Not far from where the Stubtooth Mountains fall to the Sand Mother, and a long ways from Alhira, a crack in a cliff face opens up into a cave. The rising of the morning sun finds Razorback Cliffwalker picking his way through the rocks towards the opening, a small quadruped slung over his shoulder. Apparently, the van has been ditched far away, and Bluefang will have found a substantial cache of weapons (some quite heavy), armor, and supplies in a secure locker.  This has apparently been Razorback’s main base of operations, a mere two days’ journey from his ancestral home on foot.

Bluefang Rockstepper sits on a rocky outcropping near the front of the cave where some light filters in. He’s got a dismantled pulse rifle in his lap, fiddling with the internal workings.

“I do hope that you can get it working,” the Cliffwalker says, dropping the carcass to the in front of the cave ground with a meaty thud, I have not used it in some time.” (edited)

“The photonic repeater was fused, but I scavenged one from your holoarray,” Bluefang replies. “Nothing good on, anyway.”

“I do not believe I will miss much,” Razorback says, drawing a large hunting knife from a sheath at his hip, the only weapon he currently carries. Any examination would reveal remnants of blood around his muzzle. He begins to butcher the beast on the ground. No sense bringing offal into the cave. “So,” he says conversationally, “What do you plan to do once your friends give up their search? At least with such intensity.” (edited)

The other Demarian growls, locking the rifle barrel back into place with a click. “Why are you interested? Wouldn’t you be better off parting company with a fugitive?” He shrugs. “Part of me wishes the roof *had*  finished me. Another part wishes you *hadn’t*  pulled me free.” He looks out of the cave and into the desert. “But I lived and there’s still a target on the Consortium Council president.”

“Your intentions interest me because of how they influence the outcome of my own actions,” the Cliffwalker rumbles back, still butchering his kill. He cuts off part of the tenderloin and tosses it to Bluefang, “And I must then adjust my activities accordingly. As such, my intention of keeping my name out of official circles has been a dismal failure, due in no small part to your mysterious escape.” The skin of the animal is quite nearly gone removed with practices efficiency. “At any rate,” the former noble continues, “Essentially, having preserved your life, I am now, at least in part, responsible for the consequences.”

Bluefang sighs, setting the rifle aside so he can chew on the fresh meat. “Thank you,” he manages between bites. He continues mulling the dunes that stretch into the distance. “I have to get offworld, but the spaceport is out of the question.”

“Well,” Razorback says with a low chuckle, “It so happens that I am currently out of spacecraft, but I do know one or two people that have them. It is communication that is the difficulty. Likely once your former employers find out who last visited you in the hospital, it would be quite difficult to put a call offworld without being traced.”

Bluefang considers this for a few moments, then he says, “Well. What if we could reach an encrypted transmitter?”

“That might be helpful,” the Cliffwalker says, contemplating, “Though where would we be able to do that.” His ears cant forward in curiosity.

“Old militia outpost in the desert,” the assassin replies. “It might still be online. Maybe it’s unmanned. We ran exercises out there from time to time.” He looks toward Razorback. “Wildlands between us and the camp. Sand eels. Gas pits. Tribals. No one knows who we are here, but they’ll still try to kill us.”

“That might just do the job,” Razorback says with a disturbingly feral and fang some grin, “Might be worth scouting out at the very least.”

By Brody

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