Ask Among the People

Vizim

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Kalee was an interesting world. Its people were largely a war-like and spiritual people whose tribes were constantly warring with each other. And yet that was an opportunity for the Sith. If they could turn these hunters and warlords into warriors for their order, that was a great asset. What the planet lacked in natural resources, it could still make up for with military ones.

At least, that was Vizim's idea. He knew that actually surviving the harsh world and its harsh people would likely be more difficult than not. In fact, he half-expected that it was going to be akin to the Jedi Exile's first conquest of the Red Sith. A war-like people only willing to bow to strength and power.

Time would tell.

His partner in the operation was someone he hadn't worked with before, but he'd been around the Empire since before it was the Empire, so he couldn't have been that bad, right?

Vizim disembarked from his ship at the landing zone in a jungle clearing, checking his datapad for the coordinates on the largest nearby tribe as his partner unpacked.

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Lorcan

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Kalee was a shit-pile planet populated by assholes who thought that bones and animal skins were the height of both fashion and practicality. They needed to grow up and join the rest of the karking Galaxy as far as Lorcan was concerned but, hey, he was here for a reason beyond looking at their over-abundance of shoddily constructed Temples. Seriously, how fucking hard was it to make a building that wasn't a stepped bloody pyramid?

Honestly, jokes the lot of them.

Buuuuut they were pretty good fighters when it came to shivving people to death at least and the Sith needed people ready, willing and able to shank people who disagreed with them. Filling the ranks with good shankers rather than clankers... he was a poet sometimes.

Walking down the ramp of his ship with his new baby, his repeater, cradled in his arms, he sighed a little bit as he looked around before turning back to his partner for the mission.

"Vizzy - why are we on this armpit of a planet again?"


Important question to his mind.


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Vizim

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Vizim wasn't sure about his partner in this particular expedition, but he'd make due with whoever it was. Though, he had a nagging feeling that the man who he was about to be working with was exactly the reason he preferred to work along.

Giant gun, must be compensating, he thought to himself as the man promptly called him "Vizzy." That was definitely worse than Xio calling him Oggdo because at least that was rooted in something more... interesting.

What'd you just call me? he said. He didn't really know why he asked it and then immediately decided it was a pointless question and moved on, ignoring whatever answer the man gave.

Because their people are exceptional hunters and warriors, he said. I'm sure you're familiar with General Grievous, he said. Though he was a cyborg, he was still renowned for killing Jedi throughout his career. A potent warrior.

We may not make them all cyborgs, but even without that they're useful if we can gain their loyalty. Think Mandalorians but less extinct, he said. Sure, the Mandalorians weren't really extinct, but their numbers had been drastically reduced.
 

Lorcan

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Vizim had made a mistake and he didn’t know well enough to realize this because he hadn’t spent enough time around Lorcan or people like him. The mistake was in simply reacting to him. By doing that, Vizim had proven that he was going to keep on reacting – and that meant that there was something for Lorcan to push.

And he did like to push.

“Vizzy.” He deadpanned as he answered the question even though Vizim seemed intent on moving on, “Stand too close to some nades or something?”

Common enough problem for Lorcan to at least pretend to be sympathetic. Of course he then went on an informational rant about why they should give one lonely, solitary, shite about the locals. It all boiled down to them apparently being pretty good in a fight.

So, basically, his own internal thoughts about needing more meatshields capable of stabbing at least one person to death before they expired. He was right and that was what he was taking away from this whole conversation as he strapped the repeater to his back.

“Never heard of him.” He carelessly admitted at the mention of some grieving general, “So long as they don’t have any annoying habits of weirdly courting pacifism like the Shellheads do then they’ll be fine fodder.”

But they were an almost tribal peoples so how were they going to get them interested on a large scale? Pick their biggest, baddest, warrior-kings and beat them until they screaming for the ugly bitches that were their mothers?

... better ask before punching some of them he supposed.

“So what’s the play? Offer them tech to get off this shite-pile of a planet? Beat the piss out of their leaders? Steal their girls and kick over their sandcastles?”

 

Vizim

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Vizim couldn't quite decide if the man was actually as dumb as he presented himself or if it was all an act. He really hoped it was the latter, but wasn't so confident. Well, he'd get through this probably.

When Lorcan asked how he planned to bring them to heel, he was going to mention Andraste's ascension to Lord of the Sith but decided he probably didn't know about that either. He didn't seem to be much of a history buff.

Not too far off, he replied. Issue a challenge to the chieftains and then have it out. Reports indicate there's an arena for those kinds of challenges. We'll probably be outnumbered and have to fight with their weapons, he speculated, looking back at the repeater as he started the hike in the direction of the closest village-town-city.

Hope you know how to do more than swing a big gun around, he said. He mostly just cared because if Lorcan died his own odds of survival went down. You know, purely pragmatic.

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Lorcan

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Fight without guns and just lower himself to the same level as the savages of this planet? Well, it still wasn't going to be a fair fight but Lorcan was absolutely fine with that. It felt like a lifetime since he had been sent to fight anything that wasn't some kind of ancient droid and he was looking forward to it.

Though he did wonder if they would be dicks and ask him to take off his armour too - that would make it interesting.

"Outnumbered might give them enough of a chance to not die immediately."
he admitted as he just kind of dropped his repeater on the edge of the ramp to his ship, getting the shiny new gun covered in mud and not really caring, "If we're using their weapons I'll be fine I suppose - though given that they likely use sharp sticks and their own flaming shit, I'll hope to keep the armour at least."

He eyed the Sith as they walked.

Vizzy had asked him to confirm if he was useless without a blaster in his hands - which he had read between the lines - but Lorcan hadn't asked what Vizzy himself was good at. However...

"Last time I asked a Sith if they were more the mind-fuckery kind or the flaming-hot-stick kind, they took offense. You gonna take the farm too if I ask if you're one of those 'lead from the back while I plow the Jedi captives' kinda Sith?"



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Vizim

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Still might not hurt to bring it. Just in case, he said, quirking an eyebrow as the man dropped the gun down. There was no telling what they might be up against because intel tended to be trash. Said the man who worked in intel. Look, he knew his business...

Not sure if that's because they had a small ego or because of your very smooth delivery of questions, he said as Lorcan talked about the last Sith that was insulted by his question. Vizim didn't seem to be particularly bothered by it, though. Despite the way the man asked it, it wasn't so different from the kind of question that Vizim would ask. Probably because he'd basically just asked the same question... right.

He liked to know who he was working with.

If I were the lead from the back kind, I wouldn't be here, would I? he asked. The truth was that Vizim didn't really like "leading" things at all. He much preferred to be given the resources to do things himself. He trusted himself more than anyone else.

He silently wondered who in the Order was plowing Jedi captives and wondered if that was something to be dealt with. Oh, it was probably just this guy talking out his backside.

They headed on as the edge of the city came into view, and sure enough there were pyramid-like structures. Guards stood at the gates and immediately fell into an attack position as the pair approached. Vizim put his hands up and it didn't really seem to appease them, but they didn't get immediately stabbed at least.

He activated a small device in his hand and started to speak, letting it translate for him into their language.

We come to speak to your Chief. By sacred rite to be tested in battle and to gain audience, he said, letting the device ring out over the space between the approaching pair and the guards.

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Lorcan

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He'd mostly just wanted to try out the repeater if he was being honest himself because he had never, actually, gotten to use one but he was being sensible in his own way. A test of might and skill was literally the worst place to bring to bear a weapon that you were trying to learn how to use on a mission. No, he decided that he would test out the repeater on another mission that probably wouldn't require him to be quite so accurate.

Still had his blaster rifle over one shoulder, his sword at his waist and pistol at the other. Ignoring his armour's own weapons, he had come equipped to party regardless.

"Puh-lease. You've met me and you've met other Sith before."
he rolled his eyes underneath his helmet, "You and I both know it was a combination of both. Apparently I rub people the wrong way - like sandpaper up main street kind of wrong."

And stopping now would be far too dull.

"Good point, well made."
he accepted easily enough before putting forward a suggestion of his own, "Though if you push me forward and cower behind me I guess that'll count as the same kind of thing, right?"

Oh wow they really like pyramids.

Like... a lot.

"Fuck this place is like a less sandy Korriban..."


He bloody hated Korriban and it's stick-up-the-arse locals. If these locals had sticks up their arses half the size of their traditional spears then they were probably going to be just as bad. Rather than posturing against them, Lorcan reached up and pulled his helmet most of the way up... to idly scratch at the stubble on his chin. Chatting shite with the guards wasn't going to get them anywhere except, well, it did.

The guards looked to one another before a trio of them broke away from the formation, disappearing further into the city, presumably to check with their boss.

"Well would you look at that - it was actually a language. I'd have put Crowns on you just making random clicking noises."



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Vizim

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Lorcan was... well, he was something. Vizim actually smirked ever so slightly as the man talked about how he was sandpaper. So he was at least somewhat self-aware. That was a good thing at least.

Yes, I'll be sure to make sure you take all the enemy fire while I flank, he said. It was one part joke and one part truth. He actually did prefer that type of technique, but after that episode of initial fire, it was typically Vizim taking the majority of the fire as he sliced and diced his way through the opposition.

Isn't it just? he said. He hadn't thought of how it was like Korriban, but it kind of was. Though he supposed he'd thought of the similarity to the Sith, so potato, potato, which only worked as a metaphor when spoken aloud.

And you'd have lost your Crowns. Maybe we can make that a retroactive bet, he said, extending his hand as if expecting money.

The pair had several minutes to wait and the locals seemed less than thrilled about their presence still, eyeing them suspiciously, but they didn't attack, so Vizim ignored them.

I guess we've got time, he said, shrugging and taking out a bottle of water to drink. He wasn't really the type for small talk, but he looked over their surroundings. It actually wasn't... so awful. They had built something for themselves out here, and they lived in relative luxury. You know, if you looked past the bones that were hanging around and the killer locals.

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Lorcan

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Well if Vizzy was going to be the one who flanked and shanked then it was a good thing that Lorcan had made sure he had his armour with him - would have just been embarrassing had this been the day he decided to go lighter. Instead he was pretty confident that he could be the distraction for the sneaky Sith.

He was, after all, far more interesting that the dour man.

Smirking a little bit underneath his helmet, Lorcan considered the bet. Not taking the retroactive bet, of course, but betting about this whole misadventure in general. He was paid well by Stolas for his services and he didn't really have anything to spend it on, unlike many of the other Sith soldiers. What, was he supposed to send some home to his wife and kids? Was he fuck gonna do that. That sounded like an absolute pain in his arse before he even took into account how awkward having a wife would be.

"New bet then."
he decided at length, "Bodycount by the end of today. For every stiff you make ahead of my count? Ten Crowns. If I do more than you - same deal. You interested?"

Of course Lorcan was already weighing up the pros and cons of rigging said bet by using explosives on some kind of collection of smaller, weaker, locals. Like an orphanage or a school - something with lots of frail little children to soak up the shrapnel like little shrapnel sponges.

Or maybe just shoot the guards?

They were looking at them with some barely disguised looks of mistrust and one of them caught Lorcan's eye before spitting on the ground to the side slightly. Lorcan tilted his head to the side slightly.

"Hey Vizzy, use your lil speaking box to ask this bone-faced fuck if he wants to see what it feels like to be just as fucked over as his mother."
he 'requested' before grinning, "I want to see if I can make them squirm."

The guards who had gone to act as messengers were on their way back and Lorcan was already spoiling for a fight.


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Vizim

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Vizim was about to say that he agreed to Lorcan's little bet, but there was a nagging feeling in the Force combined with Lorcan side eyeing the guards that said "maybe this isn't a good idea."

Maybe next time, he said, finishing his drink of water and slipping the drink back in his pack. As the LT started talking about using the translator to try to start a fight, Vizim almost rolled his eyes, glad to see the guards starting to come back.

Keep it in your pants, you'll get your fight soon enough, he grumbled, motioning with his head toward the approaching guards, now bolstered in numbers by others they had picked up along the way.

The Chief accepts your challenge. Come with us, the translator said.

Your wish'll be coming true, he said, starting to follow the guards through the city. They were ogled at as they walked, many giving them nasty looks and snarls, but no one dared touch them.

Eventually they arrived at what could only be described as an arena. The pair were ushered into a small staging area, and he could already hear people starting to usher in above.

You will need to deposit your off-world ranged weapons, one of the Kaleesh said to them, indicating tables to put their weapons on. At the far end of the room was a vast assortment of tools and weapons that were clearly designed for killing people.

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Lorcan

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Lorcan didn't really want to hold his horses - he wanted to kick the ass of the local who thought he could give him a good and thorough eye-fuck via glare and get away with it. He turned back to the Sith when he spoke and Lorcan mentally did some quick maths about how viable it would be to push him out of the way and charge the guard. Before he could actually complete the maths (mental maths had never been a strong suit of his) one of them came back with news.

He blinked a few times at the translation box as it translated what the hells the damned bone-man had actually said. Once he heard it he shrugged a little bit.

"Alright, you know what?" he grinned underneath his helmet, "The attitude might suck but the service as a whole? I'll give it a pass, you know? Right on time."

As they walked, Lorcan noted the hostility and curiosity they were regarded with by the locals who were not guards. Had he given slightly more of a fuck about the overall mission of winning hearts and minds, he might not have flipped off the children.

But the fingers were up and it was too late to take it back even if he wanted to.

Which he didn't.

"Vizzy, they're stripping me on the first date. Vizzy, I'm uncomfortable with all of this." he told the Sith in a deadpan before starting to set his blasters down on the table, actually needing to use a screwdriver to remove the blaster attached to his armour's forearm, "Going on official record as saying I dislike ALL of this. You guys like things on official records right?"

Looking at the armoury that they had assembled on the walls to make himself feel better...

"... might as well use as spoon, at least that'd hurt more cus it's blunt."

Did not work.

"Fine."

Picking up a short dagger with teeth for catching blades, he also picked up a short thrusting spear that he could use for slashing as well. Twirling the short spear in his right hand, he judged the weight of the two weapons in his hands before turning back to Vizzy with a sigh.

"I feel like I'm fucking LaRPing right now."


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Vizim

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Vizim set down his blaster and begrudgingly set his saber aside, his mind internally screaming at him for doing so. His mind was screaming so loud it almost drowned out Lorcan's incredibly annoying voice, but not quite.

Did the man never shut up? I mean, did he never. Shut. Up? He kept the other assortment of melee weapons on him and made his way over to the weapon wall. He selected a single-edged sword about a meter long and hefted it in his hand. It was close enough to a lightsaber, he supposed. Except it was inferior in every way, but you know, that was fine.

You feel like you're whating? he asked. He had no idea what LARPing was because... well because of who he was.

Okay, you distract, I flank? he asked. That was what he'd said earlier, and if the other man didn't object it seemed like an... okay plan.

As the door to the arena rolled up it became immediately clear that it wasn't a simple open area. It was a maze of pillars that seemed to rise all across the area, allowing both groups to hunt and kill each other. Wonderful.

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Lorcan

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Lorcan wasn't surprised that Vizzy didn't know what LaRPing was - Lorcan had only learned what it was when a case of his back when he was a Ranger had brought him into the LaRPing scene to find a killer. A lovely chase through a bunch of people pretending to hit each other with fake lightsabers later, he had managed to bag the killer and learn a completely useless form of entertainment existed across the Galaxy.

He could have done without knowing and he wasn't enough of an asshole to subject Vizzy to it so when the Sith asked him what the fuck he was on about he just shrugged.

Seeing the arena and how it was laid out, Lorcan took a deep breath before deciding that he wasn't going to use his helmet. Taking it off, the former Ranger tossed it to one side before rolling his neck to ease out the cricks in the neck. Shaking his arms slightly, he nodded.

"I'll pin em down, you put em down."


Combat was one of the few times where Lorcan could be expected to calm down and actually focus up - mainly because he tended to get lost in the moment and needed to entertain himself far less to keep the worst parts of his mind at bay. And, if he was going to die, he wanted to be able to see it and meet it head on without shitty little jokes.

There was a roar of approval from the assembled crowd as the leader of the Locals made a short speech. The machine translated it to Basic as a fairly bog-standard speech about how they would have to earn the right to face him in combat by defeating a trio of champions - so far so basic ass bitch affair.

What caught his attention was that, apparently, the champions were already in the area.

Wait what?

From around one of the nearby pillars a Kaleesh warrior spun into view with their spear already ablur with motion. The spear's tip came screaming toward him and Lorcan didn't have chance to raise his own borrowed weapons to block, instead leaning away from the attack as best he could. It proved less than successful, the tip of the spear carving it's way across his armour's chest piece up across the right hand side of his head, carving a deep line from the bottom of his chin up and through the top of his right ear.

It was, apparently, going to be like that.


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Vizim

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Vizim entered the arena right behind Lorcan, not lingering further on the LARPing thing as the pre-battle adrenaline began to hit him. He thought of the first time he'd fought in a battle and he'd barely been able to stand up he was so scared. His legs were like jelly and his hands had shaken uncontrollably. While he had learned to control the fear better now, it never really went away.

He shook out his empty hand and rubbed it down his leg as he took a deep breath in. And things launched almost immediately. He was actually thankful for that because he didn't have anymore time to continue thinking.

He started moving as the spear passed by, darting into the pillars and then immediately calling the Force to himself to leap up, landing atop one of the pillars to get a better vantage point where no one would be expecting.

Meanwhile, Lorcan would find the second of three Kaleesh popping out with a longbow, drawing and firing on him quickly in an attempt to skewer him since the spear hadn't managed to accomplish that.

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Lorcan

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Kalee could go die in a fire any minute now and it wouldn’t be a moment too soon for Lorcan’s liking – he’d only prefer it if he could be the one to push the button to bombard the place into oblivion. No one made him bleed his own blood and got away with it! Especially not some primatives who decided that ambushes were a valid form of honorable combat just because they had been informed ahead of time that there would be a fight.

… actually, no, Lorcan could actually agree with that.

Made sense really and that was slightly more irritating than the damage he had sustained already. Grunting in pain and righteous indignation, Lorcan twisted his upper body further back, avoiding a follow up slash with the spear and the arrow shot at his side. His first assailant wasn’t able to follow up due to the arrow, giving Lorcan enough of a chance to recover.

When the spearman lunged forward, he was doing so against a man who had his footing back and was fully expecting it. Dodging to one side, Lorcan thrust his own short spear, stabbing into and through the Kaleesh’s right forearm before he raked the creature’s face with the edge of his swordbreaker.

Specifically the catcher bit, not so much cutting the creature’s face as tearing it with a jagged edge. The Kaleesh screamed in pain and Lorcan backed up behind a pillar to keep in cover from the archer as he grinned, ignoring how it twisted his carved up face.

“Don’t like it eh? Well come on then!”
he barked at the spearman, “If you think you’re going to kill me then get over here and kill me, you goddamn tease!”


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