V [Crawl #0006] Karim-inal Enterprising

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Crawl #0006- Karim-inal Enterprising
Players: Conrad Jamboy, Ridley, Nishana Hoss, Dawn Snow
Quests Completed: None yet.​

You fucked up a perfectly good chemical weapons operation is what you did. Look at it. It's got a bounty on your head.

Conrad Jamboy, on the run from hired assassins, prepares himself to strike back against those who have wronged him and his ship. With the help of his cavalcade of random people with few to no combat skills whatsoever and his broken ass boat, witness him somehow manage to deal with the rest of the folks in this thread!

Dawn, lost in a world not at all like her own, learns to become accustomed to the local populace, potentially finding herself caught up in the crossfire of a wronged capitalist overlord and the tiny thorn in his side.

Nishana, fresh faced to the world herself, looks for work to support herself, and probably fix her own trashed ship. It's nothing personal. A paycheck's a paycheck.

Meanwhile, Ridley is a giant fucking dragon. Need I say more?

Quest #1: Back in Town

Part 1
Word Count: 500 per post
Post Count: 1 per player
For the first stop on this wild ride, our heroes and not-so-heroes are gonna need to get on it. With the police of Karim on high-alert due to the recent robbery of Whittaker's compound, in addition to his personal assassins crawling the streets looking for Conrad in specific, it isn't a safe place to just be hanging around.

Ridley and Dawn must become accustomed to the town, learn of the current police situation, and potentially find accommodations. Picking a side is also recommended. (They each rolled a Meter Increase.)


Conrad Jamboy, already well aware of his status, will need to start beefing up his defenses if he ever hopes to evade Ajax long enough to strike back. Not to mention his offenses if he ever hopes to finish the deed. If he so wishes, the following Base Upgrade should help him do so:

Improved Evasion Sensors
Agility 2 (400)
+ Chaotic (-100)
Endurance 1 (100)
A cutting-edge new software that allows the steering of a vessel to more greatly respond to potential threats, both by the speed of its evasion and how quickly it recovers from performing evasive maneuvers. However, as it is, ahem, bleeding-edge, there are some issues with what exactly it considers a threat, often causing it to dodge phantom things that may or may not even be there, clouds, the ground, et cetera.


Nishana Hoss must respond to the bounty on Conrad's head. She will also come across some hunting assistance in the form of two Minions, with the following ability (though they may take whatever form she likes):

Portable Terminal Gauntlet
Communication 1 (100)
+Removable (-50)
Move Object 1 (100)
+Removable (-50)
Variable Creation 1 (200)
+Removable (-50)
Both come equipped with a futuristic gauntlet with a touchscreen near the wrist. This gauntlet can function as a phone, a transporter of small amounts of matter for various purposes, and even as a brace to allow the user to temporarily lift more than they typically can. Strain of this manner is not recommended for long periods of time however, as it has been known to crack the screen, ruining the functionality.

Part 2
Word Count:500 per post
Post Count: 2 per player
As the bounty hunters learn more of their target, it becomes clear to all of them that this won't exactly be easy money.

Conrad Jamboy must convene with Nazrabar while staying under the radar. If he is looking for some help, the following minions are available should he choose to take them.

Two identical Minions with the following:
Cell Phone
Communication 1 (100)​
+ Removable (-50)​
It's a phone, dipshit.​
Enhanced Agility
Agility 2 (400)​
With a lifetime of outrunning the law, they have learned how to deftly slip into small places when needed, and to think quickly all the time.​

One Minion with the following:
Ghost Sound Rune
Illusion (Auditory) 1 (200)​
+ Finite (-50)​
+ Ranged (50)​
Debuff 3 (300)​
+ Finite (-150)​
+ Ranged (150)​
Takes the shape of a small magical rune on the user's temple, which activates when touched. This ability causes an illusory ringing in the ears of a small group of targets, deafening them for a short period of time. However, it may only be activated twice per long rest.​

And one minion with the following:
Shadow Blades
Variable Creation 2 (400)​
+ Weakness (-50)​
Damage 1 (100)​
+ Removable (-50)​
Allows the user to create a blade of hardened pure shadow from their own shadow. Once the blade is hardened, however, it functions as a normal knife. The creation cannot be activated when there are no suitable light sources to cast shadows, such as in pitch darkness, however.​

Ridley, Nishana and Dawn are encouraged to meet up in some manner and discuss how they intend to be hunting Conrad down, and, for the latter two, negotiations in Payment. If they so desire, Ridley and Dawn have been given access to the following Base Upgrades to help them, while Nishana has rolled a Meter Increase.

Ridley:
Aerosol Bitterant
Illusion (Taste) 1 (200)​
+ Ongoing (50)​
+ Nondiscriminating (-50)​
Debuff 4 (400)​
+ Ongoing (200)​
+ Nondiscriminating (-200)​
A piece of technology donated by one Ajax Whittaker, these large canisters contain a powerful, industrial-grade bitterant. When dispersed through the ventilation system of a base, this can cause all inside severe nausea and even pain when inhaled. However, no permanent damage is typically sustained.​

Dawn:
Drill Runner
Movement (Burrowing) 1 (200)​
Remnants from the construction of Ajax's underground facilities. A powerful drill that may be attached to a mobile base in order to allow it to burrow through the ground quickly and easily. It is much too large for a single person to use, however, and is unsuitable for destroying anything reinforced.​

Part 3
Word Count:
750
Post Count: 1 per player
Things didn't go to plan whatsoever. Time to regroup.​

Conrad, good job being alive. However, it is becoming more and more clear that you have no allies beyond those you make yourself- trust no one. Make your decision, are you going to attempt to deal with the bounty hunters and the backstabbing Nazrabar first, or move things forward on the hunt for Ajax himself? Oh, Loot? You get nothing. Except a Meter Increase. Enjoy!

Ridley has succeeded in nothing but alerting his target he has no friends. Which may be a victory in and of itself, but isn't exactly helping to kill the twerp. In fact, he only seems more boldened by your attack on him. Make a new plan, and maybe help Nish out along the way? Or don't, you do you. You also get nothing. The Meter Increase is purely coincidental.

Nishana, also good job on being alive and getting out of the enemy's hands! Unfortunately, you've been well and thoroughly charred from the experience, so I'd recommend a breather. Potentially a hospital stay, or some medicine from Bloodhound too. You may also want to open up some form of communication with the other bounty hunters so you aren't caught in the blast again. If you manage to not die in the meantime, you will, however, get 2500 coin.
 
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Ridley

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Ridley sniffed as a new scent wafted into the underground chamber that Nazrabar had constructed beneath his estate. It had not been long since he’d come to an understanding with the ferengi con-man, and the greedy little merchant with a taste for the illicit had quickly found himself warming up to Ridley’s style of mercantile exploitation.

Still, the dragon smelled the sweat that he carried with him every time he visited him, in the small area Ridley had designated his lair. It was why he knew Nazrabar was about to enter the large, metal chamber Ridley had appropriated for himself, forcing the ferengi to find new storage sites.

“H-hey, uh, boss…?” Nazrabar nervously asked.

“Enter.”

Nazrabar shifted into the room, and looked from side to side. Ridley guessed it was to try and find out a way to put his sentence in the least words possible. The fast-talking ferengi had quickly found out what happened to people who drone on and on without reason or substance from earlier conversations, and he wasn’t foolish enough to forget his mistakes.

“So I found some… some work that you might be, uh, interested in.”

Ridley’s grin became smug. “So, beings that are seeking out creatures of my caliber? Just what kind of criminals would be looking for my help?” The dragon asked.

“The legal kind.” Nazrabar replied, rubbing his hands together. “Comes down to catching a little halfling thief, really. But it’s not just legal work. Whittaker’s, uhh, hired assassins to catch these guys. They must have really pissed him off. Not many people know about it.” The ferengi added, careful to catch himself before he continued. The Ferengi still keenly remembered being pinned under Ridley’s claws. He wouldn’t make that mistake again.

Ridley gave a toothy grin that immediately enhanced that sickly sweet smell of sweat from the Ferengi, and, enjoying the taste caught in his nose, waited a second or two before continuing to amplify his little henchman’s tension. He found Nazrabar useful - a genuine asset for himself - but he would never forget the little creature’s murder attempt. The cowardly alien was never going to be allowed to completely forget his fear.

“The details.” Ridley growled. “Who?”

“He’s preferred alive, but wanted dead. Little halfling fellow.” The Ferengi continued, and one of Ridley’s hearts stopped for a second. A halfling? The chances were small, but had he really said halfling?

“Conrad. Conrad Jamboy.” His nervous contact added, and Ridley leaped forward with a sudden rage in his eyes.

“What@ Did you say!” the old pirate snapped, spittle flying just past the cowering alien.

“He’s a th-thief! Lives nearby!” the Ferengi added. “Trashed some of Whittaker’s secret business is what I heard. I’m just relaying the message, boss!” The Ferengi howled.

“Then relay another, to Whittaker, directly.” Ridley snarled. “Tell him I’m familiar with his little pest problem. And that I’m willing to waive half my fee for the opportunity to stuff and mount his corpse on my wall!”
 

Conrad Jamboy

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They conferred well into the night, building out a strategy that would, with a little ingenuity and a healthy dose of luck, see them through this new crisis intact if not unscathed. They had the skills to deal with Whittaker’s goons, but the presence of Jabba’s mercenaries had woven a new layer of pitfalls into the calculus. Conrad didn’t know much of Jabba. What he did know is the gangster’s services didn’t come cheap, and his agents rarely failed in their missions.

Witnessing Sori D’mani’s safehouse―the harsh glow of neon blue lights, the tables piled high with electrical components, and the mass of wires running to all manner of computer banks and screens―always intimidated Conrad. Not so long ago, Karim had been a city devoid of advanced technology. The halfling had grown up in a world without even electricity. Then the offworld merchants and industrialists, their interest piqued by the sprawling desert city and Mesa Roja’s plentiful resources, had identified Karim as a vulnerable and lucrative market just waiting to be exploited.

Throughout his teenage years and into early adulthood, Conrad had witnessed frightening new technologies winding their way through every corner of Kariman culture. The traditional martial weapons of the criminal underground had given way to weapons both pneumatic, and, in the case of Sori’s rifle, far beyond the halfling’s comprehension. While his wit and wiles had helped Conrad navigate this new world without resorting, at least not often, to fatal methods, he was quickly being outpaced to his own detriment.

“You seem a little… braver than usual, Con,” Riordan remarked lightly. Their deliberations had wound down as night gave way to morning. On a cot in the corner, his girth pushing the makeshift bed to the brink of collapse, Davroar slept fitfully. Sori would rejoin them shortly. Those of her race required just a few hours of meditation instead of sleep to refresh and recharge.

Conrad’s expression grew serious. “The game is changing. The way we used to operate isn’t good enough anymore. The things I’ve seen, Riordan… I’m not brave. I’m afraid.”

The half-orc cocked his head and gave Conrad a puzzled look.

“We’ve all heard the stories, you know? Hell, we fought a few space battles of our own, but Karim… well, Karim was always a safe place.”

“Safe?” Riordan echoed.

Conrad conceded the point. “Not safe, exactly. Maybe it was just simple. No one on Mesa had the means to wipe out entire cities―entire societies. But Ajax does, and he plans to sell it to the highest bidder. Chemical weapons, Riordan. And we’re the only ones who know.”

The half-orc took a long time to respond, processing his old friend’s terrifying revelations. “You’re right. Of course you are. You know I’m with you, Con. Just like old times.”

The halfling couldn’t suppress a faint grin. “Just like old times.”

“So what’s next?” Riordan asked, leaning forward until his elbows rested on his knees.

“First, we need some upgrades,” Conrad said. “Crossbows and knives ain’t gonna do it anymore, not for this job.”

“Does that mean we…” The half-orc’s words became a loud groan as Conrad nodded, lips tight. In his corner, Davroar stirred with a snort.

“That’s right. We have a date with our old buddy Nazrabar.”

542/500 words
 

Nishana Hoss

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The Hunter blinked against the thunderstorms that raged within her head, the disjointed haze receding to the point where she could make sense of the world around her. Though the edges of her vision flickered and danced, the centre coalesced around the masked visage of her apparent saviour. The masked being grunted lowly, barely audible over the resounding screech of metal being dragged across metal which assaulted her senses. Beyond the being’s mask, Nishana barely recognised the ceiling of the Osprey as she was moved, awkwardly, across it’s floor.

Shortly, the dimly lit interior of the Osprey gave way to the blinding desert sun. The ear-wrenching screech of metal was quickly replaced by the sound of sand being parted beneath her. The Hunter grimaced, her sense of taste returning relatively quickly with the unmistakable tang of blood in her mouth. She turned her head and spit a glob of blood into the sand as her saviour stopped dead and dropped into the sand on it’s rear, eliciting a relieved sigh.

“Allfather blesses you this day,” the creature started, it’s heavily accented voice obscured by the gas mask that covered its mouth, “it is fortuitous, for you, that my path leads us together.”

Nishana snorted, “Got that right. Thanks.. for pulling me out.”

“I am Blóðhundur, you can call me Bloodhound,” the being spoke, raising a fist to it’s chest in the same moment.

The Bounty Hunter nodded slowly as she pulled herself up to sit in the sand, “Nishana. Where.. Where exactly are we?” she quizzed Bloodhound, glancing about at her surroundings until her gaze lingered on her ship, half buried in the sand.

“Mesa Roja,” Bloodhound began, “the outskirts of Karim, to be exact.”

“Mesa Roja? What system are we in?”

Bloodhound shrugged, “I am unsure of that, Nishana, the Gods have sent me to this place, I merely follow their will.”

Nishana inhaled deeply, normally she might berate those who would spew nonsense about gods and deities, but remained quiet, given that this particular God botherer had pulled her from the wreckage of her ship. She pushed herself to her feet with a groan, moving slowly around the Osprey to inspect the damage, occasionally cursing under her breath as she rounded the ship.

Shab.. What’s the currency on this planet, Bloodhound?” She asked, quickly, “I’ve only got credits..” the Hunter trailed off as she raised her wrist to look at her wrist mounted display. She tapped a few times on the display, groaning to herself once again as it failed to spark to life, “Scratch that. I’ve got nothing.”

Bloodhound chortled wickedly behind it’s mask, “The Allfather truly watches over you, Nishana,” It spoke out as it gestured vaguely toward the blast pistol strapped to Nishana’s thigh, “as it happens, I am on the hunt. The Hutt’s have employed me, the Hunter sent by the Gods, to track down a Halfling. If you are capable, you might aid me, I’ve no use for currency, I will split my profits with you.”

The Bounty Hunter turned to face Bloodhound, a look of shock dominating her features, “There are Hutts here?” She began, silently debating the pros and cons in her head, “You’ve got a deal. Where do we start?”

 

Dawn Snow

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The Akame drew back her hair, letting the black locks away from her neck to breathe at least for a short moment. The heat in this town was insane compared to Xenithia. She was starting to believe that the aura that surrounded Xal, the Phoenix if the Northern Summit, was like comparing a torch to a sun. However, she hadn’t come to this city to complain about the heat.

After nearly an hour of time went by, she was finally able to find a place of rest that was comparable to an inn. The society in Karim was much more advanced than that of Nyx and it made it difficult to find her way around. Not to say that the Akame can’t develop such technology, only that their culture has shied away from committing to changing everything they’ve known for years.

The red-eyed demon noticed the sun setting just before entering the building. Even if she wanted to continue her search after finding food, she would certainly need somewhere to stay for the moon’s visit. The place was a bit lively in the main area. She could see a few travelers and locals making casual conversation at tables around an eating area, or what she had assumed was a place to eat. Despite the diversity of many people in the building, many eyes still glazed over to the tiny half-demon.

She approached the counter where a woman waited to serve her. She dressed in what seemed to be a uniform that matched the other workers. Although she understood the reason, it still felt weird to see it this way. Xenithia’s culture would be so foreign to the populace of Karim, and probably the rest of this planet.

“Good evening, ma’am.” The woman greeted her, obviously intimidated by her half-demon heritage. “How may I assist you on this lovely night?”

The young Akame brushed aside the uncomfortable look in the girl’s eyes. She couldn’t control having gray skin and crimson red eyes, after all. “I need a meal and a place to sleep for the night.” She replied calmly, as not to frighten the woman further.

“We can certainly get you a room for the night.” The woman replies, expectantly waiting for her money. It was at this moment Dawn had realized she had absolutely no currency.

“Hmm, I seem to have misplaced my belongings somewhere in the desert where I got lost.” The lady behind the counter suddenly became concerned.

“You got lost in the desert?” She asked.

“I did. Unfortunately.” Dawn replied. “I apologize. I will have to find a cheaper option.”

“You can’t find anything without money, please allow me to help you. Take a night on the house and some money to buy something to eat and drink.” She said handing the Akame a key to a room inscribed with a three digit number that humans commonly use and a bit of currency. At least that was recognizable to her.

“Are you sure?” She asked.

“Yes, my manager will understand, he’s a pretty nice guy.” She said giving a soft smile.

“A genuinely nice person. I will find a way to repay your kindness.” Dawn said before offering a bow and finding her way over to the area where she could find something to eat.

The demon girl found something to eat but overheard an ongoing conversation just as soon as she had taken her seat.

“-terrible. Crime only seems to be rising more and more these days. It’s unsettling.”

“Yeah, and without anything to regulate it, people like this Conrad can just do as they please. I bet that Whittaker guy is pretty pissed off.”

“Conrad Jamboy. He’s got a pretty nice bounty on his head though, doesn’t he? Maybe we should try to catch him and catch that price ourselves. He just a tiny Halfling isn’t he?”

“That would require us to actually go find him. None of us are capable of finding a thief in hiding.”

Dawn pondered her current situation. It would probably be a bad idea to get wrapped up in such an ordeal, but she needed information from someone and in her experience, thieves were those that held all the cards.

After her meal, the Akame went to her room to get a short amount of sleep to wake up in the early morning to start gathering as much information about these two men Conrad and Whittaker.
 

Ridley

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Nazrabar rubbed his lobes anxiously as he waited for his contact to get to the damn pub already! He'd spent all this time dressing his best and even hiring a new body-guard to get this stupid meeting to make the stupid hutts of the area think he was still a merchant worth backing for a meeting like this. He'd even hired a new body-guard, a Shi'ar who had just put down her electrically-charged javelin in the corner of the crowded bar for a moment, and was busy preening her head-feathers while she had the chance.

Today, he couldn't help but feel antsy. He had a master now, and his expectations for Nazrabar on this meeting were fatally high. This bloodhound needed to have a chat with him, or the crooked dealer might end up missing his head. He liked his head!

"So, you are the one who contacted me. As the gods have willed, I find myself speaking with you." a suspiciously generic voice stated.

Nazrabar turned to face the covered man. Bloodhound certainly lived up to the intrigue - the Ferengi couldn't find a single identifying feature under all that armour! Traditionally, mystery was bad for business, but today he had no choice but to let it slide.

"Yes. I happen to hear you're looking for a little guy. Fat. Sneaky. Just a liiittle too inquisitive for his own good?" Nazrabar will ask with a grin, revealing pointed teeth as he put his hands out.

"The halfling is my quarry. What of it?" the bloodhound added in a curt tone. Business-like.

"Well, we're looking for a potential cut of the profits in exchange for a bit of assistance cornering the slippery little guy!"

The Bloodhound paused for a moment, turning his head to look at Nazrabar's feet. The old Ferengi had no idea what this guy was thinking under the pokerface and that fact was enough to cause a headache for the crooked merchant.

"What help?" The bloodhound asked warily, "What assistance. and why did you use 'we'. I will judge if the gods guide me to do this after you reply."

Nazrabar chuckled. "Oh, in my case, I actually kinda happen to know the guy. See, he happens to be meeting with me pretty soon - called me up, looking to finally retire his old stand-by's and get his equipment updated to the 24th century already! I won't tell you where or when, though, but I'll say the new boss will also be there." The Ferengi will add, his smile turning predatory. "And my boss... well, you'll see. Let's just say taking this guy out won't be a problem with us."

Nazrabar chuckled to himself as he thought of the halfling putting so much of his trust in his partner. not like he didn't like Conrad - he was a smart businessman, but Rule of Acquisition number 261 still applied:

A wealthy man can afford anything, except a conscience.

The armored figure shrugged. "Coin is not important to me, but... it is to my partner, and she was ordained to me by the gods."

"I'm glad we have an agreement!" Nazrabar chirped happily, the predatory grin changing into one of grateful patronage.
 

Conrad Jamboy

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Vulture Row blazed beneath the midday sun. Cracks ran haphazardly through the baked dirt beneath their feet as the four companions plodded toward the first meeting point. Davroar took point, shouldering his way through the throngs of destitute Karimans, his sheer size dissuading any pickpockets or con artists from approaching. In his wake, Conrad and Riordan took advantage of the parted sea to move freely, scanning the crowd for signs of pursuit.

“Anything from up top?” Conrad said, touching one furry finger to the comms device in his ear.

After a pause, Sori’s cool voice replied, “Nothing on either side.”

The halfling looked up to the rooftops flanking the street. Sori’s automatons, sleek constructs of polished metal painted tan to meld with Karim’s monochrome aesthetic, shadowed the group’s movements and radioed in any signs of danger.

“Naz should be happy to see us, eh?” Riordan said, his tone dripping sarcasm.

“And why wouldn’t he be?” Conrad gibed. “More than once I can recall making the little bastard a wealthy man.”

Riordan laughed. “Who are you calling little? Sharp left, Dav!”

The innkeeper-turned-fugitive stopped and turned, one broad arm holding back the crowd as Conrad and Riordan descended down a dark staircase and through a ragged curtain.

Riordan stopped, blinking back tears, and put a hand on Davroar’s chest. “Best you wait outside, big guy,” he said. “Invite only.” Noting Davroar’s acceptance of the plan, he turned and continued following the halfling.

A thick cloud of pipe smoke and incense clung to the ceiling of the underground bazaar. The half-orc coughed and pulled his shirt over his nose, eyes watering. He hooked two fingers over Conrad’s belt to keep them from being separated.

His curly-haired head well below the smoke line, Conrad grinned when he heard his friend’s coughing and eagerly plowed ahead. Composed predominantly of other halflings, the crowd of Little Market met Conrad with enthusiastic greetings and slaps on the back as he passed. These were his people. For the better part of his younger years, Conrad the vagabond had called the many opium dens, bathhouses, and gambling halls of Little Market his home.

The map ingrained in his head, Conrad had little trouble navigating the crowded stalls of fine fabrics, exotic birds, and ever-spinning meats to a second staircase at the back of the main marketplace, descending once more with Riordan in tow. They left the pungent haze behind and Riordan drew a sharp breath, spitting more than once to clear the cloying stuff from his mouth.

Conrad offered him an innocent grin. “You could try being shorter, see if that helps.”

The companions came to a small door and Conrad rapped on it with furry knuckles. A moment later, a wooden slat slid aside to reveal a pair of inquisitive hazel eyes. “Password?” came the predictable question.

“One pain cures another,” Conrad said solemnly.

The voice belonging to those eyes brightened. “Good to see ya Conrad. Who d’ya need?”

“Lynwood, I think… yeah. And Whirda.” He retrieved a pouch from a deep pocket and slid it through the slat with the audible tinkle of coin.

“All appears to be in order,” the voice said approvingly. “Till next time, Mr. Jamboy.”

“Always a pleasure,” the halfling said.

Post 1/2, 539/500 words.
 

Nishana Hoss

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Nishana paced the length of the decadent office she found herself in, wringing her gloved hands as she did so. The goons that dragged her into the office from her ship had been less than courteous. One moment she was gathering her gear, preparing for the job at hand, the next she had a bag thrust over her head and she was bundled into the back of what she believed to be a speeder. The Hunter wasn’t used to such treatment and it set her ill at ease.

She approached the door and rattled the handle. ‘Locked, from the outside.’ The windows were locked as well, not that jumping from them would be an option. From the view she’d gleaned, she was quite high up and the goons had stripped her of her jet pack. They’d taken her blaster too. That alone was enough to give her a bad feeling, years of having it attached to her hip made separation from it uncomfortable, despite the fact it’s an inanimate object.

With a sigh, she turned to face the fireplace behind her. Distant footfalls tore her away from her idle toying with the arrangement of candlesticks on the mantle. Her attention darted from the door to the window and back again as the lock clicked and the door swung open, revealing the old merchant, Ajax Whittaker, flanked by a pair of goons; one large, one small. Each as nondescript at the other, shrouded in long, beige hooded ponchos.

“Take a seat, Bounty Hunter.” The merchant gestured vaguely towards the seat, in front of his desk, with a tiny hand, “I apologise for the rough handling. It is necessary in this business, I’m sure you understand.”

“I’d rather stand.” She grunted in reply, still pacing the office, heavy footfalls breaking the tense silence that followed the brief exchange.

“I’m afraid my men neglected to give me your name,” the merchant spoke out, his tone impassive, cold even, “I am Ajax Whittaker. And you are?”

Nishana considered her answer for a moment, unwilling to share her genuine name with the merchant right away, “You can call me.. Mandalore.”

The Old Merchant cocked an eyebrow, perplexed by the woman’s apparent hesitation in sharing her name, “Well, Mandalore, it has come to my attention that you have been conscripted into the hunt of a certain Halfling thorn in my side. And by the Hutt, no less.”

The Mandalorian coiled around, she’d barely even had the conversation with the Bloodhound, the speed at which word had gotten to the old man impressed her.

“Right?” She spoke, rather bluntly, belying her thought process.

“I’ve interest in the halfling,” he began, “You bring me the halfling, alive, and I’ll pay you double what the Hutts are offering.”

Nishana quirked a brow, ducking out of a deal with the Hutts would be difficult, definitely not impossible. She nodded a few times, relenting, her greed getting the better of her.

“Excellent,” Ajax called out, arms extended wide, a wicked grin spreading across his decrepit features, “I’ll have my men accompany you. They should be of use to you. Brand, Wrell, return Mandalore’s effects and be on your way.”

 

Dawn Snow

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As the morning rose from the darkness of night, Dawn came out with less than what she had hoped to find on the situation with Conrad and Whittaker. Whittaker seemed to have some general information on what he does here in Karim, and this Conrad was some short human who he’s angry at. She would need more information on him to investigate further, but her only lead was a man named Nazrabar. Quite the odd name, but she knew how to hunt people down with only that.

The day began to get hotter with the sun’s rise. Dawn, of course, despised such unbearable heat compared to the snow of Xenithia, but hopefully, she would not have to deal with it for much longer.

She paced through the crowd attempting to make conversation with various vendors about this fellow Nazrabar and it turns out finding information on him was a little more difficult than she had expected. With time, though, she finally found a sliver of advice that he happened to be friends of sorts with the aforementioned halfling. At least she knew if she found Nazrabar, she could find Conrad.

It was weird taking on a quest like this. The Akame was used to tracking people down for information, and often it was with criminals and the sort, but something about this world made her feel nervous. Perhaps she knew that everything she did out here would leave her alone. She has no contacts in Karim or on this entire planet/universe. The best she could do right now was to follow her gut. Backing out of something she put her mind to was shameful.

Hours of digging what she could had left her rather hungry. She had almost forgotten the hospitality of the hostess at the inn and remembered the clinking coins in her pouch. Best to take a break and find something to eat. The first place she could find that sold anything to eat was an open pub. Her appearance turned heads of many there, as was assumed to be natural now. However, she wasn’t the most outstanding person amongst the thin crowd. A man in a gas mask was probably the weirdest looking of the bunch that she herself could point out. Nevertheless, she found a spot to sit down as she waited for the waitress to tend her.

Despite the low population of the pub, she could hear many conversations. The man with the gas mask, however, was having the loudest. They weren’t really keeping it confidential at that tone. She was barely able to catch the beginning of the conversation as it went down.

“The halfling is my quarry. What of it?” The gas masked man asked.

That instantly caught her attention. As it went on, she could see the description of Nazrabar appear as the other end of the conversation. Were they talking about Conrad? Dawn’s gut was telling her yes. Shady deals seemed like a go-to for Whittaker. Every criminal had their reasons, Dawn knew that first hand. The vigilante in her would not allow Conrad to be slaughtered unfairly.
 

Ridley

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Nazrabar gave a smile as Conrad walked through the door. “Ahh! Conrad! Welcome! It’s great to see you! And it seems you’ve come with coin! Even better!”

The halfling walked in with a rosy smile and a properly business-like grin. “Business going good as ever, Naz?”

The brown-lobed alien shrugged. “Business has been booming. There’s a lot of people interested in my wares. City’s expanding, and now-a-days no one can really just trust to a knife when they need to stick something in someone else’s ribs!” Nazrabar adds with a shrug. “And weapons are just the tips of the iceberg! Now that this city’s just getting into the swing of the technological revolution, I can make a killing selling common technologies at high prices! A blaster is one thing, but do you have any idea how many people want coffee-makers?!”

The squat halfling grinned nervously. “I imagine the fact half the city’s out for my head hasn’t harmed your weapon selling business much, huh?”

The Ferengi scratched at his lobes. “Well, I can’t exactly say it’s been bad for business, but most of the people I sell to - they aren’t exactly the types that’d catch you so easily. Besides, most of the meatheads come in here looking for a shiny laser sword, but most of them are too stupid to ever actually find you. Not one GPS this week!” Nazrabar smirked and offered a hand.

The two shook in Ferengi style: hands together, but pointed away from each other, a sign of mutual distrust that Nazrabar respected Conrad’s business acumen enough to mark him on the same level as another Ferengi.

As they shook, Nazrabar placed a red wedge in the halflings’ other hand. “You’ve got no idea who I had to steal from to make this. Blueprints were mine, of course, patented, and you’d best keep that in mind if you try making a copy!”

“Wasn’t planning on it. This can really do all you’ve said?”

Nazrabar held up an identical red wedge, and fired a crimson blast at an old tin can he set up for this demonstration, the metal immediately turned to ebony slag. “Variable settings. Goes from melting rock to tickling faces with a turn of the dial. And nothing’s better than a ferengi phaser for knocking a man unconscious!”

“I like it. First weapon I bought where I don’t have to complain about it bein’ a little big!” The halfling adds, nodding in approval. Giving it a squeeze and holstering it, as he held out a large bag of coins, he gave a smile and wave before heading out. “Can’t be here long, but I appreciate it, Naz.” The halfling stated. “Seeya!”

And like that, the halfling was gone, and Nazrabar gasped and took in a breath.

Turning around, he looked towards the other side of the dark warehouse, staring at an empty corner.

“It’s rigged to explode. Like you wanted! But our partners want him alive. They’re not gonna like this-”

Two glowing amber eyes snapped open in the midst of the emptiness, condemning Nazrabar’s future words to the void. “They will settle for a corpse, or I will settle for theirs. Leave the thinking to me, Ferengi!”

Nazrabar swallowed hard. “Of! of course! Lord Ridley!”
 

Conrad Jamboy

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Conrad emerged blinking into the sunlight. He turned the phaser over in his hands, marveling at the destructive potential contained in its compact design. No stranger to the raw power of wizards and engines of war, the halfling nevertheless struggled to comprehend the new weapon. If the Ferengi’s words were true, the simple push of a button could take down a squad of soldiers.

And yet, something about the meeting―the shifting of Nazrabar’s feet, the sweat beading on his brow, a nervous, darting glance―had triggered alarm bells in Conrad’s mind. Conrad had worked with the Ferengi for the better part of a decade and never seen him so on edge. Perhaps it could be chalked up to a fear of being seen as the halfling’s ally at a time when what seemed like half the city’s killers were out for the his head, but Conrad’s streetwise instincts hinted at another, more sinister possibility.

“Did you catch that, Sori?” he asked, speaking softly.

“Affirmative. I did not run scans, but I expect you two were not the only ones in that room.”

The halfling, maintaining his passive demeanor, wound his way through the bustling crowd. He drew the hood of his cloak tighter around his face. “My thoughts exactly.”

“Act as if the Ferengi is compromised,” Sori said. “We detect no immediate risks.”

Nearing Vulture Row, Conrad marked one of Sori’s scouts on the rooftop above. “Everyone in position?” Affirmative responses from Riordan, Lynwood, and Whirda put the halfling’s mind at least somewhat at ease, bolstered by the knowledge that he had allies on all sides.

“Conrad,” Sori’s voice came through, as if to mock his newfound sense of safety, “move. Now.”

The first blaster pulse tore through the abdomen of Sori’s scout with a spray of shrapnel. A moment later the attacker came into view, armed and armored, a roaring jetpack keeping her aloft. She flipped deftly, driving both feet into the automaton’s back. The crowd around Conrad broke into pandemonium as the scout’s crumpled body hit the street, sparking and whirring.

“Move an inch and I’ll be more than happy to turn in your corpse for bounty,” came the attacker’s reply.

In a matter of seconds, the intersection had cleared and the exposed halfling squared off alone against the newcomer. He took in the newcomer, marking her as one of Jabba’s or, at least, an offworlder looking to claim Whittaker’s lucrative bounty. Had she been the one secretly surveying his meeting with Nazrabar?

Sori’s voice again sounded in his ear. “Lynwood, Whirda, you know what to do.”

“Engaging now,” Lynwood replied. The unseen mesmerist launched into his arcane chant, unleashing a mental assault on Conrad’s attacker.

Overhead, the bounty hunter wavered and clutched her free hand to her head with a groan. On instinct she fired a pair of blaster pulses in Conrad’s direction but, distracted by Lynwood’s ear-splitting assault, her aim proved not to be true. The halfling covered his face as they exploded into the dirt.

Whirda Windstrom emerged at a sprint from the mouth of a nearby alley. Shreds of shadow tore away from the air around her, coalescing in her hands into a pair of solid, black blades. She angled for her path to intersect with Conrad’s position as the halfling dug deep in one of his pouches, producing the last of his beam pellets. The halfling scampered nimbly aside, tossing the pellet in front of the charging mercenary.

Seemingly recovered from the mesmerist attack and noting Whirda’s appearance, the bounty hunter swooped low and fired again. Whirda swiped one blade across and the pellet burst into a cloud of dust. The blaster pulse met only empty air as the teleportation spell whisked Whirda briefly out of existence, placing her above her unsuspecting prey. The shadow-dancer twirled, the flat of one blade smacking against the side of the bounty hunter’s head. The two combatants crashed onto the rooftop in a heap.

From below, Conrad listened to the scuffle with his fingers crossed. Soon Sori’s second scout joined Whirda in subduing the bounty hunter. Whirda’s voice emerged over the comms link, out of breath. “We got her.”

“Well done,” Sori congratulated. “Get her back to the safehouse. This altercation will not go unnoticed for long.”

After a moment of silence, the comms link engaged again. “Glad I could help,” Riordan remarked dryly.

Post 2/2, 726/500 words.
Used Beam Pellet Consumable.
One Minion exploded.

Personal Quest Progress: 6,557/10,000
 
Last edited:

Nishana Hoss

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Nishana groaned, the dimly lit safehouse slowly drew into focus, whatever obscured her vision unceremoniously torn away. Around her, stood Conrad’s rag-tag band. She squinted, glancing between each member of the group one by one. The Bounty Hunter inhaled deeply and let out an exasperated sigh. Twice, in as many days, had she been dragged into a strangers residence.

“Beginning to think there’s a little more to this bounty than was let on..” She muttered, toward no one in particular, her expression as gravelly as her tone. She eyed the halfling head to toe.

“You messed up big time, huh?” the Bounty Hunter asked, the question more rhetorical than genuine. Her gaze lingered on the halfling briefly before skirting around the room. She tested the limits of the gravitech that held her in place, straining against the gravitational restraints. Not unlike the Ray Shields they use back on Coruscant..

Corand remained remarkably quiet, for the time being, eyeing his would be hunter curiously.

“It’s safe to assume you’ve not been around long enough to know what’s been going on these past few days,” Conrad began, “There are things at play you couldn’t begin to imagine.”

“So, what? You want me to just drop the bounty?” Nishana asked, squirming in place against her restraints once again.

“It wouldn’t hurt.” the Halfling allowed himself a crooked grin, albeit briefly.

“Uh-huh. If only it were that easy, right?” Nishana returned the smirk, “I’ve been promised a lot of cash for you, laser-brain, that’s not just gonna go away.”

“What’s the plan, then?” One of Conrad’s group piped up, she wasn’t too sure which it actually was, her focus solely placed upon her bounty.

“Haven’t quite figured that out yet, but why don’t you let down these shields and we’ll see, eh?” The Mandalorian quipped, her smirk still firmly in place. Conrad, however, pinched the bridge of his nose.

“You’re awfully cocky, considering your position, Bounty Hunter.” Conrad stated, an eyebrow cocked as he returned his gaze to the Mandalorian, scrutinizingly.

“Yeah, well,” the Bounty Hunter started, “What’re ya gonna do?” Nishana clenched a gloved fist, her vambrace whirring to life as a blast of energy erupted from a small opening on the front of the device, launching the Bounty Hunter into the air and directly into the device which held her in place, causing it to spark, fizz and eventually die out.

Nishana hit the ground with a thump, her captors scrambling to restrain her once again. However, the Mandalorian had other ideas. She levelled the vambrace on the group and unleashed another shockwave, sending them careening into the various furniture dotted around the safehouse. She recovered quickly and dove towards her quarry, battling against his arms and legs lashing out to keep her off him.

As the rest of the group began to recover, the Bounty Hunter grappled the halfling. She wrapped an arm around his neck and pulled herself to her feet, using him as a shield of sorts. Conrad struggled for breath, the Hunter’s grip tight around his throat. She backed away towards the door behind her, fumbling around with her free hand for a moment before pulling the Halfling’s newly acquired phaser free from his belt and raising it to the side of his head.

“I’ll be leaving now.” She gloated and turned the phaser on Conrad’s accomplices and squeezed the trigger. However, rather than the expected blast of energy coming from the phaser’s barrel, the entire thing exploded in a fiery blast. She lost grip of the Halfling as she was blasted unceremoniously into and out of the door behind her, into a dimly lit alley way.

The Bounty Hunter dragged herself up, shakily retreating into the bustling street, the explosion drawing a lot less attention that would have been expected.

635 words!
 

Ridley

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Sometimes, Ridley marveled at how useless words occasionally were despite the mammalians excessive reliance on them. In this case, for instance, all he had to do was gently pick up Nazrabar and smash him against the wall with a single massive hand, and he hadn’t had to say a word to explain his issue to the Ferengi.

Calm, yellow eyes searched the Ferengi’s own beady brown orbs and found a reasonable amount of fear and concern.

“P-please! H-he shouldn’t have known anything! I-I don’t know how he didn’t end up firing the ph-phaser, but he should trust me! W-we’ve worked together for a decade now!”

Ridley stared the Ferengi in the eyes and just barely loosened his grip. His head snapped forward as a low growl was all the answer Nazrabar was given.

He wasn’t waiting for excuses, after all. He had no interest in seeing the Ferengi’s reasons for why Conrad wasn’t dead. Beyond what information that meant for him in the future, Ridley did not care how the plan had failed.

No, the only thing Ridley wanted to hear from Nazrabar right now was how he was going to fix this.

“S-so, my plan, hum, didn’t work. But! He knows I’m suspicious. And…” Nazrabar stumbled on his words for a moment.

Ridley didn’t make any motion, didn’t make any move, waiting for his Ferengi lackey to continue.

“L-like I said, we’ve been friends for a few years. So if I, uh, if I say I’m in trouble and, um, and I need asylum, some sort of rescue from being controlled against my will… Conrad’s one of those noble types! He’ll have to go for it! And it means I don’t really even have to lie to him, so the facts'll match up.”

Ridley’s face was unchanging for a moment. The proposal was silently considered. “And I will be there to strike when the meeting happens. And then, you…”

Nazrabar’s knees started to shake, the pitiful creature, but he kept his gaze steady. Ridley had no admiration for the man’s courage, but he had to admit his survival instinct was strong. He could see how his race had managed to populate themselves long enough to reach the stars.

Still…

“Will you try to escape my grasp?” Ridley asked, though the tone held no conviction. If Nazrabar tried to escape, he’d be leaving his empire, his earnings, in the hands of the space dragon, and even with just a couple days of interaction with the alien, he’d figured out something regarding his species very quickly:

One of his main motivations for staying alive was simply to continue counting his money and earning more. Ferengi would rather die than become destitute.

“N-no, of course not, lord Ridley. I’ll just… wear a tracker. I’ve got a teeny tiny one. Fools most sensors! Even I would have trouble figuring it out if I had one on me by accident! Only this time, it’ll be on purpose, and…

Ridley snorted harshly, cutting Nazrabar off. He’d gotten the picture half a sentence ago. There was nothing quite so annoying as the rapid-fire clicks of mammalian language brought to absolutely no purpose.

“Very well. We will kill Conrad now, or later. All with some help from our new associate.” Ridley would add with a pleased growl.

“Err... associate?” Nazrabar would ask with some confusion.

“I’ve heard tell the bounty hunter was injured quite recently.” Ridley said with a grin. He hadn’t been spending all his time merely hiding away, after all: while Nazrabar had been out doing his bidding directly, he’d been learning to pluck Nazrabar’s own networks almost better than he could. It allowed him to more effectively use his time, and take further power in their unique relationship.

Nazrabar’s surprised face told him that he’d realized that, too, but there was precious little he could do about it now. He opened his mouth to speak, but Ridley hadn’t finished, and interrupted the arms dealer by roughly dropping him on the floor.

“See to her status. Offer care. Make the meeting, and let our partners know where it will be held. If this hunter of the bloodhounds is truly a worthy fighter, she’ll be in shape to help with this little ambush by the time we spring the trap. Are we clear, Nazrabar?”

The Ferengi had to swallow several times before answering, still pawing the ground and it’s glorious freedom with a grateful air. “Y-yeah. We’re clear. On my way, boss!”
 
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