"TK-462" is a Star Wars Expanded Universe Short Story written by Sylvain Neuvel with illustrations by Drew Baker. It first appeared in Star Wars Insider 166 on June 7, 2016. The Star Wars Insider Magazine incorrectly titled the work with its early name, "TK-146275".
The tale follows a Stormtrooper designed TK-462, whose younger sister was inadvertently killed by rebels during a raid when he was a boy. Wishing to exact revenge on the rebel cause, he runs away from home when he's of age to join the Imperial Academy. He manages to graduate despite being in the face of relentless harassment, and is eventually transferred to Lothal to deal with the growing rebel insurgency there, only to learn something personal and unexpected about the conflict before a standoff with local dissidents catalyzes.
"TK-462" provides examples of:
- Black-and-White Morality: In-universe, before being transferred to Lothal, TK thinks this is how the Galaxy works. And of course, this story on its own is an example of Grey-and-Grey Morality.
- Continuity Nod:
- Dark and Troubled Past: When TK was twelve, he let his ill sister sleep in his bed with him. That night, rebels would try to steal his family's air scrubbers by towing them away with their starships. One of the towing cables snapped midflight, causing one of the air scrubbers to fall back to the ground, right through the roof of TK's bedroom, fatally crushing his sister. Years later, despite his father refusing to let him enlist in the Empire, TK ran away from home and joined the Imperial Academy, where he was relentlessly bullied until he finally graduated.
- Darker and Edgier: Compared to Lost Stars or Servants of the Empire, TK has it bad during his Academy days. And as the last act of the story takes place on Lothal, which is seen in kid-friendlier Rebels as rather tame, it gets rather surprising to see cruel and gruesome details being committed when we don't see things from the perspective of the Ghost crew. In fact, it's worth noting that these things actually do get touched upon in Servants of the Empire, but because that series takes place from the perspective of children, the details aren't as gruesome.
- A Death in the Limelight: TK dies at the end after receiving a rather rough backstory and perspective on why some people might choose to join the Empire.
- Downer Ending: TK dies, we don't know what happened to the rest of the village after it ensues in a firefight with the Imperials, and the girl's father is dead, with the girl herself being likely to have been radicalized and to join the Rebellion.
- Go Out with a Smile: TK is amused by the fact he's sent a young girl down the same path of hatred and revenge he'd been walking since Xea's death.
- History Repeats: TK sees that the girl that killed him has the same hatred written all over her face like how he must've when the rebels killed his sister. And as that event motivated him into joining the Empire, he comes to assume that she will join the Rebellion in a never-ending cycle of hatred.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Poor TK. Ill sister Xea was sick, so he let her sleep with him to comfort her. She died in that same bed that night when rebels screw up the theft of the family's air scrubbers.
- Please Wake Up: The girl to her father's corpse after TK shoots him dead.
- Protagonist Title: "TK-462" is the designation code of the Stormtrooper protagonist and the title of the short story.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: TK hates the rebels with a passion Sith would envy. His main reason for joining the Empire is to kill as many rebels as he possible can.
- Simultaneous Arcs: By the time TK arrives on Lothal, it's been at least a year since the Ghost crew started making trouble there.
- Start of Darkness: Xea's death is this for TK. He doesn't care whether the rebels claim to be fighting for freedom or against oppression or whatever; all he knows is they tried to steal from his family, and his sister died because of it. All he wants now is to kill as many of them as he can.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Xea is killed in her sleep.
- Trauma Conga Line: TK's entire life ever since his sister dies.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: TK adored his sister, and when she was ill let her sleep with him so she wouldn't be alone. Any kindness died with her.
- Villain Protagonist: And it's definite to make you rethink your answer to What Measure Is a Mook? if it was previously apathy.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: From TK's point of view, all rebels are terrorists to be exterminated with extreme prejudice.