2011.04.13 "What Do You Think You're Doing?"
"What do you think you're doing?"
I almost rupture something resisting the urge to say that I think I'm walking down a gangway. Bad time for joking, though. They're all glare-y.
Instead of cracking wise, I keep composure as best I can and continue walking all the way to the absurdly-tall human. "I've got some bad news."
Hearing the snort from the Orbodun behind and to the left of me, I could fully visualize the flare of his nostrils in my imagination. It looks a lot like the image relayed by my discreet tactical sensors. It suggests that they've already heard about the incarceration of the Hylosus. And probably the death of the Felinid by proxy.
The reddish-hued human looks down into my little red eyes. There's a hint of revulsion lurking in his angry bale. "We heard. Why the zark would you come back here?"
"Because it's a... a... dummy!"
Must. Not. Laugh. at the gigantic Groten with the clichéd pair of 429NST blasters.
...OK, maybe just a snicker.
"I came back here to warn you." It's a good thing I'm broadcasting this as text simultaneously, for those not fluent in barely-intelligible guttural croaking. My voice is getting worse.
"What? To warn us that you're a shitty body guard?"
A sideways squint regards the nearly-neckless reptiloid. He was buddies with the Felinid; they used to spar a lot. He doesn't miss my glance, and returns it with a couple insolent rows of pointy teeth.
"I came to warn you that one of us is an evil back-stabbing traitorous monster who means to gut this whole operation."
That gets their attention. The lackeys sense that it's time to head into the offices or the slave pens, leaving just the partners and the top-level goons. There's eight of us arrayed around the bay with the old shuttle making cooling-down sounds. Or there's a popcorn popper running unattended somewhere nearby. The seven slavers exchange expressions while they're undoubtedly conferencing.
"What did the Hylosus tell you?" The question came from the humanoid, but the three craven hooded figures seem like the ones most interested in it.
My ears flatten in an expression of bemusement that is completely missed by the non-Massetins. "All sorts of fun things. Some of them involving feeding troublesome partners to Colloidlings that you hid in toilet plumbing. By the way: yuck. But I'm not here to convince you of zark-all."
"So why come here at all?"
It is technically possible to roll my eyes, its just really hard to make out the expression since they're so small and uniformly red.
"Probably doing a final favour for the Hylosus - send a warning. We know that it visited the Hylosus in prison then came directly here in the team's shuttle. And the only way to do that would be by having gotten the command codes from the Hylosus." Hmmm. The humanoid is being awfully helpful with his verbalized chit-chat instead of keeping it on their secure comms. He is looking hard at the Orbodun. "What do you think?"
The bear's eyes are as small and expression-resistant as my own. It shrugs. "Hard to say. You all seem like honourless dogs to me. But it's possible - I've never seen it be particularly dishonourable. It might put itself in this predicament as a point of honour."
Well, that's a relief. And explains why they're talking out loud; they think they want my help.
Weapons get drawn really quickly. "Come off it! He's ZARKING WITH US!" Oooh, it's the Reptiloid. I was hoping it might be the Reptiloid. "ZARK YOU GUYS!" Using its move boots, the big Crocaloid Major sails onto the Orbodun and hacks at it in a very convincing manner thrice with its paired force blades. So much for the sniper, then.
Ouch, the Groten's bellows are almost as loud as his big blasters, hurting my delicate little ears. Jeez, that Reptoid is amazing with those force-gauntlet parries. Spectacular. Oops, ouch. Looks like the humanoid has some serious bonus to hit, despite not having any sharpshooter. Huh, I guess that means he's probably next.
No! He leaps on the Groten instead! Can't argue about the firepower, but the big guy just wasn't landing the hits so it didn't matter. And he looks like he's going to take a long time to hack down - lots of stamina there. Oh. Ah. Yeah - OK. Chopping off the hands is pretty effective.
Ha! The human is looking at me half-glare and half-imploring, then burns off another important part of the Reptiloid's vitals. OK, time to start pulling my own weight in this brou-ha-ha.
My old blaster snaps comfortably into my hand and I blow a clean and quite lethal hole through the humanoid's brain.
The three hooded figures just gawk in disbelief. I wonder if they've noticed that I'm between them and the interior doors?
The Groten is confused and horrified. I think his feelings are hurt. He flees.
The Reptiloid invents new contorted expressions of hatred. "NOW YOU DIE!"
In a blink he's leapt to where I was a moment ago, and slashing at me angrily - but in a controlled manner. I manage to parry the flurry of attacks, with effort.
"Aren't you going to ask me why I killed him?" I just transmit it via comm; no way I could grunt that in time.
"Sure. WITH A OUIJA BOARD!" He leans aggressively into the attack this time, and even though I manage to blunt a couple of his slashes it's enough to batter aside my defenses and slice me deeply with his swords.
But he's not the kind of combatant that can kill me with just a single hit. I'm a different story. I fluidly snatch out my own force blade and slice off his head.
I look over at the hooded figures. It seems they've discovered that the command codes for the shuttle have changed since last they saw it. I re-holster both the pistol and the force blade and unsling the filament rifle. Three careful shots later, they're sprawled and dying.
The minions might have rousted an uncomfortably large number of slaves by now, so I listen for the sounds of approach. Huh. Someone's still breathing. I'll be zarked; it's the Orbodun and he just work up.
"Promise to never act against me, and I'll let you use some patches."
"Honourless cur." Well well, sounds like I'm not the only one now relying heavily on text communications.
Slinging the rifle again, I slink closer to the bear-like creature - wary of it reaching for its rifle, but reasonably confident that I would win initiative. "Funny accusation coming from a slave trader."
"Not that you would understand, but while my deeds might seem cruel, I always keep my word and do not lie."
"OK, mister moral nuance, at what point did I lie or not keep my word?"
The Orbodun version of annoyance pulls on its features. "You said that we were going to betray each other!"
"And, technically, that wasn't a lie. In fact, I rather kept my word with that."
Huh. I think that the Orbodun might actually be laughing. Weird creatures. After it coughs and wheezes out its snickering, it takes a new breath. "You're an evil back-stabbing traitorous monster."
I grin. "Yeah? Zark you too." I slap a med-patch on him, and stalk up to the shuttle (around the sprawled bodies of the hooded Sandaraks - gotta remember to hose down the ramp before having guests over). By the time I enter the shuttle to patch into the slave pens with the codes from the Hylosus to open all the doors, and strongly order them to consider themselves free, the Orbodun had dragged himself into the shuttle and reclined on a bench to work on himself with a med pack.