Commander Derek Atio angrily slammed
down a datapad on the conference table as he finished read the names of
the Imperial officers that had been rounded up as part of his plot to
feed the Empire false information. Only fourteen of the 20 names on the
list had been arrested ... meaning six of the names on the list had not
been turned over. "What happened?" he finally asked her, as he stood up
from his seat, letting it swing around wildly, while walking over
towards the wall to brace himself. He needed a drink ... and badly, he
thought to himself as he adjusted the tan uniform jacket he wore over a
dark brown shirt, with matching tan trousers and brown leather boots. It
was rare for him to be in the uniform of the Rebel Alliance, but he was
aboard a Rebel warship.
"Now Commander, why am I getting the
impression that you're mad at me?" Valeria spun around in her chair, but
only once. She stopped it midspin as if belatedly realizing that he was
indeed not very pleased with her right now. She was wearing her usual
garb ... the only difference was she had that fusion cutter in place of
one of her twin blasters still. Apparently she was loathe to simply
replace that weapon.
"There were 20 names on that list,
Valeria ... 20," Derek reminded her, as he lowered his head and brought
his hand up to rub his forehead. He felt a stress headache coming on and
he had a feeling it was only getting worse. "What happened to the six
officers who are alive and well and enjoying their positions and status
within the Galactic Empire?" he asked, finally turning his head to take
a look at her directly.
"They weren't bad. Not...bad, like the
others." She sighed and raised a finger, already anticipating his
objection. "I know, they are servants of the Empire, but according to
the Intel they aren't abusing their authority. I used my discretion."
Derek sighed as the half-Zeltron had
successfully anticipated his question and all he could do is bring his
arms in front of his chest and fold them in a pout. "Valeria ... we're
fighting a war here," he explained to her, wondering where her loyalty
truly was. "Those officers need to go if we're going to make headway in
this region. Your mission could have saved thousands of Rebel lives..."
he continued, sounding quite dejected as he slowly walked towards her.
"You got fourteen out of 20. Why don't
you try looking on the bright side?" She began to count out the reasons
why he could look at it positively. "One, more than half your Imps are
gone, and they were the ones who were causing the most trouble. Two,
with a more reasonable number, the Empire is going to be less suspicious
of people going traitor. And finally three, Some of the Alliance's
greatest heroes were former Imperial officer and we just spared six that
are fundamentally decent in an atmosphere where their fellows are
committing atrocities. Those guys could be assets for you in the
"You don't know that, Valeria," Derek
said softly, as he returned to his chair and sat back down. "Those
officer's names were not picked out of a hat ... Alliance Intelligence
specifically targeted those men so that we could advance our operations
in those areas," he explained, placing each of his hands palm down on
the shiny black surface of the conference table. They may have gotten
fourteen, but he wanted 20.
"There is a fourth reason, now that I
think about it, that you should consider." Valeria flipped her hair back
with both hands, the gloves temporarily removed from her armorweave
thinsuit. "It's this: If I was someone who was willing to betray my
principles in order to accomplish a mission, would this be the kind of
purpose you'd trust?"
"I admire your principles, Valeria ... I
really do," Derek conceded, as he attempted to be diplomatic. He lowered
his head slowly until his forehead was pressed against the conference
table and he let out a low, slow moan of discomfort as he considered the
"Plus, you remove too many officers and
maybe the Empire decides to assign a whole mess of them here." She
smiled as she reached out a hand to touch his arm. "Really, why don't
you cheer up? I'll still be here to hurt the Empire when you need to."
She took the ends of her hair and moved to sniff it, smiling at the lack
of ozone smell. It was a nice change of pace.
"I'll cheer up when we've driven the
Empire from this region," Derek revealed to her, showing just how devout
he was becoming to the cause due to the terrible things he had scene
since being called into action. "There are going to be 'good' Imperials
who die, Valeria. That cannot be avoided ... this is war," he repeated
the familiar chorus yet again, as he attempted, perhaps futilely, to
reason with her.
"I know that." She smiled, before
glancing down to indicate her blaster pistol. "It's not like I haven't
shot plenty of them. I think you would have to admit, though...among the
things you've down, framing people so they would be executing is among
the most questionable. I just wanted to make sure the ones going down
had done something to deserve it."
"The Empire has limitless resources. One
of the way we plan on countering that is to sew dissent among their
command. If officers feel that 'loyal' officers are unjustly being
executed for treason ... morale will suffer and they will be more likely
to support our cause," he explained, as he lifted up his head from the
table finally as he elaborated more on the plan. "So, as you can see,
the more 'good' the officer who falls victim to this stratagem the more
likely our plan is to succeed," he explained again, thrusting his right
palm upon the conference table that caused a reverberation through the
"Then someone did a bad job picking a
majority of guys who were scum? I'm sorry, I'm just a bit different than
you in this way. I don't like feeling guilty about things, and I'm sure
I would have felt guilty even we had framed the innocent." Valeria did
look rather uncomfortable.
"When the war is over we can all confess
our sins and worry about our guilt, Valeria," Derek said, as he plainly
stated his case. "I'm sorry you weren't comfortable with this, but I
want you to know, had it succeeded it would have been a great benefit to
our cause," he said tiredly, as he stood from his seat and began walking
towards the door. "I need a drink," he said weakly, as he took another
glance towards her. "Is there anything else? We'll hold off on further
false intelligence for now," he explained, as he leaned against the door
Valeria frowned and leaned forward. She
was actually looking upset at this point. "Are you telling me there's no
benefit to the majority of the officers being set up?" Her small hands
balled up as she tensed. Apparently Valeria was surprised by this.
"It's a half victory, Valeria," Derek
informed her, as he lowered his head, breaking the awkward eye contact.
He was trying to avoid a confrontation. "We cannot win a war with half
victories," he told her, sounding quite tired and distracted. The bottle
of Corellian ale in his cabin was seeming more appealing by the moment.
"Thank you for the fourteen that you did help us eliminate," he said
after a pause, trying to put a happier mood in the conversation.
"If I know my contact, they're going to
want more. You might want to reconsider feeding the more data. This
might have been a half victory, but the cost was cheap. I'm not even
charging you for this." Valeria sighed and would lay her head down on
the conference table, apparently not realizing that this was not her