2009.09.23 "Is that thing even pointing the right way?"

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"Is that thing even pointing the right way?"

I'd snarl at that, except that I'm already snarling at myself for having flubbed such an easy shot. Except that it's not an easy shot, not really. But it's one that my new potential employer was probably expecting me to have no trouble hitting. I lower the well-used filament rifle, knowing that it isn't well-used by me yet. And knowing I probably just flunked this job interview.

The Hylosus rubs one of his sweaty jowls, and though he's still looking at the target downrange I know he's actually regarding me. "You know, I'm a bit surprised at how disappointed I am."

"Don't sweat it. I'm sure you can find what you need." I turn on the balls of my feet and contemplate the long walk back to the spaceport town, hoping that the fat bastard just lets it drop.

I only get a couple steps before the fool speaks up again. "It's funny, I'm a pretty good judge of people-"

Before I turn back around, I force myself to stop wincing, so that I can let him talk himself into why I have to kill him now.

"-and I had you pegged as being really rather badass." The poorly-practiced apologetic expression he wears next is grisly to behold. "But that little demonstration? Yeah, you sucked."

I didn't suck that bad.

"And I can see that you have an edge of disagreement about you, but nevertheless:" He points at the unharmed target. "Suckage."

The polite smile I aim at him is probably about as ghastly and ill-fitting as his own.

"Which gets me to wondering about my badass-sense. Now, I admit I'm not a mentalist, but I don't think it's really off by that far. So that has me wanting to ask you a question."

Odds are that question doesn't involve the fact that I can beat you to your own hopper with ten meters to spare, even from way over here.

"Why are you hiding what you're actually good at?" He's got a jaunty, smug glint to his eyes. I'm not too bad at judging others myself, and he's got a fair ability to duck and take damage. That combined with his shield generator is letting him feel pretty safe. Safe enough to tease me, and not threatened enough to be motivated to think through to the possible ramifications.

I start jamming communications. His smug jauntiness fades quickly. "Go on," I croak, "finish your thought."

The way he turns to run and flips on his shield is highly suggestive that he's feeling less confident now. I don't mean to do it, but after I sling the rifle and drop to all fours to gallop after him I break into a bloodthirsty howl. I've been pretending to be merely a professional on the green side for a bit too long now, and haven't had much chance to let loose my instinctive hunting screams.

Obviously, he hears me coming, and turns to snap off a half-hearted volley from his heavy blaster before I get to him. He actually gets a couple pretty close, but perhaps part of me is hoping that he might tag me with a shot or two, just to make it interesting. Leaping on him, I try to wring a strike between the plates of his combat force-shield so that I can disarm him. But he's too wily with his twisting roll and he evades me sufficiently that I only manage to rake claws along his arm. Again he tries to burn me with a couple blasts, but he's too committed to ducking me and it's easy to bat his limb aside. This time I manage to jam a hand past his shield and clasp the barrel of his gun, and I give it Disarming Wrench Alpha.

With most beings, having an angry Massetin applying 5000 Newtons of twisting/yanking force is plenty to forcibly remove something from their grasp. The Hylosus is big, though, and there's no way that the butt of that blaster is coming out of his grip. And it doesn't. However, that doesn't change the fact that I still end up holding the important bits of the blaster. They spark and crackle in a sort of mechanical apology.

Still in a defensive crouch, he looks at me, and then looks past me at the vehicle he's probably not going to be able to get to. "What now?" His finishing snort belies his frustration.

I unsling the filament rifle. "It seems to me that I need some more practice with this thing."

He starts running away.