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08.12.2012 , 09:37 PM |
Mission Accomplished featuring Andronikos, Talos and my Sith assassin. No spoilers (I think
). Written late at night so apologies for any mistake
WARNING - WALL OF TEXT INCOMING
The cave was damp and warm and Andronikos did not like it. After spending some time on Tatooine, he had grown used to the blistering dry heat of that dustball of a planet, knowing how to preserve moisture, when to brave the vast dune seas or when to run inside and shut all doors and windows because of an incoming sand storm. He did not stay on that planet for long but, during his stay, he picked up a few pointers but none of those actually taught him how to deal with imperial officers. Not to mention that he had to deal with such individual, in a damp and warm cave which smelled like a bantha's wet backside.
"Can we go now?" he asked his companion "We got to find those crystals and I was planning on doing that before I get old"
"This is most fascinating" came the reply "This cave must be thousands of years old. And I think....oooohh" lieutenant Talos Drellik scampered off in one direction like a child who has just seen a giant candy.
The lieutenant was certainly knowledgeable in all things Sith and archaeological but Andronikos was starting to lose his patience
"Where is he off to now?" he muttered to himself. Then, with a louder voice "Lieutenant!! Don't go off on your own because I'm not going to be your rescue party!!"
Receiving no reply, he paused
He sighed, his shoulders drooping with the knowledge that he had to run after another man who, for the sake of knowledge, would run straight down the open mouth of a hungry rancor just to know what was inside.
Placing a hand on his blaster, he took a left turn where he had last seen Talos run to and listened. Taking no notice of the sound made by his boots while walking over hard rock, he peered into the darkness obscuring the end of the stone corridor and kept checking for sounds. Sometimes he wondered how the lieutenant had managed to live for so long considering how reckless he could be, running down dark corridors of an uncharted cave just because he thought he saw something interesting.
Andronikos stopped. Something moved to his left and, in the blink of an eye, he pulled out his blasters and aimed, his trigger fingers itching.
Talos found himself staring down two barrels. After a moment, the stillness of the cave was broken by the pirate's voice
"Son of a Hutt!"
"Now, now. Andronikos, there is no need for violence" came the lieutenant's reply, as unperturbed as ever "...unless, of course, you want to shoot the rock around the crystals I found but, in that case, may I suggest you point your blasters to the rock and not to my face?"
Andronikos holstered his weapons, barely containing his frustration. He wanted to do more than just shoot his face off but thought that it would be hard to explain once back on the ship, after all, sith lords are not easily fooled.
"Do you realise that I could have blown your head off, lieutenant?"
"Could you fetch me a crystal cutter from the bag, please?"
A look of stupefaction appeared on Andronikos' face. Not only he had almost blown the man's head off but, now, that same man was asking him to get a crystal cutter from a bag?
"Well? Come on, don't just stand there like a statue. Look alive. We don't have all day, you know."
Andronikos stomped his way back to where the toolbox had been left, not knowing if he had just dreamt it all. He even wondered if this was some sort of weird vivid hallucination caused by spice but he knew it could not have been so, he had never used spice. No, the only option left was the harsh reality of him being stuck with an officer from the Imperial Reclamation Service. In a warm and damp cave.
He found the cutter and made his way back to the lieutenant who was now trying to dig the crystal formation with his knife
"Here" he said while handing the tool over
"Ah, yes, thank you."
"Are you even sure those are the correct crystals?"
"Certain. This Upari formation is perfect. Notice the bluish colour and the precise shape of the crystals. Hexagonal to be exact" Talos continued, explaining in great detail the conditions needed for the crystals to form, the uses, the value...Andronikos was no longer listening, every so often providing a "Uh uh" or a "Oh". He tried to figure out how he would manage to survive should there be a cave in. He could not see himself remaining sane, living in a cave with Talos Drellik. But then, something caught his eye. A light? The flickering of a flame?
He smiled. He knew that such caves were often either the lair of beasts or the hideout of any possible sort of scum, having used them himself more than once during his pirate years. And since they had not yet been eaten by a predator, this could mean that he may see some action yet.
He silently moved towards the flickering light, leaving to the lieutenant the task to explain the formation of geological strata to the walls. He would talk for a while, if he knew the man.
Creeping closer, he crouched, his feline movements allowed him to inch closer and closer to the source of the disturbance. He was now far enough from Talos, his constant scientific banter now only a fading background noise.
"Won't you look at that..." he whispered, seeing two figures standing over some boxes. A predatory smile crept along his lips, his trained eyes quickly darted from side to side, scanning the area for possible ambush points, exits or potential opponents hiding.
All the meanwhile, Lieutenant Drellik had finished explaining the possible implications of volcanic activity on crystal purity and, pausing, he turned around. Blinking a couple of times, he turned from side to side
He noticed his sudden solitude "well, this is unexpected." He had not seen Andronikos leave and, not knowing where he went, he picked up a bag of crystals and called out "Andronikos?" but the reverberation of his voice was the only reply he got. Shaking his head, he started to walk toward one intersection all the while thinking about the unreliability of former pirates and space scoundrels. He had to figure out something to tell Darth Xanara when he got back to the ship. After all, losing a person while gathering crystals does not happen everyday and she would require an explanation. No, not require, he thought, but demand.
Knowing better than to irritate a sith lord, he settled for the only possible solution: he had to find Andronikos, out of loyalty for his lord and out of duty. Finding a person would be no challenge at all for someone like him, someone trained to find lost artefacts and relics. So convinced and trapped in his own internal discussion, he literally stumbled in a large underground chamber.
Tilting his head upwards, he marvelled at the large stalactites hanging from the ceiling. He wanted to record this and reached for his datapad but, not finding it, he lowered his gaze, being slightly annoyed at the thought of it not being in the place where it should be. And again, he found himself staring down two barrels.
Sighing, he gently pushed the barrels away "Come on Andronikos, the joke is funny only once"
More concerned about the stalactites than the barrels, he did not notice the Rodian standing in front of him. What did catch his attention, however, was the blaster shot hitting the wall to the side. He quickly focused his gaze on his interlocutor, taking notice of two large black insect like eyes staring at him. His trained mind also told his other senses to notice a second similar being staring at him, roughly twenty feet away, pointing blasters at him.
"I see. You are not Andronikos." he commented "in that case, allow me to introduce him to you. You should know that he is a notorious pirate and he would not take kindly on those who seek to harm me. You may ask yourselves why an officer of the Imperial Reclamation Service would travel with a pirate. Allow me to explain. You see, I am an archaeologist, not a fighter and, although I may have some combat training, my specialty are archaeological and historical findings and that is why I travel with someone who is more versed in the art of war"
The two rodians, taken by surprise by the sudden river of words, looked at each other for a moment but quickly refocused on the lieutenant who now saw that his hope for escape had just become a remote idea, quickly disappearing as a puff of smoke.
"I see...well, you know..." he paused "...since my escort is nowhere to be seen, may I ask you if you are for hire?"
And then it all broke loose. Talos saw the second rodian drop to the floor, hit by a hail of blaster fire. The rodian in front of him quickly rolled behind cover while Andronikos ran for a large stalagmite.
"Talos, take cover!" shouted the pirate, all the while blaster bolts were flying from two sides of the cavern.
To the lieutenant it all seemed to happen in slow motion, the gunfire, the explosions. He noticed his right hand reaching for the blaster at his side, his legs suddenly moving to the rodian's hiding spot. Being focused on what he considered the main threat, the rodian smuggler did not see the man standing behind him, blaster in hand, squeezing the trigger.
Just as quickly as it had started, the fight was over.
Talos holstered his weapon and met Andronikos' surprised gaze. The former pirate did not just witness someone die in a gun fight, he had witnessed an execution. The rodian's body was slumped across one of the cases that he had used as cover, a hole in the back of his head. What surprised and creeped him out more than he would have liked to admit, was the ice-cold determination with which it was performed.
"I told you", interjected the lieutenant "I am not without combat training"
"Yes. I see that. Let's go"
Once back on the ship, Andronikos let Talos recount all that had happened and waited patiently for the lieutenant to leave the room. He then lifted his gaze and, for a few moments, Darth Xanara and the former pirate remained in silence.
"Something on your mind, Andronikos?" she asked, with her usual hypnotizing voice.
He took a breath as if wanting to say something but stopped. Instead, he just reached into a pocket of his jacket and pulled out a pouch. Opening it, he spilled its contents on the table in front of the sith. "A small gift"
"A gift?" she raised an eyebrow. Looking at the gems in front of her, she picked one up "Corusca gems. Quite the find. Do I want to know where you found these?"
"No. Trust me" He quickly stood and made his way out.
"You know that Talos is crazy, don't you?” he asked her without looking, stopping for a moment just outside the door
"And you are not?" came the amused reply