Gunslinger

Velber can barely believe his luck. Not only does he have a bounty hunter after him, but two and on top of that his legs are getting tired. He doesn’t know how long he’s been running but seeing as his legs are becoming incredibly stiff and inflexible he’ll guess that it’s been a good while.

The Garteen takes a sharp left down a narrow tunnel, but Intolee has to admit that he is bored of chasing his target now. Especially as for such a diminutive creature, compared to an Avareen that is, Velber is surprisingly agile. Intolee never would have guessed that the five foot four inch alien would have been capable of staying ahead of him. Stride alone should have made that impossible, Intolee would have thought, but reality is proving otherwise.

Though, that is not to say that at any point was Intolee in danger of losing track of Velber who had resorted to vaulting piles of junk, low walls, abandoned stalls and other detritus that Intolee has no idea as to why it was in their path. But the chase has gone on long enough for him, so when Velber and he take the next turn, which is a long almost perfectly straight tunnel, the Avareen unslings the Fissure Rifle from his back, pulls a Lightning Star from the wide bandolier that is across his chest and thumbs the round into the rifles chamber ready to fire.

Intolee knows he will have to act quickly as the ‘slinger is still on his tail. He doesn’t know where exactly, but he will need to be ready, of that he is sure as he comes to a grinding halt, raises the rifle, peers down the telescopic sight and then fires the Lightning Star round at the centre of Velber’s back.

The round blasts out the end of the Fissure Rifles long thin barrel and quickly crosses the empty air between it and the target, which it hits dead on. The Lightning Star unleashing a non-fatal discharge of electricity that overwhelms Velber’s nervous system.

The Garteen slams, face first, to the floor as his body writhes uncontrollably. He tries to fight the overwhelming surge, but it’s useless and so he quickly accepts defeat and just allows his body to twitch erratically.

Intolee grins maddeningly, his hooked teeth on show as he looms over the finally static form of Velber, his prize. The one that will net him fifty thousand credits. It’ll be Intolee’s biggest payday yet.

The Garteen should count himself lucky, Intolee thinks, as Lightning Stars also blind and deafen their targets. In fact, the only direction in which they fail to do so is the direction from which Intolee fired, behind the target. Part of the Avareen wishes he could have seen the reaction of the diminutive amphibious alien blind and deaf to his surroundings. But he’ll have to settle for the fifty thousand credits he’ll be paid instead as he locks restraining clamps around Velber’s slim wrists.

The restraints tighten instinctively to suit the target, but still pinch at Velber’s skin who cries at the short sharp burst of pain he feels as they bite at his slick flesh.

“You don’t have to do this.” Velber begins to plead as he looks up at the Avareen who hauls him back to his feet painfully.

“I can pay you. Twice your bounty. How does that sound?” Velber offers trying to bribe his way out of whatever fate he will face once he is turned in. He doesn’t know what it’ll be as he doesn’t know who’s put the bounty out for him. What he does know is that it won’t be pretty. He just hopes it isn’t Baras who he’ll be delivered to. Of all the people he ripped off that one would definitely have it out for him worse than the others.

But Intolee never answers as he is knocked off balance by a plasma bolt fired from one of Karas’ modified Strike Bolts.

The bolt ruins the shoulder pad of the Avareen’s armour, but results in no wound. Intolee is sure the ‘slinger missed his shot. He intends to make the human pay for the missed opportunity as he drops to one knee, claiming a Burner Plume from his bandolier. He quickly thumbs the lethal round into the Fissure Rifle and prepares to fire it at the human who has the Strike Bolt down at his side. This surprises Intolee, but he doesn’t hesitate as he goes to pull the trigger only for Karas to shoot first.

Intolee has to admit that the human is faster but is not, as had been claimed, a perfect shot. It is clear that he missed his one chance at taking the Avareen down and that makes him laugh.

“So great, you missed the most crucial shot of your life ‘slinger.” Intolee mocks in the moments before he squeezes the trigger of his Fissure Rifle.

But the rifle doesn’t fire the Burner Plume. Instead the weapon explodes in Intolee’s face. In turn, this detonation ignites the highly flammable chemical that is housed within the shell of the Burner Plume.

Intolee screams and thrashes as the chemical which clings mercilessly to his scaly flesh burns savagely. Then the flames reach the rest of the Burner Plume’s on his bandolier, which in turn ignite in a glorious ball of bright yellow flames. A few moments later the Avareen’s brutally burnt body collapses. The damage to his flesh is too severe, so his life, much like his screams, extinguish. But death doesn’t stop the spread of the immolation as it consumes Intolee’s lifeless body in a few more short moments, leaving only a pile of ash as proof that the Avareen ever existed.

Karas meanwhile has closed the distance between where he fired the shot from and where Velber is.

“Oh great hunter, please spare my life. I can make it worth your while. I’ll pay you double. No! I’ll pay you triple your bounty. What do you say?” Velber says attempting to bargain for his life as he stares up at the far taller human and his unblinking orange eyes, which unnerve him enormously. He has never seen a human like the man before him until now. The expression on his face is fixed but Velber can’t come to call it blank. To do so would be inaccurate, instead he settles on emotionless as the best description.

However, Karas says nothing. He has no intention of breaking the contract he’s taken. The mark will be returned to Bendo for payment and transport. But Karas doubts Velber will cease his pleading and begging for freedom, which is why he delivers a swift sharp elbow to the Garteen’s temple.

Velber, who never saw the strike coming, drops to the floor unconscious, ready to be transported back to the cantina on the mid levels of Exodus.

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