Author: Kul’tak Drol

Placement: 1st Place (Novae)


Objective 2: Investigation

Outer Rim Territories

Kessel Sector

Kessel System Space

Caution Advised: Ghafa Ordam is not be engaged if at all avoidable. Danger level: Request Assistance Immediately.

The data transmission had been relatively clear on the danger of an upfront approach. Which had not stopped Kul from finding himself with his hands cuffed in front of him, and his weapons on a table behind him. He always had enjoyed the straightforward approach more.

Kul did not let his eyes stray from the Nautolan as she returned his gaze with obvious hatred. Her hands clenched a few times before she placed both behind her back in a standard at rest stance. The troopers stationed around the room seemed oblivious with their deathly still posture, but the Zabrak knew they were keeping fingers on triggers and their entire focus on him.

Good.

He must have let his mental sneer leak onto his face, because the Nautolan stuck out her left hand and pressed a button on the controller in it. Electrical arcs coursed through the cuffs into Kul and his body tensed with pain as he doubled over slightly. He did not cry out, instead responding with a defiant growl. Rather than using the device again, the Nautolan winced as she looked at it before handing it to an aide at her side. She took a step closer and every guard in the room prepared for any move the Zabrak might make. As tall as she was for her species, Ghafa had to slightly raise her eyes to look into the Zabrak’s. She let her gaze slip to the buckle attached to his waist, a Plagueian insignia transcribed upon it.

“You must be overconfident in your abilities if you thought to wear that so openly aboard my ship, Sith.” She flung the last word at him, along with bits of spittle. “I find it hard to believe that a member of the Brotherhood’s slaver clan would have sought me out not knowing what I am.”

Kul gave her a crooked grin.

“Oh I know exactly what you are, Ordam. A means. To the Collective’s end. My hunt for you was only the search for the tracks, but I have found the prey itself. Against the combined efforts of the Brotherhood, you will soon find yourself back in a cage.”

Kul could see the rage flash across her eyes, but to her merit the Nautolan maintained her poise as she stalked around to Kul’s rear. She picked up the small shoto saber they had taken from him upon capture up off the table and ran her hands over the dragon head carved into the hilt. Her hand paused as she caressed the cold steel, eyes flicking over the two ryyk blades lying beside each other. A frown crossed her lips as a thought came to her. She turned back to Kul, who stared back as if in expectation. Ghafa pointed at the hilt in her hand.

“This saber, what kind is it?”

“It is a form of shoto.”

“A saber of this small size would be useless on its own, would it not?”

The Zabrak’s grin expanded.

“Indeed. It is a parrying saber.”

Ghafa’s grip tightened on the saber, triggering the activation. The small crimson blade hummed while its light reflected the deep red of her own eyes.

“So where is the other saber you would possess, then?”

“I must have dropped it on the way here.”

The saber retracted its blade with hiss as Ghafa set it down and turned to face a trooper waiting patiently near the entrance. She could tell the Zabrak was lying, but something was still off about his answer.

“Sergeant--” The trooper snapped a quick salute and stepped forward. “--did the Zabrak not have a larger saber on him when you captured him?”

The soldier paused for a second as he considered what had transpired before shaking his head.

“No, ma’am. During our skirmish with him he used only the two curved swords. The small saber was taken from him afterwards.”

“And there were no survivors from his squad of troopers or on his ship?”

“None that we found during our scans.”

Ghafa marched up to Kul, deep red eyes swirling as her mind considered possibilities.

“Who has the other saber, Sith?”

The Zabrak cocked his head slightly.

“You’re almost asking the right question. It’s not exactly a who kind of issue, but a ‘why?’ You see, though my squad is indeed dead, they were not the only ones on my ship. One other remained and slipped out during the fighting. My daughter, Reeka. She’s small enough that she can hide just about anywhere.”

Raising his shackled hands, Kul pointed at the ventilation shaft lining the ceiling.

“Including there.”

Cursing to herself, Ghafa began spouting orders to the sergeant and the other officers within the Bridge area. Kul watched, satisfied to enjoy a minor victory. Ordam was touted as being a dangerous prey with intellect to counter any strategy one might throw at her, but today her cause would weaken as nothing but a small child told the searching Advanced Inquistor Network forces of Ordam’s exact position. As Ghafa turned back, Kul could not help but offer one more jab.

“She’s smart, my Reeka. Good with computers and the like, too. I’m not a betting man, but I’d wager that about now she’s sending a bright neon ‘Come get me!’ to any Inquisitorius forces nearby. I hope you’re prepared to entertain guests.”

The Zabrak laughed aloud this time, a guffaw that drove Ordam over the edge. She nodded to the aide, who clamped a thumb down on the remote. Kul spasmed as more electricity arced up his spine and drove him to his knees. He waited for the release but the pulses kept coming and his vision began to darken, his senses thrown wild. He realized two troopers had come up and were hauling him towards the blastdoor. On the edge of his hearing he heard Ordam shouting, but could not clearly make it out. Flashing red lights permeated the hall in a deep crimson glow, and Kul tried to grin.

The ship was under attack.