Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Sean Brandt, Christopher Levy, and Anonymous.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:10:21) in the Essesia system: Warspite.
Agent Cipher Five, Captain Serra Eona, and Major Min Traebor.

The Imperial I-class Star Destroyer Warspite was on alert over the planet Esseles along a key trade route in the core. Deep within the bowels of the command ship Imperial Intelligence had commandeered a suite of private offices used both for meetings, analysis, and more overt actions such as interrogation. The entire operation was overseen by Major Min Traebor, a corrupt and nefarious young officer who had used her connections with the criminal organization known as the Black Sun to rise to a position of power of prominence far beyond what a woman of her age and skill could have hoped to earn on her own. She was dressed in the uniform of Intelligence which consisted of a white tunic with black trousers, with impeccably polished black boots and an accompanying pair of gloves. The cover was optional, and she chose not to wear it, intending to leave her straightened red hair straight down in a manner that was clearly against all military protocol. As she stood with her back turned to the door, she was instead focused on a tactical readout of the planet Rhinnal, where recent suspected Rebel activity had captured her imagination. New officers were coming and going and she was expected to receive an Agent any moment. For the evaluation, she had requested the aid of Captain Eona, whose insight she had come to value during their scant encounters during their service in the Oversector.

When it rained, it poured. That's how the saying went, wasn't it? Not that Captain Serra Eona ever had a lack of work, but things were starting to get quite interesting indeed. The incoming officers who would be serving with the local Intelligence division were really among the least of her concerns, but as a senior officer and, more importantly, a respected veteran of the Bureau, it wasn't particularly surprising to be asked to come in to help oversee an evaluation from time to time. Her own uniform was crisp and clean, though hardly new, and like the Major she always chose to go without cover, letting her well-kept mess of short, dark hair show. She came into the office looking much as she always did; fit, lacking in sleep, and utterly unconcerned and cold to the world around her. Her attention moved to the Major, to whom she gave a respectable salute. Before she said a word a cigarra was produced from inside her uniform jacket, lit, and given a healthy drag. She addressed Min in the exhale. "Major. How many are you expecting?" Usually it was just one, but once in awhile there was a need to review a handful of agents at a time, which usually called for multiple officers to be on hand for the evaluation.

For those like her, downtime was often seen as a luxury. There was always one more secret to learn; one more person to put down. Even during the times of rest, she always was doing something. Or at least it felt that way. She had spent most of her time since arriving on the Warspite in the training areas and shooting galleries. Too much time away from them could end up dulling one's abilities. Then again, it wasn't as if she had been looking forward to being sent out there. Being back in the capital would have been her preference. But it was part of the job: go where they tell you and do what needs to be done. Taking some time to learn the layout of the ship, she began making her way to the offices she was supposed to meet at. A pair of form-fitting pants covered her legs and a black, long-sleeves top was the closest thing to a uniform she had; it was mostly meant for ease of movement and being ready for anything. A vest with an attached hood was the top layer with the hood currently pulled over her head, hiding most of her hair though a few blue strands could be seen falling out near her face. Right on time, she entered the officers and took a quick look around, observing the layout. Force of habit if anything. She saw only two people, which was actually fewer than she expected. Her red eyes looked them both over before finally speaking. "Reporting for assignment."

"Just one, Captain," Major Traebor said, her back still turned to both the junior officer and the arriving agent. "...and there she is," she said, matter-of-factly, as she turned on her heels to view the newly arrived agent. An alien, was the first thought that went through her mind, which caused a sly smile to form upon her young lips. Useful indeed for counter terrorism objectives against an enemy force that by its nature was comprised of many of the alien species of the galaxy. "Please, have a seat," she said to the agent, as she motioned to one of the seats in front of her desk. She, however, chose to stand as she felt she thought better on her feet. "I've read your dossier," she began, her brown eyes scanning over the Chiss carefully, before darting in the direction of Captain Eona to read her body language on her initial thoughts of the newcomer. "Such as it is. It's not very complete, as most of it has been redacted," she continued, circling around her own desk with all of the swagger of a kath hound. She backed up into her own desk, and scooted her behind up on it, allowing her legs to dangle down below, swinging aimlessly. "Who are you? What can you do?" she asked, direct and to the point in order to save both of their time. With the question asked she folded both of her arms in front of her chest, and leaned back, tilting her head to the side like an animal, patiently waiting for the response.

Of the three, Serra was most likely the least imposing presence. At just over one and a half meters tall and slight of build, she didn't exactly tower over anyone. By comparison to the predatory nature of the Major, Serra's own habits of movement were simple, and by design betrayed very little. She stood and smoked her cigarra, appraising the agent in a brief once-over. If there was any specialty, she guessed fieldcraft. Intelligence gathering, observation, elimination when necessary. Infiltration when and if her species allowed for it. Not unlike where Serra herself had started, and the way the younger woman carried herself seemed confident. She took a seat herself once she realized that the Major would choose to stand. It wasn't at all surprising that Traebor wanted to make her superiority clear, and so Eona would play down her own status, just to see how it might affect the agent's reactions to the two of them. The Major would be hard pressed to get much of a message out of Serra's body language; it told so very little. She did, however, meet the look, and give a nod of her head. A simple acknowledgement that this one seemed worth the trouble for now. She didn't speak; rather, she let the Major and the agent talk while she calmly smoked her cigarra.

Her gaze followed the Major as she moved around the room and desk. Though offered a seat, she declined and instead remained standing. Her body was still in a way that would make most military soldiers jealous and her face was blank, making it nearly impossible to read her. Though she did give a couple of glances at Serra, most of her attention was on the Major, as she was currently addressing her. The asked questions were simple enough, at least. "My codename is Cipher Five, though most simply call me Cipher. Anything else you need to know would be in my dossier. If it isn't, then I assume Headquarters felt you didn't need to know it." Her voice was steady and calm. "As to what I do, I do what needs to be done. I specialize in infiltration and assassination, but am not limited to such. I recently completed a deep cover assignment into a smuggling operation in the capital. Don't ask for details. They are Classified. Was there something specific you were thinking of?"

Major Traebor rolled her eyes when she heard Cipher's response to her question, and blew a frustrated puff of air straight up her face that caused her hair to briefly uncover her left eye. "The Ubiqtorate is telling me just enough to *lose* this war..." she said, as she pushed forward, letting her boots hit the floor as she got back on her feet. "...and look like an idiot doing so, I might add," she said bitterly, as she shook her head at Captain Eona, as she passed by, once again circling to a position behind her desk. On the viewscreen she pressed a button to zoom out on where they were. "Cipher ... you are in the Ringali Shell. Six of the most prosperous human populated worlds in the Empire. The people should love us!" she exclaimed, throwing both of her arms up in the air for a moment. "They don't," she added, offering a temporary fake frown in a mock gesture of displeasure. "The key to the region is Brentaal, where the two trade routes converge. The Rebels started here, and did considerable damage to our propaganda efforts ... now the rich of Brentaal are funneling money into the Rebellion. Chandrila is home to the treacherous Senator Mon Mothma, leader of the Rebellion ... it's a hotbed of treasonous rabble. Corulag is at least with us ... we have considerable training facilities..." she said, concluding her briefing on the Bormea sector, before scrolling over to the neighboring Darpa sector. "Esseles was with us until the Governor imposed a punitive blockade that achieved nothing ... other than destroy their economy and turn them against us!" she shouted, rolling her eyes once again and flailing her arms, which quickly slapped down against our sides. "Ralltiir had to be base-delta-zeroed by the Imperial starfleet ... so let's not even talk about them. And all we had left was Rhinnal ... and they did love us. And now ... of course ... we have reports of serious Rebel activity there!" she finished, exasperated, in desperate need of one of Serra's cigarras. "I need to know what they're up to on Rhinnal. You say you can infiltrate? Then infiltrate!" she said, before turning her attention to the captain. "You got anything to add?" she asked, before folding her arms in front of her chest once again. This was not an easy job ... it was supposed to be a plush assignment, but was turning into a disaster.

The way Cipher seemed to be mildly annoying the Major brought the slightest upturn to Serra's lips. It was amusing, even if just a little, to watch. Serra made no great effort to hide the small reveal of how she felt, either; when it came to Traebor, she didn't feel the need. As the two talked she observed and listened and smoked, three things that were the core of her essence these days. The fact the Major actually addressed her in regards to the situation did surprise her a touch, but that she did not show. Instead she took a drag of the cigarra and spared a glance towards Cipher before speaking to Traebor. "If she can handle deep cover assignments of a nature that they would remain classified to high ranking Intelligence officers, then infiltration is precisely what she should do. I would, however, recommend going a step further." Now her eyes moved to Cipher, staring at the agent for a moment before continuing. "Rhinnal is still loyal, and I think the Major would prefer it remain that way. An overt act on the part of the Imperial Military isn't likely to make a good impression so long as the rebels have the good will of the people, which they most certainly do. If you are capable of infiltrating them planetside, then you will have the opportunity to change that. If the rebels are viewed as the terrorists they are rather than the folk heroes they want to be seen as, then the will of the people will turn on them, and we will be free to deal with them accordingly."

Despite the seeming displeasure or unhappiness of the Major, she ignored it and instead listened carefully to the barrage of information the woman threw at her. There was a lot going on, clearly. She was mostly used to superiors saying 'go here, do this,' and sending her on her way. This much background was a bit unique. At least for her. Still, it was welcome. She often said the more information she had to work with, the easier things could be. That suggestion typically fell on deaf ears. Of course, that didn't stop the Major from administering vague orders at the end of her ranting. Her attention was drawn to Serra when she finally spoke up. She was beginning to wonder if her purpose was only to be eye candy or not. She listened for a moment, considering the proposal. "An operation of that caliber would likely take time, depending on how entrenched their good will is. It all depends on how desperate you are to reach such an outcome." Her attention was turned back to the Major once again. "If you wish me to pose as a Republic supporter, it can be done. Though I might recommend coming up with a more specific goal than simply 'infiltrate'."

Major Traebor was a living embodiment of why the Empire was likely going to lose the war. She was not at all adept enough for her position, as she focused more on the political machinations required to achieve and then hold her station rather than concentrate on becoming a better officer and a skilled operative. Her superiors knew it, but because of who she knew there was little that could be done, and her rivals, rather than exploit it, preferred having a less than stellar officer in charge of her department. She listened to the Captain work out the details ... subordinates were great for that, she found. She nodded emphatically at each point Serra made, later planning to either take credit for it if it succeeded, or place the blame solely on her if it failed. "Yes. Indeed. Do that," she ordered, waving her hand dismissively in the direction of the Chiss agent. "Gather what information you need from our archives. Take what credits you need an arrange civilian transit to Rhinnal. From there, use whatever methods you feel are necessary to achieve your goals. We *must* know what is going on, on Rhinnal," she said, with a sound of exasperation on her voice. As soon as this meeting broke up she was going to have a drink ... or three.

Where the Major saw a plan, Serra saw a test. The agent was an unknown entity still; she had a dossier and a file, of course, but how she would handle herself in this particular situation, and how she would react to what Serra was proposing, was a mystery until it was presented. The outcome, as it stood, didn't pan out as hoped. Just as well that she learn now than later, and steer them all away from what would no doubt be an enormous mistake. It took a particular type of person to do what Serra proposed and at the moment she didn't believe that Cipher was that type. After the enthusiastic charge given by the Major, Serra spoke again. "For now, it might be wiser to infiltrate and observe. You will have a background prepared for you, the details of which you will receive tomorrow before you depart. For now your mission is simply intelligence gathering. Find out what they're doing to subvert Imperial loyalties on the planet, and if you can, who is providing them with support." She took another drag from the cigarra and rose to her feet now. The Captain, contrary to how it appeared, wasn't contending for Min's position, not intentionally. She just knew incompetence when she saw it, and had no desire to let it potentially ruin all that they worked so hard for. "That is, with your approval, Major." She might as well play ball, though Serra had the distinct feeling that Traebor wasn't long for her office.

In the short time she had been speaking with the two of them, she already was able to tell Serra at least seemed to have some idea what was going on and what had to be done. The Major seemed to be in a bit over her head. It wasn't much her concern though. Her main focus was on the mission given to her. Though she was curious as to what identity cover they were going to provide for her. Something more civilian based like a bartender at a cantina? Or more military based? Endless possibilities! She turned to Serra and gave her another brief look-over. "If possible, I would appreciate a list of names and backgrounds of specific people I should keep an eye on, if I run into them." She looked back and forth between the two of them a few times more. "If there is nothing else, I will go begin preparing right away."

"Yes, yes. Do as the Captain says," Major Traebor said, in full agreement with her subordinate officer. It was getting late in the night and the lure of a cocktail was beginning to overwhelm her so much that she swirled her tongue around in her mouth noticeably, pressing it against the side of her cheek to momentarily cause a bulge. "Very well, Agent. Captain Eona will provide you with what you need," she said, as she began to shift uncomfortably in her own skin. Her eyes looked towards the chronometer, noting the time ... had it really gotten so late? "Be a dear and walk her out, Captain?" she asked, looking to clear her office as quickly as possible so that she could move to the bottle she kept in her bottom desk drawer. "You know I have a feeling that this time it's going to work. We're really going to stick it to the bastards," she said, positive, as a warm and radiant smile came upon her face. She began ushering them towards the door, and if they paid close enough attention they might notice the slightest of tremors in her extremities. Finally, a productive meeting, she thought silently to herself ... they were really getting somewhere.

It would have been impossible not to see the signs eventually. The fidgeting, the movement of the tongue in her mouth, the trembling...all of it painted a picture as clear as day. Captain Eona stood and took a long drag from the cigarra, finishing it off. "As you say, Major." She moved to the small vac disposal and dropped the butt of the smoke down it, letting it disappear, and only then did she offer a salute to the superior. At first it would no doubt seem like all was finished, but once they got some way down the corridor she stopped Cipher with a hand to the back of the agent's arm. "You look the part. Emotional control, practiced motions, keeping a tight lip when called for. You're green, though. The Major can't see it; green can't see green. I do, though, so I'm going to give you some advice. Learn to make do with very little, and never make your superior feel like an idiot unless you're prepared for the consequences. This job isn't about you, your abilities, or your pride. It's about the Empire. Nothing else."

With the meeting now seeming to come to a close with a decision made, she gave a salute to the Major before walking out with Serra. It felt unnecessary to have to be escorted, but she didn't say anything about it. It wasn't that big of a deal. She was a bit surprised when she was brought to a halt by the Captain, one of her eyebrows raising up momentarily before looking over at her. She remained still and silent as the woman rambled off her perceptions of what she thought and given some advice. By the end, she was confused. She could only assume there was very little in the dossier they received, otherwise this conversation likely wouldn't be happening. She couldn't blame the Captain for that though. She figured it was best to simply let her have her say. However, she did feel the need to say one thing. "Everything I do...everything I have ever done...everything I have yet to done to serve the Empire and nothing else. Do not question that ever again." She gave a quick salute before breaking away from the Captain and continuing on her way. She had some work to do.

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