Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Kit Gwynne and Sarah Riggs-Shute.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:2:14) in the Essesia system: Interrogator.
High Inquisitor Serine Thanor, Theo, and Colonel Mark Veller.

The appointed time came and Mark was once again in the training room. This time there were no Stormtroopers to chase out as Mark made sure the space was empty before for the time slot he has reserved with Theo. He had to admit the little alien creeped him out a bit, but he did do his job well. As long as the High Inquisitor was happy with him, Mark would not complain.

All of the reports for the Esseles operation were finally done and Mark was feeling hopeful about the spar. He had probably spent more of what little free time he had reviewing the recordings of the spar they did. Serine was fast but he had found a few flaws in her style he hoped to exploit and at least get a pin or two.

Waiting for Serine to enter, he quietly centered himself, concentrating on the spar to come, emptying out of his mind all the recent reports. It was not often he had time for this ritual, but now he indulged and felt the calm and the combat edge that went with it settle in.

Kneeling in the mat, his hands on his thighs, Mark was aware the instant Serine entered the room. He gracefully rose to his feet, giving Serine a formal bow as she entered. "High Inquisitor."

The Inquisitor had arrived well before their allotted sparring time and soon realized that her High Colonel had been waiting for her. Serine immediately picked upon the brief end of his relaxation technique that was far too similar to how a Jedi would meditate before battle. This concerned her, as that was not typically something one did spontaneously, but something that had to be taught. There were only two possibilities, either a master of martial arts had showed him that posture, or a follower of the now defunct Jedi Order had. She hoped for his sake that it was the former rather than the latter option. Serine gazed at him carefully, studying him for a moment before letting the idea slip from her. The possibility was so slim, she couldn't be bothered with it. Just as their last spar, her belt and lightwhip were discarded to the floor and off to the side.

Serine was no stranger to what a man obsessed looked like, and she was troubled that Veller was starting to show telltale signs of a transfixed infatuation with defeating her in a spar. Before, when he had entered her office unannounced and requested a spar, she wondered then if he would ever be satisfied with the conclusion that she was his superior in combat. Theo had informed her that Mark had also requested a third timeslot, and who knows how many more he would request. The thought had occurred to her to take a few falls on purpose, to ease his growing compulsion to defeat her, but every combative fiber in her being made that idea impossible. She addressed him as she made her way to the blue safety mats, "I see you have already requested an additional timeslot for sparring. Know that I am very busy and cannot always heed your requests, Colonel." She doubted a verbal acknowledgment would dilute his preoccupation with these spars, but the Inquisitor also did not want him too focused that it distracted him from his work.

"I understand, Milord," Mark replied, "We both have our duties to attend to. As we can, the occasional spar has the opportunity to refresh oneself as other activities do not. One of my teachers went to great pains to remind me there was always something else to learn, some skill to hone to a higher degree. One just has to look for it." He took a defensive stance, "When you are ready, Milord."

She was certain that he would be more difficult to maneuver around this time, she recognized that he was a fast learner and likely studied their previous spar for weaknesses. Serine had no plans to lose to him, and decided that if necessary, she would channel more of her ... unfair abilities. There were so few alive that even knew what the Force was, and it had fallen into legends and superstitions, thus it made manipulating the field of battle all the more easy. A foe that does not understand what they face is unlikely to be victorious. Her goal was still to pin him aggressively without damaging his limbs, but she was not hesitant to land a few strikes if he adapted too quickly to her advances. As the Inquisitor lunged forward towards him, even with her enhanced speed, Veller was able to evade and it surprised her. Eyes went wide as she skidded to a stop a few meters past him before they quickly narrowed. A normal man's reflexes should not be so keen as to anticipate her movements moving at the speeds she commanded.

Mark was not fooled by the apparent laziness with which the Inquisitor stood. He recognized that coiled serpent within and was ready when Serine sprang into motion. Dodging was not all that difficult, but the sweep he tried to use in order to trip Serine totally failed. His legs missed her feet by mere millimeters, but miss they did. As Mark finished his turn, he sprang up to attack the Inquisitor, only to find himself under attack and forced to retreat. It didn't take long after that before Mark found himself on the mat and tapped out.

Getting up to face her next attack, Mark tried to wrap his mind around her speed. He had always done well at rearranging his tactics when things changed. Even though his prior commanding officers had hated him, those under him generally viewed him as good luck if nothing else. Something pulled at him and demanded his attention, but he refused to be distracted from Serine. This was combat and all else was unimportant to surviving the moment.

Standing after Serine let him up from the mat, he went on the attack immediately, figuring that this might be the only opportunity he was going to get during this spar to take Serine down. Throwing a few punches towards her midriff to make her defend, he then threw a punch at her shoulder before ducking down to sweep the back of her legs.

Despite Veller impressing her on his adaptability and his astute reflexes, she had been taking this spar a bit for granted. Her opponent might have also picked up that Serine was not fully focused on the battle, but participating merely to satisfy his desire for combat. Because of her inattentiveness, especially while he was recovering from a pin, she was indeed open to being attacked, and it took her by complete surprise. Startled, she retreated quickly from his onslaught, and her agility alone allowed her to dodge the majority of his strikes, with carefully placed arms to deflect others, but his last hit did slam into her shoulder and put her off balance for a brief moment. During their previous spar, and through the beginning of this one, Serine had only used sweeps and pins to defeat him, never a strike. The fact that he would be the first to attempt to land blows upon her irritated Serine and caused a bit of anger to start to boil. That small spark of animosity was all that was needed for the Inquisitor to regain control of this spar. With incredible agility, she avoided his sweep and went straight into a counter, attempting to slam him squarely into his shoulder to return the favor. His strike had impacted her left arm and left it throbbing, but her hit was far more vicious, and would make it all the easier to pin him forcefully to the mat.

There was a moment of triumph that was quickly crushed by a hard pain in his shoulder as he ran into Serine's punch. That maneuver had taken down everyone he had tried it on except one, the master who taught it to him. He let out a grunt as Serine took him to the mat hard. It took him a few seconds to recover enough to tap the mat, but he did manage it. Getting back up, he rubbed his shoulder, rolling it around a few times to ensure there was no damage. There was pain, but nothing more than a hard bruise.

Mark let out a breath and resigned himself to eating mat for the remainder of the spar. But he would observe and learn. Perhaps it would be the next spar where he pinned Serine, or the next after that. Mark was confident it would happen. Eventually.

He nodded to Serine, indicating he was ready for the next spar and took another defensive stance. The one point in his favor was being able to avoid a few of the attacks she threw at him. Though, the more strikes he avoided, the quicker she got. Serine might be throwing him to the mat a lot, but he was making her work for it. That in itself was an improvement.

She was far more mindful this time when he raised himself up from the mat, lest he advanced upon her unexpectedly. Serine too rolled her left arm to ensure it could still function, his strike was not meant to incapacitate her, but to open an advantage for himself, so the damage was minor although still painful. The Inquisitor looked upon her opponent with a heavy glare, now realizing he was eager to strike her, and she was none-too-pleased about it because it increased the stakes of the spar which could increase the chances for injuries. She felt it was unwise for him to tempt her to land melee hits upon him as it could escalate quickly, and Serine was still unwilling to harm him.

With a renewed energy, she dashed towards him with an even greater speed than before which he would find much more difficult to evade. Serine had to continue to move faster than she had anticipated, Veller was far more formidable than even a warrior of his service and history should dictate. It made her proud to have his loyalty, but it also make her uneasy and anxious. It was almost as if she was facing another with Force augmented abilities. She moved with unnatural speed which would have likely confounded his sensibilities as it was nearly impossible, at least for those that did not fully understand what those channeling the Force were capable of. Serine's attacks were far fiercer as well, and Veller would be impacting the mats with more velocity, almost to the point of injuring him.

Mark tried to keep up with Serine's attacks and likened it to be attacked by a horde of flying insects all trying to get him. Sounds of his hitting the mat were getting louder with each fall and he was beginning to feel a bit bruised. The question in the back of his mind that was screaming at him was how could she move that fast? He ignored it as best he could since if he gave it any attention, he would find himself on the mat again. He could afford no distractions to do what little he was able to do.

But he was not about to admit defeat until Serine called an end to the spar. It came soon enough when he found himself in a similar position to the end of prior spar, just this time with a knee digging into the small of his back. Tapping the mat twice, he acknowledged the defeat, his own breath coming hard and heavy with exertion. He blinked furiously as some sweat fell into his eye and was, privately, very relieved when Serine finally let go of his arm and rose from his back. As much as he truly wanted to just lay there for a few minutes and regain his breath, his own pride would not allow it. Taking a deep breath, he pushed himself to his feet and turned to face Serine.

"My thanks for a good spar, Milord," he said, "It was most instructive," bowing slightly, he waited for whatever response Serine might have. His whole body felt slightly bruised, but it was nothing worse than he had acquired in other practice spars with prior teachers.

The Inquisitor was not nearly as worse-for-wear as the Colonel was. He had managed to land a few good hits on her, but her minor injuries were insignificant, nor was she fully out of breath, but she was breathing a bit heavier than usual. She had to put in an extreme amount of effort to defeat him so soundly, and it troubled her. Perhaps the man was just that adaptable, but she had never had to use such effort to defeat a single soldier in her life. Serine started to look inwards and see if maybe her combat prowess was decaying much like a muscle unused starts to atrophy. Veller was giving her much to think about after this second spar and eyes appeared distant in thought as he addressed her. It took her a moment before she snapped back into reality again and turned to face him. "Indeed ... you have improved since the last spar," she admitted although she was unsure as to why. Even someone obsessing over video could not have dodged some of those attacks she unleashed upon him. Veller had managed to anticipate her movements when others would not have even been able to see them. "Until our next appointed time." She nodded to him then turned to gather her equipment before proceeding to exit the training facilities.

Mark bowed to her at the compliment, for a moment, completely flustered as he had not been expecting such a comment. As a result, he missed any opportunity to respond. The thought crossed his mind that it was good she had turned away from him to gather her weapons which he had, mindful of before, not gone to give to her.

Mark walked over to the nearby bench and sat down on it, perhaps harder than otherwise and let out a breath, sweeping his sweaty hair back out of his eyes. He considered the spar for a moment and Serine's comments. He could admit to himself she was a vicious fighter and if caught outside the sparring room, would probably be a dirty fighter as well. Not that Mark minded a dirty fighter. True battlefield combat was not about being fair and nice to your opponent. It was about winning, or dying in the attempt. But Serine seemed, he struggled for the word, supercharged.

He pushed himself off the bench and went for the adjoining showers. Serine's last words about next appointed time echoed in his mind. He almost regretted making that second appointment with Theo for the spar. Now, he felt like he was pushing his luck somehow. Should he cancel it or not? Well, it was not something he could not do from the shower, so whatever the decision it would have to wait.

The High Inquisitor rushed down the hallways towards her office, now extremely anxious to find out all of the information she could amass about Veller and his past. She had left all of these details to Major Eona, assuming the woman would share vital bits of information, but Serine realized that by fully delegating that task to Serra, that Serine knew nearly nothing about Veller except that he was now her High Colonel. Her own ignorance of one of her most important officers angered her, she should have been more knowledgeable of her senior officers. She flew into her office on a mission, abruptly stalking her small avian servant like a predator. It was clear the Inquisitor was charged and impatient. "Theo, I need you to do all the digging you can muster on High Colonel Veller. I want everything ... *everything*!" She was not trying to startle the Fosh, but her mannerisms were extremely aggravated and aggressive. "Here is my high security access code," she said while displaying the highly sensitive number digitally upon a datapad she held out to him before erasing it immediately. Even though Serine's mannerisms were reckless, she trusted Theo to do this and not betray her, and this subject was now so important, the obvious lapse of judgement escaped her entirely. "I need this done now!" She barked at him before pacing around the room clearly irritated and irate.

Theo jumped a little bit when Serine stomped into the room. He was expecting her return from the spar in a little bit and so was taking the opportunity to fiddle around a bit with Serine's schedule, seeing if some tweaks would work better.

"Yes, Master Thanor," he said, "Theo find everything fast. Theo getting better with computer." His eyes opened a bit widely upon seeing her display the code. He had learned the basic format of the codes in his digging around, learning how things worked.

Entering the code into his terminal, he muttered a few words in his own language as his terminal acquired the power of God. It only took about ten minutes for Theo snatch all the files Major Eona had gathered on the new High Colonel. "Theo got all files, Master. Theo think Theo even got private files." His talons clicked on the keys, "All files transferred to Master's terminal. Master Thanor want Theo keep a copy for records?" he asked.

As soon as Theo declared that he transferred the files to her terminal, she rushed over to her desk and began to scroll through the information. She was so absorbed into the data, that she completely ignored his question and just continued reading through the files. Theo had certainly delivered on all of the information she could hope to desire.

An initial glance at Veller's record told the story of a very loyal soldier dedicated to the Empire's cause. It also told the story of a man dedicated to winning for the Empire and willing to buck orders to a certain extent to make it happen. Reading through one transcript of a Court Martial, it was interesting to note the use of Mark's language when it came to describing the incompetence of the commanding officer. The Court had determined that Mark was in the right and only fined him two month's pay for disobedience rather than throwing him in the brig for life.

There was a side note on his preference for caf, avoidance of alcohol or other drugs. Most of the file corresponded to the High Colonel as Serine had observed him. It was the last notation in Major Eona's file that caused her to come up short. Security footage of an event Mark was involved in when he was twelve had an ISB tag on it, locking it to the highest security level. If she wasn't mistaken, to the head of the ISB himself. There was an article attached mentioning the deaths of sixteen members of the Trinity gang, including their leader, Bosco, which was published the next day.

It did not take Serine long to find the one file that she could not open, and it continued to stare at her almost in a mocking fashion, preventing her access. In an absolute fit, she jumped up from her seat with such ferociousness that her chair flew in the opposite direction and smashed into the wall. Both of her hands slammed down on her desk as she snarled at the monitor before her. "You would deny me?!" She screamed at the terminal as if it were alive and purposely barring her from the data she craved.

Theo jumped when Serine screamed, everything had been going so well. He cowered on his oddly shaped perch in front of his desk as the chair went smashing into the wall, luckily not the one his desk was against, "Theo do something angers Master?" his crest feathers going dull.

The Inquisitor was absolutely seething at her terminal but she needed to calm down lest she started to throw things around and potentially get Theo caught in the mix. She gasped heavily, attempting to contain her rage but it was proving to be difficult as hands tightly clenched into fists repeatedly. It was a near impossible task to open that file, she would have to ask individuals that were either extremely foolish or extremely dangerous to approach regarding this matter. There was obviously something amiss about that file and she was fearful of what it may be, and especially apprehensive to let anyone else know what the contents were. Slowly it appeared Serine was cooling off but she had to pace about her desk in order to fully attain that center. Finally, she retrieved her chair that had nearly exploded before sinking into it defeated. The sounds of heavy creaking from that nearly ruined chair threatened to collapse but it managed to keep the Inquisitor seated. "No ... no Theo ... you performed well," she managed to say through a heavy sigh. She was going to have to think long and hard about this ... if she had any hope of unlocking that information. It could very well hold the key to what she was looking for.

Untitled 1

Copyright Era of Rebellion 2005-2018. All Rights Reserved
Terms of Use | Legal Notices | Privacy Policy | Press Release | Disclaimer