Log:Defiance Guild: Foe vs the Volcano
The short story: Everybody sweats, a lot, way too much. It's uncomfortable. Also there's a volcano.
The long story:
Hex is much smaller than usual. And bluer than usual, and little lines of light are rolling through his slightly flickery visage. It's holo Hex, travel size for your convenience! "--coordinates to Moehewa are in your navicomputer," tiny Hex is saying, smoking his tiny holo cigarette. Don't wookieepedia it, I made it up. But don't worry, here comes the HEXPOSITION, and a glowing holo map of Moehewa appears, a tropical jungle paradise of a moon orbiting an enormous blue gas giant of a planet.
Hex continues, "My sister Varanya and I are hauling people off Moe'uhane, the other moon here, but this one's up to you. There's a Marcan Herb grow operation out there in the jungle running with slave labor, and everything's gone to hell because the volcanos around it are erupting. The owners peaced out with the droids and equipment and left the slaves to die. But not if we can help it, ok ka? Go and get them. Try not to get, you know...." he gestures vaguely, "Natural disastered? Also all of the infrastructure is probably collapsing, and there's nowhere safe to land directly at the plantation anyway. You're gonna have to land on the beach and cross the jungle. Some of the wildlife might be kind of upset. Oh ka, and your ship instruments and some other tech might not work like how they normally do... and your jetpack might explode." Hex big shrugs. "Might! Might! I don't know. I've never been there. I have full confidence in you, ai'jouku. Try not to get distracted by the recreational drugs." There's an alarming BOOooooOoOOM in the background from wherever he is, and Hex thumbs up, and then disappears.
Just as he does, the bright starlight of hyperspace resolves into real space again, and the bright jewel of lovely, tropical Moehewa looms in the viewscreens, already marred by what might be clouds of ash.
UNTZ UNTZ UNTZ UNTZ. REDLIIII-IIIIIIIIIINE! DIRECTED BY TAKESH... ZHU YAN. Because when you want to bringing slaves out of Dire Peril, you wanted a gunship. Well, Zhu Yan wanted a gunship. He wasn't going to be flying there in a crate with engines strapped to it, HEX. So he sat in the cockpit of the ship, in the forward pilot's seat, half-armored up because honestly it was a Hex mission and Hex missions always tended to go pear-shaped so of course he made sure to be loaded for Grom. "Jetpack might explode," he grumbled out. "Sithspit. Last thing I need." He LIKED his jetpacks, this man.
The sensors were already playing up as he broke atmos to approach the beach. He'd flown the Redline every single day for nearly three years now. A little thing like zero sensors and zero navigational aids and zero ability to fly by anything other than vision wasn't going to stop him. Behind him, the crack on the copilot's secondary control panel grew larger. One of his monitors was saying 'IT WAS NICE KNOWING YOU'. The other was swearing in Rodian. But, with a thump and a whine, the ship touched down, and the complaining stopped as the power cut off. "E-Z mode."
"Are you smoking in the ship?" Kasia asks as she leans forward to peer at the tiny blue Hex, which probably looks amusing on Hex's end of things. She doesn't say anything more, but Hex will know there's going to be some ship inspection taking place when they get home, provided she survives this. The questions about smoking stop at that, though, and she settles back looking around at the trashfire they've got assembled here. "So I think it's pretty safe to say, Grom, no punching anyone off of anything this time. Okay? Unless you're punching to save their life, because otherwise they might fall into lava and we don't want that." She pauses, eyes Tarion for a moment. "We don't want that," she confirms.
Sajin wishes he was in his E-Wing flying along with the Redline because *Guitar Riff* He likes it in the danger zone. No really, he never gets to blow anything up with it. He is stuck in the common area of the red line though, watching the Hex-a-gram from behind his helmet. So no one could tell how hard he was crying on the inside and how much his plush lips were pouting with SADNESS. He didn't bring along his jet pack though because, well. He was still learning how to use it. As well as that Bowcaster.
This is a good time for Tarion to emerge from the refresher, shutting the door behind him and wiping his hands together. "I don't know what's going on down there, but uh... there's definitely been an eruption in the 'fresher. Sulphur and brimstone, don't go in there for, you know, a few days," the bounty hunter suggests, running damp fingers through his hair to freshen up his spikes. Hellll yeah. Leaning against the back of Yan's chair so as to look nonchalant while clutching desperately to avoid being tossed to the floor by the roughness of the descent to the beach, he peers out the viewport at the terrain ahead. "It's a shame Hex isn't here, this is the only beach we've been to that wouldn't offend his delicate sensibilities. No sunbathers." No nobody, from the looks of things. Collecting his rifle, he moves towards the exit ramp. "Do we know if the air is breathable? It's fine, I'm sure it's not worse than Nar Shaddaa." A careless grin for his coworkers.
Grom is choosing weapons. As much time is taken keeping the weapons from flying off the table during descent as is taken thinking; as a result, the Houk has once again chosen to bring all the weapons. He nods ponderously to Kasia. Of course. Slaves are not fat, OR worthy foes. Grom will punch no slaves into lava." It was a fair concern. "LET US BEGIN."
Rheisa's got her eyes closed as they go zipping over the water to land on this lil patch of dryness that isn't trees. She wishes she had her nose closed, too. THANKS, Tarion. When the ship settles and her eyes do pop open, she shoots a mildly concerned look Grom's way. "Yes..no punch." A shove out of her seat has her working quickly to strap on what few toys she's brought to the party.
Siha Archer is HERE. And has been. THE ENTIRE TIME. She's dressed in new-to-her Mandalorian Armor, all red and death looking, having not so recently left the Ebon Guard. BUT SHE'S STILL HERE. SHE STILL YO SIDECHICK. And she's eating from a paper bag, lengths of dried meat brightly flavored in red sauce drawn to her lips, t-visor helmet on her lap, chewing as she looks out one of the window ports with curiosity, her open mouthed chewing smacking softly through the air, "One of us gun die." She notes, Tarions filth floating in back through the way. Chew. Grey eyes flicker towards Grom, "I'mma punch at least one bit of lava. Can't get the hot stuff take you down." Noted, smartly, as she chewchewchews.
Tarion wasn't wrong, it's a nice beach! Hex would like this beach. 10/10 would fight with wife on this beach. However, it's a little worse for the wear at the moment; no surprise to Yan who had to fly through turbulent, debris-ridden, instrument-impairing atmosphere to get here. Wind is whipping the waves, sand, and trees; the sky should be sunny but it's clouded over with might be storm clouds, ash, or both. Tiny pebbles, not much bigger than sand, fall here and there around the group. The expanse of sand leads towards the trees, and hand-held navigation devices the group carries (if they choose to consult them) point uncertainly toward the northwest. Go that way. Maybe? It's awfully hot.
"He makes us land here, simply so I can't jet about everywhere," complained Yan, his grumbling becoming more modulated as he pulled his combat armor helmet down over his face. PROTECTION. No jetpack though. Sadface. He picked up his long-barreled repeater rifle and left the cockpit. Thump thump thump were his boots on the ramp, down he went behind the others, and immediately got nearly knocked over by a gust of wind. "See, I'd go into the ocean!" he complained, loudly, to everyone in audible range. Curse you Hex. A finger went under the compressed collar of his jacket, hidden under an armor plate. It was warm, even for him.
Kasia is decked out in trousers, boots, some kind of knit top* that might actually belong to Hex because her casual shirt was dirty and she had to borrow something at the last minute. She has a bag slung over her shoulder with some basic medical supplies and a few other things they might need, and a blaster on her hip. "Alright, please no one run off anywhere crazy, if you're going to, at least tell someone where you're going so if we have to rescue you, we know where to find you." She turns to follow Yan down the ramp, squint against the grit that's in the air, and then turn to head in the direction that their hand-held devices guide them. "This way, I guess?"
- The shirt advertises a defeated food challenge at a local Nar Shaddaa restaurant that she definitely didn't beat, but you know Hex would. Or it is another night market purchase.
Sajin looks over to Siha and stares from behind his helmet, gaze lowering to that bad of dried meat. His stomach grumbles and he groans. He put his helmet up too early, damn it. "Save some for me, Siha..." He whines ever so slightly through the voice modulator. "What kind of wildlife they got on this hell hole?" He asks about, unsure. He's got some insulation in that suit of his so maybe the heat starts to give him a bit of swamp ass as he moves out to follow Kasia, keeping a hawkish eye out on their surrounding.
"I AM RUNNING DOWN THE RAMP ONTO THE CRAZY BEACH," Tarion announces loudly in response to Kasia's instructions, the model employee, and then proceeds to run down the ramp onto the beach, chanting "Beach! Beach! Beach!" like a weirdo. The sand squishes beneath his boots, all sand-like, and it's weird, this is a weird place. "It's hot," he immediately observes in a whiny voice. "It smells bad, I don't like it. I think this is hazardous to my health, breathing this air, I think I need danger pay." Tromping ahead without waiting for the others in a vaguely northwest direction by total accident, he continues to complain. "Why isn't Hex here if he's so into this slave thing, huh? I don't see him breathing this smoke, and he LIKES breathing smoke, 'it is my one pleasure in life aijooku, the one joy Kasia has not forbidden me, ok ka, because she wants me to die young and set her free, leotarda'," he rambles, in his best Hex imitation, and the accent and phrasing are spot on.
Grom rumbles in a self-satisfied manner to Rheisa, "No punch //slaves//. Grom made no other promise." His whisper is clearly audible to all in the chamber, and probably Yan in the cockpit, before the Houk trudges down the ramp, axe in one hand, massively oversized rifle (or is it a reasonably sized artillery piece?) in the other. Siha gets a knowing smile and quiet, conspiratorial (great, booming) laugh. Upon setting foot to the volcanic jungle wasteland outside, he declares to the world, "GROM IS HERE." The high temperatures and foul vapors in the air somehow making the big reptile MORE cheerful. He isn't consulting any hand held device unless Kasia needs to be picked up, so 'this way' he goes! Sajin's query about wildlife is answered helpfully, "The ROASTED kind." A low rolling chuckle rewards Tarion's Hexasperation.
Is bad omen. Rheisa's expression darkens as much as the skies as her upstretched hand lowers to inspect the smudges of ash collecting on her fingertips. Volcanoes aren't something she's encountered really. A dubious look goes to the strange cloud overhead and she mutterwhines some native curse. Then, because she's beyond tactile, she slips a little bit of the ash into her mouth for a taste. Yup. Burned stuff confirmed. Either it's the biggest funeral pyre she'd ever dream possible, or the gods of this land are up to no good. Rheisa stalks along in silence, her feet falling neatly into the footprints Kasia lays down through the sand. Her nervous eyes flicks around spastically to keep track of everyone and thing that does or does not move, trying to makeup for the noisy, blustery wind f*king with her own 'special instruments'. It's like being a helpless tot again, reliant upon just those 5 senses. Tarion's remarkable imitation and mockery of their green leader DOES break through her *DOOOOM* barrier of nerves, though, and she lets just one immature snickeringsnort go.
"HA HA." That's Siha. Crowing in delight at Groms 'THE ROASTED KIND', a bunch of jerky stuffed into her mouth and pressed into her cheeks chipmunk style, the rest folded in the bag and stuffed behind her right breast plate, a hand coming up to thumbs up to Sajin. She got you, boo. Patting her plate thrice she slings up her helmet and plops it onto her head, hair braided back so it goes on nice and easy. Thunk. Twist. Ahhh. Filtered air. "Aren't, like. Lavas spews and all that supposed to be toxic? Ya'll gon die." Still chewing from behind the helmet her voice is garbled beyond the modulator gobblering. Then she's gonna loot ya'll. Respectfully, of course. After she saves some slaves. Off she goes into the sand, hearing the whinging of Tarion and planting hands on her hips, a sword to one, a blaster to the other, drawing in an even deeper breathe of air, the heat sinking deep into her bones. It is SO NICE to be off Nar Shaddaa and its PILES of rain, doom and gloom. And cold, "YOU GUYS ARE TOO SLOW." DART. "I'M RUNNING THIS WAY, KASIA." The direction Kas was going. But ~faster~.
Maybe Rheisa isn't so wrong to worry. The gods of Moehewa seem angry, the skies growing darker as though the arrival of this little flea of a spacecraft has angered them even further. As the orderly crew of Defiance shambles onto the beach and deals in a mature and adult fashion with the oppressive tropical heat, a deeply ominous, rumbling thunder of a noise rolls through their bones. But it's not thunder, it's heralding chunks of black rock flying through the air from a source unknown... maybe a long way away? RUN RUN RUN would be great advice, and they do, but Yan, Grom, Siha, and Rheisa get struck by rocks despite their best efforts. Maybe it's safer in the trees! Or maybe you should have listened to your parents instead of becoming the kind of loser that joins Defiance. You could have been a space accountant. (not you Grom)
WHUNK! "JEEZ LOUISE WHAT THE FRACK!" A rock had been dislodged from somewhere above Zhu Yan and clocked him right in the helmet during his mad dash away from the source of chaos. Thankfully, the only thing he had to show for it was another scratch to the paint and a little bit of whiplash as his head tilted awkwardly without his input. "This would never have happened if it wasn't windy! Please tell me we're going the right way!" Because Yan, despite being an expert navigator, had all the directional sense of that green-haired guy from the pirate anime.
They're running now, running over sand, which is really the worst kind of running there is because it shifts and you wobble, and also sand is kicked up into your face when there are people who're faster than you, and into your boots. Basically everywhere. Kasia hates this, and with each step she's compiling a list of things to complain to Hex about once they're together again. Though she isn't hit, she sees a falling rock and cringes away from it, steering her to the side so that she bumps into Grom. "Sorry," she wheezes out, and then looks down at the device she holds. "Y--" HUFF. "Yes. This way." She points with the device holding hand.
Sajin runs, and runs, and runs just like Forest Gump did. He doesn't stop and he's really really good at it. The power armor helped of course but it looks like he' had a lot of practice when he was living on a the streets as a poor Merc does. He looks over his shoulder only once to see Siha get hit by the blasting lava rocks. "Noooo... SEE-HAW." *Like Forest would say Jen-nay* He laments and turns back around to make sure she's alright. He did feel really bad from last time still.
Tarion may not be that much good for anything, but he has a strange manner of efficiency about him, a certain lucky incompetence that carries him through most situations with inexplicable ease and only seems to give way when it really matters, like defusing a whole room full of bombs, for instance, but for now the stakes are low and he's swanning along, running through the sand and wondering aloud "I bet this is great for your buns and thighs," trying to ignore the ache in the knee ol' Gump 2.0 gave him last week. He's not really trying to dodge or escape anything, it's just happening as he goes merrily on his way towards the treeline.
Grom trudges along through the fiery jungle, cheerfully dismissive of the branches he runs through, and the rain of dust and ash from above. At one point a volcanic rock falls from the sky and strikes him, prompting another great laugh, shared with Kasia when she bumps into him. "HA! Burning mountain CHEERS for us!" Definitely not space accountant material.
That's no rain...Rheisa breaks into a swifter trot, angling toward the trees once she sees what's *thwack*ing into the sand all around them. Her right leg is still a bit of a bum, but with a good, sturdy circulatory system now, anything is possible! She's feeling strong and pumps those arms and legs like -- "Yi!" she yelps as one of those BIG pebbles finds her left headtail, then another strikes a thigh and over she stumbles. Much sand. Sandburn. Growling and spitting when she comes up, she screams a request at her other huffing and puffing comrades, against the deity's roar. "Trrrrrreeeeeeeeeeees!"
THUMP. Siha's hit with a rock square in her right shoulder, RIGHT where the armor isn't, so it sinks in with a sizzle, Siha getting a burn. A BURN. A small burn. BUT SHE HIT. "Brambleberry clumbermitch!" Yelped, left hand swinging up to clutch her shoulder as her pace slows down just enough to let her check how bad it is, "TREES CATCH FIRE, YOU ROCK BRAINED - Oh hey, Saj. No, it cool, just a burn. You can kiss it better later - TREE FIRES ARE NOT COOL, RHEISA. FOREST FIRES?! RING ANY BELLS?" From yelling, to sweet, to yelling again, Siha continuing to run, this time following Kasia's lead.
The intrepid heroes run into the shelter of the trees, and things seem a little safer here -- those baseball size rocks aren't coming down quite so badly under the cover of the trees, though when the boulder size rocks come (Moehewa is SUPER cheering then!), said trees might be a liability. Many of the trees are slender with long, weeping fronds that reach almost to the ground, and others tower unbelievably tall with almost no outward branches at all until a perfect, flat canopy. Still others seem built for climbing, with thick, gnarled branches heavy-laden with vines. Everything is covered with a light layer of ash, turning what must be a jewel-box of bright tropical colors into dull sameness, but it's still a striking environment. Unlike most places Hex sends the crew, this one actually seems to have a path, something like a very old, overgrown service road, but still passable, leading from the beach into the jungle.
Stumbling down the path is a young, pretty Twi'lek woman, golden in color, appearing a little older than she should due to long exposure to sun and hard work. She collapses to her knees, apparently heedless of the visitors, and it's clear that she's been wounded. Not from rocks or smoke though, that's a blaster injury.
TELL ME ABOUT ZHU YAN! WHY DOES HE WEAR THE JACKET! Well, it's mainly to deal with the crippling cold that he experienced anywhere that wasn't his home planet, Tatooine, or hotter. But this, well, Zhu Yan had kiiiiiinda overdone it now. He was an awkward amount of sweaty. Maybe he should have left the jacket at home. He smelt like sweat, body odour, and mistakes.
"Seriously!" he continued complaining heedless of all the chaos going on. "The one place he sends us that is actually out to kill us! With the wind and the rocks and the heat, oy!" Yan, turn around. "Honestly he wouldn't last two seconds out here so he sends us to do his dirty work!" Turn around. "It really, really grinds my gears!" he protested, waving an arm around and sending a wave of smell at everyone. YAN TURN AROUND. Ugh, not listening to the narrator again. Screw it. I'm gonna go write Q poses. Y'all have fun with this idiot.
Kasia trudges onward, gradually falling behind a little more, and then a little more. She doesn't run for fun, or to work out, or basically ever unless they're out doing things like this, which means that her stamina is a little bit lacking. "Hey," HUFF PUFF, she doesn't say what she's saying hey about, but just points at the Twi'lek who is ahead of them. She doesn't say as much, but is quietly grateful for the reason to stop so maybe she can catch her breath, at least for a minute or two.
Sajin was starting to chafe between the legs. His suit had some filtered air but he never had any kind of climate control other than the insulation installed. He should see about that when he sees Skye next. So now he's running, trying to keep that gap open between his thighs, like he's got a big old stinky shit sticking out and ready to drop. "Uhg..." He groans, but it's not stopping him from keeping up with the others. Suddenly, sexy alien chick. He stops and straightens up.
"It's hot," Tarion observes again, panting as he runs along through the trees, and when the Twi'lek lady emerges, he barely sees her on account of the spots that have begun to dance in his vision. He's dehydrated, having come here after sleeping off a bender in a gutter this afternoon and only having had alcoholic beverages since, which he pissed out on the ship. He's stopped sweating, but his armor is soaked. When his eyes finally register that there's a 'sexy alien chick,' it gives him a good excuse to collapse to his knees in front of her. This is basically exactly what his bum knee needs right now. "She's hurt! Who are you, hurt girl?" Blinking repeatedly, he reaches out towards her wound to inspect it, not actually touching her, just creepily hovering a hand in her personal space. "She's been hit by a rock or something!" he calls to his friends, turning to look over his shoulder. It's definitely not that. "She's probably fine though, she looks... fine, this will heal on its own, don't even worry about it." Turning back to the woman, he gives her a loopy wink and adds, "But don't worry, I can still rub you up with bacta just to be safe."
Grom continues his merry jog through the jungle, toward whatever settlement of slaves lies ahead. The vibro-ax in his left hand stirs side to side rhythmically, as if conducting some music only he can hear. Well, those near him can half hear it as Grom is humming along. Ooh, a slave with a battle wound! "Show Grom the foe!" he asks Kasia excitedly. "SHOW GROM THE FOE."
"Are not on fire NOW!!!" Rheisa yells back, unaware that lava might be a thing, creeping along somewhere in that jungley foliage. And in she goes. Her whole everything is presently stippled with warm, toasty sand that sticks to the full body sweat. Has she got armor? Nope. A ton of protective clothes? Nope. Helmet? Hell naw. Hair? Hahahahno. Heat doesn't seem to be bothering her as much as the solid precipitates pelting the beach. Even if the bottoms of her calloused feet are getting a little red.der.
But the forest? It's a whole new sensation. The volcanic rain becomes just background noise as she taps in to the rhythm of life that is here, some unseen. The forest is alive - wounded, but alive. Fear, urgency, anticipation...she feels it in the movements flitting through the trees and under their very feet. "The children of Moehewa are running," she cautions lowly, continuing to creep until she's almost ON Tarion's back. "...and Tarion should not eat that lunch again." Warning, dying slave girl, warning! She reaches out to lightly touch the Twi'lek girl on the arm and looks around to the one adult on this adventure, assuming she hasn't collapsed. "Medpack?"
"Oh my goddesses, my vagina is dripping buckets of sweat, seriously. This is just ...just the worst day ever. Why can't we go to places that like ..are cold. I can do bloody- hey. Yeah, blaster wound." Siha breathes out through her modulator voice thinger-doo, the Mandalorian coming to a stop as she speaks to Tarion, one hand on the back of her hip, the other hanging loosely at her side as her head is craned back, "Oh man." Flop, the drops forwards, both hands slapping down to her thighs, "IT'S TOO DAMN HOT. Fecking freckle dusters, okay -- Turdion ..treat the soon to be turned dancer, I'mma ..I'mma .." She gun keep going. Yep, she nods once. Twice. Thrice, then forces herself up, doing a lame shuffling run towards the encampment, sword drawn from her side in one hand, her free hand snagging a medpack from a hip pocket to toss it back at Rheisa, or the ground -somewhere-. Okay. A shuffling wiggle here, another there of her hips, the sweat running down every inch of her body becoming uncomfortable, "I'm comin', and not in a -that's-what-she-said kinda way, though kinda, since I said - oh - said it." Jog-shuffle-jog. Here she comes. She'll hum along with Grom, off-key, but it's there, keeping her going. Defiance Theme Song. It's the jaws song, right? Totes. It is. The trip back on the ship is gonna stink to high heaven.
"Oh please it's not that bad. You are all babies," said Zhu Yan tactfully, despite sweating up a storm and complaining his brain off he didn't seem to actually be suffering all that much. Maybe he was just complaining for the sake of it. He turned to Grom and said, "Not you, you're doing good, big fella." He winked, but it was completely hidden behind the helmet. Good work Yan.
It was only now that he noticed that they had company. Obliviousness, thy name is Hal Seiser. "A sacrifice? Oh, easy. Tarion. You're up." Because Tarion destroyed the refresher. It may have been disproportionate, but it was still revenge!
Kasia slows to a stop near the woman, straining to listen over the sound of her own labored breath. She doesn't hear it ALL, but she catches enough of what is said before the woman falls over dead. "Sacrifice someone?" she asks, having bent over at some point while trying to breathe, though she does gradually right herself. "We're not going to sacrifice anyone in this group, Yan, so get that out of your head." She sounds pretty firm on that, she eyes the woman for a moment, frowns a touch, and then turns back to the path. "Alright, we're supposed to go this way. I hate to leave her, but we don't have the time to dig her a grave, and we can't take her with us." She mutters some sort of prayer, it might be something she's heard Hex say before, it might be something else, it's spoken in a different language and uttered quietly enough it's hard to pick up. Then she turns to leave the dead Twi'lek on the ground to start down the path. She doesn't charge, but she doesn't tell anyone not to charge, she did set the no charge rule earlier, but rules are easily forgotten among this group, and also easily broken. DO AS YE WILL.
"Dude." Sajin says slapping Tarion on the back with a hearty chuckle. "Now's your chance. She wants a sacrifice. You know..." He could be winking but his helmet is up on and so the context just isn't there. He looks back to Siha and stares at her. "Baby, If I knew you could get excited that easily..." He moves to help her though, because he's a good guy. "Take it easy huh. Maybe take a depressant or something." He knows nothing about treating injuries. He's just the worst. "Let's get her mob-... huh?" A little bit more of a serious statement but it's the confusion at the end where Kasia is okay at leaving this hot ass BITH to die. OH well. Sajin shrugs and stands moving along.
When the Twi'lek woman collapses, Tarion just kind of stares at her for a moment before gesturing to Yan, nodding at her body. "Do you think it's too late to... you know. Fix her up and get a bonus for a pretty one." Yes it is. "I guess we better get going then! Krif, she's kinda cute. I hate to leave her here like this, but... what're you gonna do?" He's getting back up, and being an impatient asshole who's tired of being hot, he runs down the path, completely ignoring the no-charge rule. His datapad is fully charged, he doesn't need to charge it, he's just running here. "Let's head down here at speed!" he calls to his friends without a care in the world, running his dry tongue over his dry teeth.
Grom starts down the path toward battle and doom with great enthusiasm (it is totally the Jaws theme). Ax in one hand, giant rifle in the other, Moehewa, get your cheering stones ready, here comes Grom...
"N'yihl tunguma. Ge ahnu meh'ta." When the others trudge (or charge) along, Rheisa lingers behind just a little bit with the dead woman. She gently nudges and tucks her off the path and folds her limbs into a fetal-ish position, then picks a couple random leaves to place over her eyes that (SURPRISE) didn't magically close when deceased. "Ge vee tah," she touches the golden brow with her own and stiffly stands with a worried look around. RHEISA takes superstitious talk seriously. She looks at what few belongings she's brought along and decides to empty out her lil canteen upon the warming ground, followed by some meat aaaand....a tooth she pulls from her headdress. The solid items are buried in a lil mound of wet left by the water and kissed before she, too, makes fast tracks to catch up.
Siha Archer is sacrificing her armor. Literally. The heat is cooking her good, and like a bad Mandalorian (no one ever said she was good), she's slowly stripping out of her armor, "MOESZYSLAKOWENA-" Siha begins, loudly, from within the confines of the helmet that is cooking her brain, "I GIVE YOU ME." Well. The essence of her. Which is her armor. Because she aint' shit without it. Each plate is peeled off, her katana tucked under one arm, blaster under the other, plates falling to the sand as she gives them a toss down. Soon, everything on her body is off, and she unzips the flightsuit under it, peeling it off, stripping out from it, sweaty, nakey body, sans a pair of green socks, stepped out of, though the socks are soon nudged out as well. Oh man. This feels so good, if only because she's not cooking alive anymore. Her sword is stabbed into the sand, blaster dropped, so both hands can lift up and yank off her helmet, her hair, in this heat and humidity, fluffed up into a riotous mass of curls which match the drapes, hair wild, body flat and curveless but very muscled and scarred to shit, her toes curling into the sand, "Ah shit I am so dying here but I'm free!" YELLED OUT. Her hands lifting up, pits also free and wild, "AHAHHA. AND I'M GONNA SACRIFICE ALL THE SLAVERS." She's gonna slay. Nakay. SCHWING. The sword is snagged from the sand as she readies herself for the ultimate battle.
Down the road the go! Man, there's a road, how bomb is that. There's never a road when Hex sends you anywhere. Granted, there are cracks in the road, and most of them are emitting a very worrisome looking steam that smells like sulfur and stings the nose, for those unhelmeted. You'll get lightheaded if you huff it too long, so, clearly you can do whip-its off the volcano. Wait, no, don't do that. With an unprecedented stroke of 'that jungle didn't suck as much as it usually does,' the road turns and off in the distance they can see... civilization! Well, not really, but they can see infrastructure up ahead, and a place where swaths of jungle have been cleared away to grow tall, leafy Marcan Herb plants. There is a fence with electric wire, its gate shut, but surely that won't be hard to just throw Grom at it or something, right? This going to be a piece of --
NO IT'S NOT. There is something wrong... with... the ground. It looked like just a sandy patch, but that dark black sand turns out to be something far, far worse as Grom, Tarion, and Yan sink right into it up to their hips. They're immobilized, and the earth around them is intensely, worryingly hot. Sajin and Kasia seem like they might make it past to the other side of the obstacle, but it'll be a fight, as though the evil black quicksand is trying to draw them back. For a moment Rheisa seems stuck to around knee level... but with an odd stroke of luck, she seems to get free too. Siha just scampers across like a bad bitch.
"Sithspit!" was Yan's cry of something resembling pain, frustration, and just all around why-me. "I should have worn my jetpack anyway!" Mistakes have been made! He thrashed about, having never experiencing sand that moved at such speeds before, and wound up sinking even further. "I don't want to be the sacrifice! Take Tarion! Take Sajin! Take Kasia!"
Kasia might not be tiny, but she's apparently light enough on her feet, and maybe just lucky enough, that she manages to make it across that whole sand trap without sinking. Once she's on what feels like solid ground she turns to look back at the others, frowning and looking over to Sajin. "Do we have rope? We might need some rope." She spots Siha and her bareass prance across the sand, but there's really more pressing matters to deal with, so she turns her focus back to the sunken cohorts. "Sajin, can you get close enough to pull them out?"
Sajin stares, he just stares as sweaty nakey Siha. "Why... what?" He's just mumbling incoherently now. He was waking all the while, wataching Siha's booty as they moves and then he stopped. Of course this wasn't of his own doing. He looks down at the goop and then to the others who seem stick. "Take me, why me? Yan, you've a jet pack. USE YOUR JET PACK." Who's Stupid and not sexy? YAN. That's who. He looks up the the sky and sights, reaching out for a loose branch to break off and help someone out, cuz he's a good dude like that. "Yeah trying."
So this is how it ends, sinking into black sand that's like, totally not just regular sand. Eaten by the ground. "Now look, Moewawa," Tarion begins calmly, in his best haggling voice. "I didn't think you were real but I'm prepared to buy into it now, okay? That sacrifice deal is still on the table, yeah?" The bounty hunter unzips his armored jacket, shoulders his left arm out of it, reaches up into his armpit, and disconnects the cybernetic, tossing it out onto the sand in front of him. "This seems more than reasonable, I had to mop a lot of floors for this arm, okay, we're talking like... I don't know, at least three times, it was a lot," he explains, looking around expectantly. "So, like... 'Receive my sacrifice,' or... whatever it is I say to make you let me go."
"Stupid ground has BETRAYED Grom!" the Houk bellows, indignant. "Burning mountain! Send your cheering stones, so Grom may step across fail ground and slaughter the enemy!" he yells at the distant volcano. To those ahead, he complains, "Grom needs a tree!" The suddenly naked Siha is called to, "Cut down and throw Grom a tree, she who would make a tiny but passable reptile, if not for hair and skin!" The nickname might need some editing, at some point.
Rheisa's on the verge of copying Siha's apparently worthy 'sacrifice' when her legs are suddenly snared by the same sucky muck as the rest of the crew, but just when some more of her hard-won treasures are being tossed off'n'out like desperate buy-ins at a poker game, her left leg gets regurgitated with a yucky *SQUELCH*, followed by the right and she scrabbles away. Tarion's claim that her inbred kind run about in the nude are not validated /this/ day!
Some other mean slurs might, though. "Can help!" the good 'gruta announces to her pack and hugs the nearest tree. It's a productive hug, one that lets her shimmy on up a ways, following the twisted climb of this mystery vine that may or may not haunt her good intentions for days. When she's ascended to guesstimated height/length required, she clings with toes, takes out her knife and...falls. Just a short slide, a little over a meter's drop, but it's enough to rake the hell out of her knees and belly. Grumbles can be heard amid all the rustling until she's cut and tugged, cut and tugged, and comes bumbling down out of the tree with vine in tow til they both whump onto the ground. Then she makes a run at the sandy pit and gives it a toss to the nearest person. Zhu!
Tarion drops his arm in the quicksand, and oddly enough... it seems easier to free himself from it, after he does that. It's just coincidence, right? There's no room in this galaxy for hokey religions and ancient weapons! Not that there are any ancient weapons here... just hokey religions. Efforts are made to free Yan with a vine -- successful -- and to free Grom with a tree... that might have been successful if the tree hadn't HIT Grom. But the bigger issue here is that those girls climbing the fence should have taken a better look first, maybe? BLINK. BLINK. Little red lights wink on, like sinister single eyes, as a security system comes online. Two turrets appear from the top of the fence, unseen before, and PEW PEW PEW PEW wildly at the group. Rheisa and Siha get the worst of it, but Tarion and Yan get a little dinged up too...
"Look at my back!" Yan cried out towards that beautifully dim bastard he called a cohort. "NO JETPACK." And it was the worst time not to have it as well! Augh! Oh well, it could have been worse. It could have exploded on him. Even he was starting to get a bit annoyed by how hot it was getting. And that wasn't taking into account that the ground was trying to EAT him. What a day.
"Okay cool I can use this, thank you, tree climbing person!" Yan exclaimed, in something resembling joy, as he wrapped an arm around the thrown vine. "I've been hanging out with you too much!" he bellowed at Grom, aware that he was starting to pick up on the Houk's distinctive speech patterns, as he pulled himself out of the hungry hungry sand. Maybe he was picking up the Houk's distinctive STRENGTH as well, since he was hoisting himself out with alacrity, without dropping any gear or guns! "It's just all Houkamania all the time these days!" Maybe he was going delirious. He was certainly babbling more than his normal talkative loon sense.
And then, just as he regained his footing and brushed himself off, he was shot.
Right in the gut.
"OOOOOOOOH BOY YA PLUM DONE GONE DAD GUM DID IT NOW, SON!" Up came the repeater rifle, click click went the charging lever, and WHUMPHWHUMPHWHUMPHWHUMPH went the barrel. Anger blocked out the pain from the blaster bolt that had left a nasty scorchmark on his armor plate, and the small droplets of blood leaking out. He might wanna get that checked.
With everyone getting help, or getting tree'd, Kasia steps back a little, looking around at the fence. She doesn't run off to climb it, instead trying to get a look through it. Except now it's shooting at people, and she's scrambling forward to try and look for cover. People are shooting back now, so she simply continues this tactic of not being the biggest threat for now.
Yan may not have his jet pack but Sajin was Hapan and blind as fuck sometimes. Though, not blind enough to not totally check out Nakey Siha as she ninja's around like a crazy hippy on bad acid at Woodstock. The shenanigans are too much as the tree comes crashing down and the turrets open up. One hits Siha bad and if this were one of Yan's cool Anime's, the red back ground would pop up and the eye sockets of his power armor would glint and evil red. "YOU DON'T TOUCh HER!" Said in a growl as he pulls his DL-44 and sends highly charged scarlet death in the turrets direction.
Tarion finds the sand giving way to release him once he's sacrificed his arm, but joke's on you, Moehanahunkaloogie, it's replaceable and he doesn't give a rip about it anyway. "AHA! YOU GOT A RAW DEAL, DIRT," the bounty hunter crows, dragging himself onto solid ground and whirling on the turret with his rifle to shoot a grenade out of it, yeah, a grenade. "SUCK MY SACRIFICE," he shouts towards the turret, because it seems appropriate as his explosive projectile goes boom against it. "Who's hit? I'll save you for a bonus!"
"YES, barely mammal!" Grom roars in approval of Siha's tree work. "A fine cut, it could not come more directly to Grom if you had- uh oh.." Yes, the tree lands directly on top of Grom, obscuring the Houk from sight and driving him under the surface of the quicksand with a plop of asphalt. HA HA stupid lasers! You cannot hit he who is buried!
Alas, Grom is gone, with only the ripples of tree impact in the false ground remaining. And so it seems to remain for several long moments. Over a minute later, a bony crest and pair of eyes bubble up at the edge of the solid ground, followed gradually by 1 (one!) King of Fale, wearing approximately a quarter ton of muck and ichor. "Tree... is bad hat."
With heels dug into the less smushy earth to be Zhu's anchor while he hauls himself out, Rheisa is thankful to be free and clear of that tree falling over there! May have cost her some skin - and are her palms tingling or is that imaginary?? - but good deed's done and Rheisa's feeling the karma. Good vibes, flowin up out of the cantankerous ground they've trespassed, acceptance from the spirit mother that dwells here in this forest...
Until she's not.
The explosive turret rounds catch her tremendously off guard and the vine hasn't even dropped from her hands before the first blast cuts through her right thigh, which knocks her off axis as she crumples, puting more of her body in that line of fire. A couple more punches of heat reduce her to this pile of steaming meat she is now, writhing on the ground, making gurgling-sounding noises that don't even resemble sentient speak. Still clutching that vine.
Probably, this was not the 'exercise' Dr Tosha had instructed her to do. :(
Siha Archer glints an evil red. Because she bleeding. She's still 46% healthy, which means she can move. Not yet, even at 11% as in scenes before, had Siha given up. She doesn't. Till she ded. If anything, under pressure and wounded, Siha somehow brings out the best in herself while bleeding out. It's while, during Rancor Week, she's a beast in combat. The turret shots rip through her abdomen, one shot hitting an ovary, another some other organ, a shot to her right shoulder, everything pouring out blood. But, to her benefit, it simply adds to the fierce imagery of the Mandalorian who has, perhaps in her own way, proven that the armor does not make the mando, "Sajin-" Siha calls out as Sajin is attacking the second turret, "I may die today. My stuff is yours. Though all my stuffies-" Said as she raises up her katana, adrenaline rushing thruogh her as she dripdrips into the black sands, "Are Tarions. Ret'urcye mhi, ner Sajin-" Her sword is then levelled at the fence once more, and the barely mammal, all Mandalorian Siha, rushes the fence with a feral scream, "OYA! NE SHAB'RUD'NI." And quickly, with sweeps of blood swinging forth with each swing of her blade, she cuts down the fence and rushes through, "Ib'tuur jatne tuur ash'ad kyr'amur!" Blood bury and volcanic poisonous fumes. Nothing better to keep a good Mandalorian woman runnin'.
You know what stands up to a bunch of raging gunfire from angry Hapans, Tarions, and Definitely Corellians? Not those turrets. You know what stands up to a furious nekkid Mandalorian lady? Definitely not that fence. Whatever kind of assault this back road to the compound was meant for, it's not standing up to De Fiance. This leaves the road clear into the rest of the compound, where it shortly becomes clear that not only were the slaves left behind, they were locked into a brick-walled building, from which emanates a terrible wailing and ineffective pounding and scratching... they cannot get out. They are trapped, they are suffocating. They don't have the luxury of a Houk with them. Some people though... some people got a good-hat Houk on the right side, and surely if someone will be so kind as to direct him to punch that wall, Grom will be able to make short work of it, freeing the panicked occupants within. Also probably somebody should grab Rheisa. Oops. Doctors are gonna be piiiiissed.
"ORAORAORAORAORA," was the shouting and the screaming and the incredible racket from the delirious, injured, and probably slightly completely insane Zhu Yan, firing randomly into the fence with all the effectiveness of a wet towel. The firing died down, the racket dimmed, the barrel smoked like it had just spent an intimate evening with Captain Crash Nova. "Well!" Yan said, oddly chirpy, until suddenly he realized he'd been shot. "Ow." He fell down like a sack of space-potatoes. "I have had it with these monkey-fighting slavers on this Monday-to-Friday plain!"
Everyone here is crazy. Kasia had already come to this conclusion, but really, this just reaffirms those feelings as she watches the lot of them. The fence is cut through, and she calls back to the others to come through, and then she's off past the fence to find the building. "GROM!" she calls back for the Houk. "I found an enemy for you!" She'll wait until the muck covered beast comes through, and then points at the wall that has slaves trapped behind it. "Grom, smash that, please?" A pause. "EVERYONE GET BACK FROM THE WALL!" She shouts, trying to be heard, you know, just in case he punches through in one go. It's Grom, it could happen.
"What the frack does that mean, your stuffies?" Sajin says as he pushes along. He notices Rheisa but there isn't anything he can do for the poor Togruta. Grom is fine, he's always fine. Kasia is fine, she's always 'fine' (fine af ifyouknowwhatimean) too. He's okay, nothing scorched or pierced. Tarion? Who cares. Zhu... Well, he can take care of himself. "No..." HE says, "Stop speaking gibberish. Geez..." He's trudging after Siha, "Siha... come back... SIHA..." Jennay, JENNAY! I may not be smart but I know what love is. "I might have to kill Tarion for her stuffies..." He exasperates, moving to make sure Nakid Siha actually gets away from the wall.
"It means the kriffing stuffed animals, you pleb," Tarion yells at Sajin, taking Rheisa's gurgling as a signal that she is indeed hit and in need of rescuing for a bonus. It's not the first time this has happened, really, so he just rolls with it, slinging his rifle and trotting over to the fallen Togruta. "You're gonna be fine! Probably. If not I'm taking your apartment and raising Usmack as my own, though, so... HANG IN THERE." It's the best he can do for encouragement, and then he reaches down to grab her arm and lift her up onto his shoulders in a fireman's carry, if she'll let him. She might not let him, she gets FERAL.
Grom trudges up the road, through the fence he didn't cut apart, with the laser robots he didn't get to destroy, leaving wet, steaming footprints in his wake like tiny angry ground clouds. But Kasia always knows what to say; if her calls for people to back away don't get the point across to those trapped within, the slow build of thudding steps, and steadily building Houk roar might. He doesn't knock the wall down in one punch; oh no, because Grom does not throw a punch. He literally runs, full speed into the wall, brow first, and headbutts a brick wall to brick dust. "GROM WINS."
The forest cheated. Feelings are hurt, what little Rheisa can still make sense of, anyway, quaking hands pawing at the most reachable mess that is her torso Why her? She is friend to forest, mindful of its rhythm, sampler of its buffet, prayerful over those it takes AND those she takes...so why her? Sacrifice. Dead girl's words rasp around her screaming brain and all her shocked emotes of self-pitying tears halt as she stares fixedly at the leafy canopy blurring overhead. In the way of the pack, the way of the people, the To-gru-tah, one does sacrifice to benefit the whole. And also in the way of To-gru-tah, the whole are right to abandon the one. It is so. It is known. It is done.
For a few seconds. Then there's a spiky-furred noise machine in her face and Rheisa's jarred from her aquiescence by a dose of good old manhandling. One-handed manhandling. Somebody give this man a round of applause! "Uuu. Ummmm...chk." By the grace of blood loss and catstrophic shock, he does NOT get eyes clawed out or jugular chomped or any other potential reward of grutitude. Just her dead weight, oozing zoonotic diseases, and likely a little pee.
Siha Archer is diverted, thankfully, by Sajin, the woman herself getting high off those lava fumes and loving it. But Sajin is calling after her, and after the evisceration of the fence she's feeling unbridled and - oh. Very bleedy, "/WHAT/." God damnit, he interrupted her line of killing and slashing which means her body acclimates a little faster to the flowing blood and she'll stand there a long moment, long enough to Grom to rush by, the ground trembling beneath his steps which causes Siha to tumble a little, falling onto one knee, her katana stabbed into the ground to keep her upright, "They're SCREAMING, Sajmijaj, I gotta .." WHOMP. CRASH. Whoa, she almost got a cool breeze there from the impact from grom, her glorious fro gently whipping in the air as she turns her upper body, ribboned in crimson of her own making, to nakedly bear witness to the likely cloud of dust billowing out from the air, "Grom ori naast." Whispered to herself, though it just means big destroyer in mandalorian, the woman clearly in awe. Can she adopt him? She can totally adopt him. Honorary mandalorian Houk, "Saj, I need carrying." Free arm whips up and she makes a grabby motion with her hand, the mandalorian warrioress now ready for a good rest.
Destroy the wall, they said, release the slaves, they said! Happily for the people within, Kasia did warn them of impending DOOMGROM, and they have just enough time before he breaks the wall, and the other wall, and there's the roof coming down, and in no time at all, the cannonball king has leveled the entire brick warehouse-shed where the people were trapped. They explode into the courtyard and the herb fields, coughing, choking, weeping, trying to cling to Grom, then more of them are trying to cling to Grom, who will clearly ferry them to safety, right? The slaves are disproportionately Twi'lek, with a smattering of other heat-resistant species as well, and they're panicking and running about, but seem to have a keen sense for the gap in the fence, and the road leading out of here. Another soul-shaking earth-roar splits through the land, and Moehewa sends some hints to get gone as the air starts to grow thick with ash and smoke. Somehow, on the way back down the path... that quicksand is quite firm? How strange.
Behind them, as they take the hint and leave, the first creep of lava begins to overtake the slavers' compound, setting fire, mercilessly melting every fence and turret, and swoop-sized boulders slam into the earth over and over again.
She's cheering, guys! She's cheering so hard!