Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Sean Brandt, Kit Gwynne, and Rachel King.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:1:32) in the Essesia system: Interrogator.
Major Serra Eona, Apprentice Inquisitor Kia Kaen, Theo, and Colonel Mark Veller.

The desk of High Colonel Mark Veller, Commander of the 610 Imperial Legion, was not occupied when his adjutant came in with the day's schedule and appointments. The door to the adjoining quarters was open and had the adjutant so desired, he could have located his superior officer with ease.

High Colonel Mark Veller was, in fact, standing in front of the full length mirror, wincing a bit as he inspected the shiner Tonric had given him the other day. It was a good one, he had to give Tonric that, although he was pretty certain Tonric was doing a similar inspection. The two of them hadn't held back in their spar, which Mark found himself grateful for.

He took a deep breath and reached for his pain meds. It would be awhile before he sparred with anyone as his ribs healed up. The upside was a good reason to clear his desk of all the paperwork, the downside was no escape from all the paperwork. For the moment, however, some pain meds and breathing exercises were the key. Any bounty hunters who arrived now would get Batua to spar against.

Thinking back on the spar, he wondered at the High Inquisitor's reaction to the injuries infliced. He figured it could go either way as she did directly order him to test Tonric's capabilities, but, he was pretty much benched from any combat requirements for at least four weeks while his ribs healed. Neither of them had held back, each were equally bruised.

The spar had felt good though, finally having an outlet to vent the anger the Bounty Hunters had been stirring up. For whatever reason, their disrespect and lack of disciplined had gotten under his skin. Tonric provided a much needed release that a mere training exercise couldn't, an actual target.

Having a skilled fighter to vent that anger against had helped him regain his temper. Though he wasn't averse to beating down opponents not even close to his skill level; he had, after all, risen through the ranks of the Imperial Stormtroopers; he disliked doing it for no gain, either to himself or his opponents.

He chuckled a little bit remembering the doctor's insistence of a bacta patch for his shiner and the look of dismay when Mark refused. He hadn't bothered explaining to the doctor knowing he wouldn't understand. The shiner had been earned by Tonric, just as the shiner Tonric sported had been earned by him. He was not about to disrespect that by covering it up.

Giving a tug to his tunic to make it straight, he left his quarters and brewed his morning cup of caf. Bringing a fresh mug to his desk, he sent a request to Major Eona for a conference on the Bounty Hunters at her convenience. Once that was done, he settled back to tackle the day's work.

Major Serra Eona had found herself with a significantly greater workload after stepping into Min's old position. It was far from problematic; in fact, staying so busy with work she was truly meant to do, work she was quite skilled in, proved therapeutic. When so much had been going wrong, with so many delicate plans in the balance and a sector at the mercy of unpredictable and, more to the point, unreliable individuals, it was nice to know there was one mechanism she could ensure ran without a hitch. Under Major Traebor, Imperial Intelligence in the Ringali Shell had suffered. Under Major Eona, things would be much different, or so she intended.

The request from High Colonel Veller reached her in the morning and, shortly after a review of closing reports from the previous day, Serra left her quarters and headed for his own. Unlike the rest of the high command aboard the vessel, Serra kept no assistants or even guards. To most outsiders it no doubt seemed a bit unusual, but among the veteran agents it was a far more common practice. If an operative learned nothing else in their service, they learned to trust absolutely no one.

Rounding the corner to Mark's office, Serra took a few final drags from her cigarra and dropped it through a disposal unit before being shown in. While she generally didn't smoke in the halls, the fact that she preferred to show Veller the courtesy of not smoking in his office all but necessitated it, and by now the Intelligence officer had the clout to get away with it.

When the door opened she stepped inside, giving a polite bow in deference to his rank, though she didn't stand on formalities terribly long. By now she felt no need. Coming out of the bow was when she noticed the quite severe discoloration around the man's left eye and a brow rose, the bruising stealing her attention for a moment.

"High Colonel. I trust you haven't mistaken me for medical staff." It was as near to a joke as the Major was likely to ever come.

Mark looked up from his paperwork as the Major came in. For a moment, he was confused then realized the Major was speaking of his shiner. He smiled briefly, "No indeed. The medical staff saw it yesterday." He stood and waved Serra to one of the seats in front of his desk. "Caf?" his brow furrowed, "Though I might have to brew a new pot."

Mark suppressed a wince of pain as he stood up. His ribs hadn't been aching and he forgot and stood up too quickly. His ribs reminded him quickly of his error. He walked over toward the caf machine. To an observant eye, he was moving a bit stiffly. "I've finished my evaluation of the Bounty Hunters and felt it would be good to compare notes before delivering them to the High Inquisitor."

Serra was nothing if not observant and the fact that Mark seemed the worse for wear was not lost on her. The wince of pain, the way he seemed to have to force himself to make every motion. It was quite evident just what these evaluations had evidently cost the High Colonel, and it had her somewhat concerned. Not for his well being, of course. Mark's body was his own to waste. It was the fact he had taken such a personal role and left himself in poor shape for it.

The offered seat was taken and she simply gave a nod to the offer for caf, fairly certain he would be brewing more regardless of if she asked for it or not. While he struggled to move about she sat comfortably, one leg crossing the other.

"A wise decision. I'm curious as to your findings, anyway." The training sessions were all logged, of course, but going back and watching them was something she simply hadn't taken the time to do yet. Not for lack of desire, of course, but lack of time.

Luckily for Mark, there was still some caf in the pot so he didn't have to brew a new pot. Filling his own mug and one for Serra, he went back to his desk, setting one down in front of Serra and then taking his own seat.

Pulling out a datapad, he send it sliding over towards Serra, "The main reports and logs are on that. As you already are aware, El-Nay Darr is a complete waste. Rasi and Alexis are passable." He stopped talking.

Serra took up the mug, the caf something she had found to be an acceptable substitute for her usual smoking habit when she visited the High Colonel. With a sip she reached out for the datapad, glancing over the information it had to offer. She would, of course, be reading the reports more in depth, but for now this was good enough. She was mostly here to see what Mark had to say beyond what the reports contained.

A nod was given when he mentioned El-Nay Darr's results. "Hopefully her continued incompetence will be enough to convince the High Inquisitor to let us do away with her. Until then, I suppose two out of three will have to do. What about Dimona Xiri Nuebla? I understand she went in for assessment, as well as the new one traveling with the apprentice. Tonric."

Mark growled slightly at the mention of Dimona, "Dimona is worse than El-Nay. She has no respect for any authority. As for Tonric," he motioned to his eye, 'He is the best of the lot. Though if you tell him that, I will deny I ever said it."

So far it seemed his assessments were more or less in line with her own. Another plus for Veller, who had proven to be quite a positive asset since his arrival. "She lacks respect and she lacks discipline. The woman is a loose cannon, but so far she's bumbled her way through enough successes that the High Inquisitor sees fit to retain her. For now, we're stuck with that one."

The motion to the eye and the words that followed regarding Tonric got a huff of a laugh out of her. "No need to inflate a Mandalorian's ego any more than it already is, but it's good to know we have one dependable mercenary in the lot, even if he is glued to that...beast of his." The distaste regarding his companion wasn't hidden in the least, not in Mark's presence. "Tonric and the Apprentice have quite a bond, however. We'll see how far she lets him wander. Hopefully far enough for him to be of use."

"Perhaps we will get lucky and this Dimona will get herself killed. However, another will have to do any training with her, otherwise I will probably lose my temper and kill her," he said, "As for the beast with Tonric, it will probably need to be evaluated as well. I have assigned two of my best Troopers to escort him. It is intelligent to take instruction at the very least. It stayed out of the spar we had." He looked at Serra, "And just so you know, Tonric is in a similar shape."

A thought crossed her mind and Serra gave it voice after she took another sip of the caf. "I wonder if we aren't investing too many resources into these hunters. Some of them might be worth further training, yes, but I think you and I can both agree this little project has flatlined. No sense in wasting valuable time and energy trying to improve them. We'll send them on their missions and, hopefully, they will fail. If they succeed then all the better for us and we just send them out all over again." Killing them outright was always an option, of course, but the fact was that so far the team had proven useful. Serra intended to squeeze every little success she could out of them before they died, no matter what it cost in losses to the collection of hunters.

The remark about Tonric's condition elicited what was probably the most shocking response of all; Serra actually cracked a smirk. The shift in expression from anything but cold, dead apathy seemed ill suited to her, as though it were a mechanical, inhuman thing rather than any product of natural emotion. "No need to save face on my account, High Colonel. Mandalorians...proper ones, at least...are quite difficult to handle in combat situations."

Mark nodded, "So it would seem. Though El-Nay doesn't seem to be in the same category. Tonric, at least, can be useful, after his ribs heal. The High Inquisitor requested that I evaluate him personally." Mark took a pill out of his drawer and downed it with some caf, "if we get an more bounty hunters in, Batua will have to do the evaluation."

He considered for a moment, "Are there any missions we have to send them on now?"

While it would be a stretch to call the report good, it was certainly thorough, at least when it came to most of the hunters. Nothing beyond what she expected to hear, and while it was somewhat disappointing that none of them had shown great merit other than the one Kia was keeping, there was some consolation in the fact that Mark saw in them the same lack of potential that she did.

"None at the moment, though there are a few operations in the pipeline that might suit them. Waiting on full details before finalizing anything, though. I don't want to hand them anything too critical."

"Hmmm," Mark considered the caf in his cup, "So they are to be used as distractions?"

Speaking of distractions, the door to Mark's office suddenly flung open and a Stormtrooper went flying across the room and hit the wall hard. He slithered down the wall to lay in a small crumpled heap. Mark leapt to his feet, ignoring the pain in his ribs, reaching for the DL-18 at his side. There was a female voice outside.

Theo stayed out of the way, something he was very good at. He had gone down the list of people as Master Thanor had ordered. Most of the time, he was met with disdain and it took Inquisitor Kaen to make them listen to him. His crest feathers had gone from blue to a light grey pretty fast.

Now, at the last stop, the Stormtroopers guarding the office had stopped the two of them, stating the High Colonel was already in a meeting. Inquisitor Kaen hit the ceiling and so did the Stormtrooper to the right. Then, the other one went through the door.

The teenager had gone from optimistic about their miniature mission through the ship to inform people to disgusted at the way that Theo was looked at and treated. It had been wise of Serine to set her as his protector for this trip. Kia had been making notes of the names of the officers who had given the two of them flak. The stormtroopers should have known better. Someone 'above their paygrade' wanted to talk to their boss. It shouldn't matter who she was or if he was in a meeting. As she flung her right hand to her side, the stormtrooper on the right went careening into far wall. The unfortunate trooper on the left was the focus of her ire. He was the one who had spoken to her. Her left hand came up, then shoved forwards. She glowered at the doorway and the flying stormtrooper. "Did I ask if he was busy? No! I said ... we need to see the High Colonel. Do they not teach Basic at the Academy any longer, or did you fail that class too?"

Serra was about to further discuss the hunters when the commotion outside began. Voices at first, which wasn't overly strange, but then the sound of a body thunking into durasteel, and just as Mark was going for his blaster, so too did she. The Major's hand disappeared behind her and, just as the door was coming open, the DL-18 was slipped free from its concealed holster.

She was on her feet, the blaster aimed at the door, moving with a programmed reaction that years of training and experience had imbedded in her. She didn't lower it until it was clear that the person who had perpetrated the interruption was Kia...but still the blaster was in her hand, a nod given to the apprentice before her eyes shifted to the creature with her. Well, another alien to add to the collection.

Mark lowered his blaster as well, looking curiously at the creature with Kia. "What, may I ask, is going on here?" He glanced at the Stormtrooper now crumpled on the floor in his office and could see the other one partially through the open door. Mark thought about asking why he had Stormtroopers flying across the room, but decided against asking at the moment.

Theo edged his way into the office just barely. His crest feathers, perked up just a bit that this human wasn't yelling at him. "M-m-master Th-thanor had Theo rearrange Master Thanor's schedule, then ordered Theo to tell about changes." He pulled out his datapad and consulted it. "High Colonel Veller and Major Eona report at same time now." Theo's voice became more confident as he spoke.

Mark merely raised an eyebrow in Kia's direction questioning the presence of an alien slave onboard a warship.

Kia stalked in behind the Fosh, her eyes were not far off from Serine's when she was angry. She was tired of people already today and truly hoped she wasn't going to be adding these two names to the list to give to her Master. At Mark's glance, she shrugged one shoulder. "He represents the High Inquisitor in his news. I would advise listening and treating him with at least part of the respect you would show her." She didn't even look at the stormtrooper, or care if he was still alive. Her gaze took in both of them and it was rather obvious she was acting on Serine's orders.

This was quite unexpected, indeed. As Theo stuttered and then found his footing, Serra just stared at the thing, taking in its words. She slipped the DL-18 back into its holster and, for now, didn't concern herself with what had happened to the troopers. They were Veller's responsibility after all and she full well trusted he could handle it however he saw fit. When Kia started talking her eyes moved to the girl, her face having long since returned to the cold, dead expression she usually wore.

"The Interrogator is an ISDII class warship, representing the latest in Imperial technology. This includes a full complement of encryption secured holoterminals and an internal comms array, along with other systems intended to facilitate immediate communication between Imperial staff and servicemen. Should the High Inquisitor have need of me, I recommend the use of these systems. Messenger fynocks have been outdated for several thousand years."

Her tone fairly dripped both indignation and anger. "I will be *certain* to inform the High Inquisitor that her messenger 'inconvenienced' you, Major. I had honestly expected better from you of all people. I guess everyone can be wrong about people. Regardless of your personal feelings towards her staff. You will respect and adhere to the revised schedule that is being given to you."

Mark bowed slightly to Kia, then holstered his weapon, "It shall be as the High Inquisitor commands." His ice blue eyes took in the alien slave, noting the red robes similar in color to the ones Serine wore. "Interesting choice of staff."

To Theo he nodded, "Thank you, Theo isn't it? I shall amend my schedule. Is there anything else?" His tone of voice was a bit frosty, whether because of the interruption, the two down Stormtroopers or the knowledge of a slave on Serine's staff, it was difficult to say.

Serra stared at Kia as she talked, not truly a glare but certainly not a pleasant look either. She was, as usual, quite difficult to read; but her opinion of the slave that Kia and Serine seemed interested in keeping was no doubt quite obvious.

"Indeed, it seems everyone can be, from time to time. The creature is no inconvenience, I assure you. I was simply offering more efficient alternatives, but make use of whatever method you deem most appropriate." Serra would, of course, adhere to whatever schedule Serine saw fit to assign. As much as she might despise the beast they were making use of, the Major was smart enough to know that it wouldn't benefit her to push against a Sith. She pointedly kept her attention on Kia, not bothering to so much as acknowledge Theo's presence. "Will that be all?"

"The most efficient method is whichever one Master Thanor deems fit to pick. Unless you disagree with that as well? I believe you two were the last Theo had to inform." Kia looked to Theo questioningly, she hadn't bothered to look at the officers they would be informing since she wasn't the one doing the informing.

Theo shook his head slightly, his feathers not quite the same shade of grey they were a few moments ago, "Theo has no others on list, Inquisitor Kaen, High Colonel Veller and Major Eona being last." He cringed a bit, recognizing the look in Major Eona's eyes. Now he was certain ancestors still angry at him. Surrounded by humans who didn't like Theo, not like nice Inquisitor Kaen did. "Theo ready to return to Master Thanor now."

There was a sound outside the office of other armored feet entering. Mark shook his head at them, telling them to stand down.

Serra offered a polite bow to Kia, and then to Mark. "If the two of you will excuse me, then, there are matters which require my attention." She turned then, headed to make her way around Kia and Theo to show herself out. The slave did get a final look from the Intel officer; one that he would no doubt recognize as easily as the first. It was the same sort of look one might give a maggot unexpectedly found crawling over food, an undesirable thing best done away with at earliest convenience. Between this thing and the bounty hunters, Serra found herself questioning the judgment of those she served, and she needed time to wrap her head around the full implications of such thoughts.

Unless someone stopped her, Major Serra Eona was headed back to her office, and back to a much needed cigarra.

Kia gave Vellar a nod, and a slight inclination of her head. "I'll let you get back to your day, High Colonel." Titles only meant nothing in the training room, but she did feel a little bad about barging into his office. "Come along, Theo. Let's get back to Master Thanor." Turning towards the exit, she still didn't look at the fallen stormtrooper as she walked back out of the office.

Mark let out a deep breath he hadn't realized he was holding when Kia and that bird thing left. He wasn't exactly sure how he felt about an alien slave wandering around on a warship and serving the commanding officer. The possible security breaches alone were enough to make him shoot the creature. However, if the High Inquisitor wanted the creature, he had to trust there were measures in place to ensure loyalty.

He nodded to the troopers to tend their fallen comrades. Next time he would have to be sure they weren't dumb enough to try to bar an Inquisitor from his office. The door closed and he sat down, staring into the half-full mug of caf, close to wishing there was something stronger in with the caf.

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