Log:Defiance Guild: Fire and Flood
The short story: Defiance runs into some competition while trying to be the first to a cache of cheap explosives. A flood redistributes some interesting items. Tarion is not the bomb.
The long story:
The Undercity is not a very nice place.
There are a number of ways to access this labyrinthine mess of subterranean, forgotten cityscape; most but not all of the entrances exist in Ko Hentota, because no one there has ever had any money or interest in developing over them, or otherwise pretending that the hideous bones of Old Nar aren't still down there. All the rain pouring onto the city from above has to go somewhere, and this adds extra hazard to the Undercity -- rivers and waterfalls in the darkness, cascading over the shells of construction and industry.
Hex is currently picking his way down a decrepit staircase with surprising agility for a big dude, occasionally using crumbing walls and other chunks of building to descend when the stairs fail. He seems to be in a good mood. "Smells like money, doesn't it, Tavers?" Actually it smells like pollutants and dead things. "I don't know if I want to keep it or sell it, but that many explosives for that price is something I seriously can't turn a blind eye to." Buuuut are they the only ones who came across the nugget of information that someone is selling this?
"Well, we can always turn it right around and sell them at a profit," Tarion replies, making his way down the stairs with much less concern and care, occasionally loosing his footing on the slick surface and latching on to some random spit of trash to keep his balance. "Although at this price I'm sure that someone else is really interested in recovering them, because, why else would they be that cheap unless they're stolen?" His armor, grey and non-descript, much like his persona, is damp with acidic rain and the occasional streak of green slime, because this is Nar Shaddaa. "It's always nice to have them in stock, though."
The large, flat nostrils of Vakorba the Dug sniff at the same air. The greyish cream skin with mottling of purple flecks wrinkles as she catches that same scent. Only she doesn't find is so alluring. The Dug is around the corner from Hex, a blaster in her foot as she steps along the puddle choked alleyway of the Undercity. Her head tilts up again, loose skin wobbling under her neck. "Hold on," Vakorba grunts and stops at a jagged corner of a beat up wall. "You 'ear somet'ing, Jiji?"
There are those who prefer not to get their feet wet, and for one Mujiji's size, the danger is amplified by those rushing waterways. As luck would have it, the Kushiban is nowhere in sight. "Think about it, Vakky!" The voice comes from Vakorba's backpack, chattering amiably up until the Dug halts to smell the roses. "Think'a what all we can blow up with that, eh? Certainly could come in handy. Could prob'ly turn around, upcharge it, an' sell the lot t'those slimo on Nar K- huh? No I don't hear noth- wait..." The backpack shakes and rumbles as whatever, or whomever, is inside of it shifts and Moo pokes her head out the top, the flap raising only enough to permit a glimpse of large, grey eyes. "Yeah, sounds like... Ah, light my tail, I know that voice. S'the green one I was tellin' about, remember? And y'know you've got a sandwich in here, right?" Dibs.
"Absolutely it's stolen," the Twi'lek in the painted up old Scarif armor agrees with Tarion. "Nobody does business in the Undercity unless it's both stolen, and stolen from somebody bad. If it's just regular stolen they'll mostly do it in the Night Market. But like you said -- if we either sell this quick /or/ blow something up with it, then either way, we're not getting caught and we come out ahead, ka? We -- aw, shit." He's just descended the stairs and crossed a small, shallow 'stream' when he pauses suddenly, lekku shifting as he listens. They're not in sight yet -- but they are hearing each other, both these trash parties. "Shit, it's the Kushiban. And her... somebody else. Shit, they're gonna be down here wanting what we want." You've received a +nom from Mujiji. +nom/pending to review.
"Well, krif," Tarion replies, pausing as well, still in the shallow stream, uncaring of the filthy, filthy, iridescent water washing over his boots. "I guess we're gonna have to kill them, huh? Just uh. Don't tell Kasia."
"Dat is my lunch an' if it is gone I will eat /you/," Vakorba snarls as she cranes her neck to get a better smell of the others down here. "Green what?" Vakorba grunts with an irritated flick of her right ear. "Dun' sound like no Gamorrean. S'/two/ of dem." The Dug adjusts her hold on her blaster and coils her muscle built arms to leap... right into the stream. "Kill who, huh?" the Dug spits. Her blaster is raised and her sharp canines are bared.
"Th'bantha snot they doing down 'ere?" The voice from the backpack sounds more muffled than before, almost like the speaker's mouth is full, but at Vakorba's threat there is the distinct sound of frantic crinkling. At least Mujiji has the decency to start hauling herself out of that backpack now that things are happening, explaining as she pulls herself onto Vakorba's shoulder. "/He's/ one whats offered us some credits for a job an' his wife was the pretty lady what wouldn't buy the toupee - still not sure what happened there, wonder if she's in duh-ress or jus' got some weird kink for ugly. Anyways, we can prob'ly talk outta-" and then she's flying! The Kushiban struggles to maintain her grip as Vak lunges them forward into the dirty water, snarling and purple in her kinda-intimidating majesty. Nervously, Mujiji wipes some crumbs from her muzzle before throwing her arms wide. "Dickhair!" She laughs anxiously before she recognizes Tarion and her fake grin disappears. "Oh, and you." Her paw has drifted to the large pistol belted at her little waist.
"Kasia might surprise you on how okay she is with killing these two," Hex remarks to Tarion, and holds up an index finger. "/Especially/ with how there's not much in the way of witnesses. Ah, that woman. Money, murder, and a perfect ass. She's the best." He's lost for a moment in happy contemplation of Kasia's merits, then focuses on the issue at hand. He strides around the corner to where they can see Vakorba and Mujiji now; this used to be a roof of something, but now it serves as a floor, crumbling in places. "Tcha, tcha, how unmannerly," he greets the Dug, apparently unmoved by her intimidation. Since it was WEAK SAUCE. "Don't worry though, ka? I don't got to kill you. Only get to my seller, /MY/ seller, before you do." He shrugs, expansively. "And then kill you, if you get difficult about it. And if the Undercity doesn't do that for me before you even get there." He adjusts his head lamp so that it shines annoyingly into their field of vision, and then makes a sweeping bow. "/Ladies/," Hex bids a chivalrous farewell, and then launches off into the darkness, the race is on.
Those who spend much time in the Undercity know it just like any other district; it has its own landmarks, features, and paths. Places that are known to be good meeting places, paths that are known to be subject to becoming waterfalls when it rains. The explosives-seller is in a known location, but there may be more than one path to get there.
"Well, let's not get hasty, you ruin the pelt if you just /kill/ them," Tarion replies, incorrectly, his brow furrowing, but then Hex is taking off before they even have a chance to fite! The bounty hunter opens his mouth to protest, but decides against it, gathering his rifle a little closer and sprinting after his boss. The rubble and ruin of the Undercity is omnipresent, but the young man clears obstacles with surprising alacrity, almost like he was raised here among this filth and it's more like a visit to the park than a dangerous underworld. "Hey Hex, how do you know they're ladies? You sexist pig!"
The barrel of Vakorba's blaster dips just a little and Vakorba turns an ear at Mujiji with a growl in the back of her throat. "We /live/ down 'ere, you slimo!" the Dug snaps, which is kind of a half truth. She looks like she belongs here, at least. Her ears snap back and she chances a look to Mujiji when the boys turn tail to scamper away. Her head scans around and she huffs. "I dun' know dis section well. Shortcuts?" Vakorba asks with a huff as she springs forward and starts to make chase. "Shoot dere ankles, ja?" Her hands, wrapped in toughened leather, splash along the wet streets after their prey with surprising agility, if one is not familiar with Dugs.
"I'd like t'ruin his pelt." Mujiji decides, digging in as Vakorba gives chase. "I don't wanna shoot th'Twi'lek, he might still give us money." Still, her weapon is brought to bear as she clings with one paw to Vakorba's vest, her gun-arm waving behind her like she's at the rodeo. Yeehaw! This is a hard shot to take, but she sights down the barrel of her fancy flame pistol and fires over Vakorba's head into the darkness, aiming for Tavers' ankles. The incendiary shot leaves a streak of fire in the oily residue down the alley sides - which is helpful in its own way. "Kriff, I can't get a good shot!" Tucking her gun back into her belt, the Kushiban leaps from the Dug's shoulders to run along with her on all fours, lightening the load somewhat.
"I'm just going off how much they hate dicks," Hex replies to the accusation of sexism, "Which in their defense, both of us are." He jumps over the rotting body of a... something.... and keeps going; the path through the dead city labyrinth becomes increasingly difficult from here, the ground less steady, hard to tell what was once a floor, what was once a ceiling, if the best path is the high road or the low one. "Ay! RUDE," he yells about the pot shots towards Tarion's ankles, and then returns the favor toward Vakorba. Both the boys and the girls are coming up to the end of their current flat-ish area though, and they're going to have to run and jump, or scramble down and around.
"Maybe it's penis envy, you don't know!" Tarion yells back, scrambling down an escarpment because it's a fun word, sliding with deceptive ease through the rubble and scree like a skier without skis, spraying junk instead of powder and bouncing out at the bottom to regain his feet and continue forward. "We got bombs to buy, we can't afford to make sociological mistakes right now, ok ka!"
The Dug grunts as as she's hit. Vakorba staggers, falls, the blaster scattering into a puddle. She pushes up, the side of her arm bleeding where it's scathed up from the dirty ground that was once a roof. "Rrgh," she grunts and waves a foot. "Get 'em, Jiji," she says weakly, searching around the ground for her blaster.
It's not penis envy. "Vak!" The Kushiban skids to a halt, sliding in the grime and going from white to gray-green quite quickly. As the Dug waves her on, the merc gives a succint nod and a snarl and leaps off to try and scale the low wall of rubble. She fails miserably, falling on her tail and further dirtying herself. "Sith spit -" She's trailing Hex and Tarion, the furry little quadraped pumping after them for all she's worth. "Bitches!" She hollers at their backs. Sexist? Eh, who knows.
"Nobody... would ever envy... OUR penises," Hex points out to Tarion, clearly finding penis envy to be an unlikely affliction for Vakorba and Mujiji to be suffering. "Shit," he huffs and puffs, clearly, you know... a bit out of the habit of running these days, and more in the habit of sitting in one place with a variety of snacks at hand. He's slow. Got to take a minute to breathe, here. Tarion is down and clambering to the lower level long before Hex is, though he's about on par with Mujiji, Vakorba, and their own undignified descent. He manages the climbing part okay, if not with skiier-like aplomb, and in short order both teams are in something like a ravine or steep alley, narrow paths with decaying buildings all around. They all know they're not far from the goal, though, run run run! Even Hex can run! Suddenly, however... there is a low rumble, something deeper and more terrifying than Vakorba's great shout or the thought of what Hex and Tarion may have in their pants. Around everyone's feet, the little streams of water are suddenly rushing faster, and moving with more volume, quicker, deeper, seeming less benign. "Oh, no," Hex says, astutely, and anyone looking over his or her shoulder will find an enormous wall of water surging through this narrow space toward all 4 of them.
"This is going so well," Tarion remarks brightly to himself, grinning as he hurries along towards the bomb deal, it is going so well, he is doing a great job, everything is working, those bombs are as good as his, and they will be so destructive and fun. And then the water around them starts to do this picking up, getting faster thing. And then there is a noise. A horrible, awful noise. A terrible, terrible noise. The bounty hunter just stops and stares helplessly at the wall of water approaching, opening his mouth to say, "Aw, /kri-" before he is smacked by the torrent, picked up and borne helplessly along, while below him, the glimmer of his sweet-ass throwing knives drifts towards the under-water street surface below.
She's going to catch up! She's going to catch them and use those sharp, buck teeth to rip the throat right out the -....what. That's... Mujiji is helpless, she's more helpless than the rest, and with an undignified screech is swept up by the current. She flails for purchase on anything, not even feeling one of her adhesive grenades slip free (not so adhesive, huh?) and float to the bottom of the torrent. Mujiji disappears as a long, drawn out, steadily softening 'eeeeeeeeee'.
Hex is an alien from a thoroughly desert planet, and he regards the ongoing surge of water with something that looks like shock and abject horror. Solidly over 200lbs, he's still swept up by the water as though he's just as dainty as Mujiji, and a rare and expensive pistol tumbles out of his pack to join Tarion's throwing knives while the objects' owners flail around trying not to drown. The water is horrifying; it's been filtered through the atmosphere and cityscape above, both of which are thick with both organic and inorganic pollutants. It is disgusting beyond measure, and seems a particularly ignoble way to die. But the Force is with them, god knows why, since they're all garbage. And like garbage at the edge of the tide, they are eventually deposited roughly on another roof/floor of another dead building, while the water begins to subside as quickly as it rose. Hey! They're actually not far from where that transaction was supposed to take place! And an individual choosing a smarter path may already have found her way there... only to discover no trace of the seller. And discovering these soggy messes instead. What a joke!
Coughing up what is essentially dirtier sewage, Tarion rolls around in the third-hand filth like a fish out of water, crawling instinctively away from the edge. Primordial, he slops up onto all fours and then begins to stand, like a stop-motion film of something evolving out of the goo into a chimp and then abruptly stopping right there before making it to human. "What the krif was that? Hex, I told you not to flush the paper towels, THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS."
Hex hauls himself to all fours, lekku limp and sad, choking and coughing he makes his way /to/ the edge of their refuge. Cough cough choke BLUURRRGH, he proceeds to vomit over the edge, breathing heavily and hating life. "You're the one that always kriffin' clogs the refreshers!" he insists, before hacking up a loogie and spitting over the edge. "Ryma'at, I can't believe we're not dead. Where's that Dug and that Kushiban? Drowned? Aw, shit, I'm missing a gun."
"I hope so," Tarion replies, rocking back onto his heels and plopping soggily down on his arse, pulling the modified G8 into his lap and checking it over. "I mean, that little shit shot at me, and she was jealous of my hairlessness, I could tell. You don't get to be that level of mean without some racism, Hex, but I guess you know that."
Hex dry heaves a few more times, which is the only dry thing about him. Then he plops down opposite Tarion, checking his DL-54 hand cannon much as Tarion is checking the rifle. "Well if it makes you feel any better, I shot her boss... partner... friend... Dug." Then he looks up and frowns, "The hell do you mean, your /hairlessness/? You're hairy as shit. You've got hair coming out of your /face/. Every single day, thousands of sprouts of dead cells sprout themselves out of your /face/."
"Did you see how kriffin' hairy the little one is?" Tarion retorts, slamming a fresh powercell into his rifle and triggering something that causes the weapon to hiss and steam. "I met her one other time, she was very jealous of my perfect amount of hair. I get it, you aliens, you either have too much or not enough and humans strike the balance just so, it's fair."
"You're gonna blow that thing up in your face," Hex warns, stabbing a finger in Tarion's direction. "In your gross-ass dead-cell hairy horror forest that you call a FACE. Also I'm not the alien, you are. Humans aren't even from anywhere, you just take things somebody else had." He sighs, looking around but not getting up yet. "Where the hell are we, anyway? Did that flood eat our seller?"
"It's probably fine," Tarion waves off the concern, waving away some of the off-venting with his hand at the same time. "And yeah, we're the best species, that's how we take over everything and make it better. I thought there were bombs down here."
"Just don't fire it, ok ka," Hex grumbles. "Not for a while. If you lose both your hands we're still making you mop in order to get new ones." He hauls himself up to his feet, armor soggy and dripping, irritably shaking water droplets off his lekku. "Let's go see if there's even anything left to buy." He trudges off, down off one building and then up the staircase of another one, adjusting his light and calling out into the darkness, "HEY ASSHOLE!"
Who else is here? Kasia is here! Not here, here, but nearby, and getting closer. Also, she's dry, remarkably dry and looking far too clean to be down here. She carefully manuvers around puddles, and gross looking things, and dangerous looking things, until she's near enough to speak without shouting. "There wasn't anything there," she informs the two drowned rats, then adds, "You're both going to have to take showers before you touch... anything, either at home, or in the hangar. Also you might need to burn these clothes."
"As long as you get me one of those 'bite-grip' things for the mop," Tarion replies, perhaps inventing a new device in his head, before Hex starts heading off again. A new voice speaks from nearby, and the bounty hunter whirls toward it, rifle in hand, spinning a few drops of gross dirtier-sewage off into the air towards Kasia. DODGE RAM. "I'm not burning shit, this armor is expensive, Kasia," he fires back at her, not even questioning how she showed up or what she's doing there. Then his brow furrows and he realizes that yes, he does do both of those things. "How did you get here? Hex, why isn't she dirty? I hate you, this is your fault, and there's no bombs." He starts stomping off toward the edge of the building, looking down at the street far below, back the way they came. "And my throwing knives are down there! What am I going to throw now?"
"Kasia?" Hex's lekku spasm with annoyance. "What do you mean there wasn't anything there? There's a guy selling explosives there! Unless Mujiji got there first, which since I saw her getting flooded into the distance, I doubt that... What the shit!" Frustrated, his lekku spasm in annoyance again. "There's no bombs!" he echoes Tarion, and then glares at his employee's back. "Ay, I can kick your dumb ass over that edge if you want, and you can go look for them. I lost a pistol somewhere in that mess too." He looks back to Kasia. "I take it you didn't find the flash flood. You want a hug?"
"I mean no one was there, I was there and there wasn't anyone, or any bombs, or anything," Kasia replies, not explaining how she looks so clean. She glances toward Tarion as he complains about his knives, but she doesn't comment on that, instead she looks back to Hex. "I think if you hug me now, that's grounds for divorce. So, you know, don't do that."
"Do it Hex, make her prove her love," Tarion advises, plopping dejectedly down on the edge of the building and staring with longing eyes down at the faint glimmer of his throwing knives. "I miss you, my serrated little adopted babies," he whispers, tearing up a little.
"Baby. Baby, why you gotta treat me so unkind?" Hex asks Kasia, advancing on her with arms open wide, ready to capture her in a hug that smells like dead things and evil. "Come here. Let me hug you. It's been a rough day, ok ka, I need a hug. He steps forward and tries to capture her... but she's known him for years, now, and she's not fooled, and escapes handily. Hex sighs, dejected. "Tavers," he says, "I'm gonna have to hug you instead."
Nope. NOPE. Kasia sees the hug coming a mile off and is not letting Hex anywhere near her. "Because you smell terrible, Hex," she points out on the question of her unkind treatment. "And you're wet, and filthy, that's why. If you bathe, I'll hug you again, until then, Tavers is probably going to be your only source of comfort. He looks like he needs some comfort, anyway."
"No, hug your wife, keep away from me," Tarion forestalls, scooting closer on his butt towards the edge so that if a hug gets too close he can throw them both to their deaths.
Hex edges toward huggly snuggly Tavers, but changes direction at the last moment, to -- fail to capture Kasia again. Twice. Twice in a row! "Why am I slow?" Hex whines, having been defeated by both running and I Capture the Kasia today. He could be slow because he's actively avoided exercise for a year and generally makes everybody else do that instead, but this clearly hasn't occurred to him. Somewhere over the whining of the boys, however, Kasia can hear something -- faintly, but audible the sound of a person, someone talking or singing.
Kasia isn't falling for that! She wasn't born yesterday, and she knows Hex well enough to expect a second attack. "I told you, no hugs! Unless you can find a way to clean up properly down here, by MY standards, you get no hugs until you scrub off at least two layers of skin." She's about to say something more, but pauses, holding a hand up to try and silence the complainy boys. "Hey," her voice is softer now. "Someone is coming."
"It's probably just one of the local shit-lickers," Tarion posits, tugging his feet back from the ledge and standing up on the precipice, briefly windmilling his arms like he might lose his balance and fall. But they're not that lucky and he doesn't, just turns to grin at them smugly instead. A hand skims down, squeegee-like, over his arm, and he flicks some of it at the pretty lady. "Let's go find our bombs."
Hex frowns, and listens, but he doesn't hear anything, because like Tarion, he is garbage. "What? I don't hear anything," he frowns, "But if you do, that might be our guy, and maybe something good will come of this after all. Lead the way," he gestures. But this is the Undercity, and 'the way' is never clear or easy. There is a rickety old staircase leading in the proper direction, down down down, and it looks like it's good enough to traverse. But as they travel, the last couple of steps crumble beneath Kasia, and dump her unceremoniously into something that might as well be a swimming pool. It looks like it used to be a catchment tank, sometime in the distant past, but now it's just a reservoir of filth and misery. "Kasia! Nonna!" Hex shouts in alarm, and several curious, friendly eel-type creatures with no teeth and no eyes begin to gum at her in greeting.
"It's not," Kasia informs Tarion, glaring at him as he flings gunk her way, but it misses. Ha! Still clean, bitch. STILL CLEAN. She leads the way when Hex asks her to, carefully watching how close her gunky hubby gets to her all the while. "This way." This way, that includes those stairs. She's been so careful, but that attempt at caution fails her now, as the stairs crumble beneath her feet and she falls. There's momentary yelp as the ground goes out from beneath her, and then splorsh. Not just sploosh, or splash, splorsh because it's full of gunk, and grime, and nightmares, and also eels. This is the worst place in the world and she's never coming back here again, if she makes it out of this alive. She breaks the surface of the muck flailing, gagging, and shouting, "There's something in here!" Or she tries to shout that, it's a bit burbly, but no less frantic.
"Kasia! Kasia, babe, hold on," Hex says with alarm, like repeating her name is going to make her magically freed of the muck. Unlike Tarion, he jumps INTO the catchment tank with a slightly more massive SPLORSH of his own, and begins attempting to hoist Kasia out. The eels visit him as well, and he tucks his lekku up out of their grasp while informing Kasia, "I think I could eat those."
Meanwhile, they shortly discover themselves not alone, as a lantern lights in the shell of a nearby 'building'. Backlit, a scraggly human-ish figure greets in a high, reedy male voice, "Have you come about the explosives?"
This is really traumatic, guys. Kasia is completely horrified at being this disgusting, and then being gummed on by overly friendly eels. She's already gagging when Hex jumps into the muck with her, and she does so again as he suggests he could eat the eels. "N--" Gack. Hork. Blerg. "NO." She reaches for Hex now, though, apparently way more willing to hug him now. "Don't eat them. They've been in this. It's disgu--" There's more gagging. "Disgusting." Now that the immediate fear of being murdered by things in the pool has passed, she looks around for where the edge of the tank is, and points Hex in that direction.
"Well, I suppose I have," Tarion answers mysteriously, with a demure smile on his face as he leaves his flailing bosses behind to approach the building on his own, rifle held cross-body, thoroughly drenched in shitwater and with his hair sticking haphazardly in every direction, a new brand of hair-styling paste just waiting to be born from whatever is in that goo. "I'm here to make the deal."
Hex and Kasia are not small people. Neither of them. It's part of their charm! But eventually Hex does manage to give Kasia a boost out, if only baaaarely, and with renewed splorshing, she'll be able to get free of the eel muck. "Tarion, wait!" Hex calls out, cleeeearly trying to get more than his share of the deal LIKE ALWAYS, but he's in no position to enforce that. The reedy man inside the building nods once, twice, three times, and beckons for TT to follow him inside the depths of the structure. "Very good. Very very good! My master will be happy. This way please."
This is terrible, Kasia is never going to be clean again. It's going to take fire, or acid, or fire and acid to kill all of the gross that's coating her right now. They make their way to the edge and Hex helps to push her out, which isn't easy, she's not small, and she's also currently slippery, but after some effort, and slipping, and awkwardness, she's up and out of the tank. Oof. Now she's on the disgusting ground, and she doesn't even seem to mind it, because she's the one actually getting the ground dirty right now, rather than the other way around. "I'm never coming back here." She says this like every time she visits, and remains totally oblivious to the fact that TT is about to buy explosives. Maybe she'll use those to clean herself off.
Tarion follows blithely into the building, his Hunter senses telling him... nothing, he has no hunter senses, he's just a paranoid bastard. Not today, though, because there's a deal to be made and he's totally focused on that instead. "Your master, huh? Some kinda bomb nut? I like that, you seem like good people." He doesn't wait.
Hex watches Tarion disappear into the house and sighs, finally hauling himself out of the disgusting catchment tank. He sighs again, stands there dripping, looking at the rickety closed door. "I need about eleven thousand cigarettes," he announces, and then just waits for Tarion to come out, rich with bombs.
Inside the house, the reedy man giggles. "Yes, yes," he agrees. "The master loves fire. Cleansing fire." He pushes something that looks like a lightswitch button, but no lights go on, and then one room later, they arrive. As promised, all the bombs are there... set up... ready to go off. Something's beeping, though without an actual numerical countdown. "Come with me to meet the master," the sickly little human man smiles. "Come into the cleansing fire."
"You need a shower," Kasia corrects him, not bothering to get up. Where did Tarion go? Who even knows, she doesn't. "Hex, why do you love this place so much? There are so many other places to go, and we always come here. Always. Why?" This is probably the sort of thing she should have asked before that whole marriage business, and the kid business too, but there were all these feelings that she just went with instead.
"What, is this some kind of bomb-cult shit?" Tarion asks, confused, squinting at the weird guy who's just lead him to his doom. "What're you guys called, I could get into that." But wait. Wait, oh shit, the bombs, they're counting down. "Wait. Wait a second. You asshole, I can't buy them like this, they're-" Realization, and Tarion's eyes narrow, his jaw sets, his rifle pops up into his shoulder, and he squeezes the trigger, blasting the dude straight in the face. "What a bargain," he mutters frustratedly, making his way over to the ticking timer and crouching down in front of it to examine the device.
Tarion Tavers is many things, but 'good at making decisions' is not one of them, so he decides that the obvious choice here is to defuse the bombs and boom, free bombs. There's a confusing array of wires and circuit boards, and not a lot of indication of how much work he has, so "I'm guessing not a lot," he whispers, staring intently and beginning to carefully trace leads back to their sources with his fingers. It's very delicate work, very touch and go, very gentle, very touch an- something arcs. Something sizzles. Something.... explodes.
The hunter is thrown bodily across the room, in the epicenter of the blast, knocked careening sideways by a secondary charge behind him. The gout of flame shoots up through the small building, sky-high, and the walls are immediately perforated by ripping waves of energy that send duracrete bricks flying in every direction.
Tarion's armor is a custom set of extremely expensive, high quality plates and fibers, and only that paranoid commitment to his own protection saves him from instantly being cooked and ripped to shreds. Even so, it's not a pretty picture, and the broken man is buried under a mound of rubble and dust, bleeding and unconscious.
"Because it's the only place to buy stolen explosives, Kasia!" Hex irritably answers his wife. "I don't love the Undercity either, nobody does, but I can't get this stuff at the CoreStar bazaar. The price was beyond belief." Yeah, why would that be? Certainly wouldn't be a trap or anything? Before their argument can really get going, however.... BOOM. BOOM! BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM, the freak in the house finds his Cleansing Fire, when Tarion makes an unfortunate mistake in the process of disabling demolitions. The cultist has kicked it, Tarion's managed to escape through paranoia and a partial burial, and the pair outside gets cooked with a surprise burst of debris and fire. Hex has just enough time to yell "AAAAHHHH" about it, and then everything's over as suddenly as it started, with everybody a little or a lot worse off for the wear. "Kasia?" Hex gasps, and then breathes into the ringing, sudden silence, "Tarion?"
"There's that shop!" Kasia protests, prepared to get all into a huge fight over this, because that's what you do when you're annoyed. You irrationally pick fights with your spouse about it, or maybe somewhat rationally this time, because it's the undercity. Except then things go boom, and she doesn't really have any time to react before she's showered in fire, and debris. You know this is going to singe her hair, and you know what bacta doesn't fix? Hair. Some bitch is gonna get cut, but they're getting cut later, because she got whapped in the head by some flying, burning thing, and only manages to make a confused sound in response to Hex's call.
"Oh, gods. Ryma'at," Hex says, his own voice sounding muffled in the deafening ringing post-bomb. He kneels to check Kasia -- not good but she'll be okay -- and himself. Not good but he'll be okay. Burned. Bleeding. Both of them. Hex kisses Kasia's head, disgusting though it is with gunk and burned gunk and singed hair, then gets up with a hiss of pain to go towards the building and search for Tarion. "You better not have killed my favorite treacherous, heartless, assmunch!" he chokes out at the man they saw, or at fate, and then eventually spies a pair of boots, and begins excavating. "I wish," he coughs, "I really wish... Mujiji... found this cache first."