Kul'tak Drol #13819
Objective 2: Neutralize
**Meridian Station Space**
**A Drop Pod Floating Through That Space**
Two crimson eyes watched the crystalline pattern as it etched its way across the breathing apparatus’ plexiglass frame. Taking another draught of cool air, the Zabrak let his breath once again coat the glass, letting it film and blur his vision. The distraction was necessary as the tight quarters of his drop pod began to close in around him. The walls were a constant sight at the edge of his vision and his arms had barely enough room to grasp the small controls needed to steer the vessel. The pod drifted silently towards its destination:the Collective’s station in this part of space designated *Meridian.* And possibly the goal of the Brotherhood’s entire campaign. Somewhere in that floating fortress was information pertaining to the location of an artifact determined to be highly important by the Dark Council, or maybe even the item itself. Either way, Kul had been given his part to play in the machinations of the Inquisitorius. Infiltrate the station and neutralize their shield generators. A smile inched its way up his cheek at the thought. The Inquisitorius was normally strict in how its members were to complete missions in order to lessen the risk, but they’d given him free reign. Well, almost.
The Zabrak rolled his eyes as his commlink automatically accepted the encrypted channel.
“For all the secrecy the Inquisitorius brags about, you sure do like to drop names. *Agent.*”
“Hmph. As your handler, I must ensure that you understand the implications of your task. You must not fail. The Brotherhood depends upon those shields dropping, otherwise all these lives around you are forfeit.”
As if in reminder the pod shook as a nearby explosion rocked the space around him. He could only see a limited view of what was in front of him--a few fighters chasing each other in varying circles instead of clashing in real combat. The thought that he might die from a misplaced laser barrage sickened him, but he trusted the Force to guide him to his prey. For why would it have spared him back then just to throw him away now?
“Well it’s a good thing they chose me, then. I plan to exact a high price for the Collective’s choice to face the Brotherhood through such cowardly means. They will find I do not share their fear of open battle.”
“Just remember that the generators are your priority, Inquisitor. While your methods are of no concern, do not let your passion blind you.”
Kul pulled his arm up stiffly as he reached for the commlink.
“I’ll take out the generators, don’t you worry. You focus on telling HQ not to blow the thing while I’m still on it. See you at the medal ceremony.”
“Well aren’t you just as arrog--”
Kul lowered his left hand and retook the controls. It was about time. The *Meridian* certainly looked large enough in the images he’d seen during briefing, but up close its gargantuan size dwarfed what he’d imagined. For one of the few times in his life, Kul felt small. He suddenly remembered the compartment he was in and took a deep breath. Tilting his left hand he pushed the thrusters forward and activated their boosters. The pod began to pick up speed, its momentum unsolicited by nausea-inducing atmosphere. He had to time this part just right or the whole mission would end before it officially began. He held off giving the engine full power, his eyes tracking the various flight decks. He counted in his head while another wave of Collective fighters disembarked and soared into the aerial melee engulfing the sector. The station was getting larger. His gaze flicked left to right, watching. The station took up his entire viewport now. The numbers added, the math checked, Kul released the breath he’d unknowingly been holding. He drove the thruster mechanism home and the pod burst forward. As it did the station’s shield in front of him swept back as a wave of fighters sought to emerge. Reaching with his right hand Kul nearly ripped the pod’s locking mechanism out as he jerked it with all his strength. As the pod raced by the now scrambling fighters the eject system triggered and Kul was launched through the open hangar bay door. The pod itself struck the hangar floor. Fire erupted from the crash site, driving soldiers and deck hands to the floor for cover.
While the distraction bought him time, Kul sent a pulse of Force energy through his legs. Amplified, he braced them as his free fall brought him down on top of a T-70 X-Wing that had been taking off. He landed solidly on the rear, the impact tilting the vessel and sending it spiraling into the roof as he slipped off and fell to the floor below. His suffused legs took the brunt of the landing, but he slammed a hand downward with a telekinetic blast to offset some of the momentum as well. One of the rising Collective deck hands witnessed it and pointed.
“Oh he did it! He did a superhero lan--”
The surprise was etched on the man’s face as it rolled around the floor, the neck seared and still hissing. With his main saber unleashed, Kul released the energy in his legs and reached his left hand to draw his parrying shoto. His face grew still, but his eyes were hungry. A couple of troopers began to approach armed with Z6 riot batons twirling. Kul raised a saber to them.
“I wish for the best you have. I warn you, should you not be confident in your ability, leave now. Or you will die today.”
The troopers looked at each other. Whether by choice or a testament of their Collective influence the two kept coming. Kul lowered his stance, straight saber poised across at shoulder height, shoto waiting patiently at his rear.
“Come then, and let me show you the way of Jar’Kai.”
The troopers took their ground and circled the Zabrak so that one was at each pole. The Zabrak waited patiently while the one to his rear took a step forward and brought his baton over head. The charged prongs on the front gave Kul plenty of warning as he twisted his ankles and spun. His straight saber swept the baton to the side, but instead of reaching in with his shoto Kul reversed his straight saber and drove it behind him. The second trooper had approached from behind, but sidestepped to avoid the humming blade by inches. Having recovered, the first trooper pulled the baton’s handle inward to his chest and thrust out with the prongs aimed for a Kul’s chest. The second trooper sought to synchronize with his brethren and swung his baton from the side to counter a backwards dodge. Kul spun again, this time using his shoto to catch and deflect the first baton while slapping aside the second. From the corner of his eyes Kul noticed a few troopers rushing out from a side entrance. These carried blasters and would make things interesting, but somewhat tedious.
*Guess I’ll have to play later.*
As the first trooper spun the baton to return a swing, Kul rushed in before the weapon could finish its revolution. Holding his shoto in a downward stabbing position, he swept it outward to drive the baton wide and drove his straight saber through the trooper. The soldier collapsed, but his partner was in a good position to take retribution. The baton was already falling. With a sparking crash the prongs fell upon Kul’s extended right arm, driving his elbow in and forcing him to relinquish his grip on his saber. With a newfound confidence the trooper stepped in to deliver the final blow and render this invader unconscious. To his dismay, the Zabrak appeared to shrug off the charged strike, his turning face darkened with rage. With a roar Kul drove a fist into the man’s chest that threw him onto his back. A snarl and a leap brought Kul down on him. The shoto remained unused while Kul pummeled the trooper’s helmet with his gauntleted hand and the hilt of his saber. The body twitched but the trooper did not rise as the Zabrak’s growing hunger for violence turned his gaze onto the newest arrivals. He barely remembered to grab his other saber before he moved. His vision a red blur, Kul felt only hate as his instincts zeroed in on the sounds of armor moving. One by one he tore through the masses of armor as flashes of bright red zoomed by him. He felt the thudding blows of a weapon and tore the limb that bore it from its host. He willingly slipped into the depths of his hatred, not caring to control it all. There was a freedom he found amidst the Dark side that was only second to his time with his love, Tahiri. He embraced its leading hand and it carried him wading through flesh and armor amidst a blur until he found himself attempting to hammer down a blast door with his fist. It was only then that he realized he had traveled outside of the hangar and had made his way to what appeared to be a mechanical room.
Kul reigned in the Force, though it was never a fast process. His view was still groggy and his breathing shook with every tug of his lungs. The ichor sticking to his cloak and armor had yet to dry, and red goo streaked across the wall as he held it for support. He reached down with his free left hand to grab his straight saber which he’d apparently dropped to more easily smack the door. He ignited its blade and drove it into the door’s control panel, leaning more on the hilt than he meant to. The mechanism accepted the override and the door lock released with a pressurized rush of air. Kul blinked and took in the room, coherent enough to recognize the machinery. He had managed to end up in the housing for the shield’s generator. He laughed inwardly, which still hurt somehow.
*I should’ve played the galactic lottery today. Maybe when I get back. Could use the credits to buy Tahiri and Reeka a nice new dress or something.*
Kul stumbled onto the suspended walkway that stretched over the actual generator. A technician who was checking over the input and output ratios realized he was not alone and stared gaping at the Zabrak. He rushed to pull out a commlink in his pocket, but it slipped from his fingers in his hurry. They both watched the device fall a hundred meters to the power source below where it vanished with a small poof amidst the raw electrical output. The technician shrugged.
“Look, I’m just the IT guy. I don’t get paid enough to put up with whatever you are.”
Kul squinted at the man before jerking his head towards the door on the opposite side. With his rage coming down he was starting to fully experience the wounds he’d gathered on his way here. At least two of them felt like blaster burns. His interest in fighting a civilian was low to begin with anyway. As the man left rather speedily, Kul reached into his cloak and pulled out a thermal imploder. He approached the main console the tech had been working at and unraveled a thread of wire from the grenade. He used it to fasten the imploder to the console. He had rigged the grenade to explode on a timer prior to his arrival, and he punched in the code required to initialize its sequence. In five standard minutes, the shields would be no more.
*You’re gonna owe me a drink, Agent Handler. Or three.*
“So. There really is a rat on my station.”
From the entrance the technician had fled through stood an Umbaran female, vibrant violet eyes taking in the Zabrak and his blood-covered attire. She stood with an X-8 blaster pistol trained on him. She twitched it sideways.
“Step away from the console, Brotherhood scum.”
Kul shuffled two steps to his right, arms raised, his saber hilt resting in his hand. His left shoulder cried out in pain, but he managed to keep a grasp on his saber. The Umbaran’s gaze flicked to the console.
“Is that a bomb? Shut it down. Now.”
Kul let his arrogant sneer appear freely.
“It’s a little late for that. If I’m right, your description matches that of one Sencara A’theri, yes? The purple eyes, the black hair. I’m glad you could be here to witness the Brotherhood’s vengeance fall upon your station.”
Kul spared a glance to the imploder. Its timer was counting down. Had it been two minutes already? He tensed as a blaster shot rang out. Only his reflexes saved him as he called upon the Force and watched as the plasma bolt splashed across his barrier. His fatigue made it painful, and he did not imagine he could keep up the charade for long. His hand tightened around his saber. He’d have to make a choice. The outcome meant he’d likely not be able to get that new dress for Reeka, though.
Sencara took a step forward. Behind her a group of troopers came into the room, one of them sporting what looked like bomb disposal gear. Kul knew it would be now or never then.
*Maybe a minute left. Maybe more.*
He braced himself and ignited his saber. Sencara cried out, but all of his focus was on leaping without giving out on himself. Every muscle complained, but he landed closer to the opposite side where Sencara was and drove his saber into the walkway’s thin metal and the only support on that side. The metal resisted his pull, but his muscles strained and he sawed the saber across. The Umbaran took careful aim so as not to accidentally hit the console and fired a few rounds. Kul managed to stop one with a free hand, but the other two pounded his shoulder and right leg. He dropped his straight saber and it rolled off the side of the walkway. As the troopers drew closer, Kul stabbed into the walkway again with his shoto this time. The dragon’s head carved into it seemed to echo his own growl as the saber’s plasma ate into the metal and he felt it begin to give way. Spending what strength he could call upon, Kul roared as loud as he could, fists raised. He slammed them down on the weakened metal. The walkway crunched and groaned. Time seemed to stop for them all as the troopers and Sencara watched the walkway suddenly begin to descend. The path angled and Kul watched as the troopers lost balance and slid downward to their deaths. The Umbaran was close enough to the door that she could leap to the edge. She managed to pull herself up and through. Her loud curses echoed over the hollow room, but Kul couldn’t make them out. He tried to drag himself as quickly as possible, but he only made it halfway back before the imploder’s signature inhale triggered and then the room exploded outward. The force threw Kul back into the hallway, where he crashed into the wall and lay crumpled on his back. He coughed, a thick red mist splashing his cheeks. The sounds of the battle outside grew louder as turret barrages began to melt away chunks out of the *Meridian’s* hull. The fleet had begun a full scale assault now that they were no longer impeded by the station’s main defense. A rib-tearing cough lurched Kul, but he accepted the pain.
*Definitely gonna need to be four drinks, though.*