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billyrayjoebob's Avatar

12.14.2011 , 08:38 AM | #1
Reposting this as well so that certain things in Couriers of the Monkey-Lizards make sense.


The man across from him slammed the clipboard on the desk. On the clipboard were pictures, pictures of himself, Oric, and the rest of the Jexxels; Thorwer and Ahneta Baden, Zanatos Maal, and their maintenance droid T-1D. The picture was rather generic, as far as such things go, the man must have taken it out of Mother's lounge. With the exception of Tidy, they were all standing arm and arm, drunk as a Wookie on Life Day. Not a single one of them were anything resembling photogenic, save for maybe Maal whose Chevin genes must have given him some advantage when dealing with liquor's delightfully debilitating effect.

"Don't make me ask again, Corvus." The interrogator must have thought his voice was intimidating, or his appearance threatening, or the fact that he could literally do anything to Oric and get away with it would somehow make Oric tell him what he wanted him to.

Well..., he thought, being honest, that latter bit is a little bit threatening. "Terribly sorry, I was distracted by all the incredible luxuries you've granted me here. Really, it's too much, giving me a whole three feet to stand, sleep and piss in." Just to make sure the Chiss couldn't possibly miss the sarcasm, and adding flourishes with his hands, he continued: "Oh, and the fantastic cuisine, the incredible guest service! The sights! The sounds! The sme--!" His sentence was cut off by a rather rude collection of knuckles to his cheek bone, unseating him and tumbling him into the wall.

Quite dazed, the next thing that Oric was able to identify was another blue-hued fist striking his nose - galaxies formed upon connection. The other hand - thankfully not yet graduated to a fist - had wrapped around his collar, hauling him up til their two faces were scant inches apart, speaking in an affable and patient tone. "Mr. Corvus, I am not an unpleasant being. But I can be. I am exceedingly skilled at making people dislike me. Do not make yourself one of those people, and just tell me: where are they?" Without awaiting response, the Chiss interrogator let go of Oric and returned to his own seat, leaving the mercenary to compose himself as the Chiss' blood red eyes bore into him.

"Look. I've said I don't know. I mean it. They were my employers. That's really all there was to it. Hell, I don't even know where I am." As if you're going to let me live anyway...

Oric meant most of that too, he was proud to admit - even if it was only to himself. Earlier that week, he had just been sitting in a random bar on a random space station over Coruscant or maybe Corellia, he couldn't remember. The mercenary could only remember that he had told them to go do whatever job they were going to be doing, and he was taking some time off. They would pick him up and then they'd go do whatever the next one was. Nothing more, or less. Then some Trandoshans had caught him and a few days earlier he had been sitting in a room much like this one, talking to the same man, about the same thing, with the same pictures. The interrogator had yet to tell Oric his name, nor had he revealed what company or government or cartel he worked for. But he seemed intent on Oric, as if he just knew the gunslinging merc were lying, and no amount of pure ignorance - real or fake - could tell him otherwise.

"What makes you think that you have to die here, Mr. Corvus?" Comprehension, like a nova eating the void itself, and Oric smiled a very small, very unhappy smile. The Chiss must have realized that he had responded to a thought, and not anything vocal, as his eyes flashed momentarily and his body became rigid. "I would ask if you did that on purpose, but I know you didn't. You're not nearly so clever, Mr. Corvus."

Despite this little insult, Oric smiled, muttering, "Is it better to be smart, or lucky?" All expression fled the Chiss' face, chased by phantoms of hatred and fury. His tone became anything but affable or polite, and Oric felt tightening across his entire body. At first it felt as if his body were falling asleep all at once, as if he had somehow managed such a feat as lying on it all over the same night. Then he realized: that was exactly what was happening - his veins all felt pinched or crushed. Panic and animal fear seizing him, he began to massage his hands, his face, chest, arms, legs - nothing worked. He couldn't even summon the breath to scream.

And then it was all gone.

"Do we have an understanding, Mr. Corvus?" Simply grateful to be alive, he nodded emphatically, panicked adrenaline still coursing through his entire body.

Rage chewed at the edges of his mind, berating him for being cowed by this kriffing space magic and not simply leaping across the table and ending this Jedi's life. At least he could try, and not be executed by them after they were finished using every meaningful aspect of him, like some equine with a broken leg. The rage began to build to a crescendo in his skull, a beast unwilling to be cowed by reason, fear or hope. Until he saw the near-masturbatory look on the Chiss' face. Disgust became the new ruler of his min. The sudden dynamic change in mood must have snapped the interrogator out of his blissful state, his face now anything but bland. It reminded Oric of a child promised his favorite treat only to be denied it by his mother for lack of money.

"You may not be clever, Mr. Corvus, but you are highly entertaining to me. But, I know you know where they are, as only one such as I can. Tell me. Now." A specter of the previous suffocation crawled up his left leg, then his right, until panic forced his mouth to blurt out

"Alright! I'll tell you!" Panting heavily, Oric realized he had vaulted out of the chair, as if he could have somehow jumped away from the man's power suffocating him from the inside. Still feeling panicked, but the raw edge of it blunted by feeling even more foolish, the mercenary sat back down, and thought he might as well try asking one more time, his emphatic state causing him to lean over the table, "Why do you care anyway? Who are you?"

Caught off guard by the resulting rich, wall-shaking laugh that erupted from this very scholarly seeming gentleman, Oric was physically rebuffed and confused. And then, "A trade, then? That is what you want, Mr. Corvus? I see no reason not to barter!" This last with a grand wave of his arms, encompassing the room.

As if wiping away a tear, the interrogator took a deep breath and began, returning to his previously affable and polite tone. "Very well, Mr. Corvus. I am a Sith, as you may have guessed, though not truly associated with that rampant beast now trying to play King of the Hill with the Republic. My master is also a Sith. Your associates stole from us."

Oric, unable to stop, blurted out, "It's a damned job, the person that told them to do it probably already has it." It seemed perfectly reasonable to him, and he felt a bit of indignation that they obviously hadn't thought of this already and had ruined his vacation.

Making a clucking noise with the back of his throat, the Sith waved a finger in Oric's face. "Now now, we have already dealt with their employer. While he may have told us many fine and disturbing things about himself to keep us from killing him, he adamantly insisted that your associates had not yet delivered. We simply desire the return of our property." Now knowing for sure that he was going to be killed no matter the conclusion, what with that little title of Jedi being traded for a near-synonym, Oric felt properly caught and was rather unhappy about it.

The last breath of a weary man, Oric began, "Alright...just, one thing. Try not to hurt them. They'll give it to you with no problems if you just tell them the guy going to pay'em is dead." Pausing until the Chiss nodded agreement, he continued, "Well. They're in the Candy Dimension on Coruscant, a hive of absolute villainy, I assure you. Teddy Bear Junction, just past Kessel, right in the Maw somewhere.. What? I was a little drunk when we went, alright? Geez. Or...probably. Yeah, definitely Go Kriff Yourself. That last one is almost definitely where they are." And then, in the air, while being choked by the Chiss's will: "Oh--oh--ch--check--my--***! Ma--May--be--th--there!" The last thing he saw were coronas of lightning flaring in the interrogator's left hand, as his right was balled into a fist, his mouth a cavern of rage. And then, darkness.

billyrayjoebob's Avatar

12.14.2011 , 08:39 AM | #2
He awoke in darkness, and for the first few moments of consciousness Oric could almost believe he was still on that space station, in his hotel room with the lights off because of his most recent hangover. Then the dull pain returned like a hammer blow, demanding attention like a hungry infant in every corner of his mind. Some of his skin felt as if it had been sun-burned, while his neck and face must have looked like pulverized meat products in a butcher's display. On the bright side, the Jexxel mercenary was still alive. If that could be considered a bright side. Oric knew all that awaited him was another brutal beating at the end of a long and boring interrogation - until they realized he either really didn't know or just wasn't going to talk and just ended him.

Unable to help but lament his current predicament, he tossed and turned on the small mat they had allotted him, determined to somehow go back to sleep and at least temporarily forget. By the Force, he missed liquor. Nearly a week of sobriety. That was the worst part. Not getting beaten and Force choked and shocked and prodded. Their obstinate refusal to give him any kind of alcoholic beverage was the absolute worst. It was the least Oric's Sith captors could do, even a thimble of Corellian whiskey would do, and he hated the stuff. Just as he was about to find the small, infinitesimal bit of solace he had been seeking in sleep, there was a sharp rap on the door. "Oh for kriff's sake!" There was no way that had been a coincidence!

A screech of metal and light assaults his senses, blinding and searing his mind. "Five more minutes, mom." In response, a handful of talons wrapped about his ankle, hauling him into the all-pervading light. His Trandoshan door guard was even less patient than his Chiss interrogator, with even fewer things to say as he had discovered in his first few hours here.

"Up," the gravelly voice of the scaled giant demanded. Deciding to try and make his guard a little peevish, Oric took his sweet time stretching and rolling on the floor, like a rebellious teenager refusing to greet a day filled with responsibility. He noticed his interrogator waiting impatiently at the end of the hallway, and began to procrastinate even more. Until the Trandoshan pulled out his blaster pistol and said in a very calm, yet still unnervingly predatory voice, "Humans can be shot in many places without dying..."

"Welp!" Oric said with a leap up from the mat and a bemused expression, eyeing the Chiss as the Trandoshan holstered his weapon. "So are you gonna beat me some more today?" Oric called, spiteful mischief on his mind.

"That depends on what you...," his voice trailed off, as his eyes became unfocused and Oric could almost feel the suffocation from yesterday begin again. "Watch it!" He must've realized what the Jexxel was going to try. His fist balled, connecting with the much larger Trandoshan, Oric seized the blaster pistol from its holster and immediately fired it in three quick, consecutive shots into the alien's lower torso.

Stupid! Almost too late, he turned and fired the remaining shots in the pistol's power pack, all center mass, all deflected by a blue luminescent blade, into the roof, the floor. Before the Chiss could chop him into many steamy pieces, Oric dropped the pistol and raised his arms, hands spread. "Woah, doggie! Had to try, you know, principle of the thing." Something like disgust and irritation marred his interrogator's face for a time as he stalked closer and closer, blade still lit and raised. For a moment, Oric was unsure if he would be alive in the next few minutes or not, then the Chiss continued to the downed Trandoshan.

"You almost look sad, Sith." Then the blade dipped into the Trandoshan's forehead and back out again, quicker than Oric was able to react to it.

"We have no medical facilities here." Despite having essentially just murdered someone, Oric began strolling towards the interrogation chamber they had led him to for four days now, every day.

"Really good thing you've been beating the hell out of me and electrocuting me, then! Your boss must be so proud with your efficiency, almost killing your one lead twice now. Really, employee of the month material." He could almost feel the hate-filled eyes boring into the back of his skull. The mercenary turned to look the Chiss directly in the eyes from a mere inch away. He barely spoke above a whisper. "We both know you need me. We both know I will give you nothing. Kill me or let me go, you will find only frustration and rage here." For half a second, Oric thought he may have convinced the interrogator - of which option, he did not know, but for half a second, hope flared.

Then it was drowned in the unrelenting insanity of the interrogator.

" am compelled beyond reason or regret to see my lord's will done." They entered the interrogation chamber.

billyrayjoebob's Avatar

12.14.2011 , 08:40 AM | #3
Five Days Later

All is pain pain pain pain, get me out already, out, out, out, out, out, I'm so scared, Thor, Maal, anyone, please, Force, something, help me, oh void it all hurts, pleasepleasepleaseplease!

A fizzle, crack and a metal clap, the pain ends. His jaw relaxes slightly, and a scaled hand rips out the piece of leather Oric had been biting down on. His muscles still twitched and shook, still burned, though the mercenary still exulted in the simple ability to breathe free of the all-consuming pain once more. He could not even summon the energy to open his eyes.

"Humaaaan," a voice like gravel taunted. "Little humaaaan!" A cuff to the ribs, and renewed pain - nothing compared to the shocks, but unique all the same. A snarl, and Oric struggled with his chains. "No sleep for little humaan! Not when little humaan kills Nig! Not when he kills a Trandoshan, nooo!"

"That'll be enough, Yaroq," the voice of his long-beloved interrogator growled out.

"Yess, he is sufficiently awake now, yess..," Yaroq replied, acting as if he was stopping only because he wanted to. Another giant Trandoshan, this one silver-scaled and with three ridges, wearing scarlet armor. Kriffing lizards! Kriffing Sith! Kriffing krif!

"I could feel it then and I can feel it now, Mr. Corvus." The Sith removed himself from his chair, moving to within a few inches of Oric.

"You are truly at the end of your ability to endure. Let it end. Tell me." A plea from a husband who has been caught in a dalliance to an unforgiving wife. "Please, Mr. Corvus," the Chiss began, placing comforting hands on Oric's cheeks, gently raising his hanging head so the two could be eye-to-eye. Oric didn't know what to do anymore - his wits were truly at an end, even before the latest round of shocks. But he still held on to that oldest and noblest of human traditions - spite. Not for any noble reason, though he seemed to remember there was one or two at first - but for spite. To deny his enemy. Just to be purely obstinate and contrary. The Chiss sighed.

"Very well, Mr. Corvus, if you insist." A metal clap, crack and a fizzle, and he became a living conduit of agony.


The Next Day

Merciful darkness, undemanding - unforgiving of stupidity. Earlier that day, Oric had become convinced that he could simply feel no more pain. Over the last five days, they had inflicted so much on him that the mercenary was sure that his mind would simply refuse to process it anymore. And so he had taunted the Chiss. He had taunted Yaroq. And they obliged.

The Chiss had held his hand down with surprising strength, while Yaroq had brought out an incredibly large blade which he had referred to as a knife. That kriffing knife! After they had liberated both of his pinkies from both hands, the Sith had used his own blade to cauterize the free bleeding stumps. Sadistic karking kriffs! Then they had laughed. Laughed, while Yaroq took the pinkies and kriffing ate them! And he had broken. He had told. He had told them all the places they would likely be - actual places this time. And then he had shattered.

"Humaaaan...," pebbles rolling down distant walls. " you miss the little digits, humaaaan?" The pebbles laughed. "Do not miss them, humaaaan... they did not even fill me half ways!" The creak of his armor outside Oric's cell door, the sound of his rasping laughter, his unnerving pacing, like a predator just outside the den of its prey. Who was this filthy lizard to treat him so? Who was he to allow this treatment? It took him a moment to notice that the reason his hands hurt was not only due to having part of them cut off, but from the ferocity with which they beat the cell door. More laughter.

"Little humaaaan! Little humaaaan wants to play?" Reality snapped back in like the lightning bolts he had become too acquainted with as of late. Trandoshan. Nearly twice his size. Uninjured. Well rested. Armed. Armored. Oric Corvus: very hurt, very tired, unarmed and heavily unarmored.

"Uh..," he began, his rapier wit in response to the door opening and light silhouetting that which he feared it would.

"Little humaaaan, all ready to play?" Oh. Great. There were two of them, a Trandoshan he had not yet seen, slightly smaller than Yaroq and golden scaled with some kind of blue pilot's suit on, looking as if he intended to join in. And they even thought to stow away their weapons before having some fun..., Oric observed.

"Well why not." Terror fueled his rage until he blindly rushed Yaroq and his comrade, aiming to at least put up as much of a fight a wounded near-30 something could put up against two heavily armored Trandoshans.

Turns out, it wasn't much. The Jexxel managed to land a strike on Yaroq's solid metal breastplate, but this was - unsurprisingly - completely ineffective. The blows that began to land on him were...inconsiderate. Then the blows stopped. Confusion snuck in, but by this time water being wet would have confused Oric. Hands seized him, hauled him up. Maal? Oh, they beat me unconscious. Thank the Force.

The former realization a blessing and entirely without sarcasm to boot. Yet, he could swear he was being slapped. That's not right. Maal wouldn't slap him. Well, okay, he would but not for no good reason. "Oh void, Oric, you have to wake up, I can't carry you out of here and fight!"

Please be real. Please be real. Please be real. His eyes opened.

"Praise the Force! Oric? Can you walk? Oric!" Though the many blows to the head played no small part in it, Oric was dazed. He was dead, wasn't he? He deserved to die. His Chev friend, Zanatos Maal, could not be standing here to save him from Hell, almost regal-seeming in his yellow-gold armor. His race's large foreheads now seemed like the most beautiful thing in the world, and he swore then and there to never make fun of the feature again.

"Oh void, Maal...Maal! I've broken, Maal! Maal!" Tears ran in rivulets as Oric's body simply convulsed as sobs wracked it, kneeling on the floor in the blood of the two Trandoshans, despairing. He stayed like this for a moment, utterly lost. "Oric, come on, it doesn't matter, we've gotta get you OUT before the Sith come back." Firm arms gripped his, shook. "COME ON!" Frustration breaking over a hollow shell of despair.

"Oh, for the love of the Force!" Suddenly Oric was bowled over, back into the cell, and then rapid blaster fire impacting on the opposite side of the cell's thick metal door. He thought it odd that the door that had condemned him now saved him and his oldest friend. A crackle and a cursing voice, not Maal's, but -- Thorwer! "Maal, come in! The game's up, bud, they must've figured out what we're doing, two of these Sithspit just pealed off!" Another curse, this time from Maal.

"Why are you here, Maal? Let me die. I broke." A sudden, vicious backhand.

"You stupid son of a *****! We didn't come here and risk everything just to have you feel sorry for yourself!" He leaned back out to discourage the other guards further with a few rapid fire retorts. "Now get UP, get MOVING," as he shoved a spare pistol into Oric's hand, "and cut this kark out!"

Despite his statement, he did not wait for Oric to follow, and instead whipped around the door, his marksman's rifle volleying on full-auto to lay down cover. The Jexxel did not need to think, he simply followed - he may deserve to die, but he could not allow Maal to die here. However, something compelled him to take Yaroq's knife - a souvenir or a lesson, he wasn't sure which. He followed as fast and as best as he was able, but between the imminent danger of a very violently hot and sudden death and his already wounded, tired frame, the Chev Jexxel was forced to compromise himself to insure Oric's own safety. Blaster bolts fought back and forth up the corridors and hallways, bouncing and glancing, too close to Maal and Oric more often than not. The acrid stench of burned and burning metal filled their senses, watered their eyes - the scent of brimstone chasing him as he fled his own personal hell.

And then they were out, into what seemed to be a landing bay for ships, the ceiling open and revealing a starry night sky, completely empty of any constellations Oric knew. "Down!" Again, he was crushed to the earth as Maal threw himself over the mercenary, unleashing a volley of well-aimed staccato bursts of energy at a group of Trandoshans who had been too eager in their pursuit. Only then did he realize there was absolutely no cover for them to take shelter behind, aside from a few crates stacked against the opposite wall on the far end of the landing yard. Maal must have made the same realization not much later.

"Aw, kriff, I hadn't remembered this." Red fire continued to pour between Maal's rifle and the lizards taking cover at the doorway. The Trandoshans seemed to respect Maal's accuracy, now, not willing to return fire for more than half a second before hugging themselves back into their own scant cover.

But then, thunder and force exploded behind Oric and his Chev friend, and all points of cover became moot. Two gunships hovered over the landing yard, now, slowly descending in preparation to land. "I'm sorry, should have left me." His melancholy coloring his tone, Oric still obstinately refused to just let them take him. They were not going to take him again!

He managed to catch two of the Trandoshans coming out of the doorway, one in the chestplate and throat, the other in the shoulder before it retreated back into the cover of the doorway - Maal saw to a third with a single bolt in the dead center of its forehead. For the moment, that seemed to have dealt with their pursuers from their aft - now they turned, ready to face the troops who would issue forth from the two gunships. The first landed and some eight Trandoshans emerged, while some obviously must have remained on board the ship, operating one of its turrets. The second landed, and out came a Chiss in red and black armor, holding a blue-lit blade made of energy, his face twisted into something like a scowl from a disappointed father.

"Mr. Corvus, and I assume Mr. Maal. You have made quite a mess here," he called from the loading ramp of his ship, twelve more Trandoshans forming in front of him aside the eight from the other ship.

"You have always been an interesting man, if a bit of a lackwit. I have to admit, Mr. Maal, I almost did not realize what was happening until just a few minutes ago." The Sith strolled forward, through his troops. "Put down your guns-" he suddenly leapt back as Oric and Maal opened fire on him, their bolts not finding their intended targets but just as happy to embed themselves in three utterly surprised Trandoshans. Immediately, the rest returned fire, Oric's legs erupting in white-hot agony as each was struck, folding him onto the deck, where he rolled in anguish. Maal must have been hit too, as several impact marks marred his armor. "Cease fire!" The voice of the unmistakable Sith bawled, roaring with the ferocity of a Rancor horde.

Oric was done, and he had managed to drag down his best friend as well. It seemed to always end up like that, Maal trying to save Oric while the Jexxel continuously slowed or just plain impeded him altogether. "I'm so sorry, Maal," he croaked through tears and pain. It was all lost.

"Maal! Get Oric to cover!" A command from a near-forgotten voice. The Chev groaned with effort, but all he could seem to do was grab hold of Oric and not much else. So he threw himself over the other Jexxel. "Why, Maal? Let me die!" Then the roar of a near-forgotten god pressed the two into the earth. Mother. Sweet Mother! The Jexxel gunship hovered over the landing yard, indomitable, demanding the release of her children. "Open fire!" he heard the Chiss scream in sudden unfettered panic, Mother momentarily painted red by their sheer volume. Mother obliged, her Dead Eye cannon slagging the one occupied gunship while one of the dual-linked laser turrets scythed through the Trandoshan troops, stitching a violent red line in the ground as it traced itself toward the Chiss - fire and smoke, and his former interrogator was thrown across the landing yard into a gray-steel wall. As some of the few remaining troops tried to take shelter in the last gunship, the Dead Eye cannon fired again, creating a smoking crater of a once formidable foe.

"Maal, are you still there? Tell me you guys are still alive!" Ahneta.

All Maal seemed to be able to do was moan over the communicator, so Oric grabbed it, "We're alive, Anne." Soon, Motherdescended, and her favored daughter came to scoop them both up, with T-1D helping with the labor.

"Oh void, Oric, you look terrible!" She most certainly did not, even for a forty-something mercenary who had spent twenty years in the business. "You too, Anne..." he said out of some random small talk reflex, not realizing what he was responding to. Through the fire and fog, he could see the corpse of the Chiss by the far wall, smoking, most of his formerly blue skin now red and angry. As Ahneta dragged him into the safety of their Mother, he realized he had never even known the name of his captors. Before the ramp fully closed, he spit on the ground. "Good riddance." The Jexxels fled, all alive if not whole.