Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Jamie Holm and Christopher Levy.
Zero years before the Battle of Yavin (35:4:11) in the Brentaal system: Warspite.
Major Kerrie Kiley, Major Nolas Reik, and Vice Admiral Claudius Rodney.

The Imperial I-class Star Destroyer Warspite continued its patrol of the Brentaal system, flanked by a number of supporting vessels given the recent increase in Rebel starfighter activity. Admiral Claudius Rodney, the squadron commander, sat quietly in his office reviewing a datapad containing personnel reports from his captains. Even though there was a war on, there seemed to be a never-ending line of paperwork that passed across his desk. His eyes began to hurt, and he brought his hand up to his face to rub at them, but he found no relief.

The wet and cold emotionless, and seemingly colorless eyes of Major Nolas Reik stared, unblinkingly, a thousand meters off, beyond the walls and bulkheads of the hall ways of the massive mile long war machine. Like a phantom he marched down the corridor to the Admiral's office, leather riding boots clicking at a perfect thirty inch step. As he approached the door he slightly tugged on his tunic, straightening the breast. The door opened with a soft *whoosh* and he continued up to his superior officer's desk, click his heals together as he took the position of attention. "Sir," rode over his thin lips. "I think it would be wise if we conducted a brief review of the team's activities."

The Admiral's strained eyes looked up from his datapad to quickly glance at the ISB Major whom he recognized from the other day. "Ah. Yes," he began, placing his datapad aside for the moment. Truly he was grateful to have a brief respite from the mundane task of reading officer reports. "Major ... Roik is it?" he asked, as he struggled to remember the officer's name, having to deal with hundreds of officers on a daily basis. "Very well. Have a seat if you wish," he said as his hand swept the air above the desk motioning towards one of the two seats in front of his dark colored desk. "Though I find you ISB officers tend to prefer standing," he said with a slight smirk as he leaned back in his chair to await the officer's updates.

Prefer standing? Reik betrayed no emotion, but allowed himself some sense of satisfaction. As a consummate ordinal, the metaphor of standing at the position of attention seemed fitting for the ideals of the New Order ... an empire where men accepted privations, were professional, and knew their place. But it was his zeal for what he perceived as the Emperor's mandate, the absolute subjugation of all life forms across the trillions of worlds in his Empire. "Sir," he uncharacteristically paused. "I believe your guidance, regarding the consideration for collateral damage in the course of operations is a prohibitive restriction which may result in the team being able to meet yours, and his majesty's intent for this mission. His tongue darted across this narrow lips. "Furthermore, it is exactly the kind of civilian causalities that you are trying to avoid, that this mission needs to impress upon the natives, to give them a thorough fear of the Rebellion. If we do not pay the price now, and accept a moderately more aggressive degree of collateral risk, then we can surely assume that when the Rebellion plants its flag on this world, it will spell the death sentence for millions, if not billions more of loyal citizens in this sector. If you consider the models I have prepared, you will see the data demands we accept higher risk regarding acceptable civilian losses, or we will surely have to accept sympathies for the rebellion will rise, and the situation will become unmanageable for the resources at your disposal."

The Admiral quietly studied the Major's words, giving him ample time to speak and give his views on the matter. Before replying, he rose from his seat at the disk and walked around the large piece of officer furniture over to the coffeine machine. Silently, he poured himself a cup of the dark, hot liquid and took an audible sip. "Would you care for a cup?" he asked, as he slowly made his way back to his seat. Once he had situated himself he took another sip of the beverage before sharing his thoughts. "Major, we are here to protect these people, not hurt them," he explained with a firm nod of his head, as it was something he fervently believed in. "These are loyal citizens of the Empire," he explained, taking another pause so that he could continue to enjoy his beverage. "We cannot destroy their world to save it. The very notion is absurd," he continued, placing his mug back down on his desk, as he leaned back slightly so that he could further examine the Major, sizing him up in his head. "I am confident in the ability of your unit to counter the increasing threat of the Rebel insurgents, Major. However, we must do this the correct way ... and that way mans no unnecessary harm to civilians in this region," he concluded, folding his hands into a pyramidal shape as he braced himself for the officer's reply.

Reik blinked. "Sir," he paused. "I doubt you have had much opportunity, in either regards to time, or even clearance, given the classification, to review my Officer Record Brief. And what you may have seen, was heavily redacted. Not all officers who serve his majesty have been so fortunate as yourself to work in a conventional world, where we can clearly act on moral 'oughts' and high academic 'shoulds'. The scale of moral justice does not balance the weight of duty in the work of empire. Suffice to say, that I have seen entire cities annihilated to save a planet. I'm sure I would be insulting your superior naval education to remind you, why we reserve the code Base-Delta-Zero, as universal throughout his Majesty's navy. It is to be never misunderstood. Unfortunately the diverse backgrounds of the men and leaders of this Empire allow for an all too often uncomfortable relativism, born from traditions of their native worlds. The grizzly," Reik again paused, and adjusted his belt buckle. "Necessary business of what some would call brutality, doctrine shows us is absolutely required to halt the progress of the sympathies for treason. I did not merely see cities destroyed, I ordered it so." Reik paused again, making no flinches, blinks or gestures to betray any sort of normal human emotional response. "In 93% of all studied planets with treasonous, or rebellion sympathetic problem sets, rapid violent action and complete military performed control was required to save the world from transitioning entirely into open rebellion. I have ordered special tactical redesign teams to murder hundreds of children, to show their women the superior moral resolve of our Empire. That they may plant pathetic bombs made from their cleaning closets, but nothing will deter this Empire from its mandate to rule the galaxy totally. It is not that we, whom you undoubtedly consider with an unattractive taste, are bad men; or perverse men. I care for the people, as loyal subjects of the New Order as much as you sir. However I have the black and, what you might refer as regrettable experience to know that if this little insurgency is not stopped immediately, the poor, the disenfranchised, will catch a fever for rebellion, and nothing short of Base-" Reik raised his lower eye lids, and his lips moved noticeably, for the first time, spelling out what the Admiral knew was coming, "...Delta-Zero, will save this sector from a wide mutiny. The Empire does not have the man-power to police every street, and watch every corner, fear sir, fear of the Rebellion, fear of the might of the Empire, fear of what this ship's turbo lasers will do to the planet's mantle if they fall into insurrection ... It is fear only that will keep this system in line and loyal. It is our duty, to his Majesty, to the oath we swore, to the mandate of our New Order and to the future generations of this world, that we ensure that there will be no chaos of 'freedom' brought by the Rebellion, that would return the planet, and the sector to the anarchy of the Old Republic." Reik, so impassioned, leaned ever so slightly forward, curled his fingers into fists and spit out, "We must! Make this world fear the works of these rebels, and realize that the only chance for the survival of their young is in his Majesty's hands. A few thousand die in a terrorist bombing? It will be awful, I agree. But the tears of rage that will inspire this world to fall in line and hunt down who they think the perpetrators of the massacre are: the Rebels, which this teams seems to be having an arduous time identifying. The natives will perform all the work, inspired by vengeance, to police this world. The need for your garrison will dwindle, and we can all resume duties where our much needed skill and attention could be better served." Reik uncurled his fingers and tugged on his tunic, assuming the proper position of attention.

Claudius rotated his chair so that his back was turned to the officer. He had it up to here with the Imperial Security Bureau. It was that agency that had forced him to drag his family to the Ringali Shell as part of a propaganda offense to convince the locals that the area was safe. They had been a constant state of frustration for the nobleman, who preferred to deal with things in a much different light. "Major, the problems you're describing are in the Outer Rim Territories in worlds populated by aliens. Many of which were loyal to the Confederacy and never truly embraced the ideal of the New Order," he explained slowly, his eyes fixated out of the viewport that was behind his desk, fixating on a distant star as he attempted to calm himself. "I will not order a bombardment of one of these worlds. I am not Commodore Tion," he explained with pronounced sneer as he remembered the deceased officer who smashed Ralltiir. "Major Zevrin made the mistake of firing on one of these settlements while I was out of the region. That is not a mistake I wish to see repeated!" he exclaimed as he turned his chair to face the Major once again. "These are humans. These are Core Worlds. We will treat them as such," he concluded as he had just about enough of this insolent junior officer.

The door to the office once again opened revealing the diminutive sight of a female human in the distinct black uniform of the Imperial Stormtrooper Corps. It was noneother than Major Kerrie Kiley, the Admiral's adjutant, who was wearing a rather negative expression on her pale face. She stepped forward quickly, but came to a halt in her tracks when she spotted the ISB Major seated across from the Admiral. "Apologies, Milord. I did not realize you were in a meeting," she spoke nervously, fearing a dressing down for barging in the way she had. It was rather unprofessional, but the urgent news she carried made her feel justified in her actions. She turned on her heels in precision military fashion and began to walk towards the door.

"Major, wait. What is it?" Claudius asked, looking for any kind of diversion from the tedious conversation with the ISB Major. He could tell from the woman's attitude that it must have been serious, and wondered perhaps if it had something to do with his family and that is why she was hesitant to discuss it in front of mixed company.

Major Kiley stopped when she heard the Admiral's voice and tensed for a moment, expecting to be disciplined. Receiving his permission to continue, she again turned and marched deliberately forward until she was standing in front of the desk and beside Major Reik, whom she had not yet had the opportunity to meet. "Sir, we have received word from the commander of the 43rd Repulsorlift Regiment on Esseles," she began, lowering her head slightly as she considered how best to word the next part of this message without getting blamed. "There has been an attack in New Calamar at one of our checkpoints. Six troopers were killed. There are also numerous civilian dead and wounded," she continued grimly, lowering her head slightly in case he intended to blame the messenger.

Reik gave an uncharacteristic smile. "Sir, the lack of initiative this task force has shown thus far is not fitting with the requirements of flag level officers in is Majesty's navy. Nothing has been done to control the means of this rebel terrorist cell. No effort has been made to monitor the comm-traffic or financial transactions which may enable them. Nothing has been done to persuade the illicit organizers on this world, who operate with such impunity, that they would be better served dealing with an unburdened Imperial presence. This is not an operation which can be attacked by one strong effort. Progress must be made along all lines of operations if we are to isolate and neutralize the threat. The rebellion, across the galaxy is not nearly disorganized as you may think Admiral." Reik turned his head slightly, and fixed his gaze through the transparasteel window of the Admiral's office. Looking beyond the bulkhead and into the stars. "One day, if bold actions are not taken, like the ones I am recommending, they will strike with such ferocity, and wound our Empire so gravely, that it will inspire every dissident and self-entitled shop keeper to support their maligned anarchy. The Rebellion will grow to such a degree that there will be open civil war. And you will regret the day that you had an opportunity to stop it before it began." He returned his gaze to the superior officer and recomposed himself. "I expect the efforts of our little counterinsurgency, in light of these events, and the many which will assuredly follow, to become a little more coordinated. I hope I shall not need to send the report I have drafted, regarding the lack of motivation in this task force, through the channels of CompForce Observation.

Major Kiley turned her head to look at the ISB officer, trying to hide the look of disdain from her face as she listened to her words. She remembered back to the days when she was tortured by the ISB and forced to perform an unbearable mission that nearly ended her life. They represented the worst of the galaxy to her, and whenever she was in one of their presence she always felt a slight pain in her stomach. She was hesitant to continue in front of the man, but she felt it was urgent that she deliver the last bid of news to the Admiral. "Milord," she continued as her line of sight transferred from Major Reik to Admiral Rodney. "Milord, Troopers who engaged the insurgents reported that one of them was using a 'laser sword'," she said, swallowing slightly in such a manner that caused her throat to bulge uncomfortably against the collar of her black uniform. "Of course it was a chaotic scene and there could have been much confusion. Still, I thought it was worth reporting," she concluded with a firm nod of her head, remaining silent as she awaited his response.

The Admiral listened to the words of the Major and was already preparing a diplomatic reply to his assertions when he heard the woman continue her report. "A what?!" he exlciamed as he thrust the palm of his hand down on his desk and rose from his seat dramatically. This was unacceptable and was the last bit of attention he needed on his already troubled region. His teeth clenched angrily, as he emerged from behind the desk and came to stand in front of Major Kiley. He was considerably taller than her, and his presence always seemed to have an intimidating affect on her given their complex history. "Prepare a team of Commandos at once, Major. You are to leave for Esseles ... immediately," he ordered, before turning his attention again to Major Reik. "Major Reik, you must excuse me but the nature of these events requires my attention shift elsewhere at the moment. I will allow you to continue this at a later date," he explained in his most diplomatic of tones as he extended his hand to the officer.

"I will do so at once, Milord," Major Kiley replied, sounding more like a machine than a woman. In an instant she shifted on her heels and came about, and began marching at a brisk pace out of the office. She considered the personnel files of the available personnel in her head as she left, drawing up pans for the best team possible. She considered notifying the Inquisitor considering the nature of the attack, but she did not want to share her prize with one of her most determined opponents.

Reik eyed the gesture outstretched in front of him. He held his gaze at the Admiral's open hand, eyeing the man's cuticles and nails for an uncomfortable period. The Major reached across the table and offered his superior officer a cold and weak handshake from a soft hand- but he held the grip, however lamely, making the act as uncomfortable as the anticipation, "Sir, already you see their means escalate. I would not envy your position when you inevitably have to explain this to either a member of the privy council, or one of his Majesty's special envoys of that particular hierarchy." Concluding the hand shake, Reik straightened himself out, "This is becoming a case of action versus inaction, and inaction, and trusting this insurgency to resolve itself is doing your officer evaluation record any favors Sir. Allow me the free hands to deal with this in my way, before it has any lasting affects on your career's future, or the future of your family." Reik sharply saluted, and awaited to be dismissed- staring, with those cold, wet eyes across to the Admiral.

The Admiral listened to to each word spoken by Major Reik, and although he did not agree with any of them, he nevertheless treated the officer with respect and allowed him the forum to speak his piece. "Major, I understand your concerns and I share them," he said politely as he escorted the man to the door of his office. "However, I do not feel the situation has reached that point yet," he shared him as they reached door, he turned to look the man directly in the eyes as he spoke these next words. "Commodore Tion tried these tactics with Ralltiir. He is dead now. My methods are sound and the Empire will be victorious in the Ringali Shell," he said confidently, believing every word he said from the bottom of his heart. "I must dismiss you now, Major, as there is much to be done, "he said with a polite nod of his head, before proceeding back to his desk to contemplate what to do regarding the situation on Esseles.

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