Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee, Robert Bell, and Michael Vassallo.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:8:2) in the Essesia system: Retributor.
Captain Tara Nestini, Vice-Admiral Michael Raven, and, Major Sierra Rodney.

Vice Admiral Michael Raven had been to the Retributor a few times before, and each time he'd been here, he found the vessel ... opulent. A massive starship more akin to a city than a vessel of war, the Executor-class Star Dreadnought was the pinnacle of the Empire's projection of power throughout most of the known galaxy. Practically, he found the smaller *Imperial* series vessels to be more than sufficient to perform the duties that the navy required, and he saw a warship such as this to be a drain on personnel, resources, and other protective starships rather than an asset. Nonetheless, the impressive vessel served as the command and control nexus for the fleet, and many of the high ranking officers of the Imperial forces stationed here either had their commands, or their primary offices stationed onboard. He recalled vaguely that he had one as well, though he seldom if ever used it; preferring his own command ship to what seemed more akin to a cubicle on board the city-ship.

The office he was heading to, however, was anything but. Major Sierra Rodney commanded respect for both her family name and her position, and therefore the Vice Admiral made his way through the winding halls of the *Retributor* to seek hers out. After several long minutes of winding through the ship's turbolifts and dull grey connecting corridors, he stepped up to a particular door with two armed stormtroopers flanking it. Straightening his uniform, he regarded both of the troopers before speaking.

"Vice Admiral Raven, here to see Major Rodney."

A quick communication, muffled beneath the stormtrooper's plasteel helmet, confirmed his appointment with the good major, and the trooper reached behind him to open the door. Raven quickly stepped in, hearing the door shut behind him, and immediately came to attention. Though his own rank commanded respect, he was technically speaking to a superior officer of another branch of the Imperial military, and proper etiquette had to be followed. The Vice Admiral's uniform was crisp as always, though there were two notable differences. The first was that he was not carrying his usual sidearm, though the holster remained; he found it unnecessary aboard the Retributor. The second was that he was holding a datapad in his right hand. The Lorrdian's ice blue eyes regarded the Major, as he waited to be addressed.

As of late, it seemed like Major Sierra Rodney wasn't simply handling scheduling for her husband, but scheduling for herself. Her meetings were becoming more frequently. At last, she was seeing progress in her career. She was gaining respect that was associated with more than her position as the Grand Moff's wife. Sierra was prepared for her meeting with Vice Admiral Raven, having cleared the remaining mess of datapads from her desk. It seemed a stream of information was always running through her office. At times, it was difficult to stay on top of everything. Her blue eyes glanced up to the chronometer on the wall. "Any minute now," she told herself as she sat back in the chair behind her desk.

The man instantly earned an ounce of respect by arriving timely for their meeting. The door to her generally simplistic office opened to reveal the Lorrdian Vice Admiral. She immediately rose from her seat to greet him. Her eyes swept over him quickly, mentally notating that he was *not* carrying a sidearm. As an added safety precaution, she kept a blaster pistol stowed away in her desk. Sierra realized that she was the *last* defense to the Grand Moff. She took that seriously, and had spent some time in the Void training. "Vice Admiral Raven, it's good to see you." She spoke politely, offering him a gloved hand. She needn't introduce herself, for they both knew who each other were. "Please, sit." She said, other hand pointing out a cushioned chair in front of her desk.

He stepped forward once he was addressed, and took the gloved hand with his own, politely shaking the Major's before nodding and taking a seat. Michael's eyes betrayed his curiosity for a moment as he glanced around the plainly decorated office, inwardly approving of the accoutrements.

"A pleasure, sir. Thank you for seeing me on such short notice, I'm sure you're extremely busy, so I will try to be to the point and brief. Please interrupt me if you already know any of this," he said, placing his datapad with his notes on it in front of him, on her desk.

With the shake complete, Sierra sat back down. Her attention sat solely on Michael. "Yes, yes. Thank you." He seemed to understand how things worked around here. She needed his report and she needed it now. As much as she wished he had good news to tell her, she would soon find that life was hardly rainbows and butterflies. His report would be the first she had heard of any of this: the shuttle, the latest brush with Rebel forces. She immediately picked up the datapad on her desk to take notes. She would need to report all information back to the Governor, as well as the tactical officer.

"Several hours ago we picked up a distress call from shuttle XF-491, which was en route to Chandrila from the Inquisitor's command ship, the Interrogator. The distress call was sent with the highest priority code, and the Ascension was the closest active ship to the call. Additionally, the call was made in deep space, far from any of our standard hyperspace jump points. While we were provided with an overview of the military vessels entering and exiting the system, along with manifests for each; this shuttle's contents were considered..." the Vice Admiral paused to choose his next words very carefully, "...Confidential, even to me, on order of the Inquisitor."

The Vice Admiral glanced down at his datapad for just a moment, scrolling past some information before continuing, "Because we had no information on the shuttle's contents, we had no intercepting forces prepared in the event of a problem. With only the information that this was a single shuttle, en route to Chandrila, from the Inquisitor's ship, I assumed that there was some sort of VIP aboard, and immediately departed the system on an intercept course to render aid. Honestly, this was mostly a hunch; sir. There were too many coincidental factors and it led me to believe that this shuttle was carrying someone of importance who needed assistance."

"When we arrived, we found a full Rebel flotilla. An interdiction vessel; a modified Strike Cruiser which seemed to be the lead vessel, along with two flanking frigates and a corvette. Additionally, we picked up several squadrons of starfighters, but were unable to identify them beyond classification. By the time we exited hyperspace, they were already preparing to leave the system, so we launched what fighters we were able to, and the Ascension immediately engaged them at long range. Unfortunately, because we weren't prepared for any sort of VIP escort or rescue, the Rebel fleet was able to begin jumping out soon after we arrived," he paused to allow her to digest this information, before continuing, he was almost done with his initial report.

"The shuttle had jumped out, we believe to Chandrila, though planetary command has not been able to confirm that. Additionally we picked up a Rebel transport, a YV-929, jumping out after it but also have gotten no confirmation from planetary command that it was intercepted. On top of this, we lost a squadron of TIE Fighters attempting to slow down or stall the Rebel forces," he took a half breath to allow all of the *bad* news to settle in. Michael found that in situations like this, it was better to end on a high note, and personally he thought it was a fairly *good* high note.

"We were able to destroy the Rebel corvette before it was able to jump out, and I believe we at least damaged the three other capital ships. Afterwards, we commenced salvage and rescue operations, and subsequently returned to the planet." The Vice Admiral slid his datapad across the table, turning it politely toward the Major. "All of our tactical information, and sensor logs are here if you are interested in reviewing them, sir."

The Vice Admiral had just served Sierra a ten course meal which she had to digest. First, she became suspicious over what Inquisitor Thanor was up to. It was not going to be easy for her to determine who was flying aboard that shuttle. Her eyes flickered down to her datapad, fingers moving quickly across the scene to make notations. She listened to him while he explained that there had been a distress call. In the back of her mind, she already knew where this was going: the confidential shuttle guests had slipped out of Imperial fingers. She remained silent, nodding her head to show him she was ready for him to continue speaking.

She was happy to see that the Vice Admiral had a functioning brain in his skull, for he had chosen correctly to bring aid to the shuttle. "A full Rebel flotilla..." She repeated, biting down on her lower lip. The Rebel presence said much about the confidential contents without Inquisitor Thanor unleashing any information at all: there was someone of worth being transported.

She quickly jotted down the different vessels which he named. The way the Rebel squadrons moved in and out of the system drove her insane. She was certain they were operating out of somewhere nearby. They were stealthy little bastards. In one second. Gone the next. No intel had gotten them closer to finding the Rebel's hiding place. She continued to listen. The Rebels had real surprise there. She let out a soft sigh. Digesting this was alike to chewing an overcooked nerf steak. No matter how long she chewed, she would never be ready to swallow. It was the word 'Chandrila' that brought a noticeable response to her facial features. Currently, Chandrila was the black sheep of the sector. Though they continued to dump supplies and troops onto that planet, the war with the Rebels continued on and on and on. Chandrila was, quite frankly, one heck of a headache.

The damage report was something she made note of as she would want to ensure that the Vice Admiral's lost men were restored. The bad news was sinking in. Within the shit storm, the Vice Admiral was able to give her something of a 'good' ending. A Rebel corvette had been lost. There was a faint smile that appeared on her face then disappeared. It hurt the Rebels to lose anyone, while the Empire could continue to replenish their forces. "It was wise of you to take charge and attempt to aid the shuttle, Vice Admiral. I will see to it that additional pilots are sent your way. Additionally, I will send forces to Chandrila to hunt for the shuttle. I have no idea who was riding in it, but if it attracted such attention, that person is incredibly valuable to the Rebels. If possible, I'd like that person brought in alive. ... or *dead*." She leaned forward to collect the datapad he'd given her.

"I commend you on destroying the Rebel corvette. The Rebels will feel that loss. I have no doubts as to why you've become a Vice Admiral." She felt it good to provide some positive feedback to keep a good relationship going with him. "I will make a copy of these reports to review with my tactical Lieutenant." It nagged her. Who was on the shuttle?

Captain Tara Nestini was late, and if there was one thing she hated being it was late. The woman believe that she was like what most imperial should be. A woman who believe in truth and justice above things like order for order's sake. In time as an imperial had seen too many man and woman grab for power when they lacked the skill to properly wield it. She vowed that she would never be like those people. And she had been rewarded for it. In the last year she finally become an Imperial Captain of the Star Destroyer the Darkstar. And she was proud of her rank, in the last year she had been dealing with small bands of rebels from the outer rim.

Now she abruptly moved to the Ringali Shell, a core world's region. It was known for being a densely packed sector of space. She knew it well, born of Chandrila, she lived an ideal life in one of the better off families. As a child she love the wonderful sites of the different birds around her family's estate. She remembered arguing with her parents about joining the Imperial Navy. Those arguments lasted until she finally left for the Imperial Academy. And she hadn't talked to them in month's, much to her mother's chagrin. Looking at her datapad, she suspect her background was the reason she was assigned this mission. And not her skill or her hard work. Well I'll show them.

Stepping into the office she noted the warm environment it had. Most of Captain's office's were cold, almost sterilize of all personality. It was one of the things even she could admit that she couldn't stand about the nature of the Imperial Military Complex. The cold detachment of it all and the need for constant invasion of personal privacy. It was quite the conflict. Captain Nestini stood at attention, giving a small salute to the senior officers ahead of her.

"I am very concerned abou-" Vice Admiral Raven paused mid sentence as he heard someone behind him, and instinctively craned his head toward the source of the interruption. His brow furrowed as he quickly scanned the new arrival, and then turned his head back toward the major. "Am I over my time limit, sir?" His voice betrayed only a subtle hint of annoyance.

Sierra was deep in conversation with the Vice Admiral when her door opened again. Annoyance briefly crossed her face as soon as she saw Captain Tara Nestini, who had been a no call, no show for a meeting that was supposed to happen before this one. "No. It seems that my last meeting has arrived *very* late." She let it be known that she was not pleased with the Captain's untimeliness. "Forgive me, Vice Admiral. Take a seat, Captain. Perhaps Vice Admiral Raven can assist us in placing you." She looked back to the man. "Please, continue on. We have time."

He nodded, and did so, as Captain Nestini was free to take her seat. "I am very concerned about two things. The first I believe I share with you ... that the Rebels are able to slip in and out of the entire Ringali shell with virtual impunity. We had no idea a strike, let alone a force equivalent to one of our stronger recon lines, was able to get this close to us. I state this just for the record. To be honest while I have a few operational ideas to try to figure out where they might be staging from, we simply have too many avenues to explore at the moment. The second, and the real reason I am here personally, is the absolute lack of communication between the navy and other branches of our forces." Again, Michael paused to choose his words carefully, especially with another pair of ears in the room.

"I am particularly concerned that, even after a direct inquiry, the office of the Inquisitor chose to ignore a senior naval officer's request for information. Information I might add, could have directly led to the destruction of several Rebel capital ships and fighter squadrons. Instead, we were lucky to be able to destroy a corvette, though we still do not know what became of the shuttle or the Rebel transport that followed it. To be blunt, I can only assume that the Rebels will ultimately accomplish their objective, and while the loss of the corvette will hurt, I can only imagine what consequences this mystery shuttle will hold for us." The Vice Admiral didn't particularly enjoy playing the political games necessary of senior officers of the Empire, and this was as blunt as he could make his point while still judging the Major's response. While he knew of her, Major Sierra Rodney was a bit of a wildcard in his opinion; he hadn't interacted with her enough to know how *truly* honest he could be with her, and how much of what he said might be reflected back to the Grand Moff or the Inquisitor ... unfavorably. The Lorrdian edged forward in his chair ever so slightly, his attentive eyes focused on her, and how she'd respond to what he'd just said.

Sierra immediately wished she had sent Captain Nestini away as Michael delved into things she would have preferred to keep between the two of them. "I am concerned about that as all. You are aware of what they did on Rhinnal, correct? The Rebels starfighters came in, quickly destroyed two *necessary* hydroplants and left. Just like that." She snapped her fingers. "Less than two hours time. This attack worries me even more. While there are so many places to look, I think it's time to begin that search. The Rebels are holed up close. That is all I am certain of. I will need to assemble several teams to begin combing our sector in search of this location. If you have any advice as to how best to do this, please let me know." She trusted the Vice Admiral's expertise. He had given her no reason to doubt his knowledge.

The second concern he brought up was one that few gave a voice to. Sierra, herself, had felt the miscommunication earlier in the week when Major Serra Eona had commandeered a meeting in which she was supposed to be in charge of. She did not say anything at first. Instead, she listened to his reasoning. "It seems we are on the same page, Vice Admiral. I see the breakdown in communication on a daily basis. Sometimes I go lengthy amounts of time before I hear anything from intel, let alone the other branches. The lack of communication has hurt us, as seen in this shuttle debacle. You could have provided a proper escort for the shuttle had you actually known there was someone so valuable on it. I will do what I can to unlock the confidential information on it, but even the Grand Moff cannot force the Inquisitor to deliver information to us." She briefly looked towards the door separating her office from her husband's. Even as a Governor, his power was limited.

"I say we strive to improve these relations. I am tired of our sector *losing*. We all fight on the same side, so why are we hiding information from one another? By keeping secrets, we are hurting each other. I recommend holding a meeting with high ranking officers in each sector. It would, of course, be necessary that you are present."

She gave a slight nod to the senior officers as she took her seat. She could tell the Major was more than a little annoyed at her sudden appearance. And to be honest, so was she. She felt she was being taken away from her battle in the outer rim and know she was being reassigned at the last minute without barely an explanation. Now she was being placed in a situation where she had very little control over. As she looked up from her datapad at the woman in front of her, who was practicality scowling at her. It was almost all she could take from punching the woman. It wasn't her fault that she was late for the meeting, it was a matter of rebels who tried to sabotage her ship that she valued above all else. They slowed her down She had been delay by a few hours to make the necessary repairs.

"You brought me here to help you deal with the rebellion in this sector," Captain Nestini said. "As of late this rebellion has spread far from small cells to as large as this major one in the Ringali Shell. And to my annoyance, my homeworld even participates in this act. I want to do all that is necessary to drive them out."

Eyeing her datapad, before passing it to the Major she had keyed up a few vulnerable spots where the rebels likely dwell. And where they likely get their supplies from. She could tell the Moff at least cared about what she had to say, while Major was way too busy being angry to focus on the task at hand.

Her attention shifted to Captain Nestini. As a member of the ISB, one could bet that Sierra had already done her digging around in the Captain's life. She liked to know about what was coming into her sector. She sat back in her seat, pleased with the girl's enthusiasm. The Captain had surprised in store for Sierra. She revealed key information that could, potentially, aid in finding the Rebel's hiding place. She leaned forward, picked the datapad up, and began to review it. "I appreciate you bringing this information to me, Captain." She commented, continuing to review the vulnerable areas. The information presented to her was enough that Sierra felt it warranted further exploration. She looked to the Vice Admiral. "Do you have a place in your fleet for the Captain? Captain Nestini commands a Victory Two Star Destroyer by the name of Darkstar." The Grand Moff did indeed care about what Sierra had to say. She was his right hand man in their occupation, as well as in life. He had given her the means to grow in her position. "In the past month, we have seen two Rebel fleet actions near Chandrila. We must reinforce ourselves there. I feel the Captain can help you with that." She would utilize others to seek out the Rebel vulnerable areas.

The Vice Admiral watched the exchange between the two with concealed interest, and when the conversation came back to him, he canted his head to the side thoughtfully.

"Actually, yes," he chuckled, glancing over at the Captain. "As the Major is aware but I am not certain you are, we recently lost a Victory II Destroyer, the Agriever, which was in command of one of our Heavy Attack Lines assigned to Chandrila. The reinforcement would help fill the gap left by her destruction and would allow us to start rebuilding the Line. Additionally, the good Captain could use her information," he said, motioning for the datapad, "in an area with active Rebel activity."

"To your other point, sir. I believe that if we were to have such a meeting, it should be small; but I would be amenable to it. This issue should be approached delicately, do you not agree?"

Looking up at the two senior officers she felt a sense of pride. These two were Imperial's she could respect. Besides it was always good to keep your friends few and your allies plentiful.

"I'll be happy to join you," She chuckled. "If you need me to fill in a gap or two, the crew of the Darkstar is happy to be of service."

Pulling herself up from her seat she reach her hand out for a handshake to the Vice Admiral. He took hers and gave her hand a strong shake. Just as she was about to leave she turned towards the Major. "I'll be more than happy to servey those Rebel hotspots and do further research for you."

Seeing no other reason to be there she gave the Vice Admiral and The Major a small salute left the room. Breathing a sigh of relief she followed the stormtroopers back to her shuttle. Sometimes it paid to be smart, far too often someone's intelligence can be a liability. And a place like the Empire was no different. For her sake, she hoped she made the right impression.

After returning the abrupt handshake and waiting a few moments as the Captain left the room, he turned his head back to the Major, and smirked slightly.

"She's at least... eager. In any case, I do not want to take any more of your time, sir. Is there any other information you need before I take my leave?"

Sierra watched the Captain. She hoped the woman would be able to bring her back any shred of news that might lead her to the Rebels. She nodded her head as a means of saying goodbye, then turned back to the Vice Admiral. "Let me know if you have any problems with her. I do not want to cause any additional aches in your back. I appreciate you taking the time to come see me. I will speak with the Governor and arrange a meeting for all of us, so be on the lookout for that agenda." She rose to see him out of her office.

With a nod, Raven stood, and extended his hand toward the Major to shake it. At the apex, he gripped her hand just slightly harder, and locked eyes with her for just a moment.

"Thank you for your time, Major Rodney. I believe that we can do a lot for each other, and I look forward to working with you."

With that, the Vice Admiral politely released her hand, saluted, and took his leave.

Sierra felt good about the meeting they had. The Vice Admiral had respected to her. He hadn't come into her office on his high horse, assuming she was an idiot appointed to her position because of her connection to the Grand Moff. She hoped to improve relationships with all the other sectors for both of their benefits. She nodded her head. "I believe so as well. I look forward to seeing you again." She nodded her head, slowly lowering herself back into her seat. She picked up the datapad he had left behind for her to review. Perhaps with the Vice Admiral's efforts, Chandrila might come back until their control.

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