2011.10.23 "What the zark... I'm alive?"

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"What the zark... I'm alive?"

I trigger 5 more of my expensive auto-deploying patches to scurry down my arm on onto the Orbodun's recently-reconstructed vitals. "Yeah, just. Do you sense any permanent brain damage?"

A slow blink later. "No, no degradation detected." It winces and gingerly reaches up to its now-misshapen head. "Thanks."

"We're not out yet."

The bear-like being still manages to accomplish looking disappointed despite the skew in its features. "Figures. Those guys were brutal. How did we manage a reprieve?"

"They backed off temporarily after I reached down the throat of the one that cleaved your head in half and ripped out a lung. I think they're still looking for it over by the bar."

The Orbodun nods. "What do we do next?"

"I was thinking we could signal a truce so that we could discuss our situation rationally and work out some sort of compromise that is mutually acceptable."

The Orbodun is just staring at me.

Yeah, he doesn't buy it. The annoying part is that I'm not sure he even thinks it's a little funny. I give in to a grin, and let it morph into the hideous display of fangs that I like best. The Orbodun rapidly applies more of his own regular patches, and he does it one-handed while his other paw reflexively runs a diagnostic on his rifle.

No more wasting time. I launch myself with a combination of talons and grip pads to charge across the bar towards the hulking freaks that attacked us without warning. A couple of them were keeping watch, and open fire as I charge. I'm very good at ducking, but they're better at shooting and I take a couple hard hits. More of my patches deploy, and I land sword-first on one of their throats. I ride that big bastard down, and now that I'm closer I can parry his partner. He's being less aggressive now that I'm close, and I'm even better at parrying than I am ducking. I inflict the double-tap to my first victim while I build an acquire on the partner. He puts effort into movement, to get out of my reach, and snaps off a couple half-ass shots which I duck. I snatch out my NST pistol and blast a hole into his brain via his right eye, and he goes down - at least temporarily. He'll probably be up again in a moment. And he'll likely have the chance, since the other two partners are showing themselves now.

They're further away than I would have guessed. Probably wise of them, giving them a chance to heal that hand-to-hand combatant I mortally wounded. This is going to hurt, because one of them is a shock shooter, and never seems to miss head shots with that big rifle. That striker goon doesn't look keen to re-engage me, though.

Oh, how handy: the Orbodun has made himself useful and has poked a very telling hole in the shock shooter's vitals. He's down for the moment, too. I emphasize that with a follow-up blast from my NST. He's probably staying down. OK, multiple-attack shock trooper guy is back up. It's him and thrashed patched-o-rama axe dude versus me and my patch-o-rama sniper bear.

A shot on each of us. And he's good enough to land both of them. I can take it fine, especially with my large reserve of automatic patches. Orbodun is probably going to be a while patching before he shows his face again. I demonstrate how very fast I can move, charge all the way over to the trooper, and behead him.

With a roar, the striker aggressively hurls his axe at me. I try very hard to avoid it, and manage to let it only shear off some spines before it embeds harmlessly in a column.

I holster the force blade and shoulder the filament rifle in a single fluid motion, and take aim.

The hulk yells out. "Don't you want to know why we attacked you?" I can feel the beginnings of his force-tendrils from his force gauntlets preparing to parry me.

The filament crumples in his throat, tearing through some very spurt-y arteries as it does. "No."

Shouldering the rifle, I slink quickly back to the Orbodun. "Beer?"

He peers around the column he's using as cover, sees the carnage, and nods. He grunts as he settles himself back on a bar stool. We drink for a while in silence, as we heal.

"Basically, you could have handled all those guys by yourself if you hadn't bothered to drag me to safety."

I shrug. I'm not sure if it means anything to him; it's an ill-fitting habit I picked up from a Human partner.

"Does this mean you like me? Because it would have been easier to kill them while they were all bunched up, right? You didn't want to let me die."

"It looks bad if I let my cohorts die."

The bear takes another pull on its beer. "Doesn't looking after relative wimps make you seem foolishly sentimental?"

I arch one brow made of spines. "You sound like a Human."

He scowls.

"Besides, the real dangerous people in this place needed a bit more of a show than those four were going to provide by themselves."

Nods and a slurp from his mug of beer is my answer. "Say, why didn't you want to know why they attacked us?"

"Honestly? Either it's something irrelevant, or they were lied to. Our real quarry doesn't deal with truths."

The Orbodun blinks and searches for a response. "That's just kind of wrong."

"Oh, it gets worse."