Log:Explorer's Guild: Kali-quarry
The short story: Hex Ashkuri hires the Explorer's Guild and Friends to retrieve a special kalikori from off-limits underground ruins.
The long story:
"You're supposed to burn Twi'leks, not bury them."
This is the introductory comment from one Hex Ashkuri, local boy, in hushed tones at a side cavern well under and away from the main part of Kala'uun. It's been a little bit of a hike. "We live underground, ka?" Hex goes on. "Makes it weird if you bury there too, burning is the way. Unless you're... these people. Weirdos from some old religious sect, I don't even think it's around anymore, but they buried their dead, and the dead are still here. With all their stuff."
Smoking until now, Hex pinches out the burning tip of his tabac cigarette and pockets it, exhaling one last puff of smoke as he does so. "We're here to get a Kalikori, painted entirely in red," he continues, holding up a holo-puck that emits a picture of the object in question, grainy and slowly rotating. It's a wooden artifact, carved and painted, with segments or beads strung along tree-like points to indicate the family history of a Twi'lek clan.
"There should be only one like it, and the caverns aren't /that/ extensive here, so... we search until we find it, for the, ah, interested party that wants it," Hex hexplains. "One small, small little problem, ok ka. There are guards." Probably to discourage looting of the type they are specifically here to do. "They're not soldiers. They're not bad people, they're just doin their job, and we got no business murdering poor random Twi'leks. We have to do this with nobody dies. Noooobody dies. Everybody understand?"
Nerys had arrived not so very long ago. Long enough to have kitted herself out, armor and all. With her usual backpack, which was just as lumpy and bumpy as ever. You never knew when you'd need something and be sad you didn't have it. So, she was packed for space bear. It wasn't possible to see her face inside the helmet, but the voice that filtered out was cheery enough, "Are the guards guarding the dead generally, or that kalikori specifically?"
"Who is Kah." Grayson will inquire ever so softly to Corr in her heavy accent as she smiles brightly, trying not to look or sound like an idiot as she holds her helmet to her chest in a nice snug hug. Enjoying the brief rest after the nice hike here she'll sway on her feet, back and forth, slowly, getting muscles nice and warm as she tries not to look too obvious in checking everyone out to see who might belong to the name 'Kah'.
Maybe it's a nickname, because it certainly doesn't seem to belong as a proper name to anyone she /knows/, "So, if at all possible we should ..charm or subdue at worse, yes? I am thinking we have many charmers here, so ..that should not be a problem. What if -" Oh, Nerys has her question, "Well, apart from that, if they are trying to kill us, we are still trying to charm or subdue?" A light raise of her brows as she glances from Sajin (the last one she was checking out) to Hex.
"Also, do know, I am not above bribing. I have many credits with me to do so." Smile still remains, a nudge given to Corr, or in his direction with her nearest elbow, "No dying." Just a note. If they can't kill anyone, he definitely can not die.
Muri leans on hip, studying the emitted holo with arms folded over the chest of her splendidly colored Scout suit. It's like the color's gone out of her hair and into her armor, this time. Her face /is/ visible, sort of, framed by the soft illumination of augmented reality behind the semi-transparent shield. Helmet locked, ready for action.
A thumb gestures to Nerys, tacking her own curiosity onto the woman's question. <<Stealin from the dead, then, to return an heirloom to the living?>> A small, single-shouldered shrug. <<Not the worst transgression we could be making....against ghosts.>> Speaking of. A pointed look to Corr. <<Did you bring the Audiotizer 3000?>>
Kasia has been here with Hex, shooting slightly paranoid looks around the cavern for fear security might show up and find them. She doesn't know much about justice on Ryloth, but she's pretty sure as a human she wants no part of it. "Nobody dies," she repeats the words, gaze going back to Hex. The only thing in her hand this trip is a flashlight, which she doesn't even have on now. "Bribery would probably work?" she says to Grayson, shooting a curious look over at Hex as she makes this guess.
Hex and Corr have never been formal business partners, or really partners of any kind, but if there was such a thing as a club for Nar Shaddaa small business owners with a particular set of skills and past associations, they would both be card-carrying members, until they both lost the cards in short order. "So we're here to loot a grave?" Corr frowns at the job description, and then more deeply at the added wrinkle of guards. "Oh, okay. Here to /rob/ a grave. Grave robbery." He doesn't say it, but the sardonic set of his pursed lips does: 'nice'.
"Does it matter?" he questions Nerys with a shrug. "They're guardin', and we aren't killin'. Anyone who gets tempted ought to consider how greatly they value their participation in Guild outings." The canteen on his belt is pulled free to fidget with the lid, not actually opening it as he glances around the rest of the crew, peering off down the passage towards the presumable catacombs. "Bribery, bluffery, and skullduggery are all on the table, though, long as you don't break anybody for keeps," he admits cagily, putting the canteen away.
To Grayson, aside, he leans in to whisper, "Ka's like, some kinda verbal tick he's got, it's a Twi'lek thing. You oughta sympathize, panned cakes." Muri gets a look. "No, we're gonna have to rely on old-fashioned methods of communing with the other side this time. Don't worry, there was a chapter on that in the Illustrated Guide to the Paranormal Outer Rim."
Jax was here and he wasn't wearing any armor well if you consider the bantha hide jacket he was wearing amor maybe that. It still had a new look to it. He was sipping from a can of Fizzy Pop. He finishes the can crushing it and promptly tuckes into the back of Nerys' pack. SHe'll need that later. He rolls his shoulder and stretchs. "Right. Best we get to it. The no killing thing. I'm with this one." He points to Grayson, "Bribery is good." He looks over at Corr, "I actually miss the fez."
<<"What is a Kali-Kora? Is it someones name?">> Comes he voice of Sajin through his helmet's vocal speaker. He was wearing his usual void armor, not the heavy stuff, and just had a basic load out. Some melee weapons and his trust DL-44. <<"Is it like... a person who spends time nakid in a cave and paints himself red?">> THe handsome and dumb hapan would ask the stuped questions. <<"Guards... why didn't you say anything before?!">> What was he saying, he was used to last minute surprised with Hex. He reaches down and unhooks the metal knuckles hanging from his belt, securing them around his gauntleted knuckles.
Huffing and puffing along the way is one Percival Blackwater. The hike here had been taxing on his poor constitution, ensuring that his raggedy breaths go deep as he uses some sort of branch as a makeshift walking stick to lean on. Truthfully, he isn't here for any artifact, nor is he here for the combat. He's here to observe the wildlife - taking advantage the opportunity to explore an area that is traditionally off limits. With a pack strapped around his shoulders, the gangly human brings up the rear, keeping his eyes peeled from behind his rimless glasses. Sweat glistens off his face, though he often lifts a long-sleeve to wipe it away.
"They're guarding the dead generally," Hex answers Nerys. "I doubt that they know everything that's down here, and that includes the red kalikori." Failing to explain who Ka is or at all notice the confusion that the quirks of his speech patterns may cause others, he explains for Grayson, "They don't have authorization to use deadly force, they'd be using stun at the worst. Bribing... depends who you get. This is Ryloth, corruption is an art form, they may take it, they may haggle for three hours, or you may get a rules-breaking rebel who doesn't want a bribe at all."
Corr just flat out calls it grave robbery, and Hex beams at him for getting the correct answer. "Right!" he confirms. "But the descendants want it, their bribes didn't work in the proper channels, so what are you gonna do, ka?" Hire off-worlders and some amoral Brightland rando to do the dirty work, is what.
Sajin asks what a kalikori is and Hex gestures to the holo-puck again, before switching it off and pocketing it. "It's this thing! A wooden tree about the length of your forearm, with wooden beads and sections and carvings that all have very particular Twi'lek ancestry meanings that there aren't even Basic words for, so don't worry about 'em. Anyway, don't worry so much about the guards, it's fine. Easy mission, Sajin!" Sajin has heard that about a thousand times and someone always gets shot.
Satisfied that everyone has everything they need to know, which is about 40% of the information, Hex leads the way forward for about another quarter mile of passageway. At its end, there is what looks like a cave opening to another section of tunnels. There is a guard booth there, small and presently manned with two guards who look bored, smoking and apathetically arguing with each other in Ryl over some card game they're playing. A shadowy section a short distance away affords a small gap that could be snuck through instead.
"Here you go," Hex whispers. "Try your luck sneaking through the shadows, or try your luck working over the guards, it's on."
"Of course it matters. It might well determine how diligently they would be guarding the particular item we're looking for, and how likely they are to let us get away with it." If she noticed the remains of the Fizzy Pop can that Jax tucked into Nerys' Bag of Holding, she didn't make mention of it. So there was that. Sajin's question brought a chuck of her thumb towards the holo-puck, "A kalikori is that. A family heirloom passed down generation to generation." She paused, as the group started to move, "I'll catch up. Just going to strip out of this." Which she promptly began to do. It all got jammed in, because she had skills. She wasn't naked though, but was wearing an inky black suit beneath the armor she had come in with.
Grayson Oakfell looks a little insulted at Corrs' words, brow tugging down into a small frown (not too deep of a frown or she'll wrinkle), "You do not have an excuse of menstruating, Corr Waldin, for being so full of cats. I did not know if it was a person, not a tick in someone and their mouth." Flustered, quietly so, she'll give her head a shake to send her hair dashing back before the helmet is set back on her hip. She will follow behind Hex, somewhat appreciative he took a moment to explain things a little more thoroughly, silent for that quarter or so mile of a walk. A compliment is tossed Kasia's way at some point for jewelry, hair - ooh, those pants, you know the deal.
When the guard station comes into view down the way she will nod once, knowing what she has to do when Hex explains they have to move silently or work the guards.
Hands will then raise as she presses fingers in through her hair against her scalp, giving her dark tresses some volume with a few wriggles and a shake of her head, one last fluff done before she strides forwards with a very perfunctory smile. To the guard station she goes as everyone else tries to sneak past, the woman not even realizing she's been left alone as others do so, "I am here to visit a grave."
One of the guards looks at the other guard and nods, "You seem like a nice gal, go on." They seem to give very few shavits, and again, she was nice, straight to the point without weaving too much of a story. It works. And again, they couldn't two shavits. It works out for all. Grayson will dip into a small little curtsey, soft-brown eyes warm as she eases past, "Thank you." And there she go.
Muri's brows go aloft with equal parts excitement and fascination that such a text exists out there...and that Waldin has read it. Why hasn't she read it? WHERE CAN SHE FIND IT??? All that eager enthusiasm gets wrangled into submission though, by the utterance of a single, chill syllable. <<Great!>>
And then they're off. Grave robbery wasn't Muri's forte, but she's keeping peace with the idea by choosing to believe that the person paying them for this extremely specific item must have a valid, sentimental reason for wanting it. Surely they will cherish it, forever and always. Believe, Netep. Believe.
In a pinch, Netep's an outstanding liar. But her best ones tend to come without time for thought, so the longer she has to stare down the shadowy duo meant to bar their entry, the more doubt seeps into brain, second-guessing what she'd say to excuse the trespassing. I'm writing an expose on...no. My adopted brother was...nah. Ugh. Fortunately, there's a 'small gap'. Just her size. Muri attempts the slinky approach rather than direct confrontation this time, sliding her pack off shoulder, onto opposite arm, to push through ahead of self rather than leave on her back to snag unseen. It's almost a success. Her slow, deliberate creep along the stone wall is off to a great start. Sound footing, spatial awareness...
It's such a quiet noise, that zipper, catching on a stubby mineral deposit while the rest of her pushes through. But to her paranoid ears, it might as well have been blaster rapport. Muri freezes, holding her breath a moment while passing the guard booth a long side eye. Three fingers work diligently to extricate the clumsy zipper from its snag while Grayson does her thing over there and captures their attention nicely! Thanks be to well-fluffed hair. A long exhale of relief sees Muri scurrying out the other side, both arms wrapped possessively around her bag to keep it in line, rest of the sneaking.
The mission, sneak by the guards or talk your way through. The smart move for Kasia would have been to try and talk her way by, or cause a distraction, or... something. Instead she opts for the alternative and tries to sneak. At first it seems like she might be able to, her footsteps are graceful, she looks like she's dancing across the clouds. If could dancing involved a couple of very loud clomps of boot against the ground, a startled halting that then leads to a rattling of bracelets around her wrist. Who knows why she wore those other than her compulsive need to always be at least a little bit fancy. Today that need for personal decorations has backfired, an she looks up wide-eyed at the guards. She immediately turns on her heels and moves /toward/ the guard booth like that's where she meant to be going all along, and then smiles. "I'm with her," she says, pointing at Grayson's back.
Whether or not he's full of cats, when Grayson accuses him of it, Corr knows better than to argue otherwise. Instead, he just gives her a little wink and a shrug. "Long as they're cute cats, and those ticks stay off 'em." Are ticks a thing? Surely they are.
When the first guardbooth presents itself, Corr does what any good partner and companion would do and immediately abandons Grayson to her own devices. Instead of sticking close by her, he presses his body to the wall and moves with ease and more than a bare modicum of stealth through the shadowy section of the cave. Times like these, it's nice not to be a big bruiser of a fellow and just able to slip through, quiet-like.
Past the risk zone himself, he spends a moment with his face pressed against the bare stone wall, facial hair making tiny sandpapery scratching sounds when he moves his beard against it. "Oh yeah. You can feel 'em, the spirits all up in these walls. The guide had a drawing..." He proceeds to pose in a fashion similar to the Vitruvian man. "O spirits of the dead, we know you never got burned proper, and we're sorry for that. Just give us poor braindead explorers a hand here to put at least one thing right, kah." It's a Twi'lek thing.
Communal complete, he glances back as he steps away from the wall and watches the varying success of the others. "We're gonna need it."
Jax does the gentlman thing to do and go ahead of Nerys leaving her behind. "You need something cuz, holler." He looks at Hex and Kasie as he goes toward the shadows "Kasia good to see you too hope it's better than last time. Hex, I'm glad this isn't the hokey religions that I'm use to dealing with. " There was still time for this to turn into that. Though as Jax steps into shadows. Hecloses his eyes and exhales he as though he's centering himself. The world around him seems to shift at least to him and the shdows hiding him. He's invisible to all here in a blink. When did he become that sneaky? The Corellian sticking to the continious shadows makes his way past the guards before taking up a position to watch. See if things go south on his team for this mission." He winces as a number of them seem to get caught.
While Sajin was graceful and quick, he was not overly skilled at sneaking around. Spending most of his time with Defiance meant charging in head first without a plan and some how coming out barely alive... but alive. This was different, a whole new monster. He tip toes, arcing his booted feet back on the heel and then to the toes. He says this to himself. "On the heels, to the toes... or was is... On the toes to the heels..." He pauses a moment, having confused himself. There is a slight noise of discontent before he finally makes it past... somehow not alerting anyone to his presence.
As the group progresses further into the cave, the Doc from Tatooine squints in the dim light to make out the scene before him. He's absolutely not qualified or skilled enough to sneak past. Besides, he might tear some clothes! So like Grayson before him, he takes his chance with the guards. With walking stick still in action he approaches, trying to still his raggedy breath as he approaches to appear at least a //little// bit professional. Unlike Grayson, who seemingly passes through with very little trouble, he has no hair to really flick and set free. Yet he tries a warm smile regardless. He's about to open his mouth to deliver his killer line, before Kasia intercepts! She gets in first, telling the guards //exactly// what he was about to. Percy freezes as a moment of panic washes over him, before he swallows.
"I'm, uh, also with her."
Yep. That's the line. Despite all obvious signs to the contrary that he, Kasia AND Grayson would all be visiting a grave together, Percy is able to deliver the line with his own sense of charm. Perhaps it's just the extremely low level of intensity that he possesses? Whatever the reason, the guards nod their head and the human is able to pass by without problem. A rather smug smile can be seen on his face as he passes by, doubtless proud of himself. Maybe he could be a spy?
"This is quite the delight, hm?"
Hex, Jax, Sajin, Corr, and Netep sneak stealthily (varying degrees of stealthily) through the shadowy, unguarded passageway to the side, and find themselves emerging in the tunnels beyond! These are partially man-made and partially natural, and the geologic structure of the caves are often augmented by sculpture, pillars, and niches. The sculpture features stone-faced Twi'leks, silent with the weight of ages, elegant and unreadable.
At the guard station, the two Twi'lek guards look at one another before glancing up to Grayson and Percy. They don't LOOK like grave robbers, nor do they sound like grave robbers! The Twi'leks' Basic is accented, and one does say Grayson seems like a nice gal; the other laughs. They saw that in a holo and they're practicing Basic phrases! Nice gal! Nice! They are fascinated by her fluffed hair and laugh, miming the gesture with their lekku. Percy.... well, he doesn't have hair to fluff, but he's okay, they wave him through.
Kasia, though -- no. No, no, this is a bridge too far, it's getting weird. "Hey! Hey, no you are not, ok!" one guard calls out, "Stay right there!" Hex makes an annoyed, strangled voice and grabs his jangly wife, "Run!" He seems to know the way through the tunnels! The whole group is clear to follow, while the guards radio, "There are humans! We spotted two sneaking in! No, two do belong here. Visiting a grave. Which are which?" Pause. "I don't know. They all look the same."
So, now the guards are alerted. But there are no guards /here/ right now as the tunnel opens into a room filled with carefully laid bones and little grave niches. "Search!" Hex advises. "Search whatever you can, it'll take them a while to sort themselves out."
Well, there went her opportunity to claim she was just the packmule. And she had the backpack and everything. Well, there was nothing for it now, and Nerys simply ran, hitching up her bag so that it didn't rattle or over balance her, trusting to her skill to see her through, and making it, just barely, past the guards and into the room the group seemed to have stopped in. Okay, well, deal with the trouble behind when it became to trouble //now//. Just now, she'd go ahead and try to find what they were looking for as quickly as possible. She got to the work of searching, finding a mask in a pile of well, not detritus...grave good. The mask ended up in the bag as well.
Grayson Oakfell looks at Percy as they make it through just fine, poor Kasia not able to tag along with them, "I am surprised, she is fitting in very well with us." Educated. Fancy. Though perhaps too much pretty was suspicious. Only room for so many pretty ladies to visit graves.
"It is not bad, I would not say it is a delight .." Grayson muses as she moves with hands on her hips at a leisurely stroll to go and meet up with the rest of the gang around the bend.
"But ..it is acceptable. No one has been shot yet, so .." A shoulder lifts as she glances to Perc once more, "I suppose we should be looking for things." However as she ventures to where the others she sees exactly nothing of interest to _her_. Which means everything looks like trash and thus not worth picking up, or even giving more than a glance. As others find their treasures she'll part an encouraging smile, nodding her head, "Very nice." Murmured as is appropriate as things are shown off or picked up.
They are not very nice.
Corr gets a dubious look from Muri as he communes with the wall. <<Not sure it's the spirits, given you that special feelin', hey? More like t'be the fungi spores.>> Hahahahahahaa--oh, frink. RUNNING! Also not a Netep Muri strongsuit, but that's never stopped her from giving it her all. If there's one thing that motivates her above ALL things, it's the evasion of repeating her jailbird experience.
She doesn't /stop/ running until her tiny helmet lights are bouncing off inumerable cavities that some protruding bones say are hallowed graves. Or blasphemous ones...religious subscription pending.
<<Wow...>> A brief, breathless assessment of her new surroundings. Gloved hands peruse the dank stone, skim dangerously over moldering bones without actually /touching/ them. Her light does most of the probing, aided by a nudge from her knife here and there when a deeper peek is required. After a time, she pulls something shiny and jingly from a crevice and holds it aloft in her own ray of light to watch the silver keycard pirouette from its delicate chain. <<Hex>> she's calling in reinforcements, here. <<You ever see something like this down here?>> She says, assuming he's BEEN down here. <<Reckon it's useful?">> The key is flipped gently from one palm to the other.
Kasia clearly thinks she's going to be cleared, the other humans were! She looks friendly, she's smiling, but NO. NO! "What? You're going to deny me?" she asks, sounding deeply offended at the delay. "You're just going to let other people go through to ... mourn at graves of people who were--" Run, Hex shouts. "Uh." She shoves a hand into the pocket of her trousers and flings a handful of credits at the guard without looking at the denomination markers, spins on her heels and goes running. The toe of her boot immediately catches and she stumbles, just not enough for her to fall down. It slows her down a little, inspiring cursing as she flees into the darkness in the direction she saw the others go.
"The /fungi spores?/" Is that a joke? Corr's not sure, but he scratches at his cheek anyway just in case. The others catch up and the group moves onward, onward, ever onward, beginning to search around for the Kalikora. The Kalithing. The tree thing. Sidling up to Grayson to stay near her, like he never left, he also pops his pistol out of its holster on his thigh and switches it over to stun before sliding it back in. "Just in case." The others make a few finds, but none of them look like fancy trees. "Keep looking, and uh. I think we gotta keep moving. If it was easy to get to the client probably wouldn't have needed us."
Jax sees that well everyone got through but the guards knows about them. Then he turns to look at one of the tombs. He grave marker a look. Then goes to see what he can find. There's got to be that wooden statue thing that Hex wanted in there right? Jax quietly rummanges around but doesn't find anything of the like. He does find a Twi'lek helmet he holds it up to examine it the best he can turnning it over and over for a few moment. Then like a certain desert scavenger he plops it down on his head. It doesn't fit properly and wiggles this way and that. He produces a Corellian Spice Cake snack cake from inside his jacket and takes a bite. He goes to watch for any other shannigans.
Sajin staggers his way into the Cave, possibly almost knocking over a few of his companions as he does so. At least he might knock into them. <<"Sorry!">> He appologizes before looking about, the helmet lamp coming on with a dull and diminishing whine as the pitch increases. He notices something blue and silky. "Herm..." Leaning down over in a corner he pulls out a viel... and a blue glow stick? <<"Someone having a party down here...">> He should keep it just incase, sticking it in one of the pouches on his belt. He rights himself and looks back to the others.
Percy's walk with Grayson remains just that: a walk. Hex's order to run is ignored outright, the Doctor keen to maintain face that he is in fact not with the person who tried to sneak in. So with his walking stick pressing against the cool tunnel floor to help support him as he goes, Percival just maintains his pace. "So what brings you down into the depths this eve, Doctor? Do you frequently venture on these sorts of expeditions?" The question posed to Grayson is done as he eyeballs the ceiling and walls carefully, before nearly tripping on the floor. Hurk. "Yes, let us hope that everyone remains not being shot." Emerging into the opening area, Percy crouches down rummage through a few things. Not a great deal is here, really. Some unused and old rations are given a weathered eyed, before they are picked up and pocketed.
"I thought there would be strange wildlife to see and document down here." The admission is made to no-one in particular, a hand lifting to scratch the back of his neck as a fleeting frown flashes across his expression. "I suppose with the noise we make, discovering fauna in these tunnels will be difficult."
"It's a key, Netep, how useful it is depends on whether you've got what it unlocks." Helpful! Hex's searching has shown approximately zero respect for his dead Twi'lek countrymen; there's a lot of lifting up skulls to see what's underneath and placing them roughly back down with what may or may not be the right body. Their fault for not being burned like proper dead Twi'leks. Heretics. "Szu'tak!" he curses, "The kalikori isn't here. We'll have to go deeper into the tunnels and check another grave-vault." He seems pretty confident that he /can/ lead them to another grave vault, and steps toward the nearest tunnel exit.
More twisting and turning fungus-lit caverns, which would be pretty if they weren't tainted by GRAVE ROBBING GUILT, and then it opens out into a room very like the first. Where is it? Is there a Kalikori here somewhere? The RIGHT Kalikori?
They have several moments to search, before what should happen upon them but -
This is a Twi'lek girl in her early 20s, little more than a teen, armed with a small blaster that may only have a stun setting. Her uniform is still crisp and clean, a rookie for sure. "Stop!" she commands in an uncertain voice. "Stop, thieves! You're not allowed to be here, this place is off limits! I must insist you surrender anything you have acquired and come with me to the entrance!"
Nerys continued the search, having found one treasure. But not The Treasure. And she knew better than most that time was running out. Why? Because she'd alerted the guards. So there was that. At least she seemed to know her business, and she moved from section to section, moving between the other people searching, looking for anything which might not just resemble the kalikori, but might have the same markings. The crinkling of that snack cake wrapper turns her head though. Because reasons. "You've been holding out on me." But they were soon moving on to the next area, picking up a useful thing on her way through. Never go anywhere without some rope. And, alas. A guard. Well, Nerys was not a diplomat, sad to say and she simply kept her mouth shut.
Grayson Oakfell found a beautiful singing bowl, complete with a small metal stick to play upon it. Oh how lovely, the thing carved from crystal and something that caught her eye. A few exploratory twangs played upon the bowl which rouses a mournful howling snarl from the bowl, not at all the melodious beautifully haunting reverberations it would ordinarily carry with a skilled hand touching it, "How /wonderful/." Said softly, Grayson quite pleased with the find, object held between her hands and admired as they continue on. Her steps are slow and thoughtful, until the guard is happened upon and she utilized years of being a commanding officer within the First Order to strike a superior stance and a reasoning tone, "Do we look like thieves. I am Doctor Oakfell, a scientist and these are my people, well, some are mine, some are hired, but all the same they are moving as one with me." A pause, Grayson measuring her words and carefully enunciating so she's understood, "I know you were told that I am cleared, and if I am cleared, so must they as well, yes?" Reasoned with a pleasant smile, "And if it /were/ off limited, I would not have been able to walk here. So, please ..." Demured with a gentle wave of her left hand as it lifts off the bowl to gesture at the young woman, "Would you step aside and let us do our very important work? We have many discoveries to make, and I would hate for you to waste your time when there are actual people who would love to be robbing this very holy of places. Plus, if you tell me your name, I will credit you with helping us in any discoveries."
<<Don't think you really /want/ to encounter much of the wildlife here,>> Muri mumbles aside to Percy, lagging behind just a tad when they push on deeper into the tunnels. The key she found was tossed unceremoniously back into the hole she found it after giving it a moment in the spotlight of briefly wielded vidcorder. Their coordinates are noted on pad, in the event this becomes of potential use later. <<S'only reason I'm trussed up like a damn soldier>> NOT military armor, but wtf she know. <<In case.>> A grimace, wink, and she's moving on, back to the business of poking around the resting places of complete strangers. To the tune of Grayson's auditory abuse. Criiiiiinge.
When her probing blade goes *rustle*rustle*, Netep reaches in and pulls out the yellowed, dried flake of hide. There are words on it she does not understand. A quick scan of /this/ item is then interrupted by the guard. To whom she glances, considers, and taps the side of her helmet before going about her scanning.
"tearh ghitiety yvyka as gatat yphoof, ytugaghugh isighogood aapophet ovi farhiva. tupaetave toogeatheaghaa awofiku ovi dootheamuta oomapijyf?" Muri's voice is suddenly muchly changed, face shield retracted from helmet so the melodic lilt, of her alien speak might carry to the ear cones of the security n00b trying to halt their progress.
Kasia was told to run, and she ran, which means that by the time she's near the others she's huffing and puffing, bent slightly at the waist while massaging a stitch in her side. She's not being diplomatic with anyone presently, it requires word and she can't do that right now, but her eyes are mostly fine which means she can see see something glint in the low light. She's no expert in archeology, but sparkly things can be, so she reaches out to pick it up, sees that it's a skull, and immediately drops it. She prefers non-haunted gems.
Given the time to search properly for the Kalikura, Corr sort of gravitates along behind Grayson, caught in her orbit, and meanders towards one of the burial spots next to the one she's busy finding the thing that will torment his waking hours from now on. Instead of a body, it appears this alcove was used to store some of the surveyor's tools, forgotten after the completion of the catacombs.
Shuffling through the gear just to be sure, there's no sight of a tree-like curio here. He spends a moment worrying at his lip, eying a particularly shiny theodolite, but eventually he settles them back in their places, taking only the dust that had accrued on his fingers from handling the tools. "Somebody might come back for these, hate to be the reason they can't find 'em."
Straightening up, he steps over next to Grayson to address the guard, but seeing as she has the task well in hand, he just gives the young girl a reassuring smile. See how trustworthy and legitimate they are? He doesn't even have any looted goods! Ignore everyone who does.
Jax and the goofy helmet, well it was just goofy on him. He didn't have the proper equipment to wear it right. He'd move to the next grave he thought might be of use. He mumbles, " I figured Hex had found a secret sect of dark siders and needed rescue. Nope.. Oh well." He digs through finding climbing gear. That may come in handy while he's hear. So he slings it over his shoulder. Then he emerges to find Nerys waiting for him some how. He reaches into his jacket, "Here the last one."
Another shiney object catches Sajin's eye as he continues along. <<"Oooohhh... Shiney...">> The Hapan moves his way towards said object, kneeling before it. Hands reach up and unclasp his helmet from his head, the sealed suit letting out a hiss as it depressurizes. Hooking it to his belt, he then reaches forward, holding up he droid head in the palm of his hand. "Hermmm..."
He turns suddenly as the Young Twi'lek maiden catches them. He stands slowly, coming to stand next to Greyson. "Hey... How you doin'." He offers with an upnod, showing off that handsome smile, chizzled jaw, plush lips, and dreamy hazel eyes.
Except it was very dark down here and it likely wasn't doing him /any/ good.
Percy has //no guilt// raiding the tombs of the dead. His own view on life and life-after-death is extremely... scientific. The energy bow that he finds is done so with a happy looking expression, eyebrows raised in excitement as he holds the thing up like it's some sort of trophy. "Neat. Very neat." The thing is slung over his body, as if he actually intends on using the thing. He positively jumps when the twi'lek barks her orders, spinning around in fright to look at her with an incredulous gaze. "You know everyone in here is dead, right?" He sounds almost callous with that tone, frustrated that they would be sprung while just finding a bunch of other stuff. Fortunately Grayson is far more eloquent in her approach.
Quietly he eyes the skull with eyes in it that Kasia just dropped.
"I'm... um... Numali," the Guard replies to Grayson at the request for her name. She seems not completely intimidated or unmade, but she does seem very confused, the way an unconfident person can be in the face of someone that sounds like an authority. Her lekku curl interrogatively toward Hex, who does a thoroughly mediocre job of pretending that he didn't see it and therefore cannot interpret or answer her. "Just be careful out there," Numali frowns at the group, "I'll comm the station and let them know where you are, just in case you need anything." She holsters her little blaster, looks suspicious, and adds, "You are playing the ka'pila wrong," for Grayson. Duh. Everyone can hear it. Numali is about to dart down a passage before Grayson can respond; she isn't brave enough to stick around for a response. But there's a Hapan here asking how she is doing..... Numali smiles shyly and says "Thanks, you too," before running away. She'll remember that mis-aligned response forever and cringe.
When the Guard disappears, Hex exhales a breath he didn't know he was holding, and says, "Okay. Thank you for not killing the poor ai'jou." Young person. "Let's check the /next/ vault, and hope... let's just hope. Everybody think red kalikori thoughts."
The third vault looks very much like the first two. Again, there is an opportunity to search or spot for the kalikori or other dubious "treasures" from days gone by...
And after several minutes of searching, a low rumble can be heard, and slowly slithering into the vault from the tunnel outside is what appears to be a juvenile lylek. It clacks its mandibles. It looks hungry.
Look Percy, wildlife!
"Thanks!" Cheery voiced and happy, as she managed the final snack cake, tucking it into a pocket where it would not be squashed. Nerys probably did A Very Good Thing by keeping her mouth shut. She didn't spook the girl and she made it without having to hurt the poor girl. Well, onward and upward, because the real guards were likely right behind. Into the next chamber she went and like a good space raider, she raided, poking here and there and everywhere. Oh! A locket. Shiny. Something to study for later. That went into the backpack as well. That clacking though. That was nothing like the crinkling of snacks, and she swung her bag around, ripping the quick release top flap from it and pulling out a bowcaster from its concealment. "Shoot now, right?" She didn't wait for the okay, simply cocking the string and firing at the juvenile. because some children needed to be put down.
Grayson Oakfell finds another bowl! And gosh, she looks pleased, after all this walking to have two beautiful instruments, seemingly identical with their own small differences? "Corr, look, I have found another." And because she has no idea what she's doing she begins to rub them together, their own little metal rods staying within the curved bowls, the sounds sonorous and not nearly as ear piercing as her last attempt. It ..it sounds almost nice, even if slightly dischordant, "Oh, this may become my new hobby." The beast? Others can attack it for now. She'll provide the soundtrack to the moment.
WooOoOOM. wOOORrrrrrrrrrrr Mmmrooooooooooo
Audible gasp, from Netep. She's tucked that love note back into the skeletal hand of the one who'd possessed it in favor of crawling into a neighboring tomb hole, where she's apparently found something gasp worthy. Worth gingerly straddling a corpse, even, to tug that treasure out into the creepy, bioluminescent light. A pleased but kinda bemused grin crosses her face while she studies the giant stun net, slugthrower held heavily in hands. The GIANT BOX under its barrel where a net cartridge ought go isn't inspected closely enough to note its emptiness, but maybe there's just not enough time before the ominous sound of hungry wildlife reaches her ears.
Zero hesitation from Muri, though maybe there should've been. She wheels around, holding the thing at arms' length with a purpose, stance wide and confident! She's gonna net herself a...
A nothing. The ferocity dims in Netep's eyes, expression wilts into first disappointment...then horror. A hasty glance aside gauges just how much room she might have to...yup. Like a bug, Muri's scuttled back into the dark pit of decay and curls up atop the skeleton while groping about for ammunition. She finds it. A hand emerges to point and *POOF*
Oh dear. "I GOT THIS!!!" she shouts not so convincingly while trying another cartridge.
Kasia moves on from the cursed gems for others to snatch and continues her search for the Kalikori, not trudging far from the eye-ball-gems before she spots it. She opens her mouth to say something as she points at the found item, pointing turning into reaching for the artifact. Said reaching halts as she hears the sound of the lylek, and knowing the kinds of creatures that reside on Ryloth, she wastes no time in yanking the blaster out of her holster and aiming at where she thinks the creature is. It's just not quite right. Her weak human eyes don't quite see where the beast is and the blaster bolts streak past hopefully not hitting anything too historically important. There's a slight grimace as she tries to pretend she didn't just miss that badly, and focuses on the artifact again, like it's way more interesting that her shame.
When the Lylek scurries in, suddenly they're in familiar Explorer's Guild territory. Nerys opens fire with her bowcaster, of all things, and in the blink of an eye, Corr's pistol clears leather and levels on the hostile beast. Despite the speed of the draw, the accuracy to tag the critter is lacking, and his shots zip past first a hair shy and then a whole beehive hairdo shy. "This one, you can kill!" he advises the others, in case somebody hasn't put that part of the equation together.
In a few days, the same statement will be circulated with a picture of himself after living with Grayson's new hobby.
Jax had been looking for the trinket but all he found was a rock. No that was a lie. It was green sticky stuff. He wiped it off of his pants. Then as he hears Nerys and a whole lot of stuff going on. He quick draws his blaster pistol firing, "Guess it our fault we're in it's territory but best to keep from getting killed though." He says firing then the dorky helmet slides down over his eyes.
"Aww... She seemed nice," Sajin says as the Twi'lek female scurries away, his hands going to his hips and lips pursing together tightly. "Hermmm." He doesn't realize he was repeating the exact same thing the guards had said about some of the others before, imitating the holo-dramas.
With a shrug he continues on. He is stopped only by a bit of syth rope tripping him up on the ground. "Hey, this'll come in handy!" He coils it up and places it on his belt. So much stuff on his belt! It was starting to get heavy!
His eyes go wide as the rumble comes. "Oh no... that's..." And then there's the Lylek. "AHHHHH!" He doesn't think, he just reaches for his DL-44 and draws, squeezing the trigger rapidly as soon at the barrel is leveled at the beast. It's loud and bright, all three bolts smacking into the creature.
It's the sound of that Lylek which prickles Percy's ears. The Doctor blinks in some surprise, unsure if what he heard was legitimate or not. Was it just a trick of the ears? Slowly turning around, he discovers that it is in fact NOT a trick. With Kasia's dropped skull-with-gems in one hand, the energy bow slung across his shoulder and his walking stick, he doesn't look like he's in much position to attack! By the looks of it he doesn't want to, either. "Oh my..."
And then people are shooting at it! Gasping in surprise, Percy worriedly looks to those that are firing on the beasty. It's too late to even yell 'wait!', for as soon as they open fire there is no return. Regardless he keeps both eyes on the thing, slowly edging away.
The red Kalikori! Kasia has found it! "Finally, Ryma'at," Hex breathes, naming Ryloth's chief goddess there as though she's either to blame or thank, it's hard to tell. "Hang on to that, Kasia, we - Oh. Ohhhh." Lylek. Lylek!! Only a little lylek, but they're generally bad news no matter what. "We're lucky this is a young one, ok ka!" Hex cheerfully announces to the rest of the team as he draws his own weapon. "Once they get older, those shelled plates harden up and your blaster bolts will just bounce right off!" Fun wildlife fact there for Percy!
His own blaster bolt sinks in with a painful BOOM of the weapon's report, and the lylek seems to have had enough. ENOUGH! It was hungry and out for blood to begin with, lyleks are not peaceful animals, but now it's hungry and ENRAGED! Stampeding into the vault room, said cavern suddenly seems very, very small as the juvenile Lylek, half defeated, snaps and flails and bites and claws any single moving object it can find. Only hidden Muri is spared!
Nerys was not a large woman, but she was clearly stronger than she appeared, as she didn't seem to have any troubler with the bowcaster. Well, it was on the smaller side, that was true. BUT WHO CARED? That thing was rushing all of them, and she took a claw right to the chest, tearing her suit, never should have changed out of her good armor, and slamming her into a pile of skulls. Well she wouldn't take that standing up. Cause she was lying down. And she shot at it again.
As soon as that Lylek charges in Grayson has all of a second to realize just how fast and dangerous it is. A snap of teeth and a flurry of body and Grayson finds herself half-crouched down, knocked back by the impact, and her right arm sheared off. It's held within the sleeve of her armor, the only thing keeping it from slapping to the vault floor completely, the singing bowl still held tightly within the arms grip.
With some shock she'll look to her left hand to make sure it's still attached to her body via the arm, and very gently, gingerly even, sets the bowl down. Then, because she is, again, in complete shock and bleeding out VERY HEAVILY, plucks up the little metal rod to play a hauntingly shrieky rendition of the pain she's about to be in when said shock wears off. Down into a kneeling position she'll go as the note dies off, and onto her side with a flop. She's still ready to play. She's just telling herself to breathe slowly so she doesn't bleed out entirely too fast.
"Just think of the story you can tell Red!" Muri's voice calls from the safety of shadows when Percy's legs go scooooting by and the chaos of angry, angry lylek baby comes screech-flailing into view. "Kid'll be impressed!" Hopefully she sounds more reassuring than what her shaky hands would tell whilst she crams the failed cartridge BACK into its place. In the correct orientation, this time. A quick prayer to the Four Judges while she wriggles around in there and finds some sort of solid surface against which to plant her boots.
Muri comes sliding out amid a clatter of bones and junk, arms arcing up overhead to take aim at the giant (to her) belly and PULLS that trigger for a third and lucky time. It fires true, snares itself on that chitonous bod. She wastes no time in punching that red button on the barrel's side.
Kasia went from victorious, to alarmed, to even more alarmed as the lylek lunges at her, trying to snap with one of its pincers. It's an emotional roller coaster! She jerks back just in time for the snapping appendage to only just graze her armor, luckily not leaving behind an injury. "This is still better than the lake, with those fish," she asides to her injured husband as she lofts her blaster again and squeezes off another round. This time -- thanks to Muri and her new stun net -- the twin blaster bolts finding their mark on the juvenile carapace. "Ka're," she glances over at Hex while taking a step toward the now found artifact, "After we get this to the buyer and see your sister, let's avoid Ryloth for a while."
Lyleks are no joke, as the group soon learns, and Corr is not exempt from its fury. His arm bears the brunt of the attack, raised to protect the rest of himself, and it does, but god, at what cost? A particularly gruesome slash that cracks through the armor and lays open flesh to the bone, that's what. He's bleeding! There's blood everywhere. Oh, it's terrible. But worse than that, the beautiful, terrible melody of Grayson's music bowls jabs in his ears, drowning out his own shocked exclamation of pain before they're finally set aside.
"Hey!" Angry now that his aspiring musician has been silenced by something other than his good-natured jibes about her dubious abilities, the explorer ignores his gushing arm long enough to blast the thing straight in the face with two powerful shots, and this time they're both right on the money, no hair involved.
The lylek was in the middle of everyone and there was bloods. There was trouble and there was Jax with his new jacket destroyed. At this rate he's going to have to go to the Duster Emporium and see if can use Hex's name for a discount. Like everyone else he's firing at the beast. The creature goes down for one of his shots. He moves over to Nerys and offers her a hand. "You alright?"
One of the Lylek's mandicals strikes hard at Sajin's Toros! Alas, that's probably the strongest part of his armor. There'll be some bruises and broken ribs but he'll be just fine. He staggers back, yelping out in pain, hand going to the dented bits of plastoid armor. He's raise his gun again, but doesn't fire... the Lylek down with the last attack from Jax. "Gah!" He spits up some blood, wiping it away wih his forearm. "Alright... we found it? Let's get out of here before the whole brood shows up." He twirls his blaster around his trigger finger before holsering it. He winces against, breathing starting to hurt slightly.
Percy is so starstruck by this beasty that he barely moves at all when the animal comes at him. Hex's expertise on the creature almost distracts him further, as he suddenly grows curious as to how old they have to be to reach maturity.
Then the thing is right near him. "...oh no."
That's all he can get out before one of the Lylek tentacles strikes him square across the chest. Like a baseball being struck by a bat, his body sails through the air a good several feet. There's that brief moment where he can't feel any pain whatsoever, his eyes staring up at the ceiling as he zooms. When he lands heavily just a second later however, all of that pain hits him like a bolt of lightning. His mouth opens to gasp for air, but not a lot of noise follows. It's just a grizzly sounding rasp. Those who will have heard it before will immediately know what the raspy, //wet// breathe is: punctured lungs. The moment the tentacle struck his chest, his ribs had splintered and caved in under the strength of the blow, damaging the organs that they are designed to protect. As he tries to concentrate his breath and arrest the feeling of panic that washes over him, his head rolls to the side to witness the only other medical person here also slumped on her side, bleeding mightily from her wound.
Twi'leks have been fighting, and eaten by, lyleks for as long as either species has been on Ryloth. They're a constant threat to outlying settlements, and even - as demonstrated here - getting close to a metropolis like Kala'uun. Their onslaught against the dangerous predator is ferocious, but so too is its revenge against them, and at the end of it all, almost everyone is bleeding.
Some more than others.
Heksash'kuri, personally familiar with how bad these critter encounters can go, is breathing heavily in the silence following the lylek's fall. Everything seems strange and silent for a moment, ears ringing with the reports of so many weapons in so small a space, and then the moment is ended and it's time to pick up the pieces. And the Kalikori! Which Kasia still has!
"Help the wounded, we got to get out of here, where there's one there's more," Hex advises worriedly, heading to Percy's side. "We still got to get out of here and --"
Oh no, BUSTED. With a tromp of feet and bright lights, here are the guards, and more guards! They have stretchers with them, and someone who looks like a medic! And there with them of course... is little Numali, the Sajin fan, the awed-by-Grayson. "What have you DONE!" she wails. "It's almost like there is a reason there is no trespassing in this area!!"
Hex refrains from eye contact and attempts to surreptitiously stick the Kalikori in the interior of his duster. Mission ACCOMPLISHED. Another exotic locale Explored!
This is gonna take so many bribes, though. So many bribes.