Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Jamie Holm, Christopher Levy, Shawn Lovelett, and Michael Whittaker.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:5:4) in the Essesia system: Warspite.
Sergeant Major Jonas Garett, Major Nolas Reik, Grand Moff Claudius Rodney, Captain Ithan Tavers, and Colonel Verus Theus.

The Imperial I-class Star Destroyer Warspite cruised through the Essesia system, flanked by escorting vessels from an Imperial pursuit line and scores of TIE fighters. In the conference room high upon the command tower Grand Moff Claudius Rodney sat silently staring at a tactical display of the nearby planet of Brentaal. The system had been a thorn in his side for more than a year and he was running out of ideas on how to pacify the system. Rebel terror attacks were seemingly endless, but they had recently caused severe civilian causalities and a food shortage that had caused many of the locals to turn their backs on the Rebellion and support the Empire and its new Regional Governor. Holonet footage of the four new battalions landing on Brentaal was shown with the massive array of Imperial power on full display to bolster the locals confidence in the Imperial war regime. The Grand Moff intertwined his hands, rubbing his fingers nervously against one another as he considered these next steps very carefully. It seemed he was surrounded by the dreaded Imperial Security Bureau as of late ... something that did not sit well with him in the slightest.

The soft hiss of the conference room doors marked the arrival of Colonel Verus Theus to the meeting session. It had been over a week since the Imperial Security Bureau officer had set foot upon the Warspite, with his time primarily being occupied with the surface activities on Cormond. His trusted staff had been assigned to continually update the Grand Moff on the matters occurring in the planet, though there still had not yet been much progress to report. Theus paused as he passed through the entrance way, raising his arm in a salute to the Regional Governor. He had not yet congratulated the man on his elevation to Grand Moff status; he would attempt to offer his best wishes, if given a chance, but Theus was also careful to avoid sounding patronizing as the situation was still not under control. The Colonel mentally prepared himself for another rhetorical question or analogy, a favored tool of the sector's senior officer.

ISB Major Nolas Reik stood silently at the position of parade rest, clutching a datapad in his folded hands behind his back. His face carried an expressionless face, and his eyes were shadowed by his prominent brow. Like a fixture of the room, he was motionless. After the last meeting he had in this office, he thought it would be beneficial to remain silent, unless his opinion was inquired.

Captain Tavers, pulled at the collar of his uniform for a second time, as the turbolift door's opened, and a Sergeant wearing a cream colored tunic stepped into the tubolift, with the coldest looking eyes that made him pause. Jonas Garrett then stepped in, and turned his back on Captain Tavers. Ithan at the man's back, and could barely make out the sight of a small blade scar on the back of the man's neck, which caused him to pause as the doors opened for a second time. He realized that the two of them were going to the same destination, Ithan let out a light choke, as the man in front of him started towards the conference room. The sound of their boots hitting the deck plating was the only sound that was carried in they're wake. The Sergeant with the cream colored tunic entered first, and Ithan watched him as he stepped to a chair, and sat down. Leaving Ithan facing the rest of the occupants, which caused his face to pale.

Ithan looked as if he was going to throw up, yet he summoned the courage to keep the bile down. He let his gloved hands grasp, the chair and he sat down across from the man that had shared the turbolift with him.

Jonas Garrett stared intently at Ithan, deciding if the man was even worthy of his title. Jonas's hands remained in his lap, as he waited for the formalities to conclude, he was most eager to learn what happened in person.

Grand Moff Rodney looked at the quarter of Imperial Officers who entered the conference room and took a moment to give each of them a polite nod in accordance to their rank, beginning with the Colonel and concluding with the Sergeant. Once the formalities were out of the way, he turned his attention away from the tactical display and focused on Colonel Theus. "Colonel ... I'm told you have today an officer with you who has first hand engaged the Rebel terror cell on Brentaal IV?" he asked, his gaze slowly shifting to Captain Tavers, a company commander whom he had never before encountered. At least he was not another ISB officer, he thought to himself as his attention shifted back to the Colonel for a reply.

No obtuse analogies today, the Colonel reflected, though he did somewhat miss the usual opportunity. "Indeed, sir. Captain Tavers performed admirably in protecting Sylvain Isod during an assassination attempt by dissident forces, and gained public media attention for his role in saving the Count's life. He may be quite useful to us both as a field officer and public face of our efforts." The Colonel nodded to Tavers; the Empire had few heroes to speak of in these dark times, though this officer could potentially change the tide of that. The Colonel remained standing, having assumed an at ease position.

"Yes ... I..." Ithan started, and seemed to pause to collect his thoughts. "A local informant contacted us shortly after visually identifying a known of Rebel agent. We proceeded to the location, and shortly after announcing our presence, I singled out the man among the group. Sergeant Goodwin was assisting me at the time, shortly after I signaled for him to remain as he was, he upturned a table, and started firing at us. I tried to raise communications with my men, I believe the man was using a military grade jammer. I couldn't get ahold of anyone ... Sergeant Goodwin tossed a flash bang, which I informed him to use if there was any combat, but unfortunately the subject was prepared, a few seconds later Sergeant Goodwin threw a glop grenade a few seconds before the subject escaped, I later found out that three men that I had posted at the backdoor were murdered." He said as his hands tightened in anger.

The Colonel was unsurprised as he listened to the account. The Rebel cells were wellequipped and had either turned or assumed the identities of Imperial personnel before, and given the recent 'mysterious' destruction of Alderaan, dissent within their own ranks was likely to continue. As the Captain spoke, Theus moved towards the nearby wall console and tapped several keys. A holoimage of a man was projected on the tactical display, with a rough and grizzled expression. Though the Imperials did not know his name, the man was Rake Carson, but all they possessed now was the face. "This is thought to be one of the primary terrorist operators on the planet, from their man attack cell and responsible for the spaceport bombing. Given their methods, he may well have been involved in the garrison destruction as well." The Colonel stared at the image. "We do not yet have a name for this man, but that is a top priority for us."

"I ... I ... was not aware of that fact." Ithan stammered for a second time, before reaching for a glass of water, he wondered why his throat felt so dry after hearing that. The thought that he had survived an encounter with a man responsible of such heinous deeds, it scared him to his very core. He greedily drank of the water, and then placed it down.

Jonas Garrett's eyes seemed to become active, as he took in the retelling of the encounter in the Cantina. He would have to make alterations to his plan, and then shortly afterwards inform Rodney. He thought, as he watched them listening to the young Captain.

"What of the attack on Lord Isod, Captain?" Grand Moff Rodney asked, his attention shifting to the viewscreen. So that was the fiend that was causing so much trouble on the planet Brentaal. "I caught a glimpse of it on Imperial Holovision, but alas ... my time in front of the Holonet is not what it once was..." he said with a quick flash of a smirk as he tried to lighten the mood somewhat. "I trust he is all right?" he asked, as he leaned back against the high back of the chair and waited for the Captain's response.

"Currently at his estate resting, he extends an apology for being so fool hardy, and hopes that you will visit him planetside for an evening dinner." Ithan, said reciting the words exactly as they were told to him an hour ago, if the question wa asked. Ithan then started on the events. "Two days ago, my Uncle Isod had requested that my unit be assigned to handle security in unison with the RSSF, he believed a cooperation of both of our forces would further enforce, the idea of a united Brentaal." He said, before gathering up his courage to continue, it took him longer than he expected, as Rodney's gaze burned through his very being. Understood Sir." was all he could manage, before gulping down, and beginning again. "Sylvain Isod, hired a Zabrak for a body guard, even though the security had been effective... The events played out much as you saw on the cameras. Isod started his speech, and then switched to me, at that point I noticed a man that I thought looked rather strange, he wasn't bowing his head during the memorial, and when I started my speech, there was a shot, which took Isod in the shoulder. Luckily the medics got to him, at that same-time that strange man had pulled a grenade so I shot him. The crowd as I was told had beaten him to death, while the Zabrak bounty hunter had taken the sniper out. Apparently there was a hole in the security wall." He ended with, with a look of worry.

Uncle, Claudius thought to himself silently. Clearly another use of nepotism leading to the hasty promotion of a junior officer through the ranks. Perhaps it was this type of thing that was undermining his efforts to combat the Rebellion in the Ringali Shell. "I am glad he is well. Please extend our sympathies to him," he said with a firm nod, as he shifted back to the viewscreen. "Colonel ... men like this terrorist must be rounded up and shot before Brentaal IV goes the way of Alderaan..." he warned sternly, as he rose from his seat and walked slowly towards the screen. His eyes narrowed on the man's face and he studied him carefully, burning the image into his mind.

Ithan was not dismissed so he went silent, and remained quietly seated, he stole a glance at the Sergeant in the cream colored tunic, and when his eyes met his, he quickly darted his attention back towards the Colonel, as he listened to their discussion.

The Colonel's eyes flickered for a moment as the Grand Moff mentioned Alderaan; surely the superior officer had meant that as an ironic jest, not as an actual concern that the Rebellion could somehow deploy a superweapon of that magnitude. Theus returned his attention to the Captain's account, the details familiar from having read the official report on the matter. Once he had concluded, Theus turned back towards the Grand Moff. "We will find this Rebel, sir, and Major Reik has assigned an officer to develop additional connections and networks within the Cormond underworld. Major?"

"Good day, sir," Reik announced. "In accordance with the glide path for Operation Good Cancer, we have made some progress across most of the important lines of operations, namely the red cell element. The threat is actually performing the actions we intended, and I believe the desired effect is being achieved on the population." The ISB Major gestured with one hand, the other hanging at his side, "But we still have made no progress in the area of communication surveillance. I took the initiative and task and purpose to the ISB Enforcement Platoon, lead by ISB-Captain Jaelian Dressler. He and his team are currently in plain clothes and on the ground, gaining atmospherics and assessing the area of operating responsibility. An early report from ISB-Captain Dressler indicates that the current illicit economy is fractured, and in a power vacuum." Major Reik stepped forward and locked his gaze with the Grand Moff. His eyes were wide and intense. "Although I question some of his methods, he is an officer who produces results. I think it is safe to assume that his team will be infiltrating what remains of the syndicates and try to control it. Which follows our illicit activities line of operation. Overall, we are doing a good job in Phase One. I would recommend considering moving to phase two of operation good cancer. Pending any questions sir, this concludes my brief." Reik stepped back and assumed the position of parade rest. Staring coldly across the room to Moff Rodney.

Grand Moff Rodney listened to the familiar voice of Major Reik, an officer he had come to hold in a great deal of disdain based on his last meeting with the man. He took note of the mention of Captain Dressler and his operation and gave a firm nod of his head as he listened to the report. "Very good, Major," he said as he pulled up the datapad that detailed the Good Cancer operation. "Phase two..." he murmured to himself as he found the appropriate file. "It seems here you wish to enlist the cartels in anti-terrorism?" he asked the Major, looking up from the datapad to study the man for a reply.

"Yes, sir, the next phase would be to use the illicit economy control mechanism, namely ISB-Captain Dressler and his team, to track the sales of all illegal arms in the battle space. While this has to continue, to keep the system working, we can track the buyers and sellers of these goods. We will investigate everyone involved, and eventually, we will get information leading to the rebel cell." ISB-Major Nolas Reik took a deep breath and paused. "Eventually we will get middle men, or the rebels directly ... either through the sales of arms or explosives. When that happens, we can isolate the cell and execute a rapid kill/capture operation. In the mean time, we may be able to raise the prices of arms and explosives in your area of operational responsibility, and limit their ability to operate. After the cell has been purged, we can control the illicit economy, as we see fit. Dial it up, down or destroy it. But that falls into the sustainment phase after good cancer. Do you have any further questions sir?"

Still standing by the keypad wall, Theus nodding as he listened to the Major's explanation of the illicit operation. Given how elusive the Rebels had been, tracking them through their supply routes appeared as among the most viable options for finally tracking the cell. Once the Major had finished, Theus turned towards the Grand Moff and raised his voice. "Sir, I will require additional surveillance resources as we enact this plan. I currently have a handful of disguised surveillance craft operating above Cormond ... given that it is a city of billions, these ships have proved insufficient to cover the suspected areas of Rebel activity. If the terror cells begin to feel the noose tightening around them, I do not doubt they will attempt to flee and I will need the tools available to track them when they do." The Colonel paused after his request, awaiting the superior officer's reply.

Things were seeming to get more intense and the man lowered his head as he considered the tandem's recommendations. His left hand came up to his forehead and gently stroked at his brow. "No ... no further questions..." he said to Major Reik, believing it was in his best interest to leave these nefarious plots and schemes to the men who were trained for this sort of thing. His eyes darted to the ISB Colonel next and his hands nervously shifted on the table, palms beginning to sweat. "Surveillance..." he said to himself, fearing for the privacy concerns of the free citizens of Brentaal. "Very well..." he said weakly, as he gave in to the request of the Colonel, he slowly moved away from the men and walked towards the viewport to look out at the swirling mass of stars in the distance.

The Colonel nodded at the reply, mentally calculating the ships and personnel he would require to increase his coverage across the capital city. He paused for a moment before his next request, as it was a sensitive matter to be breached. The loyalty of the Imperial personnel in the sector had been admirable to this point, though given their taxing campaign, constant casualties and the recent destruction of a planet, Theus was concerned about potential fractures to their overall cohesion. "Sir...about Alderaan." He waited for a moment, not wanting to press the issue too quickly. "I would advise personnel from the system be evaluated by their unit's counselors to ensure their readiness for duty." The Colonel felt he did not need to add the evaluation would also note any behavior changes that could indicate disloyalty.

Being from the Alderaan system, Claudius swiftly turned from looking at the viewport to glare at the ISB Colonel with a hint of unprecedented anger. "There is no reason to single out the Alderaanians in this command, Colonel," he began, as he moved back to the table and rested his hands upon it. "I am prepared to vouch for the conduct of them. They have suffered a great, unspeakable loss and it would be a further insult to have them 'evaluated'," he added, shaking his head in frustration at the suggestion. "Alderaan has always supported the Empire and now that it has been destroyed by the Rebellion I am confident it will only bolster the loyalty of its remaining citizenry," he concluded, emphatically slapping his palm down upon the conference table that caused an echo to clamor through the room.

"Sir, I disagree with the Colonel's assessment, regarding the threat." Riek stepped forward again. He knew countering the analysis of the Colonel was not only poor form, but in some circles treasonous. But here, in this environment, and due to the protections afforded to him due to the relationships made in his previous assignments, he felt it was prudent to continue establishing himself as the subject matter expert. "I'm not an intelligence officer, but I know how these rebels will work. Currently, they are isolated from the population. Their previous attacks have inflamed the population to support the Empire. As they lose their 'voice' to influence the population through messages, such as recruiting, they will resort to more violence. In their current set, they will probably try to refocus their attacks against military targets. They need to establish themselves as a legitimate force, who attacks legitimate forces ... leaving civilians and innocents out of the way. When that occurs, they will feel more comfortable to focus on information and influence operations." Reik looked to the Colonel, "I would expect, within the week they will try to strike some symbol of the Empire's might ... possibly the fleet, or the garrison. If that occurs, we must make sure the civilians are not spared, so the image of the rebels as chaotic butchers is maintained."

The Colonel glanced at his subordinate as the Major stepped forward. Though he was slightly irked at being contradicted before their superior officer, he did welcome the subject change. The Colonel noted he would need to personally see to the loyalties of the Alderaanian contingent of the Empire; while that was not his unit's direct responsibility, he had colleagues within Internal Affairs that would be more than willing to take upon the task. He did not enjoy the measure, as he had always personally avoided spying on his fellow comrades. Yet given how dangerous the sector had become, it seemed it was a necessity. Listening to the Major's assessment, the Colonel somewhat concurred with his analysis. He certainly was not going to become embroiled in an argument in front of the Grand Moff. "Very well, Major. I shall attend to the duties of preventing them from launching such an attack. If it does indeed occur, I trust you will ensure the civilian casualties...are memorable."

"I think we are currently missing a great opportunity. With the tiny footprint we have on this planet, we cannot expect to hear, see or action on any rebel movements on the world. With the current broad population support, we need to develop and implement a strong militia police force. And every day we wait on it, the rebels move from shop, to shop, across the town. People know about these rebels, somewhere on this world, and they may not feel comfortable reporting these actions to the Empire. But a local, home developed police force- they be much more amenable to." Nolas Reik was bold, and briefed comfortably to the Grand Moff, as if he had briefed at that level ... or higher, before. "There has been little to no action on this. I think we should create a recruiting and training camp at each of the battalion headquarters."

Grand Moff Rodney watched the disagreement between the Colonel and the Major, noting it was not unlike the differences he was experiencing with those at his own level. "Yes, yes ... the local security force..." he said, as he repeated the Major's familiar chorus. "We have attempted to recruit ... but given the destruction of their Horizon Training Facility some weeks ago many of the locals no longer feel it is a 'safe' occupation on Brentaal..." he said, as he slid back into his seat, still annoyed about the Colonel questioning the loyalty of the Alderaanians. "I am told Corulag is having good recruitment, but that planet has seen the least Rebel activity..." he said reluctantly as his mind again dwelled on Brentaal. "Appoint a staff officer at each Battalion to attempt to recruit locals for the RSSF..." he said with a firm nod, as he brushed aside the datapad and looked to them once more.

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