Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Christopher Levy and Tara McLaren.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:6:14) in the Brentaal system: Argo.
Commander Derek Atio and Valeria.

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 future."

"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 predicament.

"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 room.

"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 frame.

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 ship.

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