Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Kit Gwynne and Sarah Riggs-Shute.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:6:21) in the Corulus system: Blazing Bolt, Interrogator, and Sirocco.
Captain Dexter Jantiss, Yun-Jai Kerr, Maverick, High Inquisitor Serine Thanor, and Colonel Mark Veller.

The Sentinel-class shuttle, Blazing Bolt, left the Interrogator's docking bay with Mark on board and two squads of Stormtroopers to accompany the Imperial Inspectors. Mark had decided it would be best to have the inspectors handle the communications with the waiting ships. He didn't want anyone to spook because he did not know the lingo of the job.

The only unusual piece would be the close flybys required. Mark did not offer any explanation to the questioning look on the pilot's face at the order, merely repeated, "High Inquisitor Thanor's orders." The man had nodded and settled down to his job.

Mark found a seat, eyes scanning the Stormtroopers, nodding as his inspection found nothing lacking. These troopers stood at the ready for which he was grateful. As the shuttle took off, Mark allowed himself to fall into deep thought, his ice blue eyes shadowed by what the future might hold. There were possibilities that did not bode well, possibilities Mark did not want to happen. Futures with Master Roste in them were complicated at best. Mark understood the High Inquisitor's future would be bettered if they managed to capture him, but also the potential for complete ruin if anything went wrong.

He gave the order to start the mission, concealing his unrest from the men. He was glad Sergeant Batua was not going on this mission. He did not want anyone who knew him near him, no new rumors were to be generated by this mission. For all that others observed, they would comment on the steady nerves of the High Colonel, especially in light of recent events.

Closing his eyes, he settled back to wait until they reached the first ship. If there was one outcome Mark was certain of, it was that he would protect the High Inquisitor from whatever that he could. He was uneasy at her confession of not being sure she could take Master Roste. It spoke to him of hasty planning and he was not a fan. This plan all relied on his ability to sense his old mentor. Something he was not even sure he could do.

Stewart Magnus Lawrence Charles Adrian Francis Verne the Fourth, otherwise known as Captain Maverick of the Scirocco was getting nervous. Taking on this passenger had been a lucky find. Who was he to argue with a guy who wanted to take the scenic route at Corulag and pay good money for it? His ship, the Scirocco, had decent passenger quarters. So, he had taken the job. His passenger had left the ship and told him he would be back soon, but to be ready to go when he he returned.

The arrival had been uneventful. But then, in orbit, appeared an Imperial ISDII. The Interrogator, no less. While most of the Empire's citizens would not know one ISD from another, he knew of the Interrogator. The ship had taken part in the subjugation of his home planet into the Empire many years ago. He knew this ship and its presence did not bode well. It had taken a lot of willpower, fueled by some Corellian brandy to not flee the planet. He was unaware his passenger had an interest in personnel aboard the Interrogator.

Abruptly, his passenger had arrived ready to go, interrupting the enjoyment of his hangover. By some miracle, the Interrogator had left orbit and he went about getting the ship ready. To his dismay, just as he was taking off, the Interrogator reappeared in orbit, throwing off all his calculations. His blood had chilled when the message came to await an Imperial Inspector. He knew his credentials were out of date. He did not want a trip to that ISD. People didn't come back from that.

He was tempted to make a run for it, but if he did that, he would definitely reveal himself. There was still a chance to slip by on this one. Besides, he didn't have anything illegal in the holds. If they did check the credentials thoroughly, the most that should happen was a fine. He shuddered, unable to shake the sense of doom that ship invoked in him.

Yun-Jai Kerr had just began settling down into the passenger quarters assigned to him by the Captain when he was informed quite hastily that the Interrogator had reentered orbit around Corulag and soon they would be inspected by an Imperial entourage. If he was being brutally honest with himself, this really could only mean one thing, he was being hunted after years of hiding in plain sight. Thoughts instantly shot to Mark's promise of a two day head start. At the time, he had found that very generous, and would have been pleased with just a two-hour head start, but here he didn't even get half of an hour. He sighed softly to himself in disappointment with the realization that Mark very likely disclosed all of his information to the High Inquisitor. Kerr had been convinced he connected with Veller on a deep level. He had witnessed that rewarding link present in Veller's eyes when they spoke, but apparently it had not been significant enough to stave off the Colonel's sense of duty.

Despite the real threat he was likely now under, he couldn't help but to be oddly amused at the sheer audacity of it all. He almost chuckled at the terribly unfortunate scenario he was now being flung into. If his incarceration was indeed the Force's will, then he would have to accept it and use the hand he was dealt as an opportunity for virtue. If captured, he did not harbor any ill regrets, he had a very good run and had helped many people along the way. There was no shame in that. Mark's comm unit that he had shrewdly borrowed that was still buried deep in a pocket was toyed with by a few fingers as he pondered his predicament. He had planned on contacting Veller sometime in the near future, but it now seemed he may get the opportunity to see him again much sooner than he anticipated. While he doubted his pursuers knew anything beyond what little Veller could tell them, it had been enough to potentially trap him as he attempted an escape from orbit. He still had yet to be apprehended, so there was always a chance of slipping past the inspection.

Kerr very much thanked himself for the foresight to hire someone to ferry him to Corulag. Using his own ship here would have been a huge mistake. But even so, Kerr was a bit troubled, but not for himself. He did not wish any harm to come to Maverick. The man would be unfairly charged with harboring a criminal. If the worst situation should come to pass, Kerr debated surrendering as an incentive to negotiate for Maverick's release. After a few moments to gather his thoughts, the Jedi would join the Captain in the cockpit and he placed a reassuring hand on the man's shoulder. "We are merely two travelers visiting the relaxing resorts on Corulag." He said calmly to the other, not wishing to aggravate an impulsive decision from the Captain. Best he did not know he was transporting one of the Empire's most wanted.

The High Inquisitor practically launched herself into the bridge of the Interrogator from the turbo lift, full of anxious anticipation and fervor, startling many in the crew pit who looked on with nervous trepidation. Intense silver eyes raced around the premises until she caught sight of Captain Dexter Jantiss and quickly did she rush over towards him. "What is our status Captain? Has Corulag been properly blockaded? Report!" She barked at the man, her sharp gaze was a discorded mix of agitation, excitement and anxiety. She had been the commander of the Interrogator for a mere handful of months, and if she was successful here in capturing a Jedi Master, that would give her a tremendous amount of clout. Renown and sway she could use to convince others in the Citadel to assist her in matters concerning Inquisitor Jorad and Inquisitor Tremayne.

Serine figured she could likely petition her appeal to the Citadel for Jorad's imprisonment and transfer to the Interrogator, but defeating Tremayne would be far a trickier endeavor. Too many people still shielded him. She was going to need to demonstrate her strength to win over some of his supporters. The subjugation of an experienced Jedi Master left over from the ruined Jedi Order would do just that. She looked out of the massive viewpoint into space, catching sight of the Sentinel-class shuttle and escort that carried High Colonel Veller and drew in a deep breath. Everything was riding on his ability to sense the Jedi through a Force bond they may have shared. It was a huge assumption, but if she was right, and they did have a bond, the Jedi would likely be caught completely unprepared for such an assault.

Captain Jantiss suppressed his irritation at the High Inquisitor bursting onto the bridge. Yes, it was her prerogative and yes, Tremayne had done similar entrances over the years but having to suffer these interruptions from an impetuous girl was just irritating.

Standing tall, he took in a deep breath and bowed slightly, "The blockade is nearly complete, Milord," he said, "The only unlocked routes are those which are too hazardous to attempt. Those will be blocked off within the hour as they are the farthest points from our ships. Otherwise, the ship is battle ready, prepared for whatever the foe might throw at us."

Mentally, he sighed at the pomposity his irritation pushed him to. He really wanted to treat the High Inquisitor as a junior officer in order to teach her the ropes Tremayne had refused to teach her. He had seen that spark of defiance Tremayne had never crushed despite trying. Part of him wanted to fan that spark to a flame, but he couldn't do that as her junior which only lead to more irritation. He would serve and when the next High Inquisitor came to command the Interrogator, he would continue to serve.

As the Blazing Bolt neared the first ship, Mark got up out of his seat and went to the cockpit, feeling it best to be able to see the ship they were to inspect. He was a bit startled to see the TIE squadron take up escort formation. Were they there to handle Master Roste? Or to be a reminder from the High Inquisitor of the cost of betraying his duty? His eyes were shadowed slightly as he pondered the consequences of finding Master Roste today.

The first slow pass was complete and Mark felt nothing, signaling the pilot to go onto the next ship. The second and third were completed with no feeling that anything was different. On the fourth, It seemed there was something, but Mark decided it was more boredom than anything else. With a humorless snort to himself, he wondered how Imperial Inspectors managed to stay sane and if boredom was the true reason they had no sense of humor.

Nearing the fourth ship, Mark suddenly had that feeling he remembered whenever he went for his lessons. As a child, he had always just thought the feeling came from knowing there was a place of safety. His eyes widened slightly with the knowledge that this was the bond of which the High Inquisitor spoke. There was no reason for him to feel this way, save for Master Roste's nearby presence. His thoughts flickered to the day Master Roste had disappeared. He had known before he arrived that something had happened, that Master Roste was gone, even though nothing had changed. Now he knew why.

He watched as the inspector asked for registration papers and noted the name of the ship, The Scirocco. A wry smile twitched his lips as the computer spat out that the registration was out of date, not badly so, but still. Master Roste was on that ship and his orders from the High Inquisitor were to capture that ship, tow it to the Interrogator and then stand back as the High Inquisitor brought the Jedi down. He doubted Master Roste would go easily, if nothing else he would defend himself from the High Inquisitor's attacks.

His eyes darkened remembering the hushed confession, that she had never taken on a Jedi Master before and her doubt on not being able to win, hence the backup plan with the Stormtroopers and stun weapons at the ready. Mark contemplated the implications of her losing and where that left him. He doubted his chances for survival if the Interrogator were to gain a new High Inquisitor. If she failed, Inquisitor Tremayne would likely take over again. Given the tales he had heard from Lieutenant Dunford and what he had gathered out of the holonet, he knew he could not faithfully serve such an individual and while he would not abandon his duties, conflict would eventually get him killed.

Even if they managed to get Master Roste with the backup plan, the fact she had fallen to a Master Jedi would ruin her eventually. Others would use it against her and continually try her strength. How long it would take would be anyone's guess, but Mark could see the writing on the wall. She would fall and he would fall with her.

The temptation to board the vessel was high. The vessel had an out of date registration. He could take his Stormtroopers over there and face Master Roste. There were problems with this plan though. He knew his combat skills were not up to matching Master Roste. Even with his troopers, there would be limited space on the ship so numbers would be more a detriment to his side than Master Roste's. Then there was the big question, what would be accomplished by boarding the vessel? What would he do?

He shook his head, indicating to the pilot to continue on, telling the inspector to inform the Scirocco to handle the registration or the next time the ship would be impounded. He thought, I promised you two days, Master Roste, as the feeling faded, I keep my promises whenever I can. Today is not the day you answer for your Order's crimes.

He leaned back in the seat, showing the same amount of boredom he had for the prior ships. There were six more to go. We will meet again, Master Roste, Mark said to himself, hopefully with more time to discuss matters. For the moment, you are free to disappear. He thought of the comm link he was certain Master Roste had taken and dismissed the Jedi for a future day. For now, he had protected the High Inquisitor. In two days time, he would check up on the Scirocco, and a few other ships, to see where they had gone. Then, the hunt would be on.

Yun-Jai watched from the viewport as the Imperial inspection began, but found the process to be very odd. The flight patterns and protocol displayed by the Imperial inspectors were extremely peculiar. It didn't appear as if they were docking the vessels, but were swooping down along the length of each craft. What were they looking for in such a manner? It mystified him. He motioned towards the folly as he addressed Maverick. "That is a bizarre approach by that shuttle and entourage, what do you make of ... Goodness!" He exclaimed suddenly. "They are flying really close!" Kerr gasped out as the shuttle flew in tantalizingly near to the private vessel stationed just ahead of them in the line, and it had looked as if the two craft were going to crash. "What are they doing? That seems terribly reckless."

The Jedi pondered these strange events for a moment, realizing that maybe he had been too hasty in his assumption that Mark betrayed him. The tightness in his chest eased after contemplating that perhaps the Interrogator was not actually on to him. Whatever wild acrobatics those shuttle pilots wished to undertake, it had little to do with uncovering his position. Kerr gathered they must have been searching for something else, perhaps attached to the hull of one of these ships, and that's why they were flying so close? Apparently, whatever they were seeking was not on the ship ahead of them and the Sentinel-class shuttle with escorting TIEs began approaching the Scirocco. "As long as they don't smash into us, I think we will be fine. Just keep her steady, Captain."

The mystery of the irregular flight patterns would soon be shockingly uncovered as Blazing Bolt began its descent to traverse the length of the Scirocco, and suddenly it was all uncomfortably clear as eyes grew wide. What should have been the gentle welcoming sensation of feeling the presence of his former student felt more like a distressing ailment with the realization that he had just been discovered. That sinking agony of unease and panic threatened to paralyze him and he found himself breathing shallowly. A terribly painful jolt of understanding hit him as he clutched the back of the Captain's chair with both of his hands, finding himself abruptly off-center and weakly unbalanced. A deep breath was drawn in slowly and sighed out to steady and calm his nerves. The jitters were understandable, he reassured himself, but he couldn't let fear make him lose control. Whatever his fate, he had to face it collectively without animosity or apprehension.

"Clever..." was eased out with a mere whisper, silently acknowledging he was outmaneuvered and outsmarted by the High Inquisitor, and all he could do was stare helplessly at the approaching shuttle, waiting for Veller. He had completely underestimated his foe, and would pay dearly for it. The Jedi's options were now pitifully limited. Breaking from their position and attempting to flee would get them instantly shot or disabled, and would likely endanger the civilian ships around them. Getting boarded by the Imperials would give him more options, but banking on them being so careless was not a winning strategy. Kerr was in the middle of moving his hand to hail the shuttle when the Imperial Inspectors gave Maverick a warning and cleared them for departure.

The Jedi was stunned, and his mind was too befuddled to process what had just happened. He was too in shock and couldn't even begin to piece everything together until the presence of Mark began to fade as the shuttle moved on to the next ship. It took a moment for him to grasp that Veller was letting him go, and that painful gripping sensation in his chest eased dramatically as a heaping amount of pride beamed in its place. His time spent with Mark had not been in vain, Kerr had managed to transfer some worthwhile conviction into the man after all. He couldn't help but to expand out a held breath into a series of extremely relieved chuckles followed by a long sigh. After he had time to recollect himself from a near devastating catastrophe, Yun-Jai turned his sights to his hired companion while hardened his features a bit.

"Captain! For shame! Expired registration codes? You swore you were legit. You nearly got us in trouble," he struggled saying with a straight face while attempting to sound disappointed, finding it incredibly difficult to keep from bursting out laughing, let alone preventing a huge grin from forming. The smuggler of course having no idea he was illegally ferrying a Jedi around, and Kerr getting a kick out of teasing the man who was blissfully ignorant. The Jedi was all too willing to allow Maverick to believe he was the one solely in the wrong, and finding much secret amusement at the Captain's expense.

Captain Maverick discreetly rubbed his sweaty palms on his pants. It was the only sign he ever showed to being nervous, aside from a bit of alcohol on the side, but with Imps about to board his ship, he couldn't afford to snag a drink. Those Imp inspectors had no trace of a humor and if he even smelled of alcohol, they would confiscate his ship and toss him in jail.

Watching the first ship get inspected, he breathed a small sigh of relief. They weren't boarding and the comm chatter seemed pretty standard. Whatever they were looking for, he couldn't figure it out from the chatter.

He nodded to his passenger, not really startled the man had come up to the bridge. The man could cat foot around when he wanted to, but Maverick didn't sense any danger from him. "Yeah," he said, "Still, Imps make me jumpy, can't understand why they do some things sometimes."

When it came to their turn, he smiled a bit at his passenger's comment. The Imps might be odd at times and ruthless, but their pilots were pretty good, especially those off an ISD. As long as he didn't change their path, the shuttle pilot wouldn't scratch them. Those TIE fighters though, sometimes they went off the rails, but so far there hadn't been any incidents. "Not to worry, those pilots are good at close maneuvers," he said, "And the Scirocco is pretty nimble herself."

He sighed when they demanded his registration papers and sent them over. If they noticed the registration, he hopped he could sweet talk the inspectors into letting him pay the fines and then leave. If things went south, at least his passenger would be free to go.

His passenger's sigh of relief was lost in the echo of his sigh of relief. He hurriedly assured the inspector he would take care of it at his next port of call and closed the comm link. In response to Kerr's teasing, he said, "Hey, you were in a hurry, it just slipped my mind."

He engaged the engines to start moving the ship to the hyperspace route. They would pass closer to the Interrogator than he liked, but then, within range of her guns was closer than he liked.

"So," he asked his passenger, "what's the next stop? You got anywhere else you wanna sightsee?" waiting for the answer so he could program it into the nav computer.

Kerr contemplated the Captain's question regarding their next destination, realizing that it would be a wise move to change his original plans. He was going to have the man take him directly back to Rhinnal, but now knowing that Mark likely made note of Maverick's vessel, it would probably be best to travel to a few additional places to ensure his trail ran cold. The Jedi also debated on having the Captain drop him off on a nearby planet and then taking a public shuttle back to his home planet, as that action would be nearly untraceable. Yun-Jai very much appreciated Veller's leniency, but he was not so foolish as to assume Mark would let him go indefinitely, or that the High Inquisitor would give up the search. He was going to need to tread extremely warily for a long time now, and although it would restrain and hinder his movements, he was accustomed to carefully considering each discrete action he took.

"Well, the first thing you *should* do is get your registration codes up-to-date. But as for me, I had a very rewarding, very informative vacation," Kerr said with a pleasant smile to the other before his eyes drifted to the sight of the Imperial II-Class Star Destroyer Interrogator growing smaller as they pulled away. "Good memories... "

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