Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Sean Brandt, Kit Gwynne, and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:1:2) in the Essesia system: Interrogator.
El-Nay Darr, Major Serra Eona, and Colonel Mark Veller.

El-Nay Darr's jetpack roared to life as she flew through the Imperial training center aboard the Imperial II-class Star Destroyer Interrogator. The targeting sensor at the top of her helmet was down over the familiar T-shaped visor of her Mandalorian helmet, which was spackled in a bright, garish shade of orange. One by one the woman was blasting each of the targets into oblivion with a multitude of weapons including a wrist rocket, her flamethrower, and of course her DT-57 heavy blaster ... a relic of the Clone Wars she stole from her father's forgotten armory. While she was improving her skills tremendously, she was monopolizing a portion of the Star Destroyer reserved for Imperial Stormtrooper training exercises, and without permission. All throughout her unauthorized training sessions she had condescendingly turned away every officer that had attempted to dissuade her and reclaim the facility for Imperial military usage.

Having decided that he had seen enough lists of rosters, equipment and watches for the moment, the new High Colonel Commander of the ISD's Stormtroopers decided to view the training facilities, especially keen to learn if they were as advanced as the rumors said. As always, the two troopers assigned to him followed, occasionally offering brief and concise suggestions as to the direction to go.

Turning the corner to the training center, he entered the room, fully expecting to see a number of officers training. His eyes narrowed as he observed the armored figure flying through the huge room. He had to admit whomever was in the suit was not completely without skill. However, there was nothing on the training schedule about non-Imperial Officers using the facility.

He watched for a few moments, sure that his presence at least appeared on the armor's sensors, wondering if the person would be polite enough to stop. Unconsciously, he loosened the Blaster Pistol in its holster, ready to react if the armor turned towards him in a menacing fashion.

When it became apparent the figure was ignoring him, he snagged an E-11 off a nearby rack and checked the charge. Finding it full, he advanced a few steps into the room. Raising the rifle to his shoulder, he flipped the setting to stun and snapped off a number of shots hitting three targets almost instantly and then snapping off a shot at the *stop* button, ending whatever simulation was occurring. The rifle ready, he had it aimed at the figure in armor. "Stand down, now," he ordered, the rifle aimed at the figure in armor.

El-Nay Darr came to a sudden halt in flight when the simulation was halted, feeling a great sense of irritation that she had only gotten three-quarters of the way through the program before being interrupted. Cutting the power to her 20-year-old jetpack, she allowed herself to roughly drop to the durasteel deckplating below. She was about to angrily confront the man, when she saw that he had a blaster aimed squarely at her. This was hardly the response she had expected from one of the Inquisitor's officers.

Not wanting any trouble, she slowly lowered her hand with the DT-57 heavy blaster pistol, and let it enter back into its holster safely. Her hands then moved to the side of her helmet, unfastening the clips that held it in place, and slowly raised it. Below was revealed the face of an attractive young human woman with short hair that was carefully coiffed on the top and dyed blonde. The sides of her hair was shaved, betraying the natural brown roots that lay beneath. Tucking the helmet beneath her left arm, she slowly walked over towards the officer.

"Hey! What's the big idea?" she asked, sounding a bit annoyed at what had just transpired. "I'm here on important business for the *High* Inquisitor," she said, accentuating one word in particular, and arching her left eyebrow at the man. "I need this training more than any of these damn troopers all over the place," she complained, before motioning with a nod of forehead to the two, silent Stormtroopers behind the Colonel.

Mark lowered the E-11 slightly, but kept it ready to use, "The High Inquisitor, eh? Interesting there are no notations or indications that you are to be included in the training schedule that I was able to determine. I believe this time is reserved for the officers of B deck. If you wish to join them in in their training, it is possible some compromise can be attained."

His eyes narrowed, "These training facilities have been designated for Imperial Stormtroopers. I will not abide their training schedule being interrupted without so much as a request to use the facilities. These facilities are off limits to non-Imperial personnel. Do I make myself clear?" His ice blue eyes bored into the young woman's face, stern with authority. The E-11 blaster rifle was held ready, the end currently pointed downward, but the grip was not a relaxed one. The two Stormtroopers with him also held their blaster rifles ready but not aimed at the young woman.

El-Nay patiently listened to the officer lecture her, but it went in one ear and out the other. The young woman was irritated beyond belief that some old man in an Imperial uniform, before taking a step away from him, and turning to her side. She did not pay him the respect of an answer, or even an acknowledgment, but went straight to her comlink to bitch and moan to her handler. "Major Eona?" she whined into the comm, before going further. "Some ... Colonel...?" she theorized, not completely understanding the Imperial rank insignia.

"Yeah. Some Colonel is telling me I can't train so his goon squad can get a go," she complained, turning her head slightly towards Veller just long enough to give him a sideways glare. "Can you straighten this guy out so I can finish my simulation?" she pleaded, before deactivating the comm, and repositioning her body in front of the man. She gave him a smug, overconfident smile, as she looked up at the Imperial, but she did not give him the respect of a proper acknowledgment.

With quick raising of the weapon, he snapped off a stun shot at the young lady, hoping his two troopers would also send off stun shots if his aim was off just a bit. He had seen such arrogance before. Ignoring a fresh target during a simulation, turning away from an opponent who was armed and ready and had shown both aggression and accuracy. There were few ways to handle such over confidence. The first was to knock the person down a few pegs. A stun shot and waking up in the brig was a step in the right direction. The only way for those types to learn was the hard way and he was more than willing to provide it. He hated the idea of being soft on such a person and letting them find out the errors of their ways in a true fight as it always ended badly for them.

As soon as the woman had turned away to activate the comm link, he fired. My apologies for this, he thought, but I doubt you will make the same mistake again. The stun bolt exited from the barrel of the blaster towards the target.

Major Serra Eona was on her way back to her quarters when her comlink clicked live, a syllable or two in a female voice came through, and then the distinctive sound of E-11 stun cones followed by dead air. She frowned sharply, checking who the transmission had come from. El-Nay Darr. Reports of the Mandalorian's hijacking of the training facilities aboard The Interrogator had been filtering in throughout the day, but it was a problem that she could mostly wash her hands of, reasoning that if no one was willing to actually challenge the bounty hunter on it, then she might as well have the space.

"Looks like someone finally grew tired of her." While part of Serra was happy to leave it there, she was genuinely curious to see just who had taken it upon themselves to handle the girl. With unusual haste she made her way to the training facilities, recruiting a pair of troopers herself as she did so. It wouldn't do to walk into this situation without a little protection, after all. Despite Serine's distaste for her habit, Serra did light a cigarra as they reached the corridor, taking a deep inhale once she was at the door. When it slid open, well, imagine her surprise to find their brand new High Colonel standing there, blaster in hand.

"Well. I see you've run into one of the Inquisitor's toys." Serra made no effort to hide her lack of love for the bounty hunters. She had a strong distaste for them in general, but this one and the other who had roamed the ship before being sent off on a mission earned it especially. She took a few steps inside and paused with some distance, the two troopers she had brought along as escort standing back and to either side, their own E-11's resting sidelong across their chests in a more relaxed position.

At the door swinging open again, Mark snapped the aim of his E-11 blaster over to the door, quickly lowering it as he recognized Serra. Taking a few steps so he could keep both Serra and the now unconscious bounty hunter in his field of view, he held the rifle still ready, but was much more relaxed in his stance. "It appeared she had chased out the Imperial Officers scheduled for training. While I am not adverse to non-Imperials using the facilities, any requests need to go through me and be coordinated so other training schedules do not suffer."

Motioned to the two Troopers with him, "Disarm her, remove her from her armor if you can and put her in the brig. Notify me of which cell she is in. No one is to talk to her unless I authorize it."

He watched as the two troopers carried the young woman out, armor and all. Once they had removed her from the room, he walked over to the rack and returned the E-11 to its place, making sure the safety was on. Glancing over at Serra, he asked, "Was it you she was attempting to talk to, Major?"

As the troopers moved to haul the Mandalorian out, Serra lifted a hand, stopping them briefly. "Be sure her armor is safely stowed, and return it to her at the start of the next day cycle. For tonight, however, feel free to tell her it was jettisoned." Very rarely was the Major ever this cruel for no reason, but the Mandalorian had to be hardened and disciplined. A little fear over lost armor might just go a long way. That much said she nodded, letting the troopers carry on.

She stood by patiently while Mark returned the E-11, having a few more drags from the cigarra while he did so and returned. To the question she offered a slight bow of a nod. "Yes, High Colonel. She happens to be part of a project that the Inquisitor has tasked me with, and I'm afraid this has given her a somewhat inflated sense of self worth aboard the ship." Serra made a motion for Mark to join her as she turned to leave the training facility. The Stormtroopers who had come with her would fall in behind them, respectably out of earshot. It was rather obvious they had some experience in how to carry themselves during one of these little walk and talks.

"Inflated sense of self, eh?" Mark said, walking towards Serra, "Poor sense of tactical awareness as well. She only noticed me after I shot a few targets and stopped the simulation. Taking off her helmet sealed her fate to a night in the brig," he motioned for Serra to precede him out of the training room even though rank dictated he should go first, ever the gentleman in casual situations.

"I can only hope the lesson takes, otherwise she will not fare long on whatever project she is to be a part of," Mark said, falling in beside Serra as the troopers fell back out of earshot.

There was no pause from the Major as she took the lead, despite the fact that under different circumstances with different people it ought to have been reversed. The casual handling of rank was fairly common for her, though. Intel was often treated as a different breed by those outside of it.

"In my opinion, it's a shame you settled for stun bolts, but it no doubt saved us both quite a bit of trouble." Serra wanted to lay that out from the beginning. No sense in Mark thinking the Mandalorian had strong standing with her. "However, she has her uses. El-Nay Darr is an inferior product of a warrior society which has little tolerance for such things, and is eager to prove herself. This eagerness is why she suits our needs." Serra ostensibly lead the way, but they weren't headed for a particular destination. She was simply picking through the less traveled routes of the ship for now. "We need a team that will operate outside Imperial jurisdiction to do things that are beneath our own personnel. Things that are suicidally dangerous, so much so that risking the lives of our own troops would be a poorly calculated mistake. If she or any of them survive their first task, it will be truly remarkable." There was more, of course, but she let that sink in before she went further.

"Stun bolts are for training and taking prisoners," Mark commented, "I use the appropriate amount of force to get the job done." He was silent for a moment as he mulled over what Serra had said, "Bounty hunters," he said, allowing a bit of his dislike to shade the tone of his voice, "They have their uses, but they are loose cannons." He looked over at Serra, noting that even walking the halls of the ISD she was still smoking those cigarras. "Is my understanding correct that they are meant to fail at their objectives? Dying in the process? Or is it merely the targets are hardened and it is hoped enough of them will do the job?"

Truth be told Serra normally avoided smoking outside of her office aboard The Interrogator. Her negligence at the moment was nothing less than the addiction outweighing her otherwise impeccable precision and attention to detail. If anything compromised the Major, it was this. She helped herself to a stiff drag while Mark spoke, exhaling as she replied. "The latter. They are meant to succeed, with a high probability of success coming at the expense of their lives. Should they survive to work again, well, lucky us." Another puff, and then she continued. "This project wasn't intended to involve you, High Colonel, considering the weight of your responsibilities in assuming a new command. However, your handling of the bounty hunter where others failed to do so changes that. When the time comes to review those who are recruited for the project, I would like you to be a part of the process. They will also need a field commander. I think your insight will be invaluable in selecting one."

Mark chuckled softly, "It appears I have just recruited myself to your project, Major," he said, "It would be an honor to assist. Given the training program I saw the young woman running, it was clear that while she might be good at hitting targets, actual experience with a live enemy is lacking." He sighed slightly, "I was already reviewing the training schedules, it would not be much more effort to include some training for these ... bounty hunters," he said, managing to keep most of his distaste out of his voice.

A small smile came across his face, "Besides, it would do my troopers well to have ... live targets as well, don't you agree, Major?"

The ease with which Mark took on this new and unexpected responsibility truly impressed the Major, which was no small feat. As if that weren't enough, he managed to draw a hint of a grin onto her usual dead cold features. "I certainly do, High Colonel." For a brief moment Serra felt as if this man had been a waste in the Stormtrooper corps. What an asset he could have been in Intelligence. "The other bounty hunter, Dimona Xirie Nuebla, is currently out recruiting a selection of other free license individuals to fill out the team. In order to maintain distance between the Empire and the operations of this team, we will be handling them through a front organization. As far as most of them will be concerned, they won't be working for the Empire at all. I'll schedule a briefing with you to go over the details as we come closer to meeting them." By now the halls would likely appear familiar. As Serra took another drag and they rounded a corner, the corridor leading to her office came into view.

Mark nodded, "I can come up with a preliminary training schedule within a week. It can be tweaked as the target becomes known." He paused for a moment, "However, Major, I would request that further training sessions go through me. I'll not have anyone countermanding my troopers without my knowledge. I am more than willing to make allowances when necessary. And I do understand at times it might not be possible to notify me of what is done. But the Stormtroopers are now *my* command and I will exercise the authority granted me to insure The Interrogator has troopers worthy to crew her." A bit of steel would have crept into his voice as he spoke, his eyes going colder and more resolute.

Serra was often certain of herself, but when it came to others, the same could not be said. The list of bounty hunters for this project wasn't exactly full of great success stories, but it was who they had to work with, and so she had to make do. With Mark, however, Serra was rapidly beginning to believe she could not have done better.

When Mark paused she stopped, turning to give him the full attention due a man of his rank. Serra smoked as he talked, taking in the words, noting the shift in his voice and features, the way they hardened with the certainty of what he was saying. There was no doubting why he had made such a stellar impression on those who had commanded him before.

"You are well within your right to request it, High Colonel. If anyone make unauthorized use of your facilities, you are free to discipline them as you see fit." She paused, studying the man's features as she lifted the cigarra to her lips once more. After a moment, she spoke again. "Our duties are very different, High Colonel, but our objective is the same. So long as the Empire is first in your mind and heart, you will find me to be an easy ally, and willing to assist however I can." She made no move to continue. They weren't far from the Major's office now, so there wasn't anywhere else to really go.

His expression softened slightly and he inclined his head towards her for a moment, "Major, my first duty is to the Empire, all else comes second. It is a weight off my chest to hear we can work together. I have seen too many troopers pay the price of petty feuds between our branches of service," he smiled slightly, "perhaps, if duty allows it, you will grace my office for an informal conversation on how best to integrate these bounty hunters into whatever project they are being used for." He stood tall once again, "I am told I brew a mean cup of caf." His eyes went distant for a moment before returning to Serra, "Of course, it will have to wait until after I have put some backbone back into my officers, but still, perhaps sometime in the next few days?"

Each little shift in his expression didn't pass unnoticed, including the way he looked beyond her for a few brief seconds when he spoke of the caf. Some memory, perhaps, from a less comfortable time? It was impossible to know, of course, but such guesswork had been a part of her since her early days as an agent. A brow lifted at the invitation for an informal visit, as clear a sign as she ever gave of surprise. It was exceedingly rare for outside branches to want to spend any time in the presence of an Intel officer, let alone ask them to come by for a friendly chat.

"Of course, High Colonel. We'll have plenty to discuss, I'm sure." His assistance could prove invaluable to this. While it wasn't outside of her realm of experience when it came to handling an off-grid operation group, this particular plan was rather unique. Serra's attention briefly lowered to the cigarra in her hand before taking a drag from it, making a mental note that she should probably prepare herself to go without them for however long her visit to his office lasted. That alone was a courtesy she had extended only to one other, and that person was a Sith. Her eyes lifted back up to him, body partially turned towards her office. "Until then." As much said, she turned to leave him. The troopers, given a dismissive motion, hung by to play escort to Mark. Serra never cared to keep anyone around without need.

Giving Serra a nod, "Major," he turned to go back to his quarters, motioning for the Stormtroopers to fall in behind him. He had one stop before his quarters and some much needed rest, the brig. It didn't take long to find out where the errant bounty hunter had been detained. The stun bolt had worn off and he could see from the viewscreen she was simmering in her own juices, locked in the cell without any weapons or armor. He instructed the Stormtroopers to casually inform her as to the fate of her armor per Serra's request and left her to stew until the morning. Nothing like a night in the brig to crack a bit of overconfidence.

He hoped disciplining his officers would not take much time, that the lack of a commander was the real reason behind no one resisting the young bounty hunter. If time allowed, he hoped to orchestrate some of the woman's reality adjustment. While he had a low opinion of bounty hunters, he still felt they should have a chance at success. Perhaps a good example would lead her to joining the Empire.

Walking back to his quarters, he was pleased with the day's results. His initial impression of the troopers gave him hope that it wouldn't take too much time to polish them into shape. That the head of the Intelligence Branch seemed reasonable and smart, willing to work with him, raised his hopes up even higher. His troopers' lives would depend on the information Intelligence was willing to part with. The more information he had, the better he could train his troopers for what was needed.

This time, upon entering his quarters, he did not ignore the call of his bed. Not bad for my first day on the job, he thought, undressing and climbing into bed. Veller fell asleep instantly, that innate skill a soldier learned. Sleep time is not to be wasted. Not a minute of it.

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