2017.10.14 "How did you do that?"

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"How did you do that?"

I settle into a chair proximal to my large, furry partner and annoy him with a smile from under my cowl. "I threw it very hard."

A huge paw reaches up and pinches his muzzle in front of his wincing eyes. "I hate it when you do that."

"You hate it when I throw things very hard?" I'm rather glad that he doesn't have a rifle right now, I feel like he'd shoot me. Obviously, he has been very stressed lately. "Hello, by the way."

"Yes. Hello. Now stop zarking with me, OK?"

He's right. I've been quiet for too long and now I'm venting my snark at him. A long exhale through my snout, and I nod. I also twitch my ears and sensors to passively re-assess the room - I think we're still suitably private.

"OK. So. How are you even on this planet?"

I don't tell him about how I stealthed my way aboard a passenger liner, or how I manipulated the manifest to legitimize my existence, or how I bypassed planetary security by jumping off the ship before it landed as it passed the sensor shadow of another vessel. "I was sneaky."

"We couldn't have sneaked together instead of being separated?"

I don't answer. He knows he's not very sneaky.

"You couldn't have told me about the sneaking?"

My head gives a terse shake. "Not in front of that planetary security officer where we parted. Plus, you knowing might have scared this little guy away purely by body-language." I pat the newly-unconsious Takolee on the shoulder with the entry wound for the medical dart I threw into him. Technically, it didn't have to go completely into him - it just had to contact the skin to deliver its payload. I was just a little too enthusiastic.

"Right - that's the biggest question: how the hell did you sneak on this guy? He's got super-scout powers that exceed yours by a lot - right?"

I give a slow nod. "Right. That was tricky. The key was that dart I threw into him."

"Yeah - ouch, by the way. Still, I get the need to disable him without killing him - well-played. But how did you even get close enough to throw it in the first place? He's a ghost. I didn't even know he was there until I heard the dart hit and saw him fall."

"My hope was that you were radiating a 'I'm on my own' vibe, which would have him slightly less wary. Besides which, you're plenty scary to earn a lot of attention when trying to disable."

My Orbodun parter perks up at that. "Disable?"

"Yeah, he was going to plant a big-ass stun grenade on you and have a hired Groten whisk you away while you were down."

He frowns. "Hired Groten?"

"Yeah, he was outside looking antsy. Turns out he has a significant grudge bounty on him."

"They have grudge bounties on utopian planets?" He looks dubious.

"Well, not for killing, obviously. That shit would get shut down really fast, and I wouldn't have been able to find it so easily. But let's say that I could claim some fun pocket cash for having jammed that Orbodun-capable stunner where I did."

The Orbodun winces again, with an edge of a smile. He's a mean one.

I continue. "The main thing I did, though, was to stay completely out of sight and too far away to hear anything - and worked mostly on scent. Until I came across the goon, and I realized that shit was probably going down. That's when I pinged the battlewiki, got an immediate layout of where you were, and saw where nobody would see anything. Once you assume there's an unseen super-scout there somewhere, you can radically narrow down where it isn't pretty fast."

"OK, sounds fancy - but you still bingoed him with a dart. You didn't do that by smell, he should have heard you coming."

"Yeah, but I didn't come in - I threw it through the wall." I annotate the tidy hole in the battlewiki sensor overlay.

He grunts appreciatively. "Dude. He would have had an etheric alert to duck at the last moment. But apparently you had a moment to build an assassin's acquire on top of your terrifying hand-to-hand bonuses." He pauses in contemplation. "Then why even bother with some fancy dart thingie? A successful assassination renders the target unconscious already."

I give a truly horrific smile, and speak out loud instead of via our coded battlewiki. "Sure, for a moment. But this little fucker was conscious on the next turn, and would have disappeared again." I pat the Takolee on the shoulder again. "But that dart I paid for was build by a rather high-stage medic to render the target paralyzed and disable their comms." As my talons rest on the tiny Takolee's shoulder I instruct my nanoscopic robots to ping his internal network to communicate via direct interface.

The Orbodun laughs out loud at the new communication sandbox in the battle wiki.

TAKOLEE [secure comms sandbox]: "How did you do that?"

"I threw it really hard."