"His head?" Randi said as she inspected her new ship, letting loose a
soft chuckle as she walked away from Bethany. She did not believe a word
this woman had to say, waving a hand at her, playfully dismissing her.
"Yeah. I'm sure that happened..." she said sarcastically, continuing to
shake her head as she continued the walk around inspection of the ship.
This Surronian design was far different than anything she had flown in
her service with the Empire, and she wondered if she would be able to
handle it properly given the amount of time she had been relegated to a
desk and a shuttle. "...and I'm a Grand Admiral," she added playfully as
she moved beneath the Conqueror-class assault ship to inspect the outer
skin. "Should have told me she cut off an arm," she said as her hand
moved to manually rotate the turret, "...might have believed an arm."
Lieutenant Bethany Sheppard stood near the Warspite's
latest arrival, her eyes excitedly looking over its each and every
feature. It was a vast improvement over the broken down tramp freighters
she had served aboard during her adolescence. She had wanted to be a
starfghter pilot, like Randi, but she was not accepted into the TIE
fighter training program. She had to settle for navigating the mammoth
vessel at 1/100th the speed. Not exactly as exhilarating. "I'm telling
you, Randi," she said, peeling the glove off her right hand so that her
exposed fingertips might lovingly caress the vessel. "I heard from Petty
Officer Parker. Who heard from Lieutenant Alexander, who swore he was
there and saw everything," she said, explaining the series of
conversations that led to her knowledge of the event. "She just ripped
his head off with her bare hands," she said, shaking her head in dismay
at how quickly things had changed. "Do you think we're safe?" the young
girl nervously asked the older pilot, whom for some reason she looked up
to. "I mean all the Admiral ever did was restrict us from shore leave,"
she said as she recounted the events, "...and all that meant was not
being blown up or kidnapped so that was actually something to look
forward to." Her doe eyes locked upon her, waiting for what she hoped
would be an optimistic reply.
Unfortunately for them both, Serine had been within an ear shot and
also witnessed an officer that she was not familiar with fondle her
pride and joy, the inquisitor's private and beloved Conqueror-class
assault ship: Darkened Oblivion. "This is not a public exhibit,
Lieutenant." Serine seemed to appear from no where to stare down
Bethany in a rather threatening fashion as she approached the two to
stand a bit between them. Her attention soon shifted to her pilot, her
flustered demeanor changed, it was as if Serine
enjoyed seeing Randi. "Have you become familiar with my craft?" She paid
no mind to the gossip about her, as obnoxious as it was... it was
actually a bit humorous though she never once cracked even the faintest
of smiles when listening. Funny how rumors could spread wildly and
become out of control... it was all for the better though. Fear was
often the best motivation.
"I am so...so...sorry, Milady," she stammered nervously, finding the
strength to swallow to moisten her nervously dry palette. Bethany took a
step back from Serine, her light form silently gliding backwards as she
slinked away. Her hands moved upwards, wrapping around her throat as she
looked at Randi, pretending to strangle herself. She allowed her tongue
to slide from between her lips and dangle upon her chin as she smiled
towards her. Raising her eyebrows to her in a kind smile, she slinked
away while she was still in one piece, heading to the mess deck to
inform the crew of her harrowing brush with death. Randi tried to
maintain firm eye contact with the Inquisitor as she spoke, but her
easily distracted eyes could not help to the performance Bethany was
giving behind her back. A small smile begin to grow upon her face. A
small that would slowly grow into a smirk before forming a grin that
threatened to her tear her face in twine. She began to chuckle almost
uncontrollably, bringing a gloved hand in front of her face to cover her
outburst. She would get her for this, she thought to herself as she
struggled to regain her composure. "Not...not...entirely..." she
replied, struggling to get the words out as her inappropriate behavior
She was already well aware of Randi's serious lack of self-control as
well as a serious lack of everything else minus unmatched piloting
skills, so the other's outburst of laugher was rather characteristic...
Though after a few moments of it, Serine sensed sabotage causing her to
glance over her shoulder at Bethany who had already began to walk from
them. The inquisitor was just a tad bit too slow to catch anything. As
she turned back to face Randi, her eyebrows lifted a bit at the sight of
the momentary incapacitation. "Whatever was done, couldn't have been
that funny." Oh how wrong she was, though Serine couldn't exactly
understand as she rarely laughed at something humorous. The inquisitor
looked up at the hull of her ship with a silent admiration. "I trust you
will take care of her."
Randi's laugher gradually subsided and she did her best to plaster a
scowl upon her face, the antithesis of her true nature. "Don't worry
yourself, Serry. Only a few people onboard this ship have a sense of
humor," she explained as she pressed the button to lower the boarding
ramp that emerged from the bottom of the ship's hull. "I didn't get to
take a peak inside yet," she said as she leaned her head up inside the
hull of the vessel, noticing that it was distinctly more modern and
stylish than her shuttle. "Oooooh," she said gleefully as she hoisted
herself inside. Perhaps this change would suit her after all.
She nodded her head once while listening to Randi in tune to what she
expected the other to say... and almost completely missed the pet name.
Serine was going to nod again but stopped, not fully understanding what
had just transpired because it was so ridiculous and unexpected. No one
would even call her by her first name, let alone... create a pet name
for her. "S-Serry?" The inquisitor stuttered, in awe, the network in her
brain could not function fast enough to process the scene that had just
transpired. What transpired next was just as unexpected, she laughed. It
first was a slight chuckle of disbelief, but it grew quickly and echoed
loudly in the hanger until there were tears in her eyes and she became
short of breath. Gasping for air, she placed a palm up against the hull
of her ship in order to lean up against it. That struck her as so
obnoxious that it had to stay, how could she not be called Serry by
Randi now... it was so ridiculous, and if anyone else uttered it, they
would die. "Heh..." Wiping a tear away... "Good
show, I'll take it."
"Spiffy ship," Randi said excitedly, glad to see the woman was
finally turning around and showing a little personality. It would make
things a bit more bearable for her. There had been too many awkward
silences and tearful recollections aboard the family shuttle, and it had
caused her often to flee to the officer's mess for a shot to ease her
nerves. Her drinking had steadily declined since the incident, allowing
her to return to active flight status. "Want to see what she can do?"
she asked excitedly as she stuck her nose into the cockpit. She had all
the enthusiasm of a child in a toy store that was told they could have
whatever they desired. "Wow..." she squealed as she sat down into the
pilot's chair and looked over the advanced tactical controls. A TIE/ln
had nothing on this.
Ah yes, her ship was a beauty and Inquisitor Thanor took extra
special care of it. She had it for years upon years but it looked brand
new due to Serine's careful consideration and painstaking eye for
detail. "I would like to stress once again that this ship is very
special to me. If you damage her, your own body will suffer a similar
fate." With that said she followed the eager pilot up the ramp and into
the cockpit before she took a seat. "I am also curious to see how well
you manage her. Take off when ready." Serine was a
bit weary of Randi's take off and landing ability... so she was sure to
strap in before the other revved up the engines.
"Now when you say damage..." Randi said slowly, looking over her
shoulder towards her with a curious grin. Her hand moved to activate the
ship's power core, but unfortunately her unfamiliarity with the ship's
controls fired off the forward ion cannon, the blue bolt of energy
connecting with, and thoroughly disable, a TIE/ln starfighter that had
been towed out to maintenance. "Eee," she groaned as her hand moved up
towards the collar of her flightsuit to pull it slightly looser as she
cleared her throat. "Well...it was only an ion burst..." she said
nervously as her hand finally stumbled upon the control that powered up
the craft. There was a *humm* in the rear of the ship as it began to
power up. The controls were beginning to make sense.
She shifted slightly in her seat to get comfortable, this should
prove to be an interesting flight. "Just try to keep the casualties at a
minimal." Honestly, Serine didn't want the pilot to run over any
unfortunate mechanics, though there was no doubt that after the ion
blast, onlookers were anxious to move the hell out of the way. "You're
causing a slight panic here, I'll be impressed if you make it out of the
bay without colliding with someone or something."
"Relax," Randi said in a casual tone as she reached around to strap
herself in, feeling quite secure with the safety harness. "Might want to
go ahead and strap yourself in though..." she said quickly as her hands
moved to activate the repulsorlift engine that would lift the assault
ship off the hangar. The ship tilted slightly to the right, nearly
colliding with the hangar deck before she managed to correct her course.
There was a slight hesitation in her movements, the sweat beading upon
her forehead. She swallowed, her hand sliding the throttle forward as
she ship accelerated towards the hangar's exit. As the ship passed
through the magnetic shield and cleared the hangar, she leaned back in
the seat and exhaled a deep sigh. "Easy," she said as she continued to
familiarize herself with the controls.
"Well, I'm impressed then." Said honestly, she had expected something
tragic there, it was almost disappointing, but she was also relieved
that no ugly scratches were scraped across her ship... "However, there
is always the landing..." Yes, Randi would have to successfully land
Darkened Oblivion as well. The pilot would definitely be able to do
some outlandish maneuvers with this ship, it wasn't at all bulky and
stiff like the Lambda-class shuttles.
Randi swallowed when Serine mentioned the word 'landing.' Truthfully,
she could not recall the last time she had one that was successful, but
she decided not to share that bit of information. She lined the ship up
with the nearby Ringali Nebula, her eyes glaring towards the horizon, it
appearing to be well over 10,000 meters away. "Let's see what this baby
can do," she said excitedly as her hand pushed the throttle down to it's
maximum speed. The ship began to rattle as she pushed it too it's limit,
the items inside the storage compartments beginning to shake.
Thankfully, she had strapped herself in rather securely and the effects
were minimized on her. She was impressed. A moment later, she pulled
back on the stick as hard as she could and began to ascent into a steep
climb. "Ngh," she groaned as she moved the ship into a barrel roll, that
nearly tore the ship apart as she inverted them back down. Exhaling a
deep breath, she eventually maneuvered it back onto their original
course towards the nebula. "This thing is easier to handle than a
college girl after six ales," she ceaselessly observed as she ran a hand
across the control panel lovingly.
She dug her fingers into the armrests of her chair, clawing it
tightly as Randi took loose liberty of the controls causing some things
to be tossed all around the ship. Anything that was not bolted down
began to collide with the sides of the ship and fling dangerously close
to Serine's head which she had to dodged expertly. As they evened out,
she heavily sighed as she peered around at the minor mess, there were
only a few things broken, nothing that was terribly vital or important.
"You will be cleaning this up once we arrive back on Warspite."
Said firmly, the lieutenant was allowed her fun but she would pay the
price later for it. Serine looked on towards the nebula and realized
that she was a bit ignorant on the whole situation here, as she had yet
to have a briefing due to misfortunes of the Admiral and some crew
members. "How much do you know about what is going on here?" The
inquisitor was craving some actual detail, it felt like the officers on
the ship were purposely withholding information.
"The Rebels are kicking our butts. That's what's going on," Randi
replied in a single line of dialogue, not wasting time with an
explanation or detailed information. To her, it was just that simple.
While she was not a frontline combat pilot, as the Admiral's personal
pilot since their arrival hear she had overheard all of the latest Intel
and reports. Not that she was nosey, per say, but she did like to know
the various methods being employed by the Rebellion to kill her. She
found that topic to be the of the utmost importance. Noticing they were
veering a bit too close towards the nebula again, she began to swing the
craft around into a tight turn, resembling a U as she redirected the
craft towards the Star Destroyer, now visible as nothing more than a dot
on the horizon.
"I gathered that much, do you know anything more? How are a bunch of
under equipped and under trained commoners outsmarting the crew of this
ship time and time again?" It was a serious problem and one that the
Grand Vizier mentioned during her meeting with him. Serine wasn't
surprised that she was sent here to solve some issues, only dismayed
about how useless and unorganized the crew had to be to continually be
defeated by outcasts.
Randi's hand flipped on the auto-pilot, immediately spinning her
chair around to face the Inquisitor with a look of utter confusion.
"Under equipped and under trained?" she repeated in a shocked voice,
nearly laughing at her statement. "Sery, you go ahead and take out one
of those TIE/lns and patrol this system. If you manage to come back in
one piece then we can talk about who is under trained and under
equipped," she said, an uncharacteristic hostile tenor added to her
voice, resenting the statement. She had once trained Imperial pilots and
knew firsthand the cutbacks they were making at the Academy to rush
inexperienced pilots into the fray.
"You are assuming a few too many things regarding my experience, and
that is unwise and dangerous. The fact of the matter is that I've been
sent here to fix problems, and so far... that is all I've seen. If I
believe the best way to solve the issues at hand is to do exactly what
you suggest, then I will do it, even if I have to hunt down every single
last rebel in the area by myself. However, that isn't the real issue
here, I'm sad to see you are so blinded. The real issue here is the
incompetence of the crew, its inability to problem
solve and its inexperience in dealing with gorilla warfare. Add that
with the its severe lack of discipline and disregard for the values the
Empire holds and you have a disaster floating in space with no guidance
and no chance to not only protect itself but protect the inhabitants of
this sector from the honorless tactics of these terrorists." Her speech
was full of passion, it meant something to her, this wasn't a day job,
she believed that her job made a difference... damn it and until she was
able to drill it into every mind that activity worked on the Warspite,
her work will not be done.
Randi listened to each word the Inquisitor said, but felt the exact
opposite of her in most regards. She truly believed the crew of the
Warspite was the finest in the fleet, but decided not to argue the
issue with her just in case the story Bethany told her was true. Without
adding to the argument, she swiveled the chair back around and focused
on the controls as they returned to close proximity to the Warspite.
"Um...you're going to grade me on the whole performance and not just the
landing right?" she asked nervously, her hand moving to deactivate the
autopilot as she began to guide the ship inside of the hangar bay.
Uncharacteristically, her hand moved to cut the engine, instead relying
on maneuvering thrusters to make the final approach ... for once she was
following the regulations.
Serine's poor experience with the ship was the classic example of
terrible first impression. Every time she turned around there was
something disrespectful and in desperate need of correction. There was
nothing she had witness thus far that was a redeeming light of hope, the
fact that she happened to enjoy the company of Randi did not distract
from her feelings that the other was barely competent, only worth her
weight in her emergency combat maneuvers. But apparently that was good
enough for flying her ship, as she had been impressed, no reason to lie
to herself about it. There was still no excuse on the fact that every
other day another ship was being hijacked or destroyed by rebels, and
even the Admiral's own wife had been kidnapped. Everything just reeked
of poor management, could anyone honestly blame Serine... "I never said
I was grading you, I just wanted to come along for the mild excitement."
Firing the maneuvering thrusters one last time she eased gently back
on the controls and touched the Darkened Oblivion near-flawlessly
down on the hanger deck. Even Randi could not believe what a graceful
and uneventful landing it had been, and she just about to turned to brag
when the unthinkable had happened. She had failed to see the service
vehicle that had come to tow the TIE/ln she had damaged prior to take
off, and the vehicle suddenly collided with the ship. The landing claws
dragged against the surface of the hangar, scratching up the deck that
had just been polished by a group of junior enlisted personnel. Sparks
began to fly from beneath the ship and she began to cringe from the
awkward scrape of metal on metal. "It's not my fault!" she cried out in
desperation as she looked out towards the technician operating the
vehicle in disgust.
Serine could not believe that Randi had successfully landed the ship.
Honestly, she would have bet any sum of credits that the pilot was going
to botch it up... She was in shock, but things were about to get right
into perspective when the towing crane smacked hard into the side of the
assault ship causing it to screech along the landing platform which gave
off an ear-splitting sound much to all of the inhabitants dismay. "I
agree, however, I also believe it is not possible for you to land
without an event to follow." Serine wasn't at all upset, to her, this
made sense and she already accepted the pilot's poor landing skill.
"However, now you will also be painting the landing gears after you
clean up the interior."
Fear gripped her as she unstrapped herself, slowly turning around to
meet the Inquisitor. She nodded with some relief in what she had said,
agreeing to her request without speaking a word. After a moment of
awkward silence she stumbled about slightly, hurriedly picking up the
things that had fallen. She looked to her, trying not to smile. "Does
this mean you're not gonna rip my head off are ya, Serry?" Randi asked
nervously, seeming to scrunch her head down close to her neck like one
of the giant sea turtles on Dorumaa just in case.
"I thought you didn't believe that story." She unstrapped her harness
as she stood up to stretch her lower back, suddenly looking more...
human. It was apparent that the inquisitor felt comfortable around
Randi, go figure... but that did not mean she wasn't against
disciplinary action of her new personal pilot. The inside of the ship
was a wreck, dirt from the lone potted plant was strewn all over the
floor, some on the walls and caked upon the ceiling... The ramp was
lowered and as she began to descend from the ship,
she would pause for a moment and turn her head back to Randi. "I didn't
rip his head off with my bare hands... I slowly burned it off with the
smoldering coils of my lightwhip." A very feint smile seen on her lips
as she turned from the other to fully exit from Darkened Oblivion.