View Full Version : The Scavengers' Tale [Jakku]

Dec 29th, 2015, 02:37:49 PM
The beige cloaked figure was wrapped from head to toe in fabric, covered against the sandstorms that often and unexpectedly whipped up on the planet Jakku. Site of a long ago battle between the former Empire and the Rebellion against it, Jakku was a graveyard for ships of all sizes.

And while the planet was nothing but a sand covered dustbowl due to the ecological disaster the battle had wrought, scavengers still crawled over the wrecks, the recycling effort of thousands just enough to eke out some sort of existence in the midst of the desert. Some died. Others left - to try their luck elsewhere. There were always more who came, landing on Jakku as a last resort, a final step in a life gone wrong.

Crawling over the hulk of a Mon Cal mid-size capital ship, this scavenger was nimble and surefooted as they ascended higher and higher. Access to the bridge was impossible from the inside of the wreckage, and so they were attempting to find a way in from above.

Dec 29th, 2015, 04:44:55 PM
This was not, Aria lamented for at least the fiftieth time that day as she struggled to keep a grip on the metal structure of the old cruiser, where she saw her life going by the age of seventeen. She had had it all. She had practically been a princess. Her mother and father had been some of the richest, most powerful aristocrats in the old Empire, and even though the government had fallen, their endless wealth and influence had gone nowhere. Aria had it all, every dress, every piece of jewellery, everything she ever wanted... And then, one day, something changed.

Aria had no idea what she'd done to deserve being left on Jakku, literally still in her ballgown and heels over a year ago. Her parents had left her there without a word and flown away. All that time had passed and there was no sign of them returning. Nobody, she thought, would have even predicted her survival. She'd been mugged within an hour of being there, everything had been taken, and the first month or so had been the hardest of her life. But she'd learned and adapted. These days, scavenging came naturally to her, even if she still wasn't quite in the physical shape of a lot of the scavengers. Being a teenage girl who'd spent most of her life living in idle luxury did little to prepare you for climbing starships. The remains of her silk pink gown flapped around her, now converted in to protective robes to keep out the sand (over her rougher, tougher white tunic), her boots (a hard earned commodity that had taken her months to get) gripped the metal well enough, but her hands, still soft despite the year of work, slipped when she tried to find a hand hold. She preferred looting the old Imperial ships, their blocky aesthetics actually made them easier to climb, but as far as she could tell, nobody had ever hit this old Calamari cruiser this high up. This was her chance for a serious score.

She sighed, looking up the sheer metal slope the best that she could, careful not to let her feet slip. A mistake here would be fatal, she was so high up. She could see a metal pole, something that she could grasp, but it was out of reach of her petite frame. To jump... or not to jump. She paused, considering, and took a deep breath.
"In all my years, I have never seen a girl as singularly coddled, spoiled and utterly incapable in any athletic field as Aria." She recited her old gym instructors report on her athletic abilities, an old and particularly grumpy Trandoshan who had been a private tutor to her, and not particularly pleasant about her. She had never forgotten that, after she spectacularly failed every single gym class she was assigned, and he berated her in front of her parents. Every word sat in her mind. "She is clumsy, weak, unfit and seems far more concerned about her hair than about achieving any athletic goal." She went on, and then she looked up, and smiled to herself. "Oh, Mr Trashk, if only you could see me now...." She allowed herself a confident smile, and she jumped.

She grabbed the metal bar over her head easily enough, and almost smiled. Almost. Because while she got her hands around it, as soon as her body weight pulled on her, she felt her hands begin to slip. Her eyes went wide and she tried desperately to hold her own body weight, but she still wasn't overly strong, and with her hands slipping, she didn't stand a chance.
"NononononoNO!" She shrieked, just as she lost her grip and fell. She grabbed desperately for anything to hold on to on the outside of the ship, and suddenly realised she was in luck. Something coiled around her hand! She gasped as it pulled taught, an old cord or wire hanging loose. Whatever it was, it swung her around, right around to the front of the ship, and slammed her in to the very front of the Mon Calamari cruiser with enough force that she managed to get a grip on a piece of debris.

"Owww." She moaned, her arms burning and her face hurting from where she'd hit the starship. And then she realised she'd made it, and was still alive (and actually closer to the bridge). "HA! IN YOUR FACE, MR TRASHK!" She cried out cheerfully, since there was nobody around for miles to hear her.

Oh, except the strange creature directly next to her, climbing the same wreckage. She was so startled she nearly fell off all over again.

"Uh.... hi?" She smiled sheepishly, even as the two clung to the outside of the ship.

Dec 29th, 2015, 04:59:33 PM
Scratched goggles surveyed the child, but the scavenger could not spare a hand for introductions. "Hello," she said, her voice muffled a bit by the fabric draped across her muzzle. A furry tail, ringed red and black, peeked out from the desert clothes, waving back and forth for balance as she pulled herself to a more secure position on the hull.

She extended a hand toward the girl, and pointed to where she'd been perched, the suggestion clear that the newcomer should follow her footsteps. Then she turned and made her way up, the rounded skin of the cruiser making it all especially difficult. There was a reason the ISDs were prime targets for their fellow scavengers - they were just easier. But the ships from Dac were more precious - fewer of them, and the parts were worth more.

If you could get to them.

The transparisteel of the bridge viewport loomed, and she sat on the slight lip of the hull that framed it. A breather was needed, and she scooted over, waiting for the other to join her. She placed a paw on the transparisteel - it was spiderwebbed with cracks but was holding its integrity. For now.

Dec 29th, 2015, 05:09:11 PM
Aria toyed with finding her own way up, just to prove that she could, but truthfully, footing was so difficult to find on the edge of the cruiser that she really was better off following the other scavenger's lead. Besides, she seemed older and more experienced (even if she was climbing in full protective gear). Aria herself hated climbing in goggles and gear, and generally left it in a safe place before she started. Too much to get caught or fog up, but this old hand didn't seem to have that problem.

She followed, but seemed to have more difficulty than the older scavenger. Her arms were aching from her swing, and she wasn't very strong anyway. She struggled, and it seemed more than once that her arms might just give out and she'd fall, but with the force of sheer determination she managed to catch up, glad to see that the older scavenger had decided to stop. They weren't friends and didn't know each other, but now she was there, Aria knew she had to keep up or look weak in front of other scavengers. So when she stopped, Aria was glad of the break, panting and breathing hard from the effort. She leaned back, keeping a safe distance from the other woman, one hand reaching for her neck where a diamond necklace glinted. Very valuable on Jakku (and it had taken Aria eight months to get it back after it was first stolen from her). She wore it as a reminder of home, but around others, she always got nervous they'd make a grab for it.

".......Aria." She panted, introducing herself, before turning to the trasnparisteel. It was damaged, but in tact. No way to break it. At least, not for Aria who had no weapon and no heavy duty tools. She had been hoping when they got up there it would be revealed to be cracked open. No such luck.

Maybe there was another way in?

"We get in together and split what we find?" She asked, because the alternative was 'we fight and throw each other off this ship'.

Dec 29th, 2015, 05:35:29 PM
She nodded, and reached up to pull the wrap from her face, letting the cloth hang from the side while she set the goggles up on her head. Pink eyes gleamed out of a reddish furred face, her muzzle and brow generously flecked with white from age. "Ndonsa," she said, pronouncing it 'ne-DON-sa'. She pulled herself to her feet, balancing on footpaws that wore no shoes, just a twist of cloth around the middle and up her leg, and placed her paws on the window, feeling along the transparisteel to the opposite side of the viewport, feet edging along as she moved.

A moment of concentration, a vibration with the Force along the right frequency, and the transparisteel broke fully in front of her, cascading inward with a loud clatter, leaving a hole wide enough for a wampa to climb inside. Ndonsa waited a moment for it to settle, and then hopped inside, sliding a bit as the ship was off kilter and the deck was not quite 'deck' or 'wall', but somewhere in between.

Dec 30th, 2015, 01:59:42 AM
Aria nodded back to the unusual name. Then again, Ndonsa appeared to be an unusual species. Certainly not one Aria recognised, but then again, growing up as an Imperial aristocrat had hardly given her much interaction with any races outside of human beings, and she was discovering new ones every day on Jakku. She repositioned herself to be able to slump the best she could against the transparisteel of the ship to catch her breath. Everything ached. Aria was getting good at being a scavenger, especially given her coddled background, but she'd never tackled anything quite this big or awkward before, and she had pushed herself a little harder than perhaps she should have.

And as such, she wasn't entirely paying attention when the screen shattered, turning startled with a shriek. All she saw was Ndonsa lowering her paw. Aria's eyes went wide. She couldn't have just smashed it! Transparisteel was supposed to be able to withstand meteor strikes. Even damaged as it was, nobody was that strong. She stumbled through it in awe, losing her balance slightly on the slanted floor but hardly caring. After clinging to the edge of the ship for the entire climb up, it was a relief to even be on a slanted floor, and after a few steps to the safety of the inside (and away from shattered transparisteel) she actually slumped, and sat on the slanted floor, letting her tired legs rest. Yes, they had work to do, but nobody else was up here, and this was now their entire baby. And it looked like nobody had ever gotten up here before. That meant a lot of fresh salvage and hopefully a very good haul. Although of course, it depended on what they could carry back down.

"......How did you do that?" She asked a little breathlessly, still baffled by their way in. Aria had been ready to look for a small crack or hull breach she could squeeze her small frame through. She'd never seen anybody just shatter their way in before. Maybe her species really did possess super strength? That would be irritating, Aria realised, because it meant she'd be able to carry far more salvage than Aria could...

Dec 30th, 2015, 12:18:45 PM
Ndonsa balanced on her toes, already making her way toward the navigation console and hopefully an intact navicomputer. The other scavenger's question made her pause, and she turned to look at her, unwinding the rest of the cloth from her head and letting her ears free. "The crack was deep," she said simply, her Basic richly accented even though she had not been back to her home country of Kuf for over thirty years. "I was inspecting it and pushed... it fell apart." She shrugged, turning back toward her goal.

An intact navicomputer would buy her a ticket off of Jakku, if she needed such a thing. Star charts were in high demand. Ndonsa knelt on the slanted deck, using a multitool from her small satchel to remove the paneling, nearly holding her breath as she pulled it away to reveal...

...scorched wiring. The inside of the compartment was blackened from an ancient electrical fire, but she deftly removed the component parts anyway, setting them down next to her in a row in such a way that they wanted to roll toward her rather than all over the bridge. Perhaps something would have survived.

Dec 30th, 2015, 01:38:36 PM
"I'm not stupid." Aria replied, climbing to her feet and speaking with all the annoyance of a teenager when they felt like they were being patronised. "If it was that fragile, the sandstorms would have done it in years ago." She pointed out, keeping a curious eye on Ndonsa as she headed to the navi-computer. A good starting point, for sure. Navigational charts were worth a fortune, but you had to be able to identify them, and Aria didn't have a clue. Besides, they were notoriously fragile, and judging by the scorched components she was removing, it looked like this one had burnt out a long time ago.

Aria began working on the more flashy components. Usually ships were stripped of these a long time ago, and a chance to get things like a control yolk, or a throttle lever were rare. Especially since they could fit a range of ships and looked impressive. They often brought in a lot of rations easily. It was, of course, very youthful, going for the impressive looking components instead of looking deeper. They had the entire bridge to themselves. There was bound to be some incredibly rare bits of salvage up here, but Aria knew the basics better than anything special.

"No bodies..." She pointed out. "Everybody must have got out. But I wonder if they hit the armoury first. Blasters are worth a lot..." She said thoughtfully. It was hard to find a decent blaster on Jakku, and there might just be a payload right there. She didn't say anything more about the mysteriously shattered window. For now, she'd leave it, and see if the woman gave any more hints. She needed more proof anyway, truth be told.

Dec 30th, 2015, 02:22:36 PM
"You wear your jewelry to scavenge," Ndonsa muttered under her breath, "pretty stupid." She looked up from where she was working, speaking louder so the girl could hear. "The sandstorms have battered it for a generation. It was just it's time to break. The ..final straw, perhaps."

Her ears swiveled as she half-crawled into the space she'd opened up, tail waving in the air as she went after the power cell for the navicomp. It was toast. The Kufu backed out onto the deck, picking up the data cards she'd separated from the navicomp in the hopes they could be cleaned up and some of the data retrieved. They went into her satchel.

"Do you know where the armory is?" she asked plainly, moving on to the defensive systems. This console didn't look burned, and a shield control unit or intact percentage dial would be helpful.

Dec 30th, 2015, 02:42:19 PM
"Hey! I heard that!" Aria said in annoyed tone, a hand defensively flying to her necklace for a moment, as if to check that it was still there. She glowered at Ndonsa for a moment for thinking she was so smart in her little comment. It was probably best not to mention that her outer robe was also made from a ball gown. "It's important to me, okay? And there's nowhere safe on Jakku to keep it when I'm not around." She added snippily, even if the truth was she liked having it close to remind her of where she came from. That there was a better life out there. Sometimes, Jakku became all there was.

"Well, no, not exactly..." Aria admitted as she stripped another console on the far side of the bridge, away form Ndonsa now that she was annoyed with her, ripping off the main panel and the controls underneath, figuring they'd be useful. "But it can't be far from the bridge, right? In case they got boarded?" She suggested.

She still wasn't buying the excuse with the transparesteel, but truthfully, she didn't know any better. It was possible she was telling the truth, but nobody got that lucky on Jakku. Coincidence was never in your favour. Then again, it wasn't like she could prove anything. So she thought for now it was best to avoid commenting and simply go along with it.

Dec 30th, 2015, 03:49:27 PM
"Probably near the bridge," Ndonsa echoed, thoughtfully. "Perhaps." She eyed the closed doors that led to the rest of the ship, the blast doors still open, for what good it would do them without power to open even the ordinary doors.

She continued to take apart the console, pulling control chips and putting them with the datacards in her satchel, leaving the larger salvage for the cloth bag she pulled from her belt. What the girl did was no concern of hers. She hadn't felt right about abandoning her on the hull of the ship, but having someone following her around was going to be tiresome. Alone was best. No one to find out her secret, which she had carelessly nearly revealed already.

No one to need protection, no one for her to ultimately fail. Her mood sour, Ndonsa stuffed components into her bag, moving briskly around the bridge despite the crooked deck.

Dec 30th, 2015, 04:09:41 PM
Well then, it seemed like Ndonsa agreed with her suggestion, but was doing nothing to help. Aria looked around for a way to open the doors. With no power, they couldn't do anything electrically. There was no way to get anything back to the doors. The ship's blast doors hadn't sealed however, and that meant they had a chance. Especially since with no power, there were no motors to resist their efforts. It was just the weight of the door, and getting something between them to slide them open with.

She searched around for a moment, spotting a broken metal beam that was thin and flat. Grabbing it, she pushed it as hard as she could, until it slipped between the sealed door. Grabbing it, she began to heave to force the door open. The heavy metal pushed against her, and she strained, thin arms shaking with effort. She let out a few involuntary grunts, but the door refused to budge. It was no use. Aria wasn't strong enough.

She looked around to Ndonsa, still annoyed at her for her comment, but realising she had to have some muscle, since she broke the window, no matter what her claims were.
"Little help?" She asked, trying not to sound too annoyed. "If we can get this open, who knows what we might find." She added, because it was something both of them could benefit from.

Dec 31st, 2015, 11:48:27 AM
"The rest of the ship, no doubt," Ndonsa said dryly, but she padded over and motioned for Aria to move away. When the girl backed up, the Kufu took the improvised lever and pulled it from the door completely, tossing it to the ground with a clang. She moved to the control panel and opened it up deftly with her multitool, pulling a small powercell from her satchel - a fully charged one that she kept with her.

Wires were pulled, stripped, and she held the contacts to the powercell. The door popped open, and she adjusted the controls to make it simple to push or pull the door closed. "Hydraulics," she explained. "You could not pull it open, even if you were a Wookiee. I bled the pressure from the mechanism." She gave the doors a push and they moved with some effort. Tempted to return to the console she had been working on, she instead looked down the dark hallway. Away from the bright light of Jakku's sands, the interior of the ship was nearly pitch black.

And, as the girl had said, probably full of good salvage. Or, dead bodies. Ndonsa's sensitive nose wrinkled a bit at the musty smell of the interior of the cruiser. "After you."

Dec 31st, 2015, 01:40:05 PM
Aria tried not to get frustrated at Ndonsa's little comment about what was beyond the door, but she was beginning to feel annoyed. This woman, or creature, or whoever she was was, simply put, not very nice. Of course there were long running rivalries between scavengers, but they were both there together. Couldn't they just get along? She was fed up with feeling patronised and treated like a child. She thought she'd been learning very well for a scavenger, she thought that despite her coddled upbringing, she had really found something she was good at, but this older woman just kept making her feel like an idiot. Even more so when she took the lever from her and opened the door electronically.

All Aria could do was fold her arms and try and look defensive, or at least 'not embarrassed'.
"Well, I thought with all the power gone, that was gone too." She said, although it was obvious she had nowhere near the understanding of this other woman. And it was also obvious she was feeling it, being made to feel at every step inferior or stupid and that it was beginning to grate on her nerves.

She peered in to the dark, feeling goosebumps on her skin despite the warmth from the desert. Aria hated the dark, and she hated more the dark that might be full of dead bodies. But this was her idea, and well, with Ndonsa's attitude towards her, she could hardly show any fear, could she?
"Fine. Yeah. Easy." She said in a high-pitched tone of voice that only hinted further at her fear, and she began to creep in.

The truth was as soon as she was in the dark, all she felt was fear. It felt cold, she felt alone, and she had no idea what was around the corner. This place hadn't been set foot in for thirty years. What if there were still defences? Or something worse...? What if she was about to stumble over a dead body? She had to use all of her will power to keep going, and then her foot hit something.

She screamed in terror, leapt out of her skin, and span around, grabbing Ndonsa in a terrified hug, clinging to her for a few moments before realising what she had just done. She awkwardly released her fellow scavenger.
"Uh... Sorry." She mumbled, and turned around, back to try and see what she had hit. She was glad it was so dark Ndonsa couldn't see her cheeks burning bright red. She reached down cautiously, and she picked up what she had accidently kicked.

It was a Rebel Fleet Trooper helmet. She smiled with relief. No severed head inside. More than that, it was probably worth a ration or two on its own. She placed it on her head and turned around, smiling goofily at Ndonsa. The helmet was about ten sizes too big for her, and just sloshed around on her petite head as she moved.
"What do you think?" She smiled.

Dec 31st, 2015, 01:55:09 PM
Ndonsa's adrenaline spiked as the girl shrieked and grabbed her, but the only source of fear was the other scavenger. There was nothing alive in the ship with them...that she could sense. The lowest levels of the ship were buried in the sand and probably compromised, just about any sort of burrowing creature could have gotten in.

She smiled a bit at the girl's attempt at humor, but wasn't really feeling it. "Where is your flashlight?" She produced her own and turned it on, avoiding shining it in Aria's eyes and pointing it at the bulkheads. "I will go first." First to see what was best. Ndonsa wasn't familiar with this particular class of ship, but all Mon Cal cruisers had the armories in near enough the same places. One on every level, near midship. She strode into the slightly tilted darkness, flash bobbing on the deck and bulkhead and lighting the way.

Dec 31st, 2015, 02:06:40 PM
"Uh, I don't... I don't actually have a flashlight." Aria admitted awkwardly as she began to follow behind the other woman, keeping up with her and thankful for the new light. She tipped the helmet she was now wearing back a bit to stop it falling down and covering her eyes, but she kept it on. It was easier than carrying it and, well, she liked having it on. At least this way she felt a tiny bit safer, even if it was too loose to actually protect her from anything.

"I know you think I'm some stupid child, but I've only been here for a year, and they dropped me here with nothing." She said, not entirely sure why but feeling like she had to defend herself. "Everything I have I had to earn the hard way, and it's not like I knew what I was doing. This isn't the kind of life I ever expected to lead. So I never got a flashlight. It took me months even to be able to scavenge enough for a practical pair of boots. Not all of us know our way around these old ships before we came here. Everything I've got, everything I am, every skill I have, I had to earn right here on Jakku." She told this older woman bitterly. Clearly she knew her way around the ship too. She didn't know who she was, but it was obvious Ndonsa had experiences Aria could only dream of.

Dec 31st, 2015, 02:17:28 PM
A year? Ndonsa didn't know if she should be horrified at the girl's lack of knowledge after such a time, or impressed that she'd survived that long. "Yes, I had everything handed to me when I arrived, it's a shame you have had to start at the bottom, child."

She turned a corner, and found a vast hole in the deck plating, where an explosion had ripped at the innards of the ship. The strong beam from the flashlight didn't reach the bottom of the destruction, but they could see to the other side, where the rest of the passage was. In fact, she could look down and see many passageways, opening up into this great tear in the metal. Perhaps a turbolift had channeled energy up and exploded to create such a vertical chasm. "Hmm."

Dec 31st, 2015, 02:39:40 PM
"Ugh, you're patronising me again!" Aria complained when Ndonsa said she had everything handed to her. She just didn't understand. Aria could see that. Or maybe she just liked her sarcasm. Aria wasn't sure, but she was beginning to feel upset about it. "I don't know what kind of life you led before you came here, but I know you're keeping secrets. I know you know your way around a starship. This type of starship too. So either you were with the Rebellion or the Empire and you attacked one, I don't know, but I'm not stupid, and I know you know more than you're letting on." She ranted, beginning to get annoyed. "But me? You wanna know who I was?"

"I was the spoiled rich girl!" She snapped, sounding angry and ashamed at what she was, but at the same time having to say it. "There! That's who I was! I never had to work a day in my life. I had everything I ever wanted! And then, one day, with no explanation, my parents took and left me here! I had no idea how to survive! About any of this! I had to learn everything! They left me here in a ballgown! So no, I don't have a stupid flashlight, because in-between spending my salvage on food and drink to survive I've had to earn every single little bit of gear I actually have, from my boots to my bag to my clothes to my hair-tie! So maybe I'm not the super-experienced know-it-all scavenger you are, but that's because I had to work ten times as hard for ten times as little! So you can take your whole attitude and stuff it in your tail! I'm SORRY I don't have gizmos for the dark or for opening doors, but all I have is my two hands! And I have to fight every day not to give up, because I just don't know the same as everybody else! I didn't get to grow up knowing this stuff! I'm smaller, weaker and more spoiled than any of the rest of you, and that makes things so much harder! And I can never give up, because that means dying! So when you're there being all sarcastic about how stupid I am, you just remember how hard I've had to work! ARGH!"

She practically kicked the floor in irritation as she finished her rant, panting slightly and looking at the big hole.

"Go on then! Tell me the really obvious way across I'm too stupid to know!" She sulked.

Dec 31st, 2015, 03:01:08 PM
Ndonsa let the girl shout, watching her calmly with just a slight impatient wave of her tail. "I cannot see a way across," she said finally.

The mongoose sat down cross legged at the edge of the chasm. "I have been here for years, child. What I know I learned from exploring. From scavenging. You assume too much." She scratched a bit at her white flecked muzzle, contemplating the divide before her.

Dec 31st, 2015, 03:52:41 PM
"O-oh." Aria seemed to deflate a little when Ndonsa burst her bubble. She paused, feeling awkward, because, well, maybe she was just a scavenger. But she was still a really experienced one. She had far more experience than Aria, that was for sure. "W-well, it doesn't matter! You still know more than me! You've been doing this longer! And I bet whatever you did before you came here was more useful than being some little spoiled princess!" She added, speaking of the role of her past life with a level of disdain that suggested she wasn't proud of who she had been. Not any more. Not proud, and yet longing to go back to that life more than anything.

"Well, I'm getting across!" She said with determination. She just... wasn't sure how yet.

"I'm going to try and climb around the edge." She insisted. It was insanely dangerous, but right now she was so upset she just wanted to prove that she could do something Ndonsa couldn't.

Jan 2nd, 2016, 11:49:36 AM
Aria was apparently dead set on acting just like the spoiled princess she insisted she had been. And committing suicide, as well, the human didn't look strong enough to do even one pull up. Ndonsa sat impassively, watching the girl move to the side of the chasm and work up the nerve to step out and climb around the edge. It was not her job to mentor anyone, let alone an entitled and rude child who would be better off navigating the sinking sands than - "Stop," she said abruptly, as Aria was just about to trust her life to a precarious grip, leaning out over the edge.

She stood up and strode over, helping the girl back from the edge before she could overbalance and fall. "No rope?" No flashlight, no rope. Ndonsa adjusted her beige clothing (being naked would be preferable to all these layers, but brushing sand out of her fur for days was not enjoyable) and began pulling out a thin high tensile line from the sand stained stormtrooper utility belt she wore. There was a grappling hook on the end, and apparently it was all strong enough to hold a full grown man in plasteel armor, but she'd never tested it out before.

The Kufu hesitated, looking at Aria. "The bridge has plenty of salvage for the both of us. We do not need to go further. But..." she looked out over the divide. "If you wish to, we can attempt it."

Jan 2nd, 2016, 01:13:40 PM
Aria stepped back hesitantly, but secretly relieved that Ndonsa had stopped her. That had been risky even for her. She was light and had hoped the thin edge would hold, but like Ndonsa summarised, Aria didn't have the strength if she slipped, and would have been a goner. And then she made her assumption about the rope, and presented her grappling hook. Aria dropped her bag to the ground, small and light so that she could carry it easily, especially while climbing, but it obviously had some supplies.
"I have rope." She replied, trying not to sound annoyed about it and a bit gentler since Ndonsa was now trying to help. "But... not that I'd trust to get us across there. There's nothing I could secure it to. I usually use it for hauling salvage out of ships or helping me climb. It's nothing like that." She pointed to the high tensile wire, clearly designed for things like this. But even then, she wasn't sure what it could latch on to. You'd need a good throwing arm. Something Aria, unsurprisingly, didn't have.

"The bridge stuff is good, but there's lots of control circuits already on the market. What's over there... could be pretty unique. It could be rations for weeks, not days..." Aria pointed out, trying not to sound too excited. It was still a fool's hope, but weapons were practical, they were immediately useful, and they were dangerous. They were worth far more than just some parts from even a bridge. They could buy Aria weeks of not having to scavenge anything. Oh, what she wouldn't give for a rest... Her young and coddled body wasn't used to this amount of work, and she just wanted to sleep for a month.

"Don't you want a rest from all this?" She asked, seemingly earnestly. "Every day... I risk my life for junk. Over there could be my ticket to just... just some time to rest. Don't you want that?" She asked, and she seemed to be genuine. She wasn't after this just out of greed. The young girl was exhausted. She wanted a break, a rest, a small iota of freedom back in her life. She wondered if Ndonsa would understand.

Jan 2nd, 2016, 02:02:57 PM
"Then you should rest, child," Ndonsa said, putting her paw on Aria's shoulder. The girl found herself feeling very sleepy...

The Jedi went to work.

...and when Aria woke up an hour later there was a pile of blaster rifles and power cells in the passage next to her, and her rope had been turned into a makeshift bridge across the gap, along with the rope Ndonsa had had in her own pack. The mongoose was in the middle of the ropes, balancing on one while she held onto the other with her paws. There were more blaster rifles slung across her back as she made her way back to where Aria was waking up.

Jan 2nd, 2016, 05:09:31 PM
Aria hadn't slept like that in a long time. So relaxed, so peaceful. No horrible dreams, no cramp from where her soft body had failed to adapt to the harsh ground, no constant waking in tears, longing to be home. Just peaceful, quiet rest. And yet, she still didn't know what had happened. Truthfully, when beat and exhausted, Aria had slept in the ships she was scavenging a few times. After all, why not, right? Nobody else was around and at least she could do what she wanted when exhausted, which in her skinny and frail state thanks to lack of rations was often. But she had never thought she'd fall asleep while scavenging with somebody else.

She sat bolt upright, and her face burned red.
"Oh my god! Did I fall asleep? I'm so sorry!" She gasped, getting to her feet groggily, but trying to shake it off, and take everything in. "I-I don't know what happened. I swear... that's... never happened before." She said, obviously worried and ashamed.

And then she saw the blasters.

"Oh my god! You found all of those while I slept!?" She asked, both stunned and horrified, because as far as she was concerned, that meant she had no claim to them. Her great idea to find blasters and she had fallen asleep and slept right through this other scavenger finding them all! How could she be so stupid!? They were worth a fortune on Jakku and she'd wasted her chance!

Jan 3rd, 2016, 01:30:15 PM
She wavered on the ropes a little, recovered her balance and continued on, finally stepping off onto the deck as the girl came fully around and started to freak out. Predictably. Ndonsa shook her head, holding her paws out in a 'calm down' gesture. "I used your rope. These are half yours. Or, as much as you can carry?"

The mongoose knelt down, putting the weapons into two roughly equal piles. "If we cannot bring them all out at once we will have to keep this a secret. Others will come."

Jan 3rd, 2016, 02:50:44 PM
"It's half mine... because you used my rope?" Aria repeated quizzically, before giggling a little. She tried to stifle it, and just giggled more. She burst in to a giggling fit, which seemed probably extremely strange given the situation but she couldn't help it. She just giggled and giggled and then she smiled at Ndonsa. "You care!" She giggled to herself. "You act all grumpy and mean but you actually care!" Any other scavenger would have run off with find. Abandoned Aria or thrown her in the pit or something for something as clumsy as falling asleep. Not given her half of such valuable loot.

She was actually so relieved she hadn't lost her loot, so relieved that somebody had shown her an act of kindness, the first she'd seen on Jakku, so relieved that grumpy act was just that, an act, that she grabbed and hugged Ndonsa before she could do anything about it, before releasing her and smiling brightly.

"Let's get to work!" She beamed, unravelling from her bag a big piece of cloth, and piling the weapons up on it. She'd wrap the cloth around them and tie it with her rope, and then carry it on her back. That was the plan, at least. She didn't actually know how many she'd be able to carry.

Jan 3rd, 2016, 03:12:52 PM
"You will never keep this a secret if you keep smiling," Ndonsa pointed out, choosing to ignore the hug completely. She turned and pulled on the ropes, giving them a good shake and using the Force to discretely release them from where they were tied on the other side. A few moments later the ropes were reeled in, and she dropped Aria's by her pile.

Her own share of the weapons she split into pistols and rifles, and shoved the pistols and extra power cells into her net bag. The power cells were all drained, of course, none of these weapons could be fired, but they were still worth rations. Or credits, if you could make the trek to the right broker. The bag she could carry on her back, it was designed for that, and she tied the blaster rifles by their straps to her rope and dragged it behind her down the passage back to the bridge.

Jan 3rd, 2016, 04:46:50 PM
"And you'll never stop being grumpy if you don't start smiling." Aria pointed out proudly, still pleased and on a high of actually having somebody care about her. Even if she was trying her very best not to show it. But, well, there wasn't much more needling she could do to get Ndonsa to smile, not for a moment, and so she started packing up guns. She put in her small load in her cloth, deciding it was much as she could carry, and looked over at Ndonsa, who was hauling easily four times that much.

Aria blushed a little, and decided she couldn't be that humiliated, so grabbed even more guns, and piled them on to the cloth. She finished the amount she definitely couldn't carry and looked over at Ndonsa, who still easily had double her load. She blushed in irritation, but knew better than to overload herself anymore. She wrapped up her cloth bundle, and heaved it. She tried to lift it on to her back like she planned, but couldn't budge the load off of the durasteel. Instead, she decided to pull the ropes, hauling it like Ndonsa had. She heaved and she pulled, but she could barely move it, her skinny arms unable to manage the strength, and her legs, without much power, not able to help.

She moved it, inch by inch, but it took her five minutes to get less than half a meter. In the meantime, Ndonsa had disappeared back to the bridge. She stopped, panting, and wiped sweat from her brow. God, this was difficult...

Jan 3rd, 2016, 05:03:02 PM
Ndonsa did her best to ignore the foolish girl's struggles, pushing her blaster rifle bundle out of the viewport through the side that had broken. Half of the transparisteel was still intact, the vibration she'd sent with the Force only taking out a portion of it. Still, the ship would be exposed to the sand now, and the bridge components, once untouched, would be ruined in time.

She braced her footpaws against the inside lip of the viewport and began to lower the bundle, the blaster rifles scraping against the hull.

Jan 4th, 2016, 02:47:08 PM
Aria heaved and pulled and strained, but as she got more exhausted, her load seemed to get heavier. Soon, it wasn't moving at all. Giving up with aching arms, she decided all she could do was cheat. She opened up her pack, and pulled out several blasters, hiding them quickly in a side room. Ndonsa, she hoped, wouldn't notice her pack had gotten smaller, and she began to heave it again, this time able to move it (even if she still struggled somewhat).

Of course, she was only cheating herself out of a bigger score, but, well, she could only carry what she could carry.

It was still slow going though, as the package was still nearly too much for her...

Jan 5th, 2016, 01:18:02 PM
It took a few minutes to lower the weapons down to the sand. Ndonsa finally felt the slack that meant she'd reached the dunes, and was thankful she'd had enough rope to make it. She tied her end securely inside the bridge of the cruiser, giving herself an easy way off the ship, and turned as Aria finally managed to trudge into room.

She was not going to offer her any more help - if anything she had already helped her too much. Those who were weak, died. It was the way of the galaxy. That the self-proclaimed spoiled child had survived so long already was a testament to how strong she really way - or perhaps she just had not spoken to anyone else on Jakku. Ndonsa couldn't imagine any other scavenger putting up with the girl's self entitled rants.

The Kufu settled her bag on her back, tying it securely across her chest, and took hold of her rope, readying for the rappel down.

Jan 16th, 2016, 04:32:42 AM
Aria finally made it to where Ndonsa was stood, and although she was clearly exhausted from the effort, set up her rope as a similar pulley to Ndonsa's with a practised ease. It was obvious that here, at least, Aria knew what she was doing. All scavengers did. Self-entitled rants might put you in danger, but nothing would get you killed quicker than not knowing how to get your bounty back to the ground. She made sure her rope was secured firmly, although she was lagging behind Ndonsa a bit, and then followed suit, even if she found herself worrying about the weight of her pack on her ordinary rope.

She needn't of worried it turned out, Aria's small size and light body weight meant that the weight of the pack was easily supported, and although she'd let Ndonsa go on ahead (uh, by which, she meant 'couldn't stop her') she was soon rappelling down the front of the ship as well...

Jan 24th, 2016, 03:39:26 PM
Her footpaws touched the sand, and Ndonsa gave the rope a quick tug and stepped backward, letting the tether fall down from the height of the ship into a haphazard pile. She could see the girl slowly making her way down, and was considering calling up to her, but a sound - falling sand - made her turn around. Five cloaked and armed scavengers, all wearing metallic coolie hats, were crouched around the bundle of rifles she'd dropped to the dunes.

As she turned to look at them they sprang into action, two leaping toward her as the other three tried to grab all the blaster rifles they could carry. "No!" Ndonsa shouted, holding out her paw to the side. Her metal staff flicked through the air, slamming into her palm from where she'd left it in the shade, and she spun it forcefully, knocking the two attackers off their feet.

May 31st, 2016, 04:49:22 PM
A third scavenger spun around, flinging a poorly made net at the Kufu, who ducked and rolled to the side. A blast of telekinetic energy made sure the net missed its mark, and then she was charging at the three thieves while the first two still struggled to regain their feet in the sand.

She shouted a challenge at them, and they grabbed up what weapons they had and the fight began in earnest.

Jul 20th, 2016, 09:20:55 PM
In the confusion the girl, Aria, made it to the ground safely. "Run!" shouted Ndonsa, and the human thankfully listened. She gathered what rifles she could carry and took off, slipping and sliding down a dune and out of sight. One of the Kyuzo attackers turned to follow her, and the Kufu yanked his feet out from under him with the Force. Here, deep in the deserts of Jakku with only these thieves as witnesses, she was not worried about being outed as a Force user.

Ndonsa spun her staff, knocking one Kyuzo out with a solid blow while she kicked out behind her with her footpaw, catching another in the soft belly. Both attackers fell to the ground, one to sleep, the other to gasp for air. Two of the scavenger-thieves were dragging rifles away until sand whirled up in the air around them, a sandstorm in miniature that caused them to drop what they were carrying to reposition their protective goggles and scarves. She'd lost sight of the fifth Kyuzo, and cast about with the Force to locate it when she felt danger from above. The Kufu ducked and rolled in the sand to the side, the thief crashing to the ground where she'd been, burying a large blade deep into the sand.

She kicked out her arms and legs from where she lay on her back, springing up to her footpaws and slamming her metal staff down on the center of the Kyuzo's back. He cried out and collapsed next to his blade. Ndonsa reached out and flicked her fingers, the two thieves who'd protected themselves from the sand she'd thrown at them hit their metal hats together with enough force they both fell down. She took a moment to catch her breath, and then dug through their packs to find their rope.

There was a promising looking turbolaser barrel sticking out of the sand, and she dragged the unconscious bodies of the thieves with the Force until they were sitting around the sturdy metal pole. She wrapped them with their own rope, tying it tightly. She left their packs in the sand just out of reach, but put their canteens nearby. They would be able to release themselves before they died of exposure. It would give her enough time to get back to the outpost to sell these weapons, and the location of the cache to another scavenger. Then she would make her away across the shifting sand toward the next outpost.

It was time to move on.

James Karr
Jul 27th, 2016, 12:28:31 PM
* * *

Ergel's Bar, Cratertown

"OI! Gimme anutha one, eh?!"

From his seat in the back booth of Ergel's Bar, the man waved his ceramic mug at the waitress as she passed. She at least nodded before heading off to refill his drink. Cratertown sure wasn't much, but it had Ergel's, and the folk here tolerated him. Which was more than any of the other places here on Jakku. Hells, even Niima Outpost was just too stringent for him. Well, it was really more the constable than anything else. All James wanted to do was to be left alone with his drink and the people here obliged him.

James. James Karr. A name he'd drunkenly uttered decades ago; it'd stuck, and so he'd kept it. Was better than the alternative.

The waitress came back with another cup, and he gladly handed over the empty for the full.

"You be careful now, James," she was a cute little Twi'Lek, "Last time you had too much Knockout Nectar we had t'get Masavi to carry you back to that old vault you call home."

Taking the refill, James offered the cute little thing a confident smile.

"S'all good, Ren. Just havin' a few since it's the weekend an' all."

Ren didn't look entirely convinced, but she let the matter go regardless and pivoted on her heel to move on to other patrons.

James let his eyes linger, going down her lekku to her backside. A sniff, and he turned back to his drink.

Just another day in Cratertown.

Jul 31st, 2016, 12:50:53 PM
Wrapped from head to footpaw in beige cloth, Ndonsa rode her modified swoop bike into Cratertown, stopping near the edge of the tented main marketplace and hopping down. She pulled her scarf from her muzzle, pushed her goggles up on her forehead, and set to work pulling down the blaster rifles she'd liberated from the wreck.

Dragging them through the center of the market meant that there were many eyes on her, but it could not be helped. She walked up to the so-called Concession Stand run by Bilbo, a small and very angry Dug. His eyes popped wide as Ndonsa set a blaster rifle heavily down on the counter. "I have sixteen," she said.

"You do," Bilbo harumphed, picking up the rifle with his feet. "Looks like you dragged them through the entire desert to get them here."

"They are good condition," she insisted. "Worth half a ration each."

Bilbo narrowed his eyes and walked back and forth on the counter, inspecting the rifle. "Half a ration, for two," he sneered.

Ndonsa bristled, putting her paw on the rifle. "I will keep them then," she said, but Bilbo did not let go, the weapon suspended between her paw and his foot. She gave a small tug, and them the Force whispered to her and she released the rifle and put her hand on her metal staff which she'd leaned on the edge of the counter.

Turning around she knocked a thief in the shoulder as he tried to grab one of the blaster rifles from the pile at her side, then spun her staff and hit a second thief in the face as he fell backwards, her property in his hands. Bilbo was shouting, others were scattering, and she calmly retrieved her belongings and stood at the counter again.

"I will accept your deal," she said, shoving the rifles into the Stand while Bilbo blustered.

James Karr
Jul 31st, 2016, 05:38:20 PM
Back in Ergel's, James was just finishing his last pint of knockout nectar. It was the last one Ren was willing to give him, as the bartender had had cut him off. Oh, he'd had a few loud moments, pounding the table with a fist a bit too... energetically, and his voice had gone slightly over-volume at times, but only enough to have his drinks stopped. Thankfully not enough to have him carted off to the constable's office. Again.

When he'd risen to his feet, his mug empty, James had made sure to leave a sizable enough tip for Ren along with whatever it was he owed. Maybe if he left her enough money enough times she'd warm up to him. A long shot, but he didn't much care. Course, he could always invite her back home, though she'd more than likely say no, or come up with some excuse to push him off. Eh. Things were better when it was just him, so inviting attention with another body, no matter how fun it might be, was more than likely a bad idea.

Then again coming to Jakku hadn't exactly been the best of ideas either, so maybe he was fated to constantly make bad decisions?

Stumbling out the front doorway of Ergen's, James let out a small burp, eyed the main drag, and started off with empty purpose.

His speeder was in a lot at the edge of Cratertown, and he had a long drive back to the old abandoned Republic-era vault he called home.

Aug 2nd, 2016, 11:31:32 AM
Ndonsa headed toward the place known as Ergel's, her rations carefully stowed in her pack and secured to her back. She would find a buyer for the information, and then head out - perhaps to Nima Outpost this time. It had been a year since she had last been there.

A cold mug of milk was on her mind as she bumped into a male who did not get out of her way. She did not make any polite excuses, but eyed the human under his hood. "Be careful," Ndonsa said, gripping her metal staff with her paw, her tail flicking with impatience.

James Karr
Aug 6th, 2016, 02:17:19 PM
Stumbling only a little bit to the side, James let out a grunt as he steadied himself on his feet. That the gods he'd not actually fallen. A look to the one he'd bumped into only elicited a longer than normal stare. His eyes narrowed in the beginning stages of disbelief, or at least incredulous impossibility. A Nehantite? On Jakku? not exactly the strangest thing he'd ever seen. But, this one was a redfur.

He shook his head, not really trusting his eyes. He'd had enough to drink, after all, to probably make him see a dress-wearing Hutt.

"Eh," he got out in mild disgust.

"I'm careful enough," he retorted under a breath while turning to head back down the main drag of Cratertown.

Aug 16th, 2016, 03:03:57 PM
He stared rudely at her, and Ndonsa's ears flicked back. She grabbed his arm with her paw as he turned away from her. "You will be dead if you do not watch where you are going," she said firmly. He was clearly drunk, and she caught sight of a speeder key in his hand. "You are in no condition to drive, even in the desert."

Her grip tightened on his arm and she looked squarely toward the Militia building and it's drunk tank, her intentions clear.

James Karr
Aug 26th, 2016, 12:12:32 PM
At that he gave a snort, pulling a disgusted face as he let his own eyes track in the direction that hers had. With surprising strength, James jerked himself free from her hold. Her voice was familiar; the cadence and the brutal succinctness with which she spoke triggering a memory. Inwardly he shook off the feeling, hoping that it was simply the drink muddling his senses and awareness.

"Ain't drunk enough, Padfoot."

He made a shooing motion with his free hand then.

"Just keepa walkin' and mind yor business, eh?"

The feeling refused to be discarded so easily, and blinking, James gave a closer look to the red furred Nehantite. He stared at her, a sharp clarity in his gaze that had not been there before. It lasted only a moment though, as he frowned before testing a half-brained guess. His voice dropped a few levels, becoming a gravelly murmur.

"Less'n yor business is eatin' folks."

Mar 22nd, 2019, 12:23:03 AM
Ndonsa's paw shot out, grabbing the drunk by the front of his shirt and propelling him to the side of a nearby building. Off the main path and out of sight of causal passersby, she shoved him against the wall.

"Jamus?" Her pink eyes narrowed. It had been a long time since she had seen the other Jedi - if that was what he was. The smell of alcohol was overpowering... more than just one day's binge, perhaps.

James Karr
Mar 22nd, 2019, 12:37:35 AM
Ha! He'd been right! By all of the scrapyard deities and rusted out saints that plenty of folks around here seemed to pray to, he'd been right! Of course, that just presented a whole other set of problems. Namely, what in the hell was he supposed to do now?

"It's me alright, Padfoot," he growled. One hand lifted then, to dislodge her grip.

He'd only just bought this shirt last week, and the last thing he needed were claw holes dotting the neckline.

"It's just James now, though. Ain't gone by Jamis in so long it just don't feel right, anymore."

Still, it was nice to see that she was still kicking about.

"You still shaking your teeth at people?"

Mar 22nd, 2019, 12:53:48 AM
The interior of her ears flushed, and she bared her teeth at him.

"I thought you were dead." Her white flecked muzzle relaxed from its snarl, into something mournful. "I -"

Shouts from the direction of the Concession Stand distracted her from her thoughts. Ndonsa looked around the edge of the building, her ears flattening against her skull as she recognized a band of furious looking Kyuzo.

"I have to leave Cratertown." She pulled his speeder keys from his hand before he could protest.

James Karr
Mar 22nd, 2019, 11:17:37 AM
Her sudden grasp at his keys only made him scowl further, and James pushed himself away from the wall she'd shoved him against.

"We all have to leave Cratertown," he hissed in annoyance, reaching out to try and reclaim what was his.

"You think anyone actually wants to be here?"

The commotion she seemed taken with was partially ignored as he stood fuming.

"And for the record, I thought you were dead."

Mar 22nd, 2019, 11:24:22 AM
She stalked off toward a haphazard row of parked speeders, leaving James to splutter behind her. Her tail swished with purpose as she approached them with keys in paw, only to be instantly stymied.

Ndonsa turned to James, leveling her metal staff toward the sandblasted speeders. "Which is yours?"

James Karr
Mar 22nd, 2019, 11:32:13 AM
He'd followed after her, in a way dumbfounded. Her insistence at wanting to leave was about how he'd always remembered her. Singular drive, no time for nonsense or small-talk.

With a hmph, he stuffed one hand into the wide pocket of his longcoat while the other lifted up to gesture at an older model parked towards the back of the lot. It had certainly seen better days, but then again Jakku had a way of turning anything into junk.

"That one."

Mar 22nd, 2019, 12:05:20 PM
She wrapped her face again, pulling her goggles down to protect her eyes as she threaded her way to the speeder that James had pointed out. He trailed behind her, bumping into a few of the other speeders in his inebriated state, his protesting voice growing louder. People were starting to look.

Ndonsa stopped and he ran into her pack. Turning around slowly, she put a finger to her muzzle.

"Your noise only draws attention. Cratertown is not safe for us specifically, because of who we are. I defended myself today and those I defeated are here with a tale of an adept in the Wastes."

She slung her pack onto his speeder, quickly fastening it down.

James Karr
May 6th, 2019, 12:46:36 PM
"Cratertown isn't safe for anyone, Padfoot."

His snorted answer was only slightly slurred, as he made a show of regaining his keys. The little leather flap, stamped with a gear that looked suspiciously like the old emblem of the Jedi, continued to dangle from the keyring she doggedly held on to.

"I've been here long enough, cultivating... something. A normal life. Not having to worry about the past and not having to worry about the Force," he hissed.

A hiccup, and he leaned against the doorpanel of his weathered speeder.

"I like it, and it works." A finger jabbed into the space just above her chest - he might've been a bit tipsy, but he at least knew batter than to poke the soft beasts that rested pertly below her collarbone.

"Not to mention, the more fire juice you drink, the more people 'round here think you're nothing but a sand-crazed hermit."

May 6th, 2019, 12:58:59 PM
Ndonsa sighed, kicked his feet out from underneath him and spilled him into the dust.

”If you will not come, then stay. I am taking your speeder.”

She turned back to the vehicle. “I will send it back to you.”

James Karr
Mar 11th, 2021, 01:10:50 AM
James hit the ground with a solid thud, his breath knocked from his chest with a swiftness.

Still though, he was made of tough stuff - one had to be, after surviving what he'd had to endure over the years.

Ndonsa's words echoed through the deep breaths that he pulled in as he rolled back up to sit, knees coming up so that he could begin the process of levering himself once more to his feet.

"Cool your tits, Love."

A groan, and James continued his lurching motion upward.

"We can go to my place."

He reached out to give his old 'friend' a reassuring pat to her upper arm.

"You can drive, of course."