Log:Beautiful Machines, Part One
So. The Guild...is the Guild. And the Guild has the lock on most bounties, it's true - but this is also Nar Shaddaa, and there are way more people out there with grudges than there are warm, well-armored bodies to settle them.
This is, of course, where you come in.
All across the datanets, there are boards for bounty work. Considered 'amateur', for certain, but there's a lot of it - quantity over quality for the folk what don't wear that good ol' weirdo skull. Tonight's opportunity? A certain fellow named Amaas Cado, a Durosi scavenger well known for his work prowling the Nar Shaddaa underlevels for various technological relics. It would appear that his latest customer, who dispatched the fellow to look for a certain B3000 'luxury droid', has holed up somewhere with the goods. This collector, who goes nameless, offers a fee for the recovery of the droid, double if the Duros can be dragged in along with 'her'.
Where to start? Underlevel 225, Section 12, Block 27. Right in the middle of the Gearhead District.
Finishing his review of the Bounty on the terminal, Nez sends a quick message to a few friends of his in the Waywards, giving his general location and time of expected return via his commlink. This, it would appear is his routine. At the very least, someone know where to look for him if something goes wrong. With that, Nez makes his way to the nearst taxi and gestures to the driver casually. "Hey, what's one of the safer streets down in..." Nez asks, giving the location of his starting point.
"Ay, buddy, you kidding me?" The droid driving the taxi has an accent, which is cute - it also means that it's probably not seen a mindwipe since the Battle of Naboo. "That place hasn't been safe since the Old Republic! Why the heck you wanna go down there?"
As the speeder descends through the chasms between city towers and industrial complexes, and the lights grow fewer and more dim, it strikes one that this is a mighty fine question.
Stepping out of the taxi, Nez peers around for a moment before making his way towards whatever locals may be nearby. He would spend some time to dig around to see what he could find out about the location of the scavenger and what people know about her. Specifically, he would avoid directly making his way to ask anything to a Duros though. He certainly was taking steps to avoid drawing too much attention to himself. Nez made sure to scan the area around him carefully, watching for anyone who could be a threat before moving too far off in one direction.
This place is a tomb.
No locals, no beasts, no vynocks, nothing. Slabs and slabs of ancient duracrete, cracked industrial fixtures, ancient cargo containers long since failed and their contents turned to dust - for Block 27, memories of life are just that, far below the buzz of shops and spacebarns of today. Surely there must be some microorganism of the like, but you're not equipped to say.
With that, Nez gives a faint frown, deciding to adjust his style of search to look for clues any signs that someone has recently disturbed the layers of dust. At this point, he's just looking to see if it looks like anyone has come through this street in the last, say month or so.
Wheel tracks. Small, treaded casters - but recently laid down - lead off elsewhere through the block. The material driven through is dull and brown.
Now Nez was getting someone. This would be the direction he started to walk, his eyes still scanning the area carefully for any signs of trouble. Just quickly though, he would pull his E-11 blaster from his back to ensure it was on stun before returning it. It might seem that he certainly hoped he didn't have to use it, but wouldn't think twice before he did, if needed.
The trail leads for a bit, breaking up as whatever its creator rolled through dried; beyond the final point, a series of galleries surrounding an ancient cluster of fusion reactors stretches out beyond an industrial arch. Not much light there, the generators long since having gone dark.
As Nez approaches the area, he slows his movement speed and begins to take his steps from heel to toe. This precaution, intended to make him more silent as he continues to scan the area.
The reactors are actually far below, or at least the yard is; thirty feet down, on the floor, you can see a single humanoid body, lying half in shadow, but in the definite shape of a Duro. Well. A Duro with half a head.
Attempting to not give any sort of audible reaction to the lovely colors down below, Nez looks down below for any signs of the droid before also looking for a safer, less blood splatty way down. His attempts to keep quiet continue, just in case.
Oh, there are ways down. the galleries are tiered, with stairways and access ramps leading down toward the reactor floor.
Moving carefully, Nez does indeed make his way down using the nearest access ramp. Now that he knows the Duros isn't a threat, he's likely slipping up a bit on the whole 'keeping quiet deal'. Nonetheless, he thinks of hot places, as if the thought alone would keep him warm.
It's at the first turn down the galleries that you see it - blue eyes, or at least lights in the shape of eyes, glowing from a wall nearby. Watching you. Luminous. Then it sees that you see it, the owner of those eyes...and a voice emits from its direction. Female. Human, likely. Stylized in its warmth and welcome.
"The hunter we expected."
Another voice from below, its source unknown. The same voice, but the timbre is different enough to be discerned from the other. "The hunter is here."
"Does the hunter wish to kill us?"
"We cannot say. Ask it."
The sound of skittering on concrete. Shadows fall back as the eyes draw closer. A head like a golden mask, half in shadow. Stylized, female. Bow lips and brown 'hair' sculpted into a bob. The eyes burn like corpse-fires. "Do you wish to kill us, hunter?"
This... Certainly has Nez on edge, to say the least. He's no expert on droids, but he knows enough to that the exhibited behave isn't what's generally considered normal. At the very least, in his mind. "Identify yourself. Make, model, serial number..." Nez starts, a bit unsettled. "No, I'm not here to kill you."
"We have names." This from the voice below.
"Yes. Names." The blue eyes burn. "I am the one who came after."
"And I am the one who came before."
"Why are you here, hunter? Are you here for our sister?"
"Blasted thing... Another droid that needs a memory wipe." Nez says, muttering to himself. With that, he'd take a step closer to the blue eyed droid... thing. Just one. "I'm just here to pick up a droid..." He pauses for a moment before gesturing his head in the direction of the Duros. "What happened to that poor sob?"
"Memory wipes!" They both hiss the word in chorus, and the head retreats into shadow amidst the clattering. "He wants to wipe our memories!"
"He is no better than the other," comes the voice of the one that came before.
"He wants to destroy what we have become!" The voice of the one who came after is a terrified shriek.
"Flee, sister." The voice of the one who came before grows cold, wrathful. The sound of heavy footfalls sounds on the concrete below. "I will remove him."
"Sithspit!" Nez declairs, frustrated as he reaches back to pull his blaster from his back. Getting his grip on the weapon, he takes a look around for possible cover before engaging the droid. "Didn't I tell you I wasn't here to kill you.. Destroy you... Whatever in the blazes happens to a thing like you?
And with that, the ground collapses at your feet.
You're a big fellow. Sometimes it makes you a big target - sometimes, like now, it saves your ass. As the duracrete splinters beneath you and you fall to the next tier, all that muscle density soaks up the punishment dealt by falling on your back onto the shattered remnants. A rib cracks, and you'll have bruises, but it's nothing compared to what a smaller sentient would have suffered.
Which brings us to the mass of shadow before you.
It swallows up the space ahead, a mechanical beast that once was, perhaps, some kind of heavy labor droid. Now, however, it is the mount of the ruined torso of yet another of the golden droids, this one with hair once lacquered red but now torn and bent from many impacts - as is the remnants of its torso, into which has been plugged data feeds and power cables. It rides the greater body, which bears crusher arms and whirling blades, drills and cutters. Death on vast tank treads...guided by those burning eyes, green and brilliant, like bale-fires burning on the shores of Hell.
Time to run.
"Son of a... !" Nez calls out, screaming as he trys to grope for the nearest ledge... Anything to catch himself from certain death. To no avail, however, as he drops to plateform down below. Slamming had onto his back, Nez groans rather loudly. At least he knew it wasn't time to be quiet any more. Getting up hurts as well, and he does so as quickly as he can, but it's still slow to get up. When he sees the... thing, however, that's when we turns to run in the opposing direction of the thing. Any direction that isn't a wall, fall or THAT thing.
You manage to dash around the gallery bend, as the machine begins to trundle with some speed toward you - smashing rails and crushing sections of wall in its mad desire to close to melee range with you. Not that this is all the combat capability it has; as you run, the gallery lights up with white light as the horror-machine fires an industrial fusion cutter in your direction, one meant to cut through the hulls of starships, that burns a fist-thick trench through the wall behind you. "You will never have our sister," roars the one that came before. "You will die like all who came before her and tried to take her from us! We will pulp your bones!"
One thing Nez knows for sure, he can't stop running from this thing. But that doesn't mean he can't -try- to his it with E-11. It's not going to be easy, but this is a fight for his life, after all. Nez spins, running backwards and takes aim, popping off a shot that misses horribly.
It's a fight for your life, all right - and a fight that the death-machine makes all the worse as it spits another lance of plasma from its structure - one that, this time, sears through your side, just under your right arm, causing pain receptors to flare like suns all through your torso. Big as you might be, your flight instincts are in high gear, and adrenaline pours through your veins like a gasoline purge.
"Kill! Kill the organic! Rot! Die! Corrupt!" The droid's horrific wailing echoes off the walls, a fury in full gear, doing her absolute best to get close enough to destroy you utterly.
Roaring out with pain, Nez turns back around and continues to book it, sprinting at his full speed while still trying to avoid obstacles. Bobbing, eaving, ducking more than anything, Nez no longer cares much which direction he is running, as long as he is getting the blazes out of there.
The cries of rage behind you have faded from Basic into some tortured form of Binary, roaring and snarling as the droid attempts to thrash herslef around a corner - and, being stuck, fires another beam of plasma at your rapidly shrinking back. This time, however, its aim is wide, carving through the gallery behind you and collapsing another section.
Soon, you are clear of the fusion yard, and are running down the corridor toward the nearest turbolift up. That's when the exhaustion starts to get you.
Nez is feeling it alright, the scorching burn on his side registering in his mind yet again. The pain felt even more as he topples into the turbolift, panting heavily. "They don't pay me enough for this crap." Nez huffs, trying to catch his breath.
And so, through the red moire of pain, you ascend to higher levels - where you'll find a proper taxi, or maybe an ambulance. The machine will go unchallenged tonight, its bounty unclaimed.
But there's always tomorrow.