Gett'se Vizsla stepped into the guild hall of Ord Radama. A hole in the wall kind of place in the lower levels of the city, only two levels above the barrows. Bounty Hunters were not respectable people in the galaxy, and they were not afforded respectable places to do business. The guild hall was a bar, a bit of a dive. Definitely a place where you wanted to stay on your toes.
He had done work before in these parts, was familiar with a few of the faces in the guild hall. The guild contact had actually reached out to him over a job that he figured the Mandalorian would be particularly interested in.
Gett'se scanned the bar, looking for his guild contact. San Dava, a local Devlikk who made a living passing out bounties to the members of the guild. He kept in touch with the local authorities well, soliciting the services of the guild to track down all sorts of bail jumpers, Jay walkers, and in occasions such as this, a serial murderer.
Spotting the Devlikk sitting in the corner table, he approached. The San spotted him halfway through the room and motioned for him to take a seat.
"San." He greeted the Devlikk as he sat. He hated this seat. San Dava was a former hunter and carried the paranoia of one. His back was always to the wall, which forced Gett'se to sit with his to the door. It was an uncomfortable position, one he felt San held on purpose to keep meetings short and sweet.
"Gett'se. Glad you could make it. Thought this one might interest you." He said as he pulled a bounty puck out of his belt pouch. The puck slid across the table and Gett'se caught it, activating it. An image of the acquisition flickered to life. A close mawed Trandoshan. Lanky, sharp claws. An array of wookiee pelts on his belt.
Beskar'gam on his chest.
Gett'se's eyes narrowed under his visor.
"Tell me about the acquisition." He said, short and sweet.
"Names Kazhka, one of those Trandoshan's that fancies himself a hunter. Not a guild one mind you. He came up on the Sector Securities radar a few days ago when he murdered a wookiee in a bar down in the barrows. Then his droid gunned down the whole bar while he scalped the wook." The avian Devlikk clucked in disgust. "Like I said, not guild, just a murderer. Anyways, supposedly he scamperred off to the swamps, or below the barrow. The ORSS can't find a trail, though I think they're just scared." San trilled a little laugh. It wasn't uncommon for sector security forces to pawn off the more dangerous criminals to the guild, ones they didn't want to risk their bacon going after.
"I saw that fancy chestplate of his, figured you might want a word with him. Oh and its a double." He slid another puck across the table, Gett'se caught it.
The projector displayed a droid. Tall, armored. The rotary blaster on its arm left little question as to its purpose.
"It's name is D34-TH, calls itself Death. Not sure if it belongs to Kazhka or if its independent, but its pretty obvious why they hang out. Anyway, this ones the big bucks. 20k each and Security is paying the same, dead or alive."
The droid hardly registered, though if he was going to get one of them, he might as well bag them both.
"Alright." He said, nodding and standing up, taking the pucks.
"No fobs on this one. These guys haven't been through the system, no chip." San shrugged. Gett'se wasn't surprised. Murderers like these only ever got brought in dead. Nodding, he turned and walked away.
The Barrows. Home to Livien Magnus' poorest residents. And while Reiel held treasured memories of her travels with her buir on Ord Radama during the first few months of her becoming his adopted child, she hated stepping foot on this side of the city's residential districts.
Greedy eyes followed her as she made her way towards the guild hall, assessing and quite possibly computing just how much her armor was worth to anyone willing to claim it as theirs. Reiel gritted her teeth and mentally reminded herself to just keep calm without compromising caution – she had no desire to have someone jump at her with a vibroknife if she showed barely a hint of aggression. She settled for trying to be intimidating instead, finding satisfaction on how a few individuals shied away whenever her visored gaze briefly locked with theirs.
A male Twi'lek caught Reiel's attention, or rather, what was being said to his companion. He gestured at her discreetly, nodding his head and scoffing the words "another one" with a nasty sneer on his face. She paused, pretending to look at whatever scrap a poor merchant had been peddling and tilted her helmeted head to the side to listen to them talk.
"–won't try my luck, if I were you," the Twi'lek was saying. "For all we know, they could be working together."
Well, at least he was using his head. Reiel still wasn't sure if the Twi'lek meant another bounty hunter, but the way his words flowed bordered on the specific. Another Mandalorian, perhaps?
Only one way to find out.
She turned away from the merchant and made a beeline for the guild. She was looking for a job, after all – might as well check if her fellow Mando was still in the establishment.
Reiel was only a few paces away from the guild hall when she saw the armor of her people, the person wearing it walking out of the establishment. The sight halted her footsteps, eyes growing wide with anticipation. Who was the person underneath the iron skin of their people? A brother or a sister?
The other Mandalorian was walking away, and the way they carried themselves spoke of someone who meant business like no other. A job, then. Reiel wouldn't want to be a bother, but the prospect of meeting a fellow Mandalorian outside of her clan had made her heart skip a beat. She decided to heed the most logical thing she could think of at the moment and followed.
"Vod!" she yelled after them, shoving away people who dared block her path. Not her brightest moment on the Barrow, but at least no one's baring their teeth at her for her rudeness. Not yet, anyway.
Stopping outside the Guild Hall, Gett'se pulled out his personav. Dialing in to the local frequencies, he triangulated his location and then searched for the location of the barrows bar that had been the last sighting of the acquisition. After a short news search he located the name, the Blind Bantha and an address. He calculated a path through the maze like Devlekk city of Livien Magnus and fed the coordinates to his helmet HUD.
Stowing the personav back in its belt pouch, he set off. Walking with a purpose, he ignored the vultures that eyed his beskar'gam, their eyes crawling over the valuable armor seeing nothing but a prize, weighing its worth against their lives. They knew they would have to pry the beskar from his cold dead body, they knew he wouldn't make it easy.
It seemed that they decided their lives were of more value, letting him pass unbarred. At least until someone yelled a familiar word to him from behind. He stopped, turning to spot a fellow Mandalorian pushing through the crowd. It took him a moment, he had to look a little lower than his eyes first rested to gaze upon her buy'ce.
She was short of stature, but Gett'se did not judge her. She wore her armor well.
"Ner vod." He responded. He was a bit shocked to see another of the Mando'ade, it was few and far between that he saw another of his people. Turning to continue on his way as soon as she was at his side, he spoke to her in Mando'a. "It is by the luck of Hod Ha'ran that we meet. I am Gett'se of clan Vizsla. We must walk as we talk for I have just accepted a job of much urgency." Could he have taken a moment to explain, perhaps. But it was important to him that he reclaimed the beskar from the wretched Trandoshan with haste. Pulling one of the bounty pucks out, he displayed the Trandoshan.
"This is Kazhka. He is a skinstealer. I request your aid by creed to recover the beskar that he defiles so we may return it to our people." He would continue on his path no matter what her response, nothing would deter him, but he felt that his newfound vod would not fail to aid him in this.
Bounty hunters had existed for as long as anyone could remember, in one form or another. Some considered them little better than the criminals they hunted, others thought them worse. But none could deny their effectiveness, or their usefulness. After all, they were expendable, easy to find, and easier to replace than a well trained soldier. It was cheaper to hire bounty hunters than throwing your own men at a problem.
The Bounty Hunter's Guild had formed to give them a veneer of legitimacy, a sense of security, and make finding jobs easier for hunters and clients alike. But over time it had become, like everything else, about money. Members of the guild got the best jobs and, by extension, the best pay. Any punk off the street could call themselves a bounty hunter, but it took more than that to become a member of the guild. And that exclusivity allowed the guild to demand more from their clients. At first Jester had no intention of joining the guild, she liked working alone. But as credits had become harder and harder to come by, she had been forced to reconsider, to begin seeking the benefits the guild awarded. And given her past they hadn't rebuffed her advances, and over time she had earned enough goodwill that all she needed was one last push, bring in a guild posted bounty to seal the deal. Her contacts had called it a formality, but she knew it was more than that. It was a test. One she intended to pass.
She had reached the Guild Hall to pick up the bounty details, and as she stepped in she noticed an armored figure step out. A Mandalorian, her second encounter with one in recent memory. She paused for a second, watching the figure leave and wondering if she had the same armor before. But that probably just her being ignorant, every figure in similar colored armor wasn't the same person. So she stepped into guild building, emerging a few minutes later with information on the same target. The Mandalorian bounty hunter sent after the same target was just another part of the test, just that she knew nothing about it.
So she left the halls prepared to hunt down the target, unaware of the race she had been thrown into, and stared making her way for the same bar the Mandalorian hunters were headed towards but a few dozen feet ahead of her. The hunt was afoot.
The smile she was wearing remain plastered on her face despite the fact that no one would ever see it except for her close relatives. It also proved difficult to tone down her excitement upon meeting another child of Mandalore, the deplorable state of their surroundings be damned. Difficult, yes. She had barely stopped herself from bouncing on her feet as she approached him, grateful that the other Mandalorian had heard her call.
Reiel walked beside him, catching on his urgency as he introduced himself. Helmeted head tilting to the side in curiousity, she remained silent as Gett'se pulled out a bounty puck that currently displayed a Trandoshan wearing–
"Thief!" she all but snarled at the sight of beskar'gam on the acquisition's chest. There was no way that this Trandoshan was one of her people. Gett'se's further explanation further solidified the fact, and, really, he didn't need to ask her for her aid. She would readily give it – whether by Creed or simply from one vod to another.
"I am Reiel Mal of Clan Crowholde. My ba'buir was a foundling of House Vizsla. It is my honor to give you my aid in this endeavor. The beskar shall return home to its people. This is the Way," she replied in Mando'a, introducing herself then assuring him that she was with him in this job.
No, not just a job. This was more personal. Their culture was being disrespected, and Reiel would want nothing more than to watch the light disappear from the Trandoshan scum's eyes.
"Lead the way to the thief, brother. You won't be alone in this quest."
Gett'se noted the excitement in the woman warrior's body language as she had approached him. She did not do well to hide her excitement, and he didn't blame her. It could be a lonely life following the Way of the Mandalore, their people so few in number. He likewise felt her rage upon seeing the beskar that the Trandoshan wore, likely stolen off the body of one of their brothers, kept as much as a trophy as for its practicality.
"This is the Way." He responded as the woman pledged herself to their shared cause. The beskar belonged to the Mandalorians, and only death would stop them from returning the sacred metal to its rightful owners.
"It is unfortunate that we do not meet under brighter circumstances Reiel Mal of Clan Crowholde." He said. There would be little time to get to know his sister except in battle, though he supposed there was no better way to learn of a person.
"The thief will not be alone, he has an accomplice." Putting away the first puck as he took a left, he pulled out the second. He was glad for the directions that his personav was transmitting to his helmet, Livien Magnus was a veritable labyrinth that was difficult for all but the most astute to navigate. The native Devlikk could navigate it easily with their innate sense for electromagnetic fields, but to others the twists and turns of the city could add hours to a trip if one did not know where they were headed.
"He has a droid." The puck lit up to display the droid. A right, and then down a set of stairs at the bottom of which they took another right. "Not certain if the droid answers to him or is just a companion, but it is named Death and, well, judging by that cannon on its arm it has no qualms with dishing it out." They walked straight for a while before taking a short stairwell up to come to a four way intersection. Another right.
After two more flights of stairs down into the barrows, a right turn and two more lefts they had arrived at the scene of the crime, a small dive bar with a flickering sign that read The Blind Bantha Bar. The closed door was taped off and the streets were almost empty. What pedestrians were near seemed as if they wished to avoid the place, keeping their eyes off it and their footsteps as far from it as the walkways allowed.
"The Guild Contact said that this was where they were last spotted. Said that Kahzka murdered a wookiee and scalped him in the bar while Death gunned down the crowd." He shook his head. It was senseless.
Reiel liked mazes, but given the sudden mission thrust upon her shoulders it would be an understatement to say that she was growing to dislike how Livien Magnus' infrastructures were laid out. But she had Gett'se on the lead, a guide she was grateful to have by her side as they navigated through the twisting turns and intersections that lay before them.
She shared his sentiment. Reiel had always dreamed of meeting other Mandalorians in a much peaceful setting where they could be themselves and not just the warriors the outsiders saw them as. A circumstance without blaster fire flying around to find their mark, violence all around them, and with death waiting for them to make either the minute miscalculation in their movements or for bad luck to seize them in its devious grasp. Alas, the galaxy taught her that one did not always get what they wished for, but at least meeting one of her kin despite the situation they were currently faced was still something to be thankful of.
"It is unfortunate, indeed, but at least you will not be alone in this hunt," she told him, lifting a hand to give his arm a brief yet reassuring pat. "If the droid was allied with the thief, then you have me to see to it's destruction. This is your hunt, vod, and the Trandoshan's head is rightfully yours. I am but a helper who will do her absolute best to watch your back."
She wasn't that very good with droid maintenance, but at least she could use what she was good at with regards to these kinds of mech – destruction, and a great deal at that. At least Gett'se could trust her to turn the stupid droid to scraps.
(That is, if it didn't trash her first.)
Reiel grinned savagely. She had no plans of dying today by the hands of a non-living being nor a thieving scum, and most certainly not in front of her brother.
The two of them reached the last place the targets have been to. Barfights were common in places like the Barrows, but an outright murder and corpse defilement? Gunning down people who couldn't even defend themselves?
These targets were downright loathsome. Reiel itched to stick one of her vibroknives in the Trandoshan's throat and to shove the droid's scrapped parts down the Ibdis Maw in Bracca.
She stepped towards the taped door, eyes roving on the ground and at the door itself as if seeking for clues. Dried blood were still splattered on the door's surface, and a few drops strayed on the ground here and there – most probably from the Wookie's pelt. Whatever tracks the targets have left behind were hidden by those who were lucky enough to have escaped from the two.
"It's unlikely that they're here in the Barrows still," Reiel muttered loud enough for Gett'se to hear. She knelt down on one knee, gloved hand hovering over the blood on the ground. Senseless killing had always bothered her, and she could only feel for those who lost loved ones from the droid's weapons. "They have to be holed up somewhere – far from anyone who could point fingers, but maybe close enough to those who were scared enough to go against them. I share the urgency you have for this mission, vod. We can't let the scum get away with the beskar'gam and disgracing our people any further."
She stood up, T-visored gaze turning to her brother. "The hunt is on, Gett'se ner vod."
Gett'se had nearly flinched at the feeling of the woman's touch on his arm as she had assured him that he was not alone. It was seldom that he felt the touch of another except when he was in the middle of fighting, which usually meant that they had gotten close enough to lay hands on him. He held himself together though as they walked, brushing off the interaction as friendly.
Watching as Meiel kneeled to touch the dried blood that marked the pathway from the door, he agreed with her assessment that the acquisitions were no longer in the barrows. Glancing around, he spotted a security camera above the doorway.
"I agree. Lets see what clues we can find inside. Meiel ner vod." He said, meeting her gaze visor to visor. The hunt was on indeed. Turning to the door he pulled a security spike from his belt and plugged it in. The door was locked, but it was commercial grade and the device made short work of it, the door sliding open in seconds. Putting the device away he stepped inside to survey the carnage that had happened inside.
The bodies had been removed, but paint marks outlined at least a dozen spots where corpses had been strewn around the bar. The back wall was pocked with carbon scoring, indicating that the droid had fired from the doorway or near it. His eyes scanned the room slowly, once more noting a security camera in the ceiling corner. If their luck held, they might be able to get a firsthand look at exactly what had happened here, though the grisly evidence left little to question.
"I'm going to slice the camera." He said to his vod, informing her of his intentions. Pulling a port scanner from another pouch on his belt, he approached the camera and after some brief fiddling he located a port in which to plug the device in. It emitted a soft rattling beeping sound as it scanned the camera's firewall, searching for a way in. "This might take a minute." He commented. It would be worth the wait he hoped, getting a complete view of what had happened and if luck had it, which way they had gone once they left.
"It's... um... it's Reiel," she muttered sheepishly under her breath, but Gett'se had already made his way inside the building. The Mandalorian looked around, checking for anything or anyone suspicious before following the other inside.
Reiel was quick to familiarize herself with the crime scene. One security camera present, painted spots where the victims supposedly dropped dead after being gunned down by the droid, and a pool of dried blood where the Wookie had been murdered then scalped by the chaku'pel'gam. Whatever physical clues (aside from the ones still present) she could gather have already been erased or taken by both cleanup and security crew, and Reiel could only sigh in disappointment. Fresh clues always offered a firsthand perspective on an investigation, but with their absence she hoped that slicing the camera – as Gett'se was currently doing – would give them more information than the room could scarcely offer them.
She stifled a yawn, not out of boredom at having to wait for her vod as he sliced the camera but mostly due to the exhaustion she felt from her previous job – lots of stake outs, an outrageous chase in the desert, and hauling a wriggling Duros because the kriffing client wanted it alive – and the subsequent travel to Ord Radama. Reiel fumbled for one of the ration packs she haphazardly tucked in her bandolier, pulled one out, and tore the packaging. Tearing off a piece, she turned away from Gett'se before lifting her helmet just high enough to uncover her mouth. She popped the piece in her mouth then lowered her helmet once more before facing her companion. He was still waiting for the scan's completion, so she did the next best thing she could think of at the moment.
Reiel gave his arm another light pat – she knew she was being touchy-feely (her buir's words, not hers), but it was a habit she could not seem to get rid of – and extended the hand holding the pack as an offering. The ration wasn't that much, just your basic mix of polystarch and veg-meat. But it was better than nothing, and she could always offer Gett'se a whole pack to himself if what she was offering wouldn't be enough for him.
It was the thought that counted, right?
The smaller Mandalorian took a peek at the scanner and said after chewing ("Manners, ad'ika,"Buir would always remind her), "Looks like it's almost done."
The port scanner rattled away as it did its job slicing the camera feed. This was always the worst part of slicing. The waiting. If it was a more secure system Gett'se might have had to be a bit more hands on with the process, but he had scripts to run for civilian systems like these. It was pretty absent-minded work and Gett'se was a little surprised to feel the light touch of Reiel's hand. Glancing over, he regarded the offered ration for a moment before reaching out and breaking off a small piece. He wasn't about to turn down the offer of free food.
"My gratitude Meiel." He hadn't heard her correction and was blissfully ignorant to the misnaming. Turning his head away, he popped the seal on his helmet and lifted it a small bit to pop the piece of ration bar in his mouth before once more sealing his face away behind his true skin. The only face the world had ever seen.
The ration was... bland. To be expected. He chewed and swallowed just in time for his vod to take a peak at the scanner right before it pinged its completion.
"Looks like it is." He commented as he tapped a few keys to rewind the recording to approximately when the murders had taken place. A few more taps and the scanner projected the video feed in front of them, showing the same room but full of living and drinking patrons. The wookiee was visible in the corner but no Trandoshan or droid as of yet.
Letting the video feed play, it wasn't long before the Trandoshan entered the bar, wearing the stolen beskar prominently on his chest. He made a beeline for the Wookiee, a wicked looking blade in his hand. Right behind him came the droid who wasted no time bringing his rotary blaster online as he began to hose the bar with blaster fire. The grisly scene played before them in the flickering blue hologram. Overall the slaughter took less than a minute, and the Trandoshan and droid duo were out of the bar not much later than that.
Switching to the outside feed, the projector switched to a street view. The pair hadn't gone too far it seemed, at least not on the surface. Bloody pelt in tow, the due stopped at a sewer grate which was ripped free by the droid. Down the hatch and out of sight, the sew grate was dragged back in place and they were gone. Gett'se might have been impressed with the speed of the operation if he wasn't so disgusted.
"I guess we're going underground." He sighed in defeat. It wouldn't be the first time Gett'se had crawled through a sewer, and likely not the last. But he hated it every time.
Another smile tugged the edges of Reiel's lips upwards when Gett'se accepted her meager offering. She respectfully turned her gaze away from him as his hand moved to his helmet, and her smile morphed into a cheeky grin when he spoke her name wrong again. The young Mandalorian would not hold it against her vod, however. But the correction still had to be made, nonetheless.
"Reiel, vod," she said, amused. "Pardon my quiet voice, I beg of you. Comes with the height and all."
The joke was not meant to be self-deprecating, but at least she hoped that Gett'se would – in no way – feel that she was poking fun at him.
Reiel then crept close beside him, peering at the video feed as it began to play. The swell of anger automatically made its presence known as the Trandoshan and the droid entered the picture. Dark brown eyes dismissed the droid but not its actions, gaze always finding their mark on the beskar covering the Trandoshan's chest. Reiel would've been morbidly impressed with how quick the thief had murdered and scalped the Wookie if it weren't for her disgust at the committed atrocity as well as the image of her people's culture and reputation being held at stake because of the scum's action.
Death death death how dare them sully our heritage unforgivable make them feel the wrath of the Mandalorians give them nothing but death—
The anger would've reached a crescendo had Reiel not tasted blood from how hard she was biting her lip. She blinked with a start, returning to awareness just in time for the video feed to show the murderous duo disappear into the sewers.
Keeping the fiery emotion at bay, she lifted a hand to rub the back of her neck gingerly and shrugged. "Well, I guess the only consolation I have for myself is: not my first time finding my way in the sewers. As long as we don't end up on all fours and crawling because that– that would definitely be a first."
Her hand hovered over the blaster pistol holstered at her hip. "So, um, course of action. Get to the sewers, look for the targets, separate them? Or catch them both unawares?"
Reiel was tempted to say bomb the sewers instead. She was sure she'd find the perfect use for the frag grenades on her utility belt soon.
Cocking his head at Meiel. No, Reiel. He stared at her for a moment before giving her a nod. "My apologies, Reiel." His cheeks burned with shame at the mispronunciation of her name, of the carelessness that had led to the mistake. He almost didn't catch the joke but it lightened the burden of his embarrassment, if only slightly.
Leading the way out the door and to the sewer grate as he listened to her, he examined the grate. "I agree. I would rather we didn't crawl in Devlikk shit if it can be helped... Still." Kneeling down, he was about to pop the grate open when a thought hit him. Shaking his head, he stood. "Maybe not. If I was a mad Trandoshan 'hunter'... I would probably rig the grate to blow. Best to find another way in, just in case."
"Somehow I have my doubts we will be able to catch them seperate, perhaps Hod Ha'ran will bless us twice today, though his blessings are more likely to turn to ill will if we depend on them." Glancing up and down the street, he picked a direction and started walking in search of another sewer grate, mentally tracking his steps so they could backtrack and check to see if his hunch was correct. "Better not to rely on luck and instead trust to our skills." He said as he patted the blaster on his hip.
"Hey, no worries," she quickly assured him, awkwardly waving a hand to dismiss the apology – to her, it was unnecessary. She was at fault, anyway, and the least Reiel wanted was to embarrass her vod with the mistake. But it would also be rude of her to not acknowledge the apology, so she shyly answered hin with an, "Accepted, ner vod."
She dutifully followed him out of the bar, apprehension rearing its head as the two of them approached the sewer grate. Reiel studied the grate while she listened to Gett'se, reaching out a hand to prevent him from prying it open (call her paranoid, but three years into bounty hunting have opened her eyes to all sorts of tricks a target could come up with) but stopped midway when he stood up and came to a conclusion.
"Agreed," she replied. "Hell of a way to announce the presence of intruders."
Her gaze lingered on the grate for a moment before she followed after him. Reiel hummed in response to his words, then pointed at a sewer grate a few feet ahead of them. She was quick to assess for any tracks suggesting that someone had used the grate to enter the sewers just like their targets have done, and gave a quiet exclamation of relief when she found none.
"Given the training and experiences we have received, I agree. My buir always told me that luck can only get you so far," she commented as she went down on one knee, hand reaching for the grate. "I've always imagined Hod Ha'ran to be a fickle one. Trust on his blessings once, be wary on the next."
Reiel would then proceed to pry the grate open, finding a little resistance before the metal gave under her efforts. The first pull offered no explosions or the tripping of an alarm of any sort, so she counted it a victory, no matter how small. Placing the grate to the side, she prepared to enter the sewers with grim determination.
"Maker, of all the places they could choose, why the sewers?" she complained quietly, allowing a hint of irritation to bleed in her voice as she made her way inside. Reiel cycled her HUD into thermal mode, audibly sighing in relief when no other life forms – except for sewer rats, but hey –were present aside from her vod up on the street.
"Coast's clear so far, brother," she reported, one hand resting on her blaster as she surveyed the path before her and behind while she waited for Gett'se to follow after her.
"your buir sounds much like mine." Gett'se commented as she bent to open the grate, watching her before turning his eyes to the surrounding streets. The pair weren't exactly invisible and there were plenty of pedestrians whose eyes watched them warily as they passed, curious as to what the two Mandalorians were doing opening up the sewers.
Following Reiel down the ladder and into the sewer system, the first thing he noticed was the smell. This wasn't the first sewer that his work had forced him into, and likely wouldn't be the last. Still there was something unique about the smell of the Devlikk sewer. There was a uniquely avian smell to the whole thing.
Cycling his helmet into thermal imaging, the walls cast a strange light. The warmest heat output was of course Reiel, followed by the stream of sewer gunk that lay at the bottom of the tunnel.
"If I had to guess, I'd say the sewer runs off into the swamp underneath the outskirts of the city. That's probably where the acquisitions have their ship stashed."Acquisitions. How easy it was to slip back into trade talk. Shaking his head, he followed his mental map back towards the original entrance.
Peering around the corner, he could make out something in the pathway to the hatch. Cold metallic blue lines, that stood out in front of the warm sewer creep. Not tall enough to be their droid acquisition though.
"We might have been off about the explosives. Looks like a sentry blaster turret, most likely motion sensitive." He didn't need to explain what would have happened if they had dropped down into the sewer in front of that thing, Reiel could picture it well enough herself he was sure. "We should probably disable it. Don't want to leave that kind of hardware for some city worker to find."
A joke about possibly sharing a single parent flashed in Reiel's mind, begging to be spoken, but she held the thought and kept it to herself. She still did not know much about her vod, after all, unsure of how he would react to the jest; she would not want to offend him in any way possible. She was sure that he could pummel her to a bloody pulp if given the chance – Reiel knew where her strengths lay, but her weaknesses as well. And given how they were raised and trained, a fight between the two of them would be pretty messy.
So, no. No joking, no offense made. Reiel was blessed with too much self-awareness to know that she would not survive an encounter against her fellow Mandalorian beside her.
"Fair point," she replied to Gett'se's hypothesis. Reiel was no city planner, but she had already seen that cities like Livien Magnus tended to display sewerage systems that gave zero shite towards environmental planning. Following her companion, she was ever alert for any immediate signs of trouble.
"They have a what?" Reiel whisper-shouted in alarm, eyes widening at the sight of what seems to be a sentry blaster turret. Where the feck did their targets acquire such a thing? And deploying it against any hunter that might follow them down the sewers? "Kriff, lucky we took another way in. That thing could've blasted us to kingdom come."
Her earlier paranoia had been justified, after all.
She peered at the blaster turret again, keeping in mind Gett'se's warning about the thing being motion-sensitive. Her hesitation to act showed her inexperience, but this she made up for with her willingness to learn.
"Will it detect movement from the sidelines?" she asked, uncertain, and would attempt to creep from their position then towards the turret.
Gett'se wasn't sure if the thing would detect motion outside of its forward view, and he was hesitant to find out.
Reiel on the other hand wasn't, and two things happened as she stepped around the corner.
One, the blaster whirred as it spun rapidly on its track to target her.
Two, Gett'se gripped her by the back of her cuirass.
The blaster turret went off as he hauled her back behind cover, sending a rapid flurry of bolts spitting through the air where Reiel had just been standing. Gett'se's foot slipped underneath him as he pulled her and he nearly lost his own footing doing so, nearly sending them both sprawling. Stumbling in the muck, he regained his footing.
"Are you alright?" He asked once he himself was no longer at risk of falling. Realizing he had pulled Reiel close to him, nearly into a hug as he had stumbled, he released her and backed away a step to give her space. "I think it might." He said after he was sure she was whole and intact, and not full of holes.
Glancing around the corner again, the blaster was now aimed squarely at their end of the tunnel. He was quick to duck back as the machine spat a blaster bolt at the wall next to wear his visor had been.
"Osik." He muttered to himself as he thought. They could leave this thing behind, but that could be disaster for the next person to come this way. He imagined some hapless city worker stumbling upon the deathtrap and getting gunned down in the dark of the sewer. Think, Gett'se, think.
"I think I have an idea." He said finally after a few moments, drawing his heavy blaster pistol with his right hand as he spoke.
She ought to have tried something else to capture the blaster turret's motion sensors other than stepping forward to test if the blasted thing worked.
Once she was exposed and nearly well away from the cover of her and her vod's perch, the blaster whirred to life and spun to her direction. Not a second later it spat out blaster bolts in rapid succession, aimed and meant to kill her on the spot. Had Gett'se not been quick enough to haul her back and away from the blaster fire Reiel was certain that he would have ended up tracking her buir to tell him about the bad news, her ashes and armor to be delivered in a jar and a box respectively.
Kriff. She couldn't do that to her buir, nor to the vod who had just saved her life.
For a moment, all Reiel could feel was the pressure of Gett'se's arms around her as he struggled to remain upright. Bile rose in her throat, her heart pounding painfully against her sternum as she looked up dumbly at him over her shoulder. Out of all the near-death experiences she'd faced in her years as a bounty hunter, this seemed to be the one that nearly succeeded in making her cry. Humiliation for committing a blunder, paired up with the image of Gett'se delivering her ashes and armor to her buir almost did the trick, too.
But she was not fragile. No tears sprang forth, only the fear of leaving her father behind the sole evidence that the experience had left her shaken, evidenced by the equally shaky voice that came out of her mouth when she assured him that she was fine.
"Y-Yeah! I'm alright," she told Gett'se, voice rising up a pitch. Reiel reached for him, patting him on the chest once, twice, in gratitude. "Vor entye, ner vod. I'd be dead if it weren't for your quick reflexes. I am in your debt."
This time she stayed put, watching as he peered over at the turret and ducked out of harm's way. She wracked her brain for any ideas on how to disable the blaster turret, coming up with a few that would not work given the area they were in. Or maybe she was overthinking too much, thus having not one idea work?
She had just made a fool out of herself earlier – Reiel knew that a part of her wanted to overcompensate for a chance of being useful.
No. You don't need to feel that way. It would only make you even more useless than you already are.
Self-awareness was a trait she really should be thankful for possessing.
Reiel looked up at Gett'se expectantly after a few moments of silence from the both of them. Hands hovering over her blaster pistol and one of her frag grenades, anticipating what he had in mind.
"Let's hear it," she muttered, encouraging. She'd make sure that she won't mess up this time.
Reiel seemed a bit shaken, but otherwise alright. He had heard the change in her voice but she was still solid, unyielding in her determination. "I trust that you will return the favor, when the time comes." He muttered, brushing off the idea of her owing him. He had done what he would have done for anyone. He was just glad he had been fast enough and that his vod still lived to carry on the fight.
"We'll have to distract the sensor. If we toss something at it... I might be fast enough to get a shot in. My heavy blaster should take it out." He was hesitant, it wasn't a sure thing. If he missed then Reiel's opportunity to return the favor might be sooner than he had thought when he said the words.
Pulling the two smoke grenades from his belt, he passed one to Reiel. He didn't want to risk any of his heavier ordinance in case getting blasted set them off. He would hate to score a hit on the turret just to be blown up by his own explosives when they got shot down instead of him.
"Toss it on three." He wanted to be precise. He would have a split second after the throw to get his shot in before the turret downed the two 'nades and turned its sights on him.
"One... two... three!" He said loudly as he tossed the grenade. Trusting Reiel to do the same, he stepped out into the line of fire and raised his blaster as the turret began to unload.
Aim downsight, steady breath, squeeze the trigger.
Through the exploding haze of smoke he could see the thermal image of the turret turning its yawning barrel on him. And then his bolt hit, tearing a hole in the main casing of the deadly machine.
He took a breath. He was still alive. He breathed a sigh of relief and holstered his blaster.
It was a favor she was intent on returning. Reiel nodded in acquiescence at the proposal, lifting a hand to give Gett'se's shoulder an encouraging squeeze (or the pauldron there, to be precise – and while he might not feel it, she figured that it was the thought that counted at least).
"I trust that it will," she told him, taking the smoke grenade he was offering. "On three, then."
Reiel braced herself, waiting for the mark, and threw the grenade in time with Gett'se. She quickly ducked back to their corner as he stepped out to shoot. The next split second was crucial – and she was prepared to launch herself at him, to drag him out of harm's way just as he did for her, if things went south.
Nothing followed the shot from Gett'se's blaster, and Reiel knew that his plan worked. She let out a breath she hadn't realized she was holding and approached him, grin bright and wide underneath her helmet.
Her gaze found the blaster turret, now reduced to a harmless hunk of metal. She whistled, impressed, and clapped a gloved hand on his shoulder. With one hurdle to their targets cleared, Reiel assumed that it was safe to crack a joke now despite being terrible at it.
"Well, will you look at that? How the tables have tabled," she chirped, hands now on her hips.
While some might say that it did not even constitute as a joke, Reiel still felt proud of the one she had just dropped. She was just relieved that no city worker would fall prey to the blaster turret in the near future, a sentiment she shared with her vod.
"Off we go, then," she continued, sweeping a hand forward towards the path. "And let's hope our targets didn't set up any more nasty traps – but it sure as hell won't kill to be more wary from now on and expect that they did set up traps along the way. Pays to be careful."
Gett'se stood there, still relieved when Reiel whistled and clapped a hand on his shoulder. He looked at her as she uttered a truly horrible joke. So bad he couldn't stop the short two note chuckle that slipped out from under his helmet.
"Tabled tables." He whispered under his breath, trying to make sense of it before giving up. It was funny to him, in a nonsensical way.
"We can hope, I wouldn't bet on it though." He replied, agreeing with her assessment that they needed to be on the lookout for more traps. It could kill to not be more wary that was for certain.
Treading through the muck of the sewer tunnels was slow going, especially with their eyes peeled for traps. Eventually they hit daylight however, an outcropping pipeline that hung out under the city, pouring sewage into the swamps below.
"This is likely the place." Gett'se said as he approached the exit, switching off his visor's thermal mode as the little bit of sun that leaked down began to glare against it. Little was he aware of the trip mine sensor beam that he was approaching. He might have seen it in his thermal scanner if he wasn't so hasty to cut out the brightness from it.