty pocketed grooves on his bandollier of blackened dewback leather.

 

He moved towards another box. Curious to see what it might contain and because the droid seemed to be pushing them towards that end. It did seem a bit suspicious. Why push all these gizmos on them? Did the droid feel inferior and thus try to force dependence on his mechanical brethren? He had already claimed one of their number, and the Jawa, well, he was a Jawa. It was practically bred into them. Hard to hold that against the little rats.

 

Still, Rru had to admit, some of the stuff was useful, so long as one did not depend on it to live. One should be able to live by their wits and hands alone. Throwing open the crate, the Tusken huffed in disgust shoving the box aside. It slid to the edge of the pallet where it teetered before toppling and spilling  9118 Blaster Carbines across the floor with a crash. 
 

On to the next box.

 

Rru pulled another box towards himself. It was heavy, requiring both hands and some elbow grease. The top clattered off beneath his gloved dexterous fingers revealing straw packed metal hexagonal discs. He picked one up, tossing it from one hand to the other. Like the pens, it was odd. Turning, Rru grunted at @Klu Kiv frisbeeing the explosive towards him.

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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]

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While the Tusken was busying himself looking around and Zeris was identifying supplies, Kiv was busy reading the fine notes on the datapad. 

 

“Very nice, very very nice. Yes yes Grees, you did your buddy Kriffing Kiv very good, hehe.” 

 

As he commented this, he kept looking at Meepo, like a dealer would at a potential buy. He almost giggled with delight as the droid helped Zeris.

 

A grunting noise made Kiv turned. The rodent’s five chambered heard skipped several beats when he realized that the Tusken was throwing something at him. Natural instinct kicked in as the Jawa ducked and covered his head, screeching. 

 

Thankfully the potentially armed mine never touched the ground. M-1 and M-3, who were observing the group while M-2 was helping sorting Zeris’ order, had raced towards Kiv, heavy manipulator arms extended. With Kiv’s short height, the small mouse droids were able to catch the mine before it slammed into the ground. 

 

“Oooh, very good! Very good little things!”  Kiv commented as he retrieved the mine from the mouse droids. The droids beeped a thanks. Kiv bent down and petted M-1 like a pet hound. “You make good purchase, yes yes yes!”  

 

Kiv glanced at the Tusken. “You trying to kill me big cousin? You scary enough already!” Kiv wandered back to the savage and handed the mine over. “This explosive! I recognize explosive, yes yes. You want this? I get this for you, but no more scaring me, yes?”

 

Meanwhile, Meepo was getting exasperated and increasingly annoyed with Zeris’ order. 

 

“I am being exceptionally open-mind ma’am” It said as the humanoid pointed out the speeder bike. “Most people having access to these supplies would need higher level clearance then what you can assuredly provide. However, the use of such a vehicle requires a type 4 or above land vehicle license, and unless you are able to produce such a thing…”

 

“Oi! Info Bank!” Kiv called out as he rushed to the two. “We in hurry, yes? Sooner we get stuff, sooner we leave, as your orders are, yes?”

 

Meepo looked at the diminutive Jawa then Zeris, then at the bike, and gave a sigh. “Very well. I guess it could be reasonably inferred you have such a license at minimum.”

 

“This how you work with droids lady” Kiv commented, patting Zeris’ side. “Make programming work for you, hehe. 

 

“If that is all…” Meepo commented and gave a high pitched whistle. Instantly, the mouse droids scurried over to the Military Protocal droid and circled, like womp rats circling a dying animal. Meepo got into a crouching position. It was this point that the others may have noticed Meepo had custom designed back plating, fitting to hold each of the mouse droids like a kind of backpack. Meepo grabbed each droid and, utilizing his fully rotational arms, hooked each one with magnetized locks. 

 

“For all purposes, your money will be processed through the Imperial Banking network. Deed of property designated Meepo & 3, have been transferred to your datapad Mister ‘Kiv the stupid, ugly, smelly Jawa.”

 

“Definately going to have to fix that later” Kiv commented. 

 

>Nah, its good someone calls you by your full name< Eyes joked, receiving another shooing. 

 

“So, you got what you need, we got what we need, we good, yes scary cyborg lady? We can leave now? I know big cousin would like the open skies again.”  

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