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Christopher Levy.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:6:20) in the Essesia system: Warspite.
Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca and Grand Moff Claudius Rodney.

Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca stood stoically outside the blast doors that separated the antechamber from Grand Moff Claudius Rodney's office. The blue-skinned officer could feel the eyes of those around her giving unpleasant glances and she attempted to do her best not to notice, but it felt as if the doors would never open. Unconsciously, she lifted her back heels to raise herself up slightly and then back to the ground, in a repeated nervous tick. She had spent the morning reviewing Captain Rhiannon T'Jarell's plan to attack the nebula, but had also took the initiative to review her personnel file. Concern was the emotion on the forefront of her mind ... concerning both subjects. After what seemed like an eternity, the blast doors diagonally began to separate, and before they were completely open she had pivoted on her heels and marched swiftly and deliberately into the office. "Milord," she said matter-of-factly as she remained at attention in front of her desk.

It had been an uneventful evening for the Alderaanian Grand Moff and thankfully Claudius Rodney had not felt the need to consume anymore of the now-precious Alderaan Ruge. "Well, Lieutenant, what did you think of the Captain's plan?" he asked, having been preoccupied with the idea of taking the first offensive naval action of his tenure. By his own admission he was not much of a tactician and was much more suited for his current position of Regional Governor. Throughout the war he had relied on the recommendations of the Chiss tactical officer he had positioned aboard his flagship, but who had become increasingly distant since his promotion.

In truth, Meham'ohorovi'cloca was merely responsible for the weapon's systems aboard his Imperial Star Destroyer, but in practice she was his most trusted military advisor ... a special status that rather than commanding respect often found her in a position of disdain. "In a word, sir? Overambitious," she concluded in a determined tone, before moving towards the display where she hoped to present her report. Her red eyes widened slightly when she saw the damage and realized she would have to present her report without the customary visual aids. "I will notify maintenance of this unfortunate ... malfunction..." she struggled with that last word, having served with the man long enough to suspect 1,000 different reasons for the damage.

"Perhaps a lack of ambition among the current staff is the reason we have suffered such setbacks, Lieutenant," Claudius snapped back, being immediately forced into the position of defending his new naval advisor. Truthfully, it was not the position he wanted to find himself in ... not after one encounter ... yet there he was. "Continue," he said, deliberately avoiding any comment on the damage he had inflicted upon the viewscreen.

"There is nothing to be gained by fighting in the dark..." Meham'ohorovi'cloca declared, moving closer toward the Governor's desk and taking up a position directly in front of him. "...other than being able to claim you did something. When you cannot see your opponent it is unwise to flail wildly at them," she concluded, pursing her lips slightly, sensing that he had already made his decision and committed himself. Her tactical abilities and unique ability to read a situation carried over to human situations. "We have no idea what Rebel forces are contained within the nebula, milord. Before we deployed the Rebellion may have hidden their entire fleet in there for all we know..." she stated in a calm, collected tone, using logic and reason as her two weapons in this fight.

"All we have detected during our presence in these sectors is small craft ... nothing larger than a frigate," Claudius said back in a voice full of emotion, indicating his argument was based more on feelings and impulses rather than sound military tactics. "There is no reason to suspect they have anything heavy in there ... and if they do Captain T'Jarell's Victory Star Destroyer and escorts will be more than a match for them," he concluded, dismissing the Chiss Lieutenant's concerns as needless caution. It was time to throw caution to the win, he had determined over the course of the night ... nothing they had tried before had worked.

"It is not what has been seen that concerns me, milord. It is what is unseen," Meham'ohorovi'cloca pleaded, raising both of her hands in front of her in a rare show of emotion that betrayed her otherwise cold and stoic persona. "Despite the Imperial propaganda to their contrary, we are in fact quite outmatched when it comes to starfighters," she argued, wishing she had the use of the display to bring up the appropriate technical schematics that she was sure would work in her favor. "Their bombers and fighters could wreak havoc upon our forces even in smaller numbers. Thus far their attacks have been limited to our convoys. It would be unwise to provoke them further. I stand by my recommendation to continue our policy of containment and convoy escort," she concluded, methodically making her case, but as her red eyes scanned over his form she knew she had already lost. His passions were governing him ... unwisely. "Permission to speak freely, sir?" she said, unwilling to surrender, and hoping that one last strategy might yet prevail.

Claudius held the Lieutenant in the highest regard as a tactician, but knew that her defensive strategy would not guarantee the stability his command so desperately needed. "In the years we have served together I have never heard you make that request, Lieutenant," he said slowly, rising from his seated position to the desk, before slowly making his way towards her. "So it would be inappropriate for me to deny such a request. Proceed..." he said, with a bit of trepidation as he prepared for her coming onslaught.

Meham'ohorovi'cloca swallowed, the blue skin of her throat bulging against the olive-grey of her Imperial uniform. "Milord, you have been a wonderful patron to me. Without you, I would likely still be upon my homeworld seeking a purpose for myself. While others have placed me in contempt and questioned my presence here, you have always treated me with courtesy and respect..." she stammered, her voice shifting in tone for perhaps the first time in months. "You have always judged me based on what I am ... rather than who I am. Nearly any other officer would have declined my service, but you saw something in me and for that I am forever grateful..." her voice trailed off at that moment, and she lowered her head before deciding if it was prudent to continue. "Forgive me, milord..." she continued as she raised her head defiantly and locked her red eyes upon him. "But I wonder if perhaps you are making this decision based on *who* she is and not *what* she is," she uttered confidently, realizing what the Grand Moff had been through personally these past few months. It would be understandable that a beautiful young Hapan could talk him into an inadvisable strategy. She had launched her best attack, and now she waited for the onslaught she rightfully expected to receive.

"Lieutenant..." Claudius responded with some hostility, before catching himself and taking the appropriate moment to regain his composure before proceeding. "When I first encountered Mitth'raw'nuruodo he was teaching at the academy on Carida and we were placed on the same team in a war game..." he began, using his favored tactic of storytelling to get his point across to those he wanted to influence. "I knew immediately that no matter how long I studied, or how much experienced I developed, I would never be able to approach his skills as a tactician..." he admitted, expressing his humility, while reaching down with his hands to grasp the Lieutenant's hand and give them a reaffirming squeeze to let her know she would not be punished for her statements. "I decided to approach him at the end of the games and sought his advice and that is how I came to discover you. His gift of you to me is one that I cherish each day, and continue to value..." he continued, lifting her hands slightly as his eyes locked onto hers, getting lost in their redness. "I have been distant from you all since my promotion and I will endeavor to rectify that. You may always speak to me and voice your concerns and criticisms, but..." he paused, as he released his grasp, and began walking to the door with her. "We will execute this attack and you will do your best to see that it succeeds. Dismissed!" he said, as the large blast doors began to open.

Despite her steely exterior, the Governor's words affected Meham'ohorovi'cloca profoundly, and her sense of defeat had quickly turned into inspiration. "Of course, Milord. We will defeat the Rebel scum!" she said confidently, before clicking the back of her boots together and proceeding from his office. While the Governor was not a master of ships, he was indeed a master of minds, and hers was now committed to the battle to come.

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