|The Lobster Master|
Before the engines come, there is movement, the first movement in fact since your rough landing last night. A massive swell of water surges forth, lifting up the walker and raft as a dark shape races across the ocean floor.
But under the water, the clone and the alien see the whaladon entirely. It's not as large as Zelarean thought it would be, being roughly the size of the walker, but damn the thing can move.
Its eyes are wide and bloodshot, and it thrashes about the arena erratically, howling, singing frantic and desperate. The water fills with blood, seeping out from a harpoon stuck in its tail fin.
The engines grow closer, and panicked, the beast shoots off, displacing the water once more and knocking Flan and the droid to the deck.
From their hiding place inside one of the doorframes, the smuggler and soldier see a lone Quarren being pulled forth by an engine with handles, an OMS Devilfish, stop in the arena and investigate around.
Above the water, the howl of engines grow ever nearer. Two repulsor engine watercraft skimming the surface on pontoons race by after their prey, ignoring you entirely. Or so you think.
For not even a minute later, the craft circle back around, approaching your raft.
I have the next post largely written out, just wanna get reactions and some quick discussion going
Flan scrambles to her hands and knees, crouching behind some twisted metal on the underside of the walker, and watches half-hopefully as the watercrafts circle back around. "Maybe they're friendly?"
As the strangers approach the shanty boat, she peeks out of her hiding spot with hands raised in a universal sign of non-aggression.
The pained cry of the unseen leviathan echoes in Dara's ears, just as it likely will in her dreams.
She scrambles to climb back topside and discover the source. However, the creature's thrashing and the swell of water sends her skidding back inside the walker. Wincing against the scraped elbows and knee, she climbs back out again - just in time to glimpse the merest shadow of the deep, dark shape slipping away.
Something unnamed stabs at her heart. With more maturity and knowledge, Dara might be able to identify the feeling as frustration and regret. For now, she only knows that she's angry for having missed...whatever that big thing was.
Of course, those thoughts are jettisoned as the watercraft circle back around. The thrum of the repulsors triggers a muscular response, causing Dara to grip her blaster rifle until her knuckles are pale as bone. She maintains the trigger discipline her father drilled into her, though, and keeps the muzzle aimed down and away from friend and stranger alike.
The part of her that is yet an isolated, scared girl remains staring mutely at the new arrivals.
"Whalers? They're likely to wanna know how they can make money off of finding us. They might be interested in salvaging some ruined bits from the walker - there have to be some valuable parts left," suggests Ral.
Rod watches sadly as the Whaladon struggles and bleeds in its desperate attempt to stay alive. The old soldier was no stranger to bloodshed but this great creature's harpooning still managed to get to him. What a cruel and terrible way to die. As the beast swims off and the watercraft return, Rod could only hope that the Whaladon got away alive.
The more immediate concern was the Quarren poking around. Likely with the whalers, Rod thought. Deciding that there was probably no hiding from the whaling crew, Rod hides Vala's lightsaber under his poncho and swims out into the open, arms empty, open and non-threating. "Friendly!" He calls to the lone Quarren.
|The Lobster Master|
Rod's appearance startles the Quarren, and he quickly pulls a rifle on him, tense, nervous. "Stay back, Imperial! I know my rights!"
Up top things start out on better footing. Two Quarren men, one nearly naked except for a cloth covering between his legs, the other in a robe of what looks like kelp, emerge from the skimmer. "Hail," the robed one says, diving into the water to board the AT-AT.
The one in the bikini holds his rifle at rest, muzzle in his right hand, handle in his left, gazing out at the four of you. He sucks air in between his three teeth, clicking them closed like a squid's beak.
Climbing aboard, the robed alien laughs to himself as he walks around between the walker's legs. The sleeping form of OOM-93b in power saving mode makes him howl with laughter, and he knocks it in the head, trying to provoke the droid into activity. "Well ain't this a relic!" Forgetting the droid, he turns to face the party gathered on the raft. "You lost, friends?"
He hops across and extends a hand to Ral, ignoring the ladies for the moment. "Call me Eli."
Ral smoothly takes the alien's hand. "Ral. As you might imagine, we've arrived here under a series of improbable circumstances, and while we've been getting by, a friendly hand would certainly be appreciated."
Dara watches the exchange in fascination, slinging her rifle's strap across her shoulder. She marches forth and copies Ral's behavior.
"My name is Dara," she states, extending her own hand while trying not to stare at the quarren's alien features.
"We escaped from an imperial star destroyer," she explains, heedless of the risk inherent in sharing such details. "We're trying to reach safety."
"Hey!", the droid perks up quickly as it receives a knock on the head. "I'm an artefact, not a relic, organic.", it responds indignantly in its monotone voice, crossing its arms. "And, yeah. Dry land, charging station and an oil-bath would be appreciated."
"Whoa whoa whoa!" As soon as the Quarren raises his rifle, Zel quickly decides that hiding and waiting isn't going to work. He quickly swims out from his hiding place and into the open and places himself between Rod and the Quarren. He holds out his hands to placate the stranger. "We're not with the Empire. We're trying to get away from them."
The Mon Calamari glances over his shoulder at Rod, then looks back at the Quarren. "The armor's, uh, well, stolen," he says with a sheepish smile.
Persuasion: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (20) + 7 = 27
|The Lobster Master|
Zelarean's words soothe the Quarren's paranoia and ease the tension. The alien drops his rifle and apologizes. "Sorry bout that. Folk c'n get a lil jumpy out in these waters, and, well, yer helmet ain't helpin nobody."
He scratches himself idly and moves closer, casually. "This my first time out huntin," he says, real conversational. "Supposed to be my birthday party, but it been giving us good chase, so's I think it been two weeks since my birthday? What're y'all out here for? I thought nobodies was still in these waters, not after the accident."
"A pleasure," smiles Eli as he grasps Ral's hand. He accepts Dara's handshake but scoffs, skeptical but accepting. "Improbable circumstances indeed. I say, I'd normally be hard pressed to believe such a claim, but seein the legs and head a this walker lend a certain validity to your claim. You wouldn't be the terrorists I just heard tell about oer the holo, would ya?"
"Ain't no dry land on Daq, droid," replies the Quarren to OOM-93b. "But that don't mean we can't find you something else to your liking. Plenty of places for you surface folk.
"See, we're certainly capable of loanin a friendly hand, pointin y'all t'ward life an civilization an outta these poisoned waters, but we'd need an equivalent exchange, ya feel? So, uh, firstly, just what can ya give me? What are your lives worth to ya?"
"Ah, opportunistic free trade. I missed those days.", the droid chirps out. "I like your entrepreneurial style." Placing a hand on its hip, OOM waves it over the group. "There's the salvage in here, and, hey, we made it through the blockade, so I'm sure we can do you a favour once we're in the position to?"
Persuasion: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (5) + 8 = 13
"Besides the equipment inside, there's also the walker itself," Dara adds to OOM's offer. "If there's no dry land, then there's nowhere for us to take it. But the armor plating, hydraulics, and other components might be of use to you."
Aid Persuasion: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (19) - 1 = 18
Dara pauses a moment to rewind through Eli's words. Something stuck out to her.
"What did you mean when you called this water 'poisoned'?" she asks nervously.