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
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
"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
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
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
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
"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
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
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.