Malorn stands in front of the door to Lendasha’s chamber, savoring the moment. “She’s got another protoss in there with her,” Imogen advises him.
“What? What do you mean?! Some sort of counsel? Ridiculous!”
Lilly glances over at Imogen, confused at first by how she knows this. Oh, right, she’s got great hearing. We’re really lucky that no one came out during that scuffle. Lilly cracks her neck. “All right, what’s the plan?” she asks, ready to go.
Malorn slices a blazing psi-blade through the door controls and rushes through the opening. This was clearly the captain’s quarters at one point. It is a spacious room still with the fancy trappings of its former owner. Additionally, a partially disassembled dragoon sits in one corner. The other corner has a large bed with two figures moving under the covers. Malorn’s charge comes to an abrupt halt. His psi-blades extinguish, and he drops to his knees, emotionally crushed.
At the disturbance, Lendasha’s head pokes out of the blankets. “Ugh! Malorn? Get out! What are you doing here?!”
Still on a battlefooting, Lilly yells, “Dude, snap out of it.” This is his mission, and they still have goals they need to accomplish. She softens a little though, and adds, “Malorn, she’s not worth it.” Maybe he can make them both turn on each other, like he did out in the hall, she thinks, unaware that it was Imogen who did that.
Even if Lendasha does not recognize the terrans from DORF, that Lilly and Imogen are here now with Malorn and not other protoss guards clearly signals that something is up. She cloaks in response, vanishing from sight. The blanket falls flat, and then who knows where she is. Imogen dashes into the room, headed to the dragoon. “There is more at stake here than just your broken heart,” Imogen tells Malorn as she passes him. “You’ve got to reform your society, remember? She’s already cloaked, and she’s going to kill you. Reprioritize. You didn’t do all this just for her. You have a larger vision.”
Her words seem to reach him, as he does reignite a psi-blade. Not fast enough, though. The warp-blade mounted on the side wall vanishes. Shortly thereafter, as Malorn is starting to push himself to his feet, a dark blue gash appears across his neck, blood pouring down from it. He collapses again. His psi-blade stays lit, the only indication that he is still alive.
A blanket-covered lump remains on the bed, quivering. Interesting. A corner of Imogen’s mind considers the implications of that as she reverses direction, giving up on the dragoon for now. Not really normal tal’darim behavior. That means only one cloaked warrior is prowling the room, which is still one too many as far as she is concerned.
Lilly cannot see Lendasha any better than Imogen can, and she acts quickly to rectify that situation. There are no fire extinguishers here like there were at DORF, so she yanks the blanket off the bed and slings it over at Malorn’s still form, hoping for a lucky hit. Lendasha is still there, gloating presumably, and the cloth settles over her. Lilly is already moving, arms wide for a tackle. She does not get them solidly wrapped around her target, though. Lendasha manages to catch Lilly with her warp blade, slicing into her arm. She shrugs off the blanket, but before she gets too far away, Lilly slaps at her with a hand now covered in blood. The smear left behind is enough to give a slight hint of the tal’darim warrior’s location.
While Lilly tries to deal with the active enemy, Imogen drops to her knees alongside Malorn. She yanks out one of the syringes of medicine she picked up on Umoja and administers it to him, hoping to get him moving again. That seems to do almost nothing, and she does not have time right now for a full medical analysis. We’re screwed, flits through Imogen’s mind. She and Lilly are not actually capable of capturing a tal’darim on their own, regardless of her earlier posturing. If only we really did have a psi-shrieker. She glances around the room, looking for ideas, and then raises her pistol to the ceiling. Seeking to level the playing field against Lendasha, Imogen shoots out the overhead lights. But for the beams trickling in from the doorway, this cloaks all the room’s occupants in darkness.
Despite these efforts, Lendasha gets in another good hit on Lilly before fleeing the room. Imogen can scarcely believe it when she hears the footsteps pounding out into the foyer. Either Malorn has way overstated the fierceness and vindictiveness of tal’darim warriors, or Lendasha has some plan afoot. She yanks another painkiller shot out and slams it into Lilly’s nearby calf.
“Is… is it safe?” a shaky voice asks from the bed. Imogen glances over. The protoss there no longer has a blanket to cower under. In the dim light, she can see he is dressed just in a loincloth and has his arms wrapped protectively around his head. “I don’t want any trouble!”
Imogen points her pistol at him and demands, “Where would Lendasha be going?”
“Uh, probably back to her ship if she were injured or… Maybe to go rally some support?” he stammers out. “Look, I’m not a warrior, okay? I’m just a khalai.”
Lilly dashes out the door. “What the hell’s a bloody khalai?” Imogen snaps.
“Whoa! Whoa!” He cowers back from the terran’s impatient wrath. “Easy, easy! I know terrans are excitable. Uh, just take it easy. Look, I’m not tal’darim, okay?”
“Are you a prisoner?”
“Yes!” The khalai’s voice cracks with desperation. “Although, there could be worse prisons. She seemed interested. I thought maybe if I went along with it, I could, you know… maybe get out of this situation.”
“And you think she’s going to her ship? What sense does that make? Running away doesn’t seem like a tal’darim thing to do. Evacuating your base when you’ve still got warriors under your command also doesn’t. She’s not even injured.”
“Oh. Oh, I thought someone shot her.” He sounds a little disappointed. “Maybe she just wants to get the blood off her?” he suggests.
“Okay, so you know absolutely nothing,” Imogen concludes dismissively.
“I’m not tal’darim!” he shouts back, showing some backbone for the first time. Imogen notices now that his nerve cords hang all the way down his back. “Sure, I’ve been on their station, but I’ve been trying to avoid their cursed culture as much as I can.” Given his presence in this room, Imogen rather doubts that.