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Tal Cuyot

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About Tal Cuyot

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    Alternate Character of Je'ka Cuyot

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  1. A Calm and Civil Solution

    Melona, 3630 BBY... The Oyu'baat was full, even more so than usual. Wasn't the normal crowd, either. Every booth was full, and quite a few beings were standing, the only completely clear space being that surrounding the fire. The holoscreen was shut down- no sports today. Nobody was at the bar, either. Alcohol would be a pretty bad idea at this particular gathering. Someone had called a clan council. Tal actually wasn't sure who had, but evidently a couple of the barves in here had gotten together and decided something needed to be done, and started comming people. Every aliit Tal had ever heard of and more had someone here. His targeting in his HUD was picking out sigils for him; in the corner of the display, he was compiling a list of everyone he knew there. That sort of thing helped. He wasn't the best in social situations, so a cheat sheet was always useful. Manda'yaim required a Mand'alor. That was no secret. Corey Black had disappeared. Nobody seemed to know where- dead, maybe, Tal had heard. Lost in space. Prisoner of the Republic. The theories abounded. Once he'd overheard someone saying that he'd become a Sith and had vanished with what was left of the Empire. It didn't really matter; Tal might have liked the barve, but he was gone now and they needed a leader. Trouble was that there wasn't anybody who really stood out, and with the destruction of the Empire, there were some questions to be answered. Tensions were a bit high, to say the least. "I'm gonna grow a shabla beard from all this testosterone in the air." Jair said, voice crackling through internal comms. The yellow-armored female was on Tal's left side, gauntleted fingers tapping at the BlasTech piece on her hip. She was on edge, he could see. Shoulders up, ready to make a move. She wasn't the only one, either. He could have cut the atmosphere in the tapcaf with a vibroblade. It was how things went, though. Not much to do for it. Tal was nervous himself. He'd been called to come as alor of Clan Cuyot. He'd never really thought of himself as a clan leader before, but now that he thought about it, he had to admit he was. This was of some concern to him, as he had never been one to take the lead on anything aside from breaching a door. Sort of felt like the situation was out of his control. "You might look good with a beard. Who knows?" That was Chel, on Tal's right. The kid was getting tall, about as tall as Tal already. He'd taken to wearing a sort of poncho-thing, dark fabric wrapped loosely about his neck and draping down his back; it was rather distinctive, over his sky-blue beskar'gam. Out of the Clan Cuyot group, he was the only one who didn't seem to be under pressure here. Who'd have thought that out of the three of them it'd be him? The ad'ika had always been pretty good at keeping his cool, though. Hopefully everyone else in here can manage it... Didn't look like it. The body language all around looked pretty damn hostile. Crossed arms, tensed shoulders, frowns on practically everyone without their buy'ce. This, Tal decided, would not be a particularly fun day. "Looks like we're standing, ad'ike. Buy'cese off, got to be civil here." Tal rasped, glancing around for a good place to plant his group. Wasn't much space left. Settling on a little niche in the crowd near a roof support, he walked over there, at the same time pulling his helmet off. It smelled like tabac; someone had been smoking, it seemed. Beings were already arguing. One heavyset chakaar in ivory beskar'gam was pretty animated, motioning furiously at another in purple. "Look, it's just survival," he was saying, one gloved finger extended from a loose fist. "The Empire's gone, and they're looking for another enemy. We've got to play nice with them." The one in purple was still wearing his buy'ce; his voice hissed out low and menacing. "Tanvir, that doesn't mean we've got to join the shabla Republic..." Tanvir, apparently the name of the one in ivory, shook his head violently. He had short black hair, beady eyes underneath low eyebrows that looked about as agitated as he sounded. Square face, deep lines on his forehead- being here and talking like that, that meant he was probably A'den Tanvir, the head of the clan. "What, so you want to fight them again? Look how that's worked out in the past." The argument continued. Tal resisted the urge to roll his eyes, and instead looked over at Chel next to him. The ad'ika had taken his helmet off, and was running his fingers through his short blonde hair, combing it back after being in the buy'ce for a while. "Looks like a mess." he said, without looking up at Tal. Jair shook her head. "Males. Everyone thinks they're the alpha." Tal sighed, air whispering from the hole in his face. She's right.
  2. For the Discerning Killer

    The scrape of stone on beskar was calming. Slow, rhythmic- the sound of a killing instrument being perfected, one stroke at a time. Leaf-shaped, it wasn't the sort of thing Tal himself would use, but he could certainly appreciate it. Kula would do more with it, he hoped. He heard a speeder. It wasn't the high-pitched whine of the SoroSuub he'd gotten for light duty around the farm, the one Kula and Chel would be taking to find vhe'viine, rather a deep buzzing that set his durasteel teeth on edge. Wasn't someone from the clan, unless Ruul had brought a cargo speeder with the billets he'd gone for, or bought a new ride, and the Zeltron would have commed him first. Probably that Falleen coming to collect his rifle, but you could never be sure. He was wearing his beskar'gam, the dull red and orange suit that had served him well since young adulthood, minus his buy'ce and some of the auxiliary plates- and of course, most of his weaponry. Didn't go around his own land armed, after all. Tilting his right wrist slightly, he checked the flamethrower readout. The tiny cylinder of compressed fuel was full, enough for a good ten seconds. The tiny holdout pistol in his boot was charged and ready, his utility knife was on his belt, and he still had his big recurve fighting knife at the small of his back. Never hurt to be ready. He'd learned that a thousand times over his career. Unconsciously, the Mandalorian reached up to scratch at the thick torc of scar tissue visible just above the neck seal of his bodysuit, a reminder of one of those times on Haruun Kal. He'd dropped the ball, and was lucky to be alive after that. Hadn't helped his voice any. Tal returned to his work, changing to a finer stone. The speeder noise was going away again. Looking up momentarily, he saw a female human walking towards him. Short, red-haired, in unremarkable clothing. On her hip dangled a sword, a rather impressive specimen. On her other, some sort of firearm. As she drew closer, he could see that she bore her own scars. One in particular matched his, across the neck. "So this is Cuyot Arms?" she asked as she approached close. Heavy Corellian accent- either that, or a bad attempt at a normal Corellian accent. Tal's credits were on the former. He sucked in a breath, air whispering through the hole in his left cheek and past his durasteel replacement teeth, and pointedly glanced up at the sign. Aruetii had to be able to read, after all. Sorta hard to end up on another planet without being able to read. "Yeah." the Mandalorian rasped, matching his words with a stroke of the stone on the blade. "I'm Tal Cuyot, and we make arms." He set the stone aside, letting the beskad hang from his gloved hand, and pushed himself to his feet. Running his empty hand's fingers through short-buzzed black hair, he shrugged. "You here for something?"
  3. For the Discerning Killer

    Melona, 3630 BBY, just outside the city of Keldabe, Mandalore... Tal Cuyot had never thought of himself as one who could properly appreciate natural beauty. Maybe a well-crowned rifle barrel, blaster burns on beskar'gam, a knife edge honed to perfection- but a sunrise? A rainbow? The normal stuff? That had never really been his cup of tisane. Still, even he could appreciate the morning sun playing over the bas neral growing on the Cuyot farm. He lived in a beautiful place, and sometimes he didn't remember that. This was the sort of thing that reminded him why he'd come back to Manda'yaim. Opening the door to this, instead of speeders zipping back and forth through hoverlanes and the stink of a thousand different beings and their bad hygiene... yes, sometimes he took the beauty here for granted. He'd done his rounds of the place earlier, just after dawn. Coming back inside, he'd worked on finishing painting the sigils on a commissioned buy'ce, and had just finished. Now it was nearly noon. Kula had just finished in the fields, the gangly twenty-year old human brushing dirt from his arms as he returned to the house. He was a new addition to the Cuyot clan, such as it was. New addition to the Mando'ade, matter of fact. Jair had picked him up on Corellia, decided he was mandokarla, and brought him home. Seemed like she'd been right. "How're you liking Manda'yaim, ad'ika?" Tal rasped, cetare clicking as he finished walking down the stairs from the front door of the house. "Looks like you've got plenty of it on you." Kula glanced over at the scarred Mandalorian. "Isn't bad at all. Better than Corellia, that's for sure. Saw some vhe'viin tracks out there, though." The young man had been a freightloader on the docks at Coronet City before Jair had crashed into the place shooting chakaare, and had apparently saved her shebs. Long journey from there to the fields of Mandalore, but he was doing all right. "Want me to handle 'em?" Tal nodded slowly. Vhe'viine weren't good news, but they came around and you couldn't really do much 'till afterwards. "Yeah. Grab Chel, he's pretty good at getting the little shabuire." That was an understatement. Chel was a damn fine marksman, and aside from earning credits covering Jair on jobs, that helped a lot in keeping the fields free of vermin. "He's inside. You can take the speeder. I'll let everyone know there'll be some shooting." Wasn't as if it'd be out of the ordinary, given that they'd converted one of the fields into a test range, but still had to be done. "A'right." Kula nodded, passing him to go inside. Tal went on his way, too. The workshop, a long low building was attached to the side of the much larger house; on the side of it was an open area, where the forge was. It had a sign, Tal's concession to Jair's assertion that perhaps they ought to mark the business. Well- not just Jair. Chel, and Kula, and Torris, and... well, all of them had thought it was a good idea. Tal still wasn't sure that it was necessary, but there it was. "Cuyot Arms", in little black letters, in Basic and in Mando'a. A little building that made the best, that was how he thought of it. Torris had even started advertising. "Cuyot Arms- for the discerning killer". Maybe a bit on the nose, but it worked. He entered, pushing the geometrically carved door- a hobby of Torris'- open. It was just Jair and Torris in there right now; Rool was off in Keldabe proper, negotiating a purchase of billets for receivers. They were hard at work. Jair was assembling one of their flagship rifles at a workbench, the CRS-5, the only thing Cuyot Arms made that wasn't a full custom. Tal had had reservations about that one, worrying that quality would drop, but they'd convinced him, and it had worked out. Torris was working on a stock for the same model, carefully hand-checkering the precisely contoured veshok wood, the Twi'lek's long, blue-skinned fingers drawing his cutting tool down in slow, measured strokes. He flicked a lek to acknowledge Tal's presence without looking up; Jair, on the other hand, stopped what she was doing, looking up with a broad smile on her face. "How's the kid doing out there? Getting his hands dirty?" Tal shook his head slowly, smiling as much as he could with the wound in his face. "He's twenty Standard." "Yeah, he's a kid." "You're twenty-eight." She waved it off. "He's young. Anyway, we got another order in today. Another one of the '5s." "Who's this one?" "Not sure. Came in from Nar Shaddaa. Probably another Hutt lackey." Assassins and mercs, that was their general clientele for this sort of weapon. Most who tried to order didn't end up going through; Tal required that anyone who wanted one of his weapons had to come and order it in person. That was for a couple reasons. First, the best guns were fit to their owners. Second, he didn't like getting stiffed. Cash credits, half before, half on delivery. Third- well, it weeded out the riff-raff. The hut'uune of the galaxy who couldn't be bothered to come to Mandalore didn't deserve one of these weapons. "I'll get back to him. Forward me the message." "Got it." She went back to her work, sliding the bolt back into the weapon. "The Falleen barve who ordered this one is coming today, I think." Yeah, that was what he remembered, too. "A bit later. You want to deal with him? I gotta finish up Kula's beskad today." "Yeah, sure." He nodded and turned back around, taking the beskad from the hook it hung upon by the door. It was a short one, a bit less than half a meter. Heavy single-edged blade, with a false edge on the back. Just needed some finishing touches. Taking it outside, he sat down on a rough stool next to the forge, and took up his polishing stones.
  4. Beroyase bal Aliit

    Ma'rik was talking, but Tal could barely hear her. Dorric had ambushed them, had killed the Mando'ad that had come before them. They were ready for Mandalorians, then. How could they get to that hut'uun now? They would get to him, no doubt about that now, if there even had been before, but how? Did Shadua know about this? Was this why he was paying so much? The Mandalorian's fists had clenched tight, the material of his gloves squeaking. He'd seen a lot of death in his time. He'd lost comrades, good friends- he didn't really have any good friends left anymore, hadn't for a few years now. The beroya's life was a dangerous one, and they all knew that going in. This kid's mother had known it too. Why was this getting such a rise out of him? The kid was right there with it. He'd seen it, more than likely. Tal's own father had been killed in a starship accident. A navicomputer error had slammed his vessel into an asteroid upon exiting hyperspace. He and Je'ka had found the wreckage when Tracyn hadn't called in, combed through it, hoping they'd find something. A couple scraps of beskar'gam was all that had survived the crash. It had been crushingly painful, and was probably the biggest reason why his relationship with Je'ka had deteriorated to the point it had. His vod was dead now, killed aboard an escort cruiser somewhere in space off Balmorra by a couple of jetiise. Who'd have ever thought that Je'ka would have made a naval captain? Those deaths had shut him down emotionally for a while, both of 'em. Hadn't gotten along with Je'ka, but even so. And he'd been an adult for both of them. He couldn't really imagine what the child had going on in his head right now, being right there for the violent death of his buir. No- he could, almost, and simply trying to imagine hurt like haran. I've killed parents in front of their children before. Three times- that barve on Selonia, the Rodian here on Nar Shaddaa, and that other one in deep space off the Hydian Way. What makes this different? This child was a Mando'ad, that was it. He could have been this ad'ika twenty-some years ago, if his father had been less lucky. "A kilometer and a half back the way you came, I don't know how far after coming out of the sewers." said the kid, to something Ma'rik had said, his head never rising. "Gang safe house. Buir didn't know what it was." His tone was evening out. Tal recognized that- it was the sound of someone pushing themselves to do what no reasonable being could be expected to, to continue on when by all rights they ought to have stopped. He'd seen it before on the battlefield, felt it himself, the mindset of a being who knew something was irreversible or inevitable, and knew they needed to keep going. It was the point where you stopped being you and became a droid. He hauled himself to his feet, clicking his comms over to internal. "It's shabla personal now." That was really all he needed to say. Vivid images played in his head, of that red-skinned Twi'lek shrieking, lekku flailing, of the knife making him scream. "Will you show us where you came down here?" Tal asked the kid, back on external comms. That was how they were gonna get the guy. They were just gonna shabla blast in there and mow down any hut'uun they came across, that was how. "Yeah." The kid's buy'ce tilted up, and then slightly down and to the right, glancing at his mother's body. He'd dragged her that far, and he wouldn't have to leave her now; Tal bent down and pulled the body up, grunting with the exertion. Armored corpses were heavy, and although he'd done this too many times before, it didn't really help. Managing to get her over his shoulders, he straightened up as much as he could. "Let's go." The ad'ika got up, blaster pistol in hand; he readjusted the rifle he had slung across his back, and then pushed past Tal to lead the way.
  5. Beroyase bal Aliit

    Tal followed her down, boots splashing into a veritable river of refuse. It wasn't the first time in his life he was thankful for the filters in his buy'ce, and he highly doubted it would be the last, but this one was... special. There were lots of things that his bucket helped him endure in the realm of smells- rotting corpses, blaster-burnt rotting corpses, Twi'lek food, and so on- but the combined osik of millions of degenerates of a thousand different species was probably the worst. He almost vomited at the mere thought. Hard maneuvers in gravity, harder maneuvers in zero-G, and the bodily waste of thousands of sentient and non-sentient beings, those were pretty much guaranteed to turn his stomach. He could stand most anything else, though. And of course he'd gone down straight into the filth- Ma'rik had landed on the walkway, slightly to the side. He'd just jumped in, more worried about what was following. Just shabla wonderful. The Mandalorian hauled himself up onto the walkway and stretched up on the tips of his toes, managing to catch hold of the the sewer cover to pull it over the hole. Couldn't get it all the way; drawing one of his many knives, a long stiletto with no actual edge, just a needle point, he hooked it into the hole of the cover and pulled it closed with a heavy clang. That dropped them into total darkness, and so as he returned the knife to its sheath on his calf, he switched on the spotlight embedded in the rim of his helmet's visor. "You got that shabla right." he rasped in reply, holding back his urge to gag. It really was just... terrible. He started walking down the walkway, trying to figure out what they were to do. Dorric was cloaking himself, he'd known they were coming somehow... It was fair to say that these guys probably had some sort of source with the Hutt. Briefly, he thought of comming Shadua and letting him know he had a problem, but immediately discarded the idea. Couldn't get a signal out of here, in the first place, and if Shadua had someone giving information to Dorric's buddies, then that'd just be letting them know that they were still coming for him. They'd be planning on that, for sure, but no need to confirm it, was there? "So, that cloaking device complicates things a little bit. Do you think the gang has anything else like that to surprise us? That kind of tech isn't really common with street criminals, so should we just assume now that they have better firepower than we anticipated?" Tal shrugged. "Yeah, better firepower. Not such a big deal, though- more that these shabuire knew that we were coming. They knew." That was was more disconcerting. They'd known they were coming, they'd been loaded for gundark, and so Dorric would likely be in some safe house or something. They'd have to find that, and take him down, and not get killed themselves. Not too hard, in concept. "So we find somewhere to resurface at a safe distance, far enough from their territory that they won't just be waiting for us above, and then we figure out a way to come at them in a way that they won't be expecting. Shabla simple." He spat those last two words like they were venom. Yeah, wouldn't be so simple in execution, would it? But what in haran was that scraping sound? He'd just noticed it. From ahead, around a curving corner in the sewage pipe. "You hear that?" he asked Ma'rik, looking up from the ground, where he'd been lighting his footsteps. The scraping stopped- shab, he'd let the light up to shine on the wall. Whatever was around there could see it. But no quick scurry away, none of that. Not borrats, then. "Goin' round." He brought his carbine up, surging around the corner. There was something there, and he sighted it, safety off, about to blast it to bits, but at the last second he pulled his finger away from the trigger- a child. A child, in blue Mandalorian armor, standing over another armored shape on the walkway. That child had a blaster pistol in its hands, though, and it was pointed right at Tal. A blinding blue flare of light filled the tunnel; Tal felt the bolt smash into his beskar'gam, over his stomach, sending him staggering back, winded. "Osik!" he hissed, dropping his own weapon to hang on its sling. The child still had its blaster leveled in a textbook grip, but it hadn't fired again. The smoking muzzle of the weapon was wavering slightly, however, and Tal realized that the armored shape was a Mando'ad as well. Or- had been. Its armor, the same blue as the child's, was blackened, scorched, and bloody, and there was a very obvious wound in the upper chest, between breast and collar plates. "Ad'ika, you okay?" Tal asked, switching to external comms, the fact that the kid had shot him already forgotten. Displaying his empty hands, he took a step forwards, and then another; the kid's arms shook, and then the blaster pistol went down. A voice, human-sounding, likely male, came out from the child's buy'ce. "Yeah." The ad'ika holstered his pistol on his belt and knelt down, grasping the corpse's collar plate fastenings and began to drag it, away from Tal, with a sort of single-minded determination. "What- why are you down here?" was all the Mandalorian could think to say; the kid's T-visor tilted up to look at him. "I have to get away from them, and get buir to a medcenter." He said it so... matter-of-factly. His buir was clearly dead, though, and Tal realized he didn't actually know what to say in a case like this. It was so bad he couldn't really process it. A child, dragging his dead parent through the sewer. Why? What had happened? Was there a way to handle this with tact? Tal settled for walking over and dropping into a squat, putting his hand on the kid's shoulder plate, trying to figure out the right words. The ad'ika threw his hand off, with a violent jerk of his shoulder, but he let go of the body, its helmet clanking onto the walkway. "They can help at the medcenter. They have to." The kid's voice had cracked, halfway through the first sentence, audible even through the buy'ce speakers. A hard sniff, and then he sort of collapsed back onto his shebs, folding up to grasp his knees. Who did this? What sort of sick shabuir shot this kid's buir and left him to drag her through the sewers? I'm going to find that hut'uun and gut him like a shabla fish, and I am going to enjoy it. Tal found it hard to contain the fury he felt at seeing this, but the logical half of him took over, put him on autopilot. Mechanically, he stepped over the body and sat down next to the ad'ika, not touching him. "Who did this?" "A bounty." The kid's shoulders came up slowly and then dropped as he took a deep breath, trying to calm himself. "A Twi'lek and his guys." The T-visor turned and angled up, to look at Tal. "She's.. she's dead, isn't she?" Tal already knew, but he still leaned forwards, pulling the body's helmet off. The face underneath was a human woman's, middle-aged, a faint scar on her chin. Blonde hair, tied back into a tail that disappeared into the neck seal of her bodysuit. Her eyes were half rolled up, and he felt no pulse when he put his fingers to her neck. "Yeah." "Osik." The kid's head dropped forwards. Tal reached out reflexively, hesitating for a second before putting his hand on the ad'ika's shoulder again. This time, he didn't throw it off. Dorric did this. Dorric and his buddies. That's why they knew there was someone coming. They'd already fought someone off.
  6. Beroyase bal Aliit

    And she just shabla jumped. Shabla ad'ike. He'd asked if she had a line, because if she hadn't, he'd have just helped her down with his jetpack. Not told her to jump off a shabla building. Who did that? What sort of sane being just did that, instead of asking the barve right next to them who'd just come up with a jetpack if he could get them down? Tal rushed to the edge of the building, looking over. She was there, having broken some sort of awning and tipped over a cart full of foodstuffs. Alive, thankfully. "What in haran were you thinking, gar shab'ika? Gonna break your shabla neck doing di'kutla osik like that!" he yelled over the comms, the words hurting his throat. Jare'la. Shabla jare'la. He jumped over the edge of the building himself, triggering his jetpack to lower himself to the ground safely. Not through a shabla food cart. Seriously, what had she been thinking? "I don't know where in all the Corellian hells this chakaar is gonna go to, but I do know we can't find out if we're kyrayc in the gutter. And there are a bunch of 'em, so we ought to get moving, find a place to regroup, plan stuff out." He jogged past her, looking around for some way to go. "Sanitation, maybe. Nobody wants to be down with the osik, especially not here. Look around for a grate or manhole cover labeled "sewer", would you? Might be in Huttese, though." Shabla everything was in Huttese here. Probably because it was in Hutt Space, believe it or not, although the language wasn't just limited to that area of the galaxy. Huttese was useful to know, especially for a beroya- lots of the lawless places across the galaxy used it as a trade language, and lots of work was done for those big slugs. Most of 'em weren't big fans of anyone hindering their business. Tended to take it as a personal affront when a being did, and that's when Mando'ade got called in- like today. "Wait." That was one, a bit further away, if he wasn't mistaken. Hurrying over to it, he saw that he was right. "Found one." Drawing his big recurve fighting knife from the small of his back, Tal knelt down and set the beskar blade into the small space between the cover and the permacrete. Was shabla heavy, but he could handle that. With a grunt, he levered the cover up, and pulled it to the side. "You first." he said, sheathing his knife.
  7. Anything you can do I can do better!

    Have at it. Well, at least she was reasonable. Or... well, she was quite abrasive, but he supposed that was fair. Had gotten into a gunfight with her, after all. Still, didn't make it any easier to resist the temptation to blast her. Really, really, really didn't. But if Tal shot every di'kut who pissed him off, there wouldn't be anyone left on this osik'la planet. Had standards, after all. Wasn't just some murderer. And they had been Republic troops. He filed that away, made sure his buy'ce was set to record, which it always was on jobs. That information would be worth something to the Imperials, as would holos of the specific chakaare involved. He wasn't a murderer, but it wasn't like he'd just let her walk away from this, and letting the Imps know about this would undoubtedly interest them. Maybe he could at least get paid a little bit, what with all the tracking he'd done. The Mandalorian smiled as much as he could under the impassive T of his visor. Yeah, that sounded good. Let the Empire know all about her, about the osik she'd caused, see how that worked out for her. Ought to at least pay for his jetpack. "Take what you need pal. A finger, a wallet, his gun, eh chu ta je take more delicate pieces if you really want. Sure the Imperials can identify what's left from their castrations of their officers." she said, sliding out of the other side of the speeder and crouching down behind it. Didn't trust him. That was fair, too- who'd trust a Mando'ad they'd shot in the side to not kill them? He moved forwards, pistol still in a two-handed grip. Yeah, that was the officer there in the speeder, and he was very dead. Most beings didn't get up after decapitation, and Tal was pretty sure that this one was no exception. Keeping his weapon ready in his right hand, he reached out slowly with his left to open the speeder door. No sudden movements. Didn't want to spook her, after all. Needed something for DNA evidence. Fingers were generally what he took- with a holo of the corpse, it tended to work pretty well, and they were a lot easier to take than some barve's head. Reaching in, he grabbed the corpse's boot and pulled it closer to his side of the speeder, so he could reach the hands without having to actually get inside there. Better to stay standing outside, so he could move and fight as necessary. Left thumb, that'd work. Taking the digit in his left hand, he ejected the vibroblade housed in his right gauntlet and took it off. The vibroblade made a metallic chunk as he retracted it; keeping his pistol up, he backed away, back to the entrance of the alleyway. "A'right. Got what I needed." He came out of the alleyway and turned around, jogging away. Shabla Mirialian. Shabla Republic.
  8. Anything you can do I can do better!

    Aw, osik. That little green-skinned chakaar... She'd shabla chopped the barve's head off. That explained all of that blood. She'd gone and killed him. Why, though? If she'd wanted the Imperial dead from the start, she'd just have shot him and be done with it. Or have one of her friends do the job. "He'd have kept it if you hadn't shown up so...indirectly you got your man. Hope you needed him dead there." the Mirialian continued. Well, that was one way of looking at it. Actually, a fairly profitable way of looking at it, if he wanted to go claim a dead bounty for something he hadn't done. He wouldn't, because that would be like watching some di'kut get run over by a speeder and then calling it in. That was wrong, and it wasn't the way he did things. But she seemed to be trying to give him something to hang on to, and that meant she didn't want a fight. Which was good, that meant they could just part and not have to worry about dying. "You going to shoot me if I get out of the speeder? Can't say I've heard of many vindictive Mandos but not sure if I insulted your mother with a headshot or something." Not the most personable being he'd met over his life. Far from the least, but still. "I don't need you, just proof of his death." he rasped back in reply. Shab, he wanted to kill her- she'd shot him in the head, wounded him slightly, destroyed an expensive jetpack. He wanted to empty a full power pack into her and toss the burnt lump of once-Mirialian into the underlevels. But that wasn't right. She'd beaten him fairly, and fighting now would just end up with one of them dead. And he didn't really feel like taking the chance on this one. Could just tell her it was safe and then blow her away when she got out... but that, too, was wrong. Not that kind of person.
  9. Beroyase bal Aliit

    "Has to be hiding in a building? Shab, they knew we were coming. Why would he be anywhere near here?" At least if Dorric was smart, which it seemed that he was. Set up an ambush, appeared to have some way of knowing they were coming. What sort of di'kut would want to be anywhere close to some place he knew bounty hunters after his shebs would be coming? Especially when that place would be the site of a shootout? He came out onto the street between the buildings, moving over to the wall of the one Ma'rik was on. Had to keep watch for any more of them, which there almost surely would be. They'd have to get out of here, regroup, find a different way to go after Dorric, because this one sure as shab wasn't working. Would- "Found him, he's up on my building and he's got a personal cloak. That's how he slipped past us I guess." Ma'rik commed. And from the sound of that, things weren't going ideally up there. With a hissed Huttese curse, Tal took a few steps back and activated his jetpack. The jolt of liftoff felt like it would pull his spine out of his body, but it was necessary- couldn't leave the verd'ika up there alone with a cloaked enemy. Altogether too easy to get a vibroblade between the plates when you couldn't see who you were fighting, and he wasn't about to let her die on his watch. He rocketed up onto the roof of the building, cutting off the jets and landing hard, carbine up and ready. "Expedience would not go amiss, he is putting up a bit of a fight." Ma'rik said, just as he landed. Couldn't see anyone right here, but if he had a cloaking device... "Switch to IR." he commed, doing just that- there he was, clearly visible in his buy'ce's infrared sight. Too bad he was already swinging; whatever blunt object the Twi'lek was carrying smashed into Tal's thigh plate, forcing him to stagger back a step. Letting loose a burst from his carbine, the Mandalorian was rewarded with a cry of pain- but he'd clipped the target, no more. Another burst went wide as the shape in his HUD disappeared down the staircase. "Osik." A cloaking device. Never good. Tal charged after him, going down the stairs; catching a brief glimpse of him, he fired another burst and missed. Shab, he ought to have just jetpacked down and caught him at the bottom- but maybe he wouldn't even go all the way down. Maybe he'd just hide in the building, wait for backup. Or go out a window, or blast out a wall or something. Shabla cloaking. He heard blasterfire then, and it wasn't the familiar sound of Ma'rik's weapons. Sounded like heavy stuff, and there was raucous laughter with it. And then the chattering of a slugthrower. Dorric's backup was here, it looked like. Tal broke off the pursuit and looked out of a burnt-out window. Yes, there they were, firing into the sky. They wanted to make their presence known- probably because he could see at least ten, fifteen of 'em already. So we get out of here, regroup. He turned back and ascended the stairs, coming back up to the roof. "We're gonna have to get out. Away from them and down. You got a line?"
  10. Anything you can do I can do better!

    "Hey! Unless you really want your head blasted off get the frack away from my ride here schutta!" She'd seen him, then. Maybe she hadn't seen who he was, but she'd seen him coming. That didn't bode well at all. He could take his carbine, empty the power pack through the windows, hope that got her. Could storm in there, trust in his beskar'gam, take a blade to her. Didn't sound too good, either. She might be packing a disruptor, something else serious, and while his armor would take a lot, he didn't particularly want to chance it. Just no easy way to do this. Except- all that blood on the inside of the speeder. Had she killed the Imperial? Shab. No bounty for me, looks like. She got there first. "You kill him?" he called, on external comms, keeping his pistol up just in case. Shab, he hoped not. Advancing, slowly, he kept his chin down. Didn't want her to get a shot up into his buy'ce- the neck was really the only properly vulnerable area on a good set of beskar'gam, after all. Couldn't really see into the speeder, didn't want to get too close. If she had killed him... what then? Just walk away? Accept that he'd lost, she'd gotten to him first, take his wound and be done with it? Seemed like about the only solution. He'd have to go back to the Empire, explain that he'd failed... osik, he'd have to get proof of death somehow, and that likely meant a piece of the body and a holo of what it looked like. Meant he had to get in there, anyway. Kriff. Not ideal, not at all.
  11. The Citadel's Shadow

    A clan. Tal almost laughed inside his buy'ce. He'd had a clan at one point, sort of. His buir, Tracyn, had been alive, Je'ka had been married (and actually sane), they'd had a couple of Tracyn's associates and friends living in the place... that had maybe counted. Aliit Cuyot could be considered to have existed then, maybe. It'd be clutching at straws, but it might count. And then Je'ka's wife, Briika, had died, he'd lost it, their buir had a navicomp error and bought it, and everyone else had either died or disappeared. A house, a farm, a forge, and Tal and Chel didn't quite make a clan. Even with Je'ka there- and Tal was pretty sure he'd be moving on soon enough, because he was getting weird- that didn't mean much. "If it's a clan, it's not much of one." he replied, a short, gravelly laugh accompanying the words. Way he saw it, he was just another one of the unlucky ones. There were too many, especially in a culture like theirs. People died everywhere, bad things happened to everyone, and when a large percentage of the population was involved in mercenary work and bounty hunting, more people died and more bad things happened. Aliit Cuyot. That was actually pretty funny. Probably should be depressing, but Tal had always been one for black humor. "You're whatever you want, vod. Your life. No pressure." Traat'aliit Shi'yayc had filed into the transport, and all of them fastened their crash webbing at nearly the same time, a mass of clicks filling the vessel. The woman from outside, Jair, was sitting across from him; the black-armored man that had been comforting her was next to her, and as Tal watched, she leaned against him, resting her helmeted head on his shoulder. The bloodied bits of armor Tal had given her were in her lap, the T-visor aimed right at him. Shabla terrible. Shouldn't happen. "sorry, I ask a lot of questions." Kelan said, pulling Tal's attention away from Jair. "Questions are good. Don't learn much without 'em."
  12. The Citadel's Shadow

    Tal shrugged, a slight smile beneath his T-visor. "Flying and shooting's more than enough, vod. We're Mando'ade. Got to help each other out." The ad'ika was new. Tal wouldn't expect him to do all that sort of stuff right away. So long as he cleaned up after himself, helped around the farm and forge... anything else was extra. "I'll show you how this whole Mando business works, too, if you want..." Osik, why was he saying all this? Sure, he'd love to help the kid out. He had all the right stuff, and with a bit of work, he'd be an outstanding Mando'ad. But Tal wasn't a teacher. Hell, he was barely even a talker. Plus, he already had Chel to worry about, guide through all of this. Why would he even think that he was capable of helping Kelan out? A place to stay, that was within his capablities. Past that? But he's mandokarla. I want to help him. I should. Kinda my duty as a Mando'ad too. He'd already said it, anyway. It was the right thing to do. Kelan might not take him up on it, he might not have to worry, but even so, it was the right thing to do. As a Mandalorian... shab, as a man, it was the right thing to do.
  13. The Citadel's Shadow

    Tal let his head loll back against the headrest. It had been a rough day. Space combat, fighting through a ship, dealing with that hut'uun admiral, not to mention the whole coup thing that Corey had pulled off. He'd been worried about that one, but Corey was a good guy, and he trusted him. Still, if he failed... they'd have come after him later, probably. It had been a risk, but it had paid off. Shabla draining, all of it. Kelan came into the transport; Tal turned his T-visor towards the ad'ika. He'd done well, for his first time with all of this. Mandokarla. Still, Tal felt pretty bad about what he'd said to him upstairs, on the bridge. "Kelan..." he rasped, trying to figure out a good way to say it. "I was kinda harsh up there." Osik, that wouldn't do. He wasn't much of a conversationalist. As in, not at all. There had been times where he just hadn't talked for months, on some of his longer solo hunts. He didn't really know what to say here. Sorry, kid, I was a bit of a di'kut, hope you forgive me? But seriously, it's the beskar'gam that matters? Tal groaned within his buy'ce. Why couldn't he be better at this sort of thing? "Look, vod, I know you're new to all this, I'm sorry for being like that earlier. Don't know how everything's going for you back on Manda'yaim, but if you need any help or anything, with anything, I'm around." That was better, at least a little bit. Still terribly-put, but at least now he wasn't coming across like some cold-hearted shabuir. "Someone to work with, a place to stay, I don't know, anything."
  14. Anything you can do I can do better!

    Tal snarled a curse as the speeder zoomed away, Mirialian and his quarry in it. Shabla thing could disappear on the Smuggler's Moon, in the chaos of the ecumenopolis. And he didn't have his jetpack anymore, couldn't just rocket over there and grab hold, although that'd be too risky even if he could. With a dissatisfied growl, the Mandalorian set off at a run, over to where the Mirialian had been. He needed a speeder, and there weren't any parked right here. Plus, he wasn't much of a speeder thief, and he couldn't start the things without the proper keys. Would have to take one from some chakaar already piloting it. He made it out to the street and let his carbine drop, hanging from its sling. Nobody was coming- 'course not. Nobody wanted to come through a shabla shootout. He glanced up, just in time to catch sight of the Mirialian's stolen speeder rocket away. That wasn't- Something slammed into his back, knocking him flat on the street. He'd seen a flicker in his HUD's 360-degree vision, right before it had hit him. With a groan, he hauled himself up, seeing that it was, indeed, a speeder. Lucky him, but unlucky shabuir driving... Tal turned his T-visor to look at the pilot. Human female, door half-open to get out. Her eyes widened as she saw the distinctive visor shape, and she immediately slammed the door. "Get out!" the Mandalorian snarled, helmet speakers on max volume to make shabla sure she heard. She didn't get out, instead ducking into the passenger seat of the thing. Tal circled the front of the vehicle and ripped the door open, intending to yank her out himself; instead, he got a blaster shot to the chest. Shabuir had gotten out a hold-out blaster, and was lying across the two front seats. He tore the big, recurve-blade fighting knife from its sheath at the small of his back and brought it down into her thigh, garnering a high shriek. a gout of blood, and another blaster shot, which spent itself in the speeder's roof. Shab, couldn't move with his upper body in here; grabbing her unwounded leg, he hauled the woman out onto the permacrete. She still had the blaster, and so he finished it before she had the chance to get off another shot, hacking his knife into her shoulder with a wet thwack. The blaster dropped from nerveless fingers then, and the screaming turned into gurgling. One more blow buried the knifeblade into the side of the woman's skull; with a grunt of effort, Tal put a boot on the corpse's chest and pulled it free. Messy work, but she'd shot him and gotten in the way of his hunt. He slid into the speeder's blood-covered seat. Wasn't much of a speeder pilot- tended to just use hovertaxis, because then he didn't have to worry about crashing them or blowing them up. Or remembering where he'd parked them. But the control yoke here wasn't that different from the sort of thing that could be found in smaller starships. Already running, there was the throttle, there the reverse thrust. Fair enough. Tal yanked the yoke back, opening up the throttle- and the thing just shot up, nauseatingly quickly. Choking back a curse, he cut the power and managed to get it pointed in sort of the right direction. Controls were finicky. Lots of force was required to get the yoke to move, but when it did the speeder didn't particularly want to stop going that way. Shabla annoying, but it would have to work. Now where would this Mirialian be? If she was smart, she'd be going as far as possible. Other side of the moon, contact the rest of her team, arrange an extraction. Or do the opposite- hide close, wait for him to pass. The classic action holo move, that tended to work a lot more than Tal liked. Still, her speeder had been absolutely covered in blood and bits of Zabrak brain. Would be noticeable. Tal lowered the speeder, fighting for control, and pulled up alongside a tapcaf teeming with beings, lots of 'em standing in line outside. "Anyone see a speeder? Covered with blood?" he asked, helmet speakers still at max volume. Most of the beings there just refused to look at him. Didn't want to get involved. Fair. "Hundred credits." A Twi'lek female, in the brief garb typical of Twi'lek females on this planet, looked up. "Credits first." Tal dug a blood-covered glove into a belt pouch, pulling out a chit and tossing it to her. "Where?" "Went that way." the Twi'lek replied, waving a hand... in the same direction Tal had already been going. Shab. Still, better than he could hope for. Yanking on the speeder's steering yoke, he opened up the throttle and shot away. Would have to check periodically, then. Might cost him a lot... Wait. There. Speeder, parked in an alleyway. Same color, and it had looked like it had been spattered with blood in the same way. The Mandalorian swung his stolen vehicle around, coming up to the mouth of the alleyway, and then cut the power, letting it settle to the ground. Best chance would be to sneak up on 'em. He got out, wincing with pain. Some of the spilled fuel from his jetpack had gotten into the projectile wound on his side. It stung like a shabuir, but he could deal with it. Would have to do this up close and quick- couldn't let the Mirialian get that shabla rifle up again. She was a good shot, and the thing was powerful. Best case, he'd get inside her aim and carve her up like a shatual after the hunt. Still, she might see him first. With that in mind, he drew his pistol and made his way forwards cautiously. Yeah, it was the same speeder. Rocking slightly, back and forth, but guessing by the blood spattered on the inside of the thing's windows, there wasn't anything good going on in there.
  15. The Citadel's Shadow

    Osik. The kid was stubborn. Tal couldn't argue with him here, the mir'osik didn't seem willing to change his mind. Plus, he didn't want to miss the shuttle. If Vance wanted to carry an armored body back to Manda'yaim, talk to the family, that was up to him. Shabla stupid decision if you asked Tal, but what was he gonna do about it? "Let's just get the shab out of here." he rasped, making his way to the exit of the bride. He could see the admiral watching him in his 360-degree vision, could see the traces of a sneering smile on that aristocrat's face. He didn't like that at all. Sooner they got out, the better. The turbolift wasn't too far; eyeing the chrono in the corner of his HUD, Tal saw that they had a bit more than a minute left till their ride was due to arrive. Plenty of time. Stepping into the turbolift, he and Colin pressed themselves into the thing's corners, to make room for Kelan and the corpse he was carrying. Shabla thing was missing an arm and a leg, now. Burnt through by blaster bolts, no doubt. Kelan was lucky that that was all that'd happened. Blasters did some nasty things, and if that body had taken a hit to the abdomen or something, he'd be dealing with stinking, charred organs and a blasted-open body cavity. The turbolift arrived at the deck they'd been on initially; stepping out, after Kelan and Colin, Tal followed the two of them to the hangar. Those techs that they'd been fighting were still there, weapons still in hand; Shi'yayc was there, too, nine Mando'ade in various colors. One, a woman in yellow, was carrying a buy'ce and a few plates in her hands, just like Tal and Colin were. They'd lost a verd as well, then. Tal brushed past the techs, who looked at him with disgust. He could deal with that, though. At least they shabla showed it, instead of looking down their noses like that aristocrat. Admiral Count Vansic Modun. Hut'uun. The barve left a bad taste in Tal's mouth. "Shab." said a voice, over the internal comms. It was the same female from before- the one in yellow, from the way her shoulders suddenly dropped when she saw them. "Cheka..." Another one of Shi'yayc, a big barve in black, put a hand on her shoulder, as if to steady her. She shrugged him off, taking a couple steps forwards towards Tal. "She's..?" Osik. He hated doing this. "Taab'echaaj'la. I'm sorry." he rasped. Mechanically, he offered her the bits of beskar'gam that he'd collected. She handed off the plates she was already carrying to the black-armored Mando'ad and then took the ones Tal carried, hugging the helmet close, heedless of the blood still dripping off of it. "My vod... Do... do you know what happened?" "She was at the bridge. Looked like the admiral himself did it, but can't be sure." Another voice, likely that of the black-armored guy, came over. "Jair, you okay?" She nodded. "Yeah. Yeah, I'm alright." A loud humming interrupted their conversation, such as it was- the transport had arrived, coasting into the hangar on its repulsorlifts. Landing gear deployed, it settled down slowly, a boarding ramp falling open. Tal reached out, putting a hand on Jair's shoulder plate for a moment, in an attempt to express sympathy. He wasn't sure if it worked- wasn't the most socially skilled man, after all. But it was all he could do. Turning, he walked up into the bowels of the transport, finding a seat and collapsing into it. Crash webbing buckled over his chest, and all he could think about was what if he died, one of these days? What would Chel do? Kid would end up homeless, have to fend for himself. Was a bright kid, but he couldn't put him through that. Hadn't even properly adopted him yet. Shab. First thing when he got back to Mandalore.