Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Sean Brandt and Christopher Levy.

One year before the Battle of Yavin (34:9:7) in the Brentaal system: Warspite.


Captain Tiberius Anson and Captain Serra Eona.


Captain Tiberius Anson sat quietly at a desk in his cabin aboard the Imperial I-class Star Destroyer Warspite. He was relatively young for a commanding officer, not even forty. His brown eyes studied one in a series of datapads that were cluttered about his workspace. He sighed as he depressed several keys on the datapad, finalizing the watch billet for the upcoming week. He was doing everything he could to take his mind off the fact that the Admiral had instructed one of the new Intel officers to meet him with. He was instructed to brief her on naval deployments in the region. Normally it would be an easy task that he might even look forward to, but he never felt comfortable around anyone from Imperial Intelligence. He made a final adjustment of the grey Imperial uniform tunic that covered his torso. He wanted to appear at his most professional. He had served with officers that drew the contempt of Intelligence in the past and he did not want to be one of them. His eyes descended down to another datapad to make a final review of the order of battle for the region, studying for the quiz that was sure to come. He cleared his throat a final time nervously and sat upright at his desk, awaiting her arrival.

Director of Intelligence Serra Eona. Oh how she dreamed of the title, and some day it would be hers. Already she was hard at work spreading her influence, gaining the trust of some and the fear of others. It was an intense amount of legwork, but not more than she was used to. Serra had cut her teeth on field work and even still heavily involved in such, though she had finally achieved the necessary clout to begin working on serious advancement. The next assignment, one that carried a great deal of weight, was a trip to the Warspite where she was to pay Captain Tiberius Anson a visit. The purpose of the meeting, on the surface at least, was to serve as a liaison between Imperial Intelligence and the local ISB office, as well as gain some insight into Imperial naval operations in the area. Considering the troublesome Rebel activity in the sector, it was safe to assume that there were certain ulterior motives behind the visit, but Captain Serra Eona doubted anyone would be able to guess the true nature of her assignment. On the lift to the deck where his office was located, she plucked a black cigarra from the inside of her uniform jacket and ignited it. It was a small indulgence, one of the few she permitted herself while on duty. It helped that, combined with the subdued black of her uniform, it added a certain suggestion of cold apathy to her demeanor. It added something to how well the ensemble paired with her somewhat pale complexion and dark hair, but more importantly it portrayed the correct impression. Knock on a door? Never. She simply approached his office and opened the door with a press to the small consul beside it. Even as a young Captain, there were few doors ever closed to her. Serra Eona stepped through, the door whispering shut behind her. A draw from the cigarra which sat balanced between two leather clad fingers, an exhale of smoke given before she spoke. "Captain Tiberius Anson?"

"Ah," Captain Anson said in an enthusiastic tone, "Captain." He rose from his seat and stood at a state of near-attention to present himself to her. She was not what he was expecting ... young, diminutive ... even attractive by most men's standards. If not for her position in the Empire he might be persuaded to flirt with her. Though that thought escaped from his mind after only a brief moment. "I trust you are enjoying your stay aboard the vessel?" he asked, as a polite smile formed upon his lips. He emerged from behind his desk to greet as she stepped forward into his office. He extended his right hand to her in a sign of informality in the hope that she respond in kind and ease some of the tension that was inherent in situations like this.

Oh, but it was that very tension that Serra intended to use to her advantage. While there were some who sought to make everyone more comfortable and gain their trust, she preferred to be the sort of Intel Officer that earned the Bureau such a fearful reputation. His question was met the slip of a smile, one that lacked any hints of kindness. If anything, there was a suggestion of cruelty inherent in the expression. "I've hardly been here long enough to get an adequate impression of your ship, Captain, but I suspect that will change in the coming days, and hopefully I will not be disappointed." When he offered his hand, she gave it a glance, as if deciding whether or not such a motion was beneath her. She did eventually offer her hand, but it was held out to his palm down, fingers curled slightly. She was not going to shake, she expected the formality of a kiss. A small thing that some saw as chivalrous and proper, but she knew carried a certain subtext of submission.

Tiberius was raised in the Core and was familiar with the customs of high society. He held her hand for a brief moment before nodding his head to her briefly. He then bowed at the waist and placed a soft kiss upon her leather glove. He kept his head lowered for a moment inhaling the scent of her cigarra and coughing lightly. He raised his head and smiled at her again before walking her forward to a comfortable seat opposite his desk. He reached forward and pulled the chair out for her and stood next to it, allowing her ample room to move forward and step down. He maintained his diplomatic smile while addressing her again, "Please ... make yourself comfortable. I will attempt to make this briefing as quick as possible."

She had been given some background on Tiberius before her meeting with him, and was not surprised to find that he was capable of following customs mostly restricted to the polite societies of the Core Worlds. Not that she intended to make her desire for them to be followed so obvious from here on out. No, now that he knew what was expected, she would see how well he adhered to it without her prompting. She also noticed his slight cough. Not used to smoke, then? She would remember this. Coming to the chair, she sat and one leg was crossed over the other at the knee, and another draw was taken from the cigarra. Inhale, and then the smoke was released, "I have plenty of time, Captain. Don't feel a need to rush on my account." Slight contradictions to his attempts to placate her would serve to keep him just a little uncomfortable, just a little intimidated. After all, a part of her research had told her that he had favorable standing with a number of people that could be more than useful connections for her. If Serra could, through a balance of manipulation and fear, keep Tiberius in her pocket, he would be in an ideal position to spread her budding reputation in the right direction.

Tiberius swallowed nervously as he watched the deadly woman get comfortable across from his desk. She was deadly in many ways and he made a mental note to watch his steps around her. He walked around his desk, never taking his eyes off her. He adjusted his trousers as he took a seat at his desk once again. He smiled politely as he pointed to a tactical map of the Ringali Shell on a display next to his desk. He cleared his throat and began to explain the situation to her, "This as you know is the Ringali Shell. Effectively it is two sectors ... Darpa and Bormea ... but because the Ringali Nebula extends throughout them both High Command has made this region a single theatre of operations. It is home to several strategic worlds including Brentaal, Chandrila, Corulag, Esseles, Ralltiir, and Rhinnal." He paused, giving her time to take it all in.

Serra took the opportunity, while he found his seat, to make a physical appraisal of the man. In all rights he was attractive, and the uniform suited him well. A few more badges and he might even be worth more frequent visits. The cruel grin faded from her lips, replaced by a chilled, indifferent professionalism that was occasionally disturbed when she took a draw from the cigarra. An easy inhale and the cherry on the tip of the black smoking stick glowed dull red, taking the smoke down the tube and into her mouth. It was drawn into her lungs, and remained very briefly as the cigarra was plucked from her mouth. Then, with a gentle exhale revealed by the slight movement of her chest, the smoke was allowed to pour across her lips and drift into the air, lingering for a moment or two more before dispersing into the air as though it had never been. "Please, Captain. Continue."

Tiberius coughed as she exhaled. She had succeeded in throwing him off his prepared position. His brow furrowed nervously, but he maintained a polite smile upon his lips. He nodded to her before continuing his briefing, "Of course ... Brentaal is by far the most important planet in the region. Our squadron's flagship, the Star Destroyer Warspite, remains in the system constantly. The 130th Attack Line is built around a Vindicator-class Heavy Cruiser and is responsible for patrols around Chandrila. The 218th Attack Line includes a Victory I-class Star Destroyer. That line is responsible for the entire Darpa sector and is currently based at Esseles. At Corulag we are supplemented by the 622nd Pursuit Squadron ... small, fast warships that we can deploy throughout the region at a moment's notice. Those vessels are also used for convoy escort duty. "

So it was certain, then. He did not cope with the smoke well. The furrow of the brow, every slight shift in his expression was noticed. Serra Eona prided herself on being able to pick apart a person in short order, to find their little tells and ticks. Being able to read another through observation alone was incredibly valuable in her line of work, and she fancied that she had no lack of talent for it. Again she took in all he had to say, committing certain points to memory. However, most of it was information she would need to know little about. Provided she could clear him for continued command, it was his duty to ensure the combat readiness and effectiveness of these ships. She took another, very deliberate draw from the cigarra, which was constantly resting between her fingers, elbow resting on the arm rest of the chair so as to keep the smoldering cigarra at roughly mouth level, if perhaps a hair lower, "In your opinion, Captain, are these forces adequate in light of the latest rebel attacks?"

"The Admiral's primary goal is to keep the local civilization population at ease. 'His' first concern is to maintain the appearance that all is well. 'He' feels that if we deploy more forces to the region that the people will feel we are struggling with the rebel threat. From this he concludes that fear will spread through the masses and those previously unlikely to support the rebellion might be inclined to lend their support," Tiberius explained to her. His thoughts on the matter were different than the Admiral's, but he did not want to play that card yet. He smiled at her across his desk, leaning back slightly with his continued smile.
Serra had found that people took one of two routes when answering the questions of an Intel Officer, no matter their rank. One was to offer up their own opinions and views, in hopes that they might show how superior they are to their commanding officers or fellow soldiers, and distract the Intel Operative by offering other, more suitable targets. The second was to play the safe route, to offer the official opinions of superiors out of fear that doing anything other than that would bring the wrath of the Bureau upon them. However, and this was rare, some chose to ride a thin line between the two; to offer some kind of honesty. Not that she intended to let him think his answer was in any way satisfactory. In fact a slight hint of disappointment tainted her otherwise expressionless features. "If I wanted to know the opinions of the Admiral, I would be in his office, being briefed by him personally. I want to know what you think, Captain." Even though she were only a Captain herself, a rank lower within the Intelligence Bureau than the Navy, officers of the Bureau enjoyed a certain ability to reach even the highest level officer of almost any other branch of the Empire. What official rank did not achieve, the reputation of Imperial Intelligence often could.

"Admiral Rodney is the ranking officer in the region, Captain," Captain Anson was quick to point out, "However, he was selected for this assignment because of his background as a politician, which we all agree he is quite adept at, not because of his prowess as a tactician. The locals on the planet Ralltiir have already turned against us. I have not seen the results we had hoped for." He paused for a moment, sizing her up in his head before continuing, "I believe that lack of success is why you and others have recently been assigned to this theatre. Perhaps your ... unique ... way of dealing with situations is the way to go. Only time will tell of course, but I am merely a Captain and not paid to make such decision," he said with a sly grin.

He was cautious, but not overly so, and willing to offer what she asked of him. Tiberius was a more cunning man than most would give him credit for, it seemed, and she understood how he had come to command the flagship of such a troubled sector. Experienced as she was at discerning lies, it was rather clear that his opinions were genuine. Of course, only now would she be able to ask the questions that would begin to reveal his true feelings. The next few answers would tell her, first of all, how willing he was to do what had to be done for the benefit of the Empire, and secondly, if he was daring enough to be worth the extra attention she was prepared to give to him. "How would you handle the situation on Ralltiir, Captain?" She loved such loaded questions. Another draw from the cigarra, the smoke casually pouring into the air. There wasn't much of the cigarra left, and she never let the formal part of an interview last beyond one.

"The situation on Ralltiir is particularly delicate," Tiberius began to explain to her, "In terms of Imperial policy ... it has been nothing short of a disaster. Two months ago the Storm Commandos attempted to ... remove a politician from officer who was suspected of being a rebel collaborator. Unfortunately not only did they kill the politician, but they killed his entire family in rather ... spectacular fashion. The locals became outraged and took to the streets for several days. Within the last two weeks the Imperial Security Bureau authorized the destruction of an entire village while the Admiral was away on personal matters. The planet is now on the verge of open revolt and the Admiral has instituted a blockade, which he feels will contain the spread of news from the planet to other worlds in the region. It may very well be a sound tactic," he continued, "But there really are limited ways to deal with an insurgency like this. They can no longer be supplied by the Alliance and the Rebels that are on the planet are now effectively contained. Yet we have been unable to win the hearts and minds of the local population ... without going house to house it will be an incredibly difficult nut to crack. Our garrison there reports causalities almost daily. Perhaps more troops are needed, but again is concerned with how other worlds will react to such a move. He would prefer ... it seems ... to fight a losing battle contained to Ralltiir than have to carry on an engagement across several worlds."

It was this discussion to which she devoted much more of her attention, and she was appraising the way he responded as much as she was the situation itself. Another draw from the cigarra was taken. Serra's eyes never once abandoned him, no matter how deep in thought she seemed to be. Maintaining an unwavering lock of the eyes was one of many little tricks she had learned in her time with Intel and honed over the years. Gently the smoke rolled from her lips, and then she spoke. "Even one slip in judgment can have fatal consequences in a situation like this, Captain Anson. Sometimes such situations require an immediate, powerful response. From the reports I have seen, Ralltiir seems beyond our control at this point. Perhaps it would be best to evacuate from the planet those loyal to the Empire and eliminate the resistance entirely." Another pull from the shrinking cigarra, and she watched for his reaction to her suggestion.

The Captain's face did not change at her suggestion, but his reaction was quick and blunt, "The Admiral would never agree to such a strategy." Privately, the Captain would rather be fighting an organized military than a disorganized resistance throwing rocks. "Destroying the population would seem to eliminate the problem," he continued, "But at great cost and while it would solve the immediate problem on Ralltiir, I believe the Admiral is correct and it would undoubtedly cause other worlds in the system to rise up in protest." He leaned forward towards her. His eyes examined every inch of her as he continued to size up what exactly was before him, "I still believe the more subtle methods associated with your position may indeed prove the most effective."

Serra Eona had learned all she really needed to know...or at least everything she could from this meeting. Tiberius was a worthy adversary when it came to the tricks and tactics of casual conversation. Either he had experience, or he was simply less concerned with good favor than he was with supporting the Empire. When he leaned forward and gave that most obvious appraisal, she saw that touch of a challenge for what it was. That mirthless grin spread to her lips once more, "So tell me, Captain Tiberius Anson..." unusual to use the full name with the title, but she did so anyway. A draw was taken from the cigarra, then she leaned forward so that their faces were not so far apart and exhaled the cloud of smoke into his face. "What do you know of my methods?" It was time to invite him into an obvious game.

Tiberius coughed loudly and uncomfortable as she blew the smoke into his face. He sighed as he tried to catch his breath and regain his composure. He knew this woman was trouble from the moment he laid his eyes upon her and she had proven it. He paused for a moment, using his discomfort at the smoke to buy him the time needed to provide a response. "Only that they are highly effective and best not spoken about in public," he said with as a coy grin firmed upon his lips.

If only he knew just how much trouble. Serra had every intention of making him as much a victim as she did those she interrogated, just in a different fashion. Oh, it would still involve a fair amount of suffering, but suffering she could guarantee he would crave by the time she was finished, "They are most effective, Tiberius...more so than you may know." Without withdrawing, she inhaled from the cigarra once more, taking the smoke deep into her lungs. Then, with no warning, her free hand came to capture his jaw, fingers tightening to keep him firmly in place as she leaned over the desk and pressed her lips hard against his own. She used her tongue to force his lips apart and then she exhaled the smoke directly into his mouth, her grip on his jaw tightening as necessary to prevent him from pulling away as she did so. Serra did not permit him a chance to evade the smoke, holding on firmly until he was forced to breathe it in and take it into his lungs.

Tiberius was caught completely by surprised. He began choking on the smoke that was forced into his mouth by the beautiful young Intel officer. He was overwhelmed and gagged for air, but the feeling of her lips against his own began to compensate for the displeasure. He closed his eyes eventually and relaxed into the kiss. Secretly he yearned for close contact with her, but this was not the way he expected it. Still ... who was he to complain? His cheeks reddened from the smoke and his eyes began to water, but he could not pull his face away from her grasp, nor could he express his discomfort to someone in her position. He submitted, willingly, to her desire, because a man in his position had no other choice.

He was handsome and useful...the right combination to draw the attention of the ambitious Intel officer. Only when he was ready to exhale the smoke did she break the kiss, but she did not move far. No, there was but an inch or less between their faces, and she took in a deep inhale as the smoke left his lips, catching the combined scent of the smoke and the man. Eyes closed in a moment of brief pleasure, opening to focus on his own, "Too much talk of Empires and Rebellions bores me, Tiberius." The harsh grip upon his jaw relaxed to allow the caress of a leather glove across his whiskered cheek. "Tell me there is more to you than this," she leaned back into her chair, motioning across his desk at the slew of datapads. A draw from the cigarra, the smoke once more inhaled deeply before billowing out past her lips. The slightest lean in the chair and her words were his invitation to take action. Time for Serra to see just how bold this man could be.

Tiberius stared at her with a deep sense of lustful longing across his desk. Her kiss had both tormented him and caused a stirring in his loins. After all, he was a man and she was a very attractive woman. His brown eyes ran over her young form as he watched her lean back in the chair. He wanted her. He had to have her. She definitely had dug her claws into some deep part of his soul and gotten a tight grasp of him. He rose from his desk, the slight traces of a developing bulge visible in his trousers. He walked around his desk and came to a stop next to her. He sighed as he tilted his head down to look at her. The thoughts that raced through his head were fast and uncontrollable. He moved his right hand towards her face and gently caressed her cheek with the exposed side of his hand. He closed his eyes and shuddered as he touched her. He was in a lot of trouble now.

Oh, if only he knew what kind of trouble he was making for himself. Not that Serra had spared any effort; the temptation had been quite deliberate in design. There was nothing quite so terrifying as being in the clutches of Imperial Intelligence, but she certainly made the cost seem worthwhile. Oh, she noticed that slight bulge, and knew that she would get everything she wanted out of this man. He would be a toy for her rise to power, but if he was good enough...maybe he could find his way to a favorite. For now, though, he was the object of her cruel, cold affection. She remained where she was, extinguishing the last of that cigarra on the tip of his desk if there was nothing else available. It was discarded. Oh, and then he dared to touch! She felt some slight adoration in how he overstepped his bounds so easily, so carelessly. Then again, he knew what he wanted, and he seemed intent on taking it, did he not? She let a slender smile cross her lips as another cigarra was produced from an inner pocket of her uniform jacket. She seemed to be mostly unaffected by his show of affection, lighting the fresh cigarra and inhaling deeply from it. With the smoke perched in one hand, she let the other slip between his legs, wrapping around his thigh to draw him against the chair, fingers curling into the meat of it just below where it met with his butt. She shifted just so her lips were barely brushing against his uniform and slowly exhaled, the smoke pouring out of her mouth to drift across his chest and rise along the length of his body. When she spoke, her words were soft, lips never leaving their place. Their movements felt just above his crotch through the fabric of his pants, "This is a dangerous game, Captain."

Tiberius leaned his head back and closed his eyes. He sighed, arching his back slightly to push his body dangerously close to her mouth. Beneath the fabric his loins began to surge in size as the feeling of lust came over him. He exhaled lightly as he frozen there in her grasp. He was both enthralled by her and terrified of her. The next move would have to be hers.

Serra had no problem taking control of things. As a matter of fact she preferred, no, craved to be in control. She could feel it hardening against her lips, straining the fabric of the shirt. She drew her hand from his thigh, letting it drift between his legs as it came to find the belt of his uniform, unlatching it with ease. It was fully slipped from the pants, pulled away and dropped to the floor. Fingers then unlatched the button of his trousers, the zipper was eased down, then the pants were allowed to spill onto the floor with a little tug. The boxer briefs got the same treatment, fully exposing him below the waist. A glance was cast up to him...cold eyes watching his expression. Then her hand was removed, and she rose, inhaling once more from the cigarra, and canting her head in his direction, once more exhaling into his face, "Thank you for your time, Captain. I trust you will see to my comfort during my stay aboard your ship." Leave them wanting? Of course. It was the perfect means to see just how much he wanted her, and she had no doubt he did. So much stated, she left him where he stood, pants round his ankles and belt on the floor, departing through the door to find her way to the quarters in which she would be staying.

Tiberius groaned in discomfort. He had received the ultimate tease and immediately hunched over, leaning on the arms of the chair for support. He did not readjust his boxer shorts, nor did he make any effort to haul up his pants. Instead he just remained there, breathing heavily, face flushed red, and totally aroused by her teasing and brief touch. He sighed in frustration as he moved finally and took a seat in the chair she once occupied. Her scent lingered and he inhaled it like a starving child. He must have this woman ... somehow.

Serra Eona was in no rush as she walked down the hall for the lift that would take her where she was going, more or less ignoring anyone she passed. Not that they wanted her attention. After all, while Serra had yet to establish her personal reputation, she still carried all the fear and apprehension that came with an Intel officer. Into the lift she moved, a spin around to face out before the door shut, straightening her uniform as she did so. The cigarra was brought to her lips, the smoke inhaled, and once more drawn deep into her lungs, chest lifting with the effort, only to sink once more as she released the smoke in a long, slender stream from between parted lips. The doors of the lift closed as she did, leaving nothing but the dissipating cloud and the scent of woman and smoke in her wake.

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