Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee, Christopher Levy, and Sarah Riggs-Shute.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:2:10) in the Alderaan system: Delaya (Leiliani: Rodney Castle) and in the Essesia system: Retributor and Sonthi.
Captain Tiberius Anson, Liliya Benedt, Lieutenant/Commander Sierra Dakkar, Major/Commander Kerrie Kiley, Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca, Grand Moff Claudius Rodney, High Inquisitor Serine Thanor, and Major Arden Zevrin.

The old man was gone. Major Arden Zevrin found herself on the bridge of the Executor-class Star Dreadnaught Retributor. As she watched Captain Anson and his estrogen rich crew go about the process of operating the mighty warship she found herself in a comfortable chair she had the crew carry across the command walkway for her. She was dressed in the cream tunic worn by the loathsome Imperial Security Bureau, whilst her black leather boots had been moved. As she looked down at the young Liliya Benedt who was in the process of giving her a pedicure she smile, content with her position in the world. She took an obnoxiously loud sip from her frozen drink as she waited for Inquisitor Thanor to arrive, hoping the Alderaanian would finish before that. "Do hurry," she said, as she glared down with her blue eyes at the petite pixie, as she wiggled her toes in her face. "Almost done," she chastised her, as her attention moved back to the chronometer. Inquisitors were prompt.

Miss Benedt was seen on the floor struggling to finish the pedicure through Arden's wiggling. There had been no protest from Liliya to complete such a degrading procedure, on her knees in front of the woman, obviously ruining her white dress as she delicately painted the blood red polish with great care and precision. There was a time when her new charge squirmed some, likely on purpose, and it caused a small red streak to be misplaced upon skin. Fretting, Liliya quickly corrected the mistake. "Nearly finished ..." there was a short pause "... Your Majesty," she said with a soft defeated tone to her voice. Thoughts began to wander back to when she felt she was being mishandled by the Governor, but his harmless advances were nothing compared to her mistreatment by the Major. Any hope of regaining honor among the crew members had been shot. Now they believed she was a strumpet in addition to being a spineless slave. The only saving grace to this whole predicament was that now Liliya had access to the information coming in for Major Zevrin. Her prime directive was to gather information of the innermost workings of the Empire, thus her position by Arden's side was paramount.

Captain Tiberius Anson, the Retributor's Corellian Captain, was doing his best not to watch the pedicure that was taking place upon *his* bridge. Fortunately nothing important was scheduled, aside from a routine delivery of personal packages. Working for the Imperial Security Bureau had been a nightmare, and he personally missed Grand Moff Rodney and his hand's off, absentee ways. "Major Zevrin, are you sure you would not be more comfortable in your personal quarters for a matter such as this?" he asked, as he stood next to her waiting for whatever orders came his way. His eyes cast down helplessly towards his Chiss tactical officer, Meham'ohorovi'cloca, whose alien voice had been stifled ever since the ISB commander's return. The change in purpose had not suited him or his crew.

It had been nearly a week since the High Inquisitor's fateful encounter with Lord Vader, and she had needed every moment of that time to begin her recovery from a ghastly state. Only her apprentice and High Colonel truly knew how close Serine had been to death, and had shielded that information from her entire crew quite cleverly. Needing less than a week to rebound from those injuries was unprecedented, but she did not have the luxury of wasting time in a medical bed. She was far too angered by the fact that rebels were able to infiltrate the flagship and nearly escape unhindered, and thus she had began to process of initiating a planetary bombardment. Just hours prior, she had sent word that she was arriving to discuss matters with the Major, and this would certainly be her main topic. Due to the recent events, it had been clearly explained to her that she and Major Zevrin were to work together in overseeing the Ringali Shell. The Inquisitor was at least going to attempt to follow through with these plans, and thus speak to Arden about her proposals.

Serine's injuries were still being nursed, every step was still a painful one for her, but she hid them extremely well. Her gait remained unchanged from the characteristically brash and purposeful stride she was known for. This was the first time the High Inquisitor would be going to talk to Arden directly about anything besides her disgust and contempt for her. As the Executor, she reported to the Grand Moff for matters of this sector, but apparently that was soon changing. As she approached Arden, she was not at all surprised to see the degradation and humiliation she placed upon all under her. It was distasteful and off putting, at least Serine treated her subordinates with respect when they served her admirably. Eyes washed over the scene before her as she stopped in front of Arden. The Inquisitor had no respect for Liliya Benedt, felt she was a waste of space and perhaps was receiving the treatment she deserved, but it was a tasteless act that no doubt would cause the rest of the crew to question Arden's command. It was vital for a leader to have respect from those that served, and she seriously doubted anyone respected Arden Zevrin.

"Going to place your feet upon her back when she is done? Disgraceful," she said to the woman with contempt before her attention drifted to Anson who stood beside her. At least that man deserved her regard. "Captain," said with a polite nod before eyes flicked back to Arden. "I have a few matters to discuss."

*Slurp* the sound of Arden sipping her frozen drink through a straw was her only immediate response to the arrival of the Inquisitor. "Inquisitor, good of you to come, as always," she said, as she handed her drink off to the Captain so she could focus on the task of addressing her sometimes rival. "I had not considered using Liliya as a footrest, but the nails will take time to dry, and I should not put my boots back on until they set," she said, as she looked down at Liliya. When the work of the pedicure was complete, she brought her legs to Liliya's back and let her feet rest upon her. She wiggled her toes happily, before *finally* getting down to business. "Our dear Governor has departed us. He is on his home planet of Delaya for the memorial service honoring his treacherous daughter, Jelena," she explained, before moving up her left index finger to mockingly wipe away a nonexistent tear. Only she and Serine knew that the young Jelena had escaped, and she intended to keep it that way. "I have assigned an agent to handle him. One of Jelena's childhood friends. I've instructed her to keep him on Delaya as long as possible. He will not be able to interfere in my plans," she said, as she stretched slightly, adjusting her feet on the young Liliya's back. "Wonderful idea, Serine. Keep them coming," she said, as she rolled her heels upon the poor girl's back.

Liliya found herself somehow in an even worse situation than moments prior to the High Inquisitor arriving. That seemed to always be the case. With a soft woeful sigh, she placed her hands upon the durasteel plating to allow Arden's feet to be perfectly level upon her back. It was extremely uncomfortable, the cold metal floor was painful to continue to kneel upon, and Arden's heels seemed to dig into her back painfully. After a few moments, she managed to wrestle with her datapad to pull it in front of her without disturbing the Major's perch. Despite her miserable state, she began to take minutes of this meeting with one hand, the datapad laying on the ground facing her.

Serine's suggestion had not been a serious one, as it was supposed to highlight the potential atrocious tendencies of the Major in a nonsensical fashion. Apparently Arden had zero shame and took it as legitimate advice much to the Inquisitor's dismay. Liliya's pitiful fate was not her concern and her attention was soon afterwards fully directed towards Arden, also ignoring the senseless use of the Captain as a cup holder. The Major's eccentrics were annoying so Serine decided to cut right to the chase so she could leave this woman to her own devices to further terrorize a crew that may or may not deserve it. "I believe you know that Major Eona has taken over the responsibilities of the former head of Imperial Intelligence in this sector. She has recently collected data on numerous potential hidden rebel cells on the surface of Esseles. We are in the midst of preparing an orbital bombardment followed by a series of troop landings to secure possible rebel survivors." Serine said matter-of-factly, as if these events were going to happen with or without the Major's approval, but this was a step in the right direction. The Inquisitor felt the need to tell Arden this information, and she was rather intrigued with what the response would be. Eyes that carefully scrutinized Arden narrowed ever so slightly as she awaited the woman's reaction.

"An orbital bombardment?!" Arden exclaimed, as her eyes widened, and she sat more upright in her comfortably plush chair. "Inquisitor ... I didn't think you had it in you," she said, as she suddenly rose from the chair. Instead of moving her feet off Liliya, she used her weight to press the young Alderaanian down to the ground, and as she got up from the chair she ended up standing upon her. This gave her an added height advantage and kept her bare feet off what she could only assume was the filthy floor of the Retributor. "Very well. I'll have some locations I'll want added to the targeting package," she said, as she began to walk upon Liliya's backside. "I am sending you Commander Howe, who was the ISB officer that commanded the operation that captured Jelena," she explained, as she wanted to be rid of the pesky junior officer who had been clamoring for a promotion ever since. "He will provide you with the information..." she explained, before her voice trailed off, her eyes moving once again towards the chronometer.

Major Kerrie Kiley was offended that she had not been invited by the Governor to accompany the family to Delaya, as she despised Arden Zevrin, and had absolutely no function when the Governor and his family were away. When the *order* to report to Major Zevrin came across her terminal she initially considered deleting it, but getting into a conflict with the ISB would only make things more difficult for the Governor. And so, at the appointed hour, she made her way into the turbolift that would take her to bridge. When the doors opened and she saw the Major standing barefoot on the back of the Governor's former aide, Liliya, and the presence of Inquisitor Thanor she immediately regretted coming. "Should of stood in bed," she muttered under her breath, before moving towards the trio. "Major Kiley reporting as *ordered*," she announced to them, upon clearing her throat. She suspected this was going to be the beginning of a very bad day. A very bad day.

Liliya was managing to take proper minutes with one hand while the other hand continued to prop herself up like a bench for the Major's pleasure. She was persevering quite nicely, almost proud of herself that she could continue her duties despite the adversity placed upon her. The aide was not sure why Arden was so eager to humiliate her constantly, and place her in such demeaning light to the rest of the crew. Miss Benedt felt that if she could just continue to serve her capably, without confrontation or resistance, perhaps Major Zevrin would come to appreciate her assistance. Perhaps it was just a pipe dream her programming was desperate to arrange to keep her in good spirits, because no sooner was she feeling a shred of hope was when Arden decided to abruptly come to a stand. With a soft cry of surprise, Liliya found herself pressed harshly to the metal grating upon her stomach, the sudden unexpected added weight caused her arms to buckle and the side of her face smashed into her datapad. Now she was fully incapable of taking notes, a gentle sad whine eased from her but otherwise she stayed silent, submissive, and careful not to jostle least the Major came crashing down from unstable footing.

Serine was actually surprised at the ease of which Arden seemed to receive this report. Not only was she fully accepting, apparently the woman wanted to add her own targets to an already substantial list. The Inquisitor had been in service with the Governor for years and had never been apart of such a large scale operation despite her insisting he take a more aggressive approach to the rebel insurrection. Now, during her first 'official' meeting with Major Zevrin they already were planning destruction on a massive scale. Serine was impressed by Arden's ruthlessness and eagerness for retribution. Perhaps if she just ignored absolutely everything else she detested about this woman, they could finally get some work done. Serine had no complaints here and was a bit impatient now to get back to her ship so they could commence the attack. The Inquisitor also noticed Arden's quick look to the chronometer and took that as a cue that they both had important things to take care of.

"Send Commander Howe and we may immediately begin the orbital bombardment. I will be taking my leave..." Serine paused in her sentence the moment she saw Major Kiley appear on the scene. She had not seen that woman since the fateful day she prolonged her life to allow Doctor Tohan to rush her to the medical bay. That singular meeting had set a series of events into motion that changed the course of Serine's destiny. It had been profound for numerous reasons, and began her rise to power as a High Inquisitor and commander of the Interrogator. She doubted Kerrie even realized what Serine had done to save her life. No matter. But all of this was not on Serine's mind, instead, there was an unusual ambition and hunger that swirled in deep silver as she gazed upon Major Kiley. Serine had managed to cannibalize a few members from the Retributor and repurposed them upon the Interrogator, but there were still individuals she had set her sights on. Kerrie had been one of those that the Inquisitor had attempted to sway for more than a year. "Major," she said with an eerie tone as the Clawdite assassin joined the small rather comical scene.

Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca looked up at the group of officers on the walkway above, hesitant to interrupt, particularly given Major Zevrin's obvious distaste of non-humans among the command. "Major, you have a priority transmission from the planet Delaya. Lieutenant Dakkar reporting in as ordered, ma'am," she reported efficiently in her cold, yet exotic alien voice. When the message was delivered she lowered her red eyes back towards her terminal, hoping her intrusion would be met without a reprimand.

Arden looked towards Kerrie and was just about to tell her compatriots the news when the strange looking blue woman interrupted her, causing her gloved hands to momentarily clench into fists. Her flesh reddened, and her head swiftly looked down towards the Chiss Lieutenant wanting to explode. But, then she heard whom was contacting her, and she decided the alien would be spared her wrath ... this time. A glance was given to both Inquisitor Thanor and Major Kiley, deciding to include them in her machinations. The Inquisitor to impress her with her plans, and the Major to further demoralize her, before she delivered the coup de gras. "You'll want to see this," she said to them, as she settled down into her chair, and wiggled her toes to examine their dryness. "Well done, Liliya. Oh. I'm sorry. I forgot you were down there!" she said, lying, as she began to slide on her neatly polished leather boots. All the while the HoloNet signal was beating as she forced the Lieutenant to wait. When she was finally she moved towards the holonet projector to receive her report.

The gloomy night before Jelena's funeral had turned surprisingly... *happy*. Sierra Dakkar could never have emotionally prepared herself for the unexpected ride with Claudius. She still felt blown away from their intimate thranta ride. Her blonde hair was windswept. Her mind felt restored. All her demons had crept away. She could truly say she was ready for the funeral, and even more ready to provide emotional support to Claudius. There was just one thing that had become a thorn in her side ... Arden.

While Claudius prepared for the wedding, she slipped away from him in order to make her report. The young girl's eyes had been opened. She hoped to make the next face-to-face meeting with Arden go differently. After all. Her bark was worse than her bite, right?

Sierra escaped to her bedroom where she could privately speak with Arden. She knew the woman would be furious. The shopping trip had rendered Sierra's hands full. She hadn't reported in, or made any kind of communication to her the other day. She stepped onto the holoproector as she made the call to Arden. The girl straightened her back and corrected her posture. She dropped her arms around around her chest and tried to not make it obvious that she was happy, for it was something that the Major could exploit. "Major Zervin?"

A blue holographic image of Major Arden Zevrin appeared in front of Lieutenant Dakkar, and the young ISB commander looked none too pleased. "Lieutenant, you failed to report yesterday," she said, angrily, which caused her nostrils to flare. "I trust it is because you were so engrossed in your duties that you were otherwise occupied with sedating the Governor?" she asked, folding her arms in front of her chest, and tilting her head to more astutely examine the woman. Even though she appeared as nothing more than a blue hologram she could still make out certain changes in her face that enabled her to read the situation. "Ah. I see. Well done, Lieutenant. Well done," she said, with a laugh, as her head turned to others in the room with her aboard the Retributor. "Do you think the old man's heart will survive the funeral?" she asked, biting at her lower lip as she imaged the continued tragedies that would befall the poor man. Everything was proceeding as she had foreseen.

"I was busy with the Governor's children," she reported dryly. With distance between them, she didn't cower. Arden, ever so good at striking a chord inside of her, caught on to her success. Internally, she sneered. This plan would begin and end with Sierra, of this she would make sure. She wondered who else was watching their conversation. Just how deep did her plans go? She thought that there might be a double meaning to Arden's words. Her favorite hobby seemed to be making Claudius' life difficult. She steeled herself with her boots planted on the ground. "I have no doubt that it will. I will keep him afloat." Her obedience was quickly straying. The late night ride had been enough to ensure her that she had to *protect* the Grand Moff. She didn't need to manipulate him. She needed to knock Arden out of the game. How she was going to do that was an entirely different question.

"Now that I have everyone's attention I must report on our sad Governor's condition," Arden said, sniffling loudly, in mock sadness to make the less savvy officers think she was actually concerned about him. "The poor man has lost his eldest daughter, his Alderaanian aide, and, most regrettably, his wife," she said, as she raised her eyebrows, unable to contain her delight at the personal destruction that she had unleashed upon the man who at one point had ordered her death. "Now I will deny him the one asset he has left. His adjutant," she said, with a snigger, as her eyes turned towards the Clawdite Major who was standing beside her. "As your duties involve both the Governor's military affairs and protection of his family your services are no longer required. I demote you one grade in rank to Commander, and place you and the ShadowWhispers under Inquisitor Thanor. Get off my ship," she ordered, before turning to face the holographic image of Lieutenant Dakkar. "Congratulations, Commander Dakkar. I raise you two grades in rank and assign you as Governor Rodney's new adjutant for showcasing the best traits of an ISB agent. Subterfuge. Deception. Manipulation. And, dare I say, seduction?" she said, before allowing her tongue to slither over her lips as she looked at them all. "Do whatever you have to keep that lecherous old man on Delaya where he cannot interfere with me ... with *us*," she quickly added, for political reasons, as she offered a half-smile to the Inquisitor. Oh, how she wished to laugh, but too many of Claudius' friends were watching. She had a great many skills, but starship operations were not one of them. She would have to maintain a positive working relationship with the crew or the Retributor would likely fall from the stars.

It was suddenly terrible being on Delaya, helpless to anything which Arden carried out while she was away. Sierra watched, with disgust, while she demoted Clawdite Major. No... This was *not* what Claudius needed. The Retributor would be a hellish mess by the time they arrived back. She wondered how she could rush him home. There were so many events she couldn't control the time on, like the council where he would renounce his claim. She was conflicted on what to do and mortified that the Major raised her rank. Her cheeks were red. She wasn't embarrassed. She was angry. Furious. "I'll do what I damn well please," she spoke in a growl, immediately stepping off the holoproector to signify that she was finished with this conversation. She had a funeral to prepare for. Her strong demeanor broke as soon as she stepped off. She crashed onto her bed, crying. She'd do anything to go back to the thranta right and forget that she was some pathetic pawn.

Liliya was finally able to gather herself after all of the abuse she had taken, sitting upon her hunches while looking down at the mess that was her brand new floral patterned white dress. It had black greasy stains and ugly smeared dirt streaked across the front. She had to hold back an inaudible sob that nearly broke from her as she surveyed the hideous damages. The assistant was so ashamed, and feared others looking upon her in this condition, but she had no choice but to continue to serve Arden until she was dismissed. Wearily, she picked up the datapad and slowly came to a stand besides the Major's improvised throne. There was no point in smoothing out the wrinkles or fixing her disheveled hair, as no amount of attention could repair her appearance at this point. The only thing she could do to keep her mind off of her distressing situation was to log the conversation and developments of this meeting that she missed while being stood on. Everything that was said or agreed upon was carefully scripted into her datapad and would be organized into an outlined report for Major Zevrin.

In a span of a few meager moments, the High Inquisitor was granted everything that she had been after for years, in an unexpected turn of events that had her emotionally reeling from the implications. Serine would have been pleased with just prying Major Kiley away from Claudius' ill-suited grasp, but now suddenly she would be commanding the entire ShadowWhispers company. There was a dark appetite for aspiration gleaming in silver eyes that gazed upon Kerrie with a vigorously cunning desire. That intense yearning for an assassin of that skill was unmistakable, who had been so thoughtlessly pushed aside and forced to be a mere bodyguard. Now Serine would give that woman's life new meaning and purpose and in turn, she would have a powerful ally in addition to a whole company of highly trained professional killers and combatants. They would not be wasted away on some poor excuse for duty, instead, the High Inquisitor had many plans for them and for Kerrie. Serine played right into the offering from Arden, and she slowly looked back towards the woman with a gaze of hunger and ambition. Major Zevrin practically hand-fed the High Inquisitor exactly what she wanted, and in turn, Serine's mannerisms began to warp and unfold into something unprecedented. Serine's actions were tainted by a thirst and greed for power now, a taste for what she has been eager for was all that was needed. There was just the faintest hint of a vile smile upon her lips and the Inquisitor would do the unexpected. In a fluid motion, she clasped her arms behind her back and stood in proper attention before Arden Zevrin, awaiting further instruction or dismissal. There was absolutely no point of contention, Serine would now be hers to command.

Kerrie watched painfully as the attractive, younger blonde wormed her way into Governor Rodney's confidence. She missed Jelena, she missed Htaere, she missed Claudius, she missed his children ... she even missed Liliya, whom she gave a supportive half smile to, as she noted her predicament. The news that she had been demoted and transferred shattered her so much that she momentarily broke concentration, which caused her human face to fade and reveal the vile and repugnant grey skinned reptilian features that lay beneath her. "No. No I will not be party to this, Major. I resign," she said, lowering her head, still in its Clawdite form, and turning on her heels to leave her presence. She vowed to retire to public life and serve the Rodney family on Delaya as a personal employee, rather than allow the ISB to continue to disrupt, and perhaps even destroy, more members of the family she had take an oath of servitude to protect.

Before she could get very far a group of ISB Stormtroopers stepped in front of Kerrie, denying her access to the blast door that separated the bridge from the rest of the massive vessel. "I do not wish you to resign, but if you force it upon me I will have to place you into custody on your earlier charge of desertion following your aborted mission to Rodia for me those many years ago," she explained, making it sound as if it were out of her hands, and that she was even sad about it, when secretly this was something she had wanted all along. "...and, unfortunately, per Grand Moff Rodney's standing orders, all non-human prisoners in Imperial custody are to immediately be executed," she said, as she an arched an eyebrow at the woman. She raised a left index finger towards the squad of Stormtroopers at the door. "You may fire when ready," she said delightfully, but then quickly raised her hand to stop them. "Unless the Commander has reconsidered her impulsive decision? Hmm? What's it to be Kerrie?" she said, as she moved to place a finger upon her grotesque true appearance. "I can see why you choose the appearance that you do, sweetie. Won't have to worry about you sleeping around looking like that," she laughed, before stepping back out of the aim of the makeshift firing squad.

Serine watched the scene unfold eerily silent as eyes intently followed Kerrie as she attempted to leave. It would have been terribly unfortunate for the *Commander* to meet her end right before the Inquisitor could finally claim her as a subordinate. However, it would not sever her new allegiances to Arden, afterall, she was still getting the company of Storm Commandos and surprising leeway to conduct an orbital bombardment. Despite Major Zevrin's many distasteful qualities, she managed to get things done, unlike the Governor. It would be interesting to see for just how long Arden could continue hold the High Inquisitor in her circle of influence. Serine made no motion to intervene or protest, if Kerrie was so mindless as to cause her own execution, the Inquisitor no longer desired her.

Kerrie looked from Major Zevrin to the squad of Stormtroopers and back again. She had suffered too much in her life to allow herself to die like this ... for nothing. She closed her eyes and moments later her humanoid visage reappeared. "Very well, Major. I withdraw my resignation," she said bitterly, as she glared across at the young ISB commander. She then walked forward towards Inquisitor Thanor. "Inquisitor, I look forward to serving you," she said, politely, before snapping the back of her heels together, and marching from the bridge to gather her belongings. It seemed she had lost everything today, and she was not the least bit happy about it. If only she had better managed the Jelena situation then perhaps none of this would have happened. In a way, she felt this was all her fault.

"Well there we have it, then," Arden said cheerfully, with a broad smile, as she extended an arm towards Serine and Kerrie. "We are all friends *at long last*," she announced, before shooing them all off *her* bridge. She had placated the Inquisitor and brought her into her fold, and she had rid herself of Kerrie, the last potential obstacle to her rise to complete power, and a perennial thorn in her side. "And now, Liliya, I think ... a massage," she said, as she clapped her hands together, which resulted in a droid setting up a massage table on the command walkway, which would allow her to continue to watch over the crew and the space traffic. "Oh. And Sheppard. Tell your mom you want more brownies. Not cookies," she ordered, as she looked forward to the rest of her delicious day.

Kerrie strode slowly across the hangar bay of the Executor-class Star Dreadnaught Retributor towards the vessel that would take her over the to the Interrogator. She took one last long around, not feeling particularly sorrowful to say goodbye to the massive command ship that she had only briefly come to serve aboard. She was, however, sad to be leaving the Governor's direct service as she had come to view the man as a replacement for the father she never knew. She tried her best not to cry, but it was another battle she was unlikely to win. She was reminded of the day her parents gave her up back on Zolan when she had to climb the high stairs that led to the Mabari monastery. To her, the shuttle ramp in front of her echoed that day, and each step up the low sloping ramp felt like she had climbed a meter. Like that day in her youth long ago she was only taking one thing with her ... a small, stuffed bantha that her parents had given her ... her bookii. The two had seen a lot together, and as she sat in the back of the departing shuttle, she gave it a hug to reassure herself ... just like that little girl had done on Zolan 20 years earlier.

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