COU-TAL Team Fiction: A Surprise Arrival
Kooki was adjusting her armour for her latest mission. As much as she loathed the Inquisitors, she knew the best way to attack from within successfully would be to become one of them. The female was missing her daughters, yet was at peace knowing their doting grandparents were tending to them. She was also missing her trademark purple tips. Concealing such an iconic feature of her appearance was par for the course, and she hoped she wouldn’t have to keep up this pretence for long.
After all the issues of betrayal they had endured back on Karufr with the “delightful” Inquisitors, this was the last disguise Kooki wished to adopt. She made the decision there and then that she was prepared to fight and overthrow anyone who got in her way. Naturally families would be at least given a fair hearing before the feisty Alderaanian would attack and deliver the final blow.
Waiting around for her spouse, Andrelious, the unease within her began to greatly trouble the female Sith.
Something was going to happen…
It increasingly caused more and more distress to Kooki as she didn’t know exactly why she was feeling this way. She prepared to send Andrelious her concerns and inner fears through the Force to avoid any interceptions. However, sensing him nearby she thought she might as well wait and tell him herself.
Andrelious cast a smile towards his spouse in the distance, but he too could see how troubled she was and was trying to ignore his own anxieties about the upcoming mission.
The pair exchanged a brief hug.
“We really shouldn’t be here!” Andrelious stated, nervously.
Kooki nodded, interlocking her hand with that of the adjacent Warlord.
“So let’s just turn round and flee! No one will ever know!” He continued, as they turned to leave.
Suddenly a sharp jolt rocked the entire ship and a loud crunching echoed throughout. Kooki and Andrelious flew apart, but remained in nearby proximity to each other.
“Bit late for your plan,” mused Kooki, glancing over at the short male a few feet away.
Andrelious rose to his feet and dusted himself down.
“So what do you suggest?” he asked.
“Now… We fight!” Kooki snarled.
Andrelious may not have been surprised by his wife’s attitude, but the sudden impact had caught him off guard.
“That wasn’t just a weapon impact. That was a collision. The allied fleet was supposed to be avoiding contact with this ship. At least, until I told them otherwise,” the Rollmaster stated crossly.
“Are you saying someone rammed us?” Kooki questioned.
“I can’t tell if the collision was deliberate or not. It’s certainly not a common tactic. Especially if neither side can afford to lose ships…” Andrelious trailed off, noticing his spouse glaring at him.
“We need to fight! Just figure out how bad the damage is and we’ll get moving,” the female hissed, pointing over to a small monitoring panel.
As usual, Andrelious did not argue. He quickly studied the monitoring panel, but his studious expression quickly fell into a frown.
“If we did want to get back to our ship, we’ll have to take another route. The way back to the primary turbolift’s been compromised by hull breaches. There is a second turbolift down to the docking bay, but according to this readout, a good portion of the ship’s crew will be heading that way too. And as you’ll remember from our briefing, that’ll include our target,” the Rollmaster explained.
“Ah yes. The lovely individual who suggested that our daughters would make great servants of the Inquisition. I can’t wait to get my hands on him,” Kooki mused.
“And he’s Ketcher’s apprentice. So suspect a very tough fight,” Andrelious continued.
The mention of the name Enoch Ketcher seemed to stir up even more anger inside Kooki.
Before the couple could continue their dialogue, a door at the far side of the room opened and a trio of Iron Legion soldiers poured into the room. They spotted Kooki, first, and approached confidently, clearly believing the female to be an ally.
“Are you alright? The enemy just hit us with an unmanned Corvette. We’re surprised anyone survived down here,” the lead trooper declared.
Kooki hated just how much the armoured Iron Legion troopers sounded like Imperial Stormtroopers. Even when they had first come aboard the enemy vessel, under the ruse that they had themselves been sent by Enoch Ketcher to assist his apprentice against the combined forces of Taldryan and Odan-Urr, the Alderaanian had wanted to kill every single ‘buckethead’ right away.
“We were just about to abandon ship. Not before time if they’re going to start throwing ships at us,” the female replied.
“I’m afraid that’s going to have to wait. You’re both wanted on the bridge,” the trooper said.
Kooki reached for her lightsaber. “This says we’re leaving!” she snapped, plunging the amethyst blade into the first trooper.
Andrelious moved forward, ready to assist his spouse, but the Alderaanian, having the element of surprise on her side, was able to finish the small group off alone.
“I thought you wanted to get to the bridge?” the former Imperial questioned.
“You know how slow bucketheads can be. Because our so-called allies are throwing ships at us, we need to finish this quickly!” Kooki stated.
Andrelious sighed quietly.
He had never expected Miss Right’s first name to be Always.
Kooki was already several paces ahead of her spouse. She was so determined that she unusually didn’t turn back to make a snide comment about Andrelious’ lack of speed.
Leaving was going to have to wait and every second spent here was causing more and more annoyance to the female. She didn’t want to admit it to herself or her companion that she had rather enjoyed slicing her blade through the Iron Legion soldiers. She loathed being here, but she might as well have some fun along the way.
Andrelious noticed Kooki pause for a moment. Usually she had far more stamina than this. He was too scared to comment. Funnily enough he valued his life these days and daren’t annoy an already infuriated Alderaanian.
Starting to struggle to get his breath back, (oddly more than usual) Andrelious managed to utter feebly to Kooki.
“Shouldn’t…we…discuss…tactics… or at… least a…basic…plan?” he stammered.
Surely I’m not that out of shape! He began to wonder simultaneously.
Kooki looked around herself, trying to regain her bearings at where she was on this labyrinth of a ship. In the distance, she could hear screams of those losing their lives. She too started to feel a little tightness in her chest. However, she had another weird feeling that there was more to her inner tenderness than hearing death of others hurtling into hyperspace.
It didn’t take Kooki long to realise the cause of the sudden bout of breathlessness in her and Andrelious was being caused by a decrease in oxygen around them. This suspicion was quickly confirmed by a loud echoing klaxon which indicated that her fears were confirmed.
“Quick! Locate that frakking turbolift! We don’t know how much time we have…or who or what…we are going to…find down there!” hissed a raging Kooki, who was just starting to feel the effects of the decline of oxygen around them.
Time was running out.
Andrelious could not stop wondering why the ship was losing oxygen so rapidly. Even if the hull had been breached in the collision, there were supposed to be safeties in place to avoid endangering the rest of the ship.
As the couple rounded a corner, they finally spotted the elusive secondary turbolift.
“About frakking time,” Kooki whispered, trying to avoid wasting too much oxygen on conversation.
Wordlessly, Andrelious pushed the turbolift’s call button, hoping that they would not have to wait very long.
Don’t hold your breath that the other levels will be any safer. From what I can sense, people are panicking all over the ship, the Rollmaster thought, knowing full well his spouse was listening in.
The Alderaanian’s nose turned up slightly at Andrelious’ pun, but she remained staring straight at the turbolift’s doors, lightsaber ready to strike anyone inside.
As the doors opened with a quiet hiss, thankfully revealing it was empty, the Mimosa-Inahj couple filed in.
Up? Or down? If I can get to the bridge, I might be able to do something about life support.
Down. Frak the mission, we need to get off this thing before we suffocate! Kooki responded, adding to her comment with a silent glare.
Andrelious selected the lowest level, relieved that the ending was in sight.
The turbolift began to move off, but moments later, stopped again.
Get ready. Andrelious thought. He and Kooki pointed their lightsabers directly at the doors as they slid open, revealing a Human female. Not only did she appear to be unarmed, she was clearly very upset about something.
“Oh! I’m sorry! Please, don’t hurt me, I mean, us!” the woman sobbed.
Andrelious looked seemingly puzzled at the new female’s words. However, it didn’t take the astute Alderaanian long to realise the severity of the situation.
“Come on! We need to get out of here!” rushed Andrelious, still trying to keep his words to a minimum.
Once again, Kooki glared over at her spouse, who always felt even smaller when she did so.
“NO!” Kooki hissed.
“Please…Please don’t leave!” the unknown woman pleaded.
Kooki turned to her, and calmly reassured her.
“We will save you…and your baby,” she hushed.
It never ceased to amaze Andrelious how flippant his spouse could be within a few seconds.
He daren’t argue with Kooki or the expectant mother they had just discovered.
The female Battlemaster suddenly shuddered. Something was coming.
The turbolift doors opened at long last, but oddly at the penultimate floor.
Iron Legion soldiers greeted them, armed and ready to attack. The heavily pregnant female was absolutely terrified and began hyperventilating, as adrenaline began taking over her entire body.
“So nice of you to join us,” teased the soldier who appeared to be in charge.
Kooki remained calm and swiftly took out her hilt and engaged her amethyst lightsaber.
“Party time!” declared the female with a happy grin adorning her face.
With a single clean sweep of her trusty weapon Kooki managed to start backing the leader into a nearby corner.
“What do you want us to do?” Andrelious queried, frantically.
“What do you mean us?” the fearful pregnant female asked, terrified she would have to do something.
“YOU can deal with the rest of these frakking traitorous things!” barked an angry Kooki, trying to maintain her focus on her latest prey.
“And you…” she said in a much softer tone.
“Follow us…but at a distance…and breathe as deeply as you can…you got this mumma!”
The trio emerged from the turbolift and Kooki continued backing her enemy into the corner.
“Now you leave us to flee. Some of us have families to get back to.” She hissed, holding her lightsaber a few inches from the male’s chest.
“And who says I don’t?” croaked the cocky soldier, in a vain attempt to get more time.
Kooki guided her blade slightly away.
“Well do you?” she barked.
The military leader smirked.
“I have a Cythraul,” he mused, in a smug manner.
“What?!” Kooki yelled.
“It’s a canine mammal…” he began.
“I know full well what one is you bastard!” the feisty female squawked, moving her blade within close proximity of her foe’s throat.
“I highly doubt a little furry beast will miss you that much!” Kooki teased.
As she reached into her pocket with her left hand, she retrieved a length of strong cord. She managed to disengage her saber and throw her hilt into her boot. Being ambidextrous bode well for her, as she began tying up her captivated victim.
Once his wrists and ankles were secured, and he was crammed into the right corner. Kooki turned away in preparation to turn her attention to the pregnant female.
“Is that the best you can do, Miss?” the soldier said feebly.
“You could quite easily kill me right now,” he stated, puzzled, yet tired.
“Why would I do that?” Kooki asked, unusually softly, as she bent down to be at his level.
“The rapidly decrease of oxygen on this ship will do that for me!” She teased.
Kooki rose to her feet and began walking away looking smug, whilst the soldier looked terrified as he began surrendering to a slow, drawn out death.
Even with the oxygen level continuing to drop, Andrelious was beginning to enjoy himself. He let his hatred guide his movements as he slew a duo of onrushing Iron Legion soldiers.
With each death, I save a little more oxygen, he thought, wondering exactly who he was trying to justify his actions to.
Nearby, he spotted Kooki toying with an enemy.
“We don’t have time for this! Back to the turbolift! Where’s that new friend of yours?” he called out.
“They are right behind you, babe. Get them back to the turbolift!” Kooki ordered as she walked away from her handiwork.
“You heard her. We’re going to get you to our ship. And you’re in good hands. Kooki is a mother herself,” Andrelious explained.
The lack of oxygen was beginning to really affect the Rollmaster. He found his breaths becoming longer and deeper, as if he had been on a long run. He doubted that he’d be able to keep fighting for much longer, but he suspected that everybody else would also be struggling for air, soon, too.
Stabbing at the turbolift’s call button, Andrelious cursed when the doors didn’t open immediately. He noticed the status monitor: the turbolift was coming up from the level below.
“Someone else has had the same idea. I wonder why they didn’t just head for the escape pods. It’s a lot easier to do that when you’re not fighting half the crew as well,” the male commented.
As soon as the doors opened, the small group moved in, immediately sending the turbolift downward towards the lowest level.
Andrelious stepped into a small pool of liquid on the turbolift’s floor.
“Great,” he said. “We’re losing all our air, now this lift is leaking,”
Kooki sighed at her spouse’s ignorance.
“I guess you weren’t medically trained in the Imperial Navy,” mocked the maternal Sith.
“Well actually…” began Andrelious, matter of factly.
The heavily pregnant female let out a scream as a surging sensation tingled through her body.
“Save your oxygen, lovey,” Kooki soothed.
“I don’t even know you…. How do I know I can trust you?..What’s happening to me? the frightened female stammered.
Kooki waved her hand slightly.
“You can trust me,” she whispered.
“I can trust you,” came a robotic response.
Kooki calmly explained as best she could despite the failing levels of oxygen.
“I am a mother of twin girls…and as for what’s happening to you, you are likely to be meeting your baby very soon.” She explained.
The poor woman went from looking frightened to totally terrified.
Behind the two females, Andrelious looked more scared than he had had since the birth of his and Kooki’s a twin daughter’s almost three years previously.
“You can do this… I believe in you!” Kooki continued to calmly state, whilst waving her hand slyly.
“I can do this…You believe in me!” the female replied, not fully knowing what she was saying.
The turbolift finally reached the final floor and the metal doors opened. To the left Kooki could see the hangar bay, yet to the right all she could make out was a dark presence coming from a silhouette in the distance.
The trio emerged from the turbolift, trying not to bring attention to themselves and they began heading to left following a few silent exchanges of paralanguage. However, despite her best efforts the expectant mother felt a sensational surge within her and couldn’t silence herself and let out a scream.
The dark silhouette spun round.
It was HIM.
Enoch Ketcher’s apprentice.
Another scream came from the mother-to-be. Things were moving at an alarming rate.
With what little oxygen was remaining, Kooki managed to bark out orders a final time on this mission.
“Right you deal with THAT…Then you can fly us out of here!” she hissed at Andrelious, gesturing to their sworn enemy.
“And you?” her spouse weakily asked.
“I’ll get onto our ship. Our life support system will have ample oxygen.” Kooki stated, assertively.
Turning away from the Taldryan Rollmaster, Kooki placed a gentle hand on the shoulder of the hyperventilating female beside her.
“Let’s get you both safe and comfortable,” she soothed.
Andrelious watched as his wife escorted the pregnant woman away. He was almost touched by the scene, but he remember the man in front of him.
“Seems that you’ve come across one of our hopefuls,” the man announced, apparently referring to the soon-to-arrive baby.
“You are not having that child. Or any of mine,” Andrelious hissed.
“Perhaps not. But I can’t wait to see the look on my Master’s face when he finds out I am the one to present your head to Pravus. I know all about you. Always hiding behind his wife. I am Gregor, by the way. I never like the idea of killing people before I tell them my name,” Gregor stated.
“I am glad you have told me. It will make it easier to write your obituary. Now, shall we stop wasting air? We’ve probably got about three minutes before we both suffocate,” the Rollmaster responded, glad that Kooki was safely aboard the family ship with its plentiful air supply.
The two Force users activated their lightsabers as if they were about to begin a synchronised dance. Neither tried to move too fast towards the other; they were trying to avoid exerting themselves too much for fear of running out of oxygen. As a result, the first exchange of blows happened as if they were fighting in slow motion for a demonstration holo.
Gregor was evidently not as much of a challenge as his Master. Enoch Ketcher had proven a very tough test for both Andrelious and Kooki, and the couple had faced a very stern test when the Grand Inquisitor had cornered them on Karufr. As with many younger Sith, Gregor attempted to make up what he lacked in skill with confidence.
When I kill you, Pravus will give me the power I need to take your children, Andrelious! They will come to think of ME as their father! Gregor taunted, the Force allowing him to save precious air.
The comment drove the former Imperial on even more. Abandoning his more careful style, Andrelious hit Gregor with the full weight of his blade, almost knocking the younger Human off his feet. Gregor held his weapon firm; he wasn’t about to allow Andrelious to make him look silly.
As the Taldryanite swung his lightsaber back for another full-power blow, Gregor darted around Andrelious, as if he were heading for Kooki aboard the shuttle. However, he turned to face his opponent again, wearing an incredibly smug grin on his face.
“You…won’t…get…my…girls!” Andrelious roared with great effort, leaping at Gregor. His jump was far more laboured in the thin air, but his attack, rather than being with his lightsaber as his enemy had expected, came pouring from his fingers as a solid wave of lightning.
Having studied the Inquisition dossier on Andrelious, Gregor had expected such an attack, but not its sheer level of power. He tried to command the Force to completely shield him from the lightning, but he was a fraction too slow. The attack threw him backwards, winding him as he landed on the floor a few feet away from his would-be prey.
As Gregor desperately tried to get air back into his lungs, he spotted Andrelious walking briskly towards the Mimosa-Inahj family ship. He slammed his fist so hard into the deck below that he actually dented the floor. He knew he was powerless to stop the JV-7 Escort Shuttle from launching, allowing the Mimosa-Inahj couple to once again escape the Inquisition.
Andrelious allowed himself a welcome sigh as he breathed in the air aboard his own ship. Launching quickly, he activated the ship’s autopilot and went to find Kooki. The screams of pain coming from the rear of the ship reminded him of the day that Poppy and Etty had been born. This time, though, Kooki was playing midwife, not mother.
“So…is everything alright back here?” Andrelious questioned. Moments later, his question was answered by the high pitched wailing of a healthy newborn baby.
“She was quite a way along already! We’re lucky we got her away in time!” Kooki stated, a lot more warmly than usual as she placed the writhing infant on its mother. “It’s a boy,” she added.
“We’ll still need your help. Gregor, and his Master, Ketcher, took me from the ruins of Karufr. We’ve got nowhere to go,” the new mother stated as she began to feed her son.
“I am sure we can come to some kind of arrangement. Right now, I’m going to find out who the frak authorised the ramming attack. Both Rhylance and Archenksova knew we were aboard that ship,” Andrelious replied, trying to hide his annoyance to avoid upsetting the baby.
“All in good time, babe. For once, the mission didn’t end with everyone dying. You can make heads roll later,” Kooki declared, without taking her eyes away from mother and baby.
Once again, Kookimarissia Mimosa-Inahj was right.
“So, you’ll be needing a name…” Andrelious stated, smiling at the new mother.