Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Christopher Levy and Sarah Riggs-Shute.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:2:13) in the Essesia system: Retributor.
Liliya Benedt, Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca, High Inquisitor Serine Thanor, and Major Arden Zevrin.

Major Arden Zevrin was wrapped in nothing but a towel as she lay upon a massage table on the bridge of the Executor-class Star Dreadnaught Retributor. The young Liliya Benedt was standing on her back, doing her best to give the ISB commander a massage. Her face was down upon the protective matting, drooling slightly, as she reached a heightened state of relaxation. Her young aide was doing an excellent job, so much so that she found her eyelids begin to grow heavier for the moment. And then, just as suddenly, the sound of her snoring began to fill the bridge of the massive command ship. What a wonderous woman this Liliya was ... no wonder the Governor favored her so.

Miss Benedt was quite skilled at therapeutic massages for every part of the human form. She had multiple programs of the topic installed and running at once to ensure every bit of pressure she placed upon Arden's back, arms and legs was perfectly set. Apparently it was more than enough to cause her charge to fall asleep ... in the middle of the bridge where countless officers were going about their duties. Major Zevrin's infamous antics were well known and quickly adapted to, so that no one seemed to stare or even barely notice that Liliya was running her hands over a practically naked Arden in the midst of operations. Liliya was back to wearing her black dress considering she had to incinerate her ruined white dress with much lamenting. She figured attempting to improve her relations with the crew members was a wash, there was likely no escaping the unfortunate reputation she had gathered, from being the Governor's *assistant* and now to being a literal footstool for the Major. With a sigh she gathered her datapad and stood by her lightly napping superior, awaiting when the woman may wake up and demand another outrageous and humiliating service.

A few hours prior to the High Inquisitor's visit to the Retributor, she had sent a report High Colonel Veller generated detailing the success of the orbital bombardment of Esseles. The Interrogator was now housing a significant amount of political prisoners in addition to potential rebel targets, and all of them were being questioned ... some had not survived the questioning thus far. Serine had decided for an impromptu visit to discuss these matters with the Major. Even though this was an operation that Serine spearheaded and the Interrogator conducted alone, many of these targets from the ISB appeared to be of special interest to Arden, thus perhaps she would want them transferred to the Retributor, or disposed of immediately. The bombardment had been a significant military operation with reeling political ramifications along with causing a heavy dose of fear and dread that washed over the populace of Esseles.

Serine did not have an appointment, but that never stopped her from barging into a scene when she wished to discuss matters with the Governor, nor would that stop her from access to the Major. The Inquisitor was expecting to see Arden sitting comfortably in her makeshift throne, but what she saw instead was the scantily clad form of Major Zevrin sleeping soundly on what appeared to be a massage table. She growled at the audacity of that woman as eyes washed over the crew in the pit as well as the officers walking about. No one seemed to pay any heed to this display of arrogance and impudence that Arden so freely showed. Suddenly there was a heavy crack that exploded in the air, the sound echoing loudly as the Inquisitor whipped the ground before the massage table with enough energy to gouge a deep gash into durasteel. For a moment all eyes turned to Serine with trepidation. A violent glare was shot to the petite form of Liliya who began to tremble and hide behind her datapad.

Arden began chewing with nothing in her mouth, slowly opening her eyes, and seeing a dark form lingering in front of her. After her eyes blinked several times the figure came into focus and she acknowledged the presence of Inquisitor Thanor. "Serine, you really must strip off your armor and let the girl massage you. She is so lightweight that you can barely feel her," she said, as she rolled her eyes up at the aid. "You may dismount. The Inquisitor and I have much to discuss and I feel this position is not very appropriate," she said, as she gave a glance over towards Serine. "My congratulations on your little operation. Very dramatic. Very effective," she said, as she began to sit up on the table, raising a hand to hold the towel up over her chest. Perhaps one of the officers might have gotten a glimpse of something they should not, but she had nothing to be ashamed of. "I see Commander Kiley survived," she mused, with a soft chuckle, as she motioned towards Liliya once more. "Fetch my uniform. I don't want our dearest Captain to become distracted and crash the ship," she said, as she wagged her right index finger at the man flirtatiously. Her methods of controlling the crew were much different than the Governor.

Liliya disappeared for a moment before returning with a perfectly cleaned and folded uniform for the Major in addition to a folding screen. If Arden was determined to dress in the middle of the bridge, she could at least provide some adequate cover for the woman. The aide doubted the Major had any shame whatsoever, but Liliya was programmed to be a lady, and was far too proper to allow her charge to be exposed and gandered upon by the majority of her staff. The fresh set of clothing was presented to her before Liliya began to unfold the screen in a protective barrier around Arden which was tall enough to cover everything except from the neck up. Nervous eyes glanced about to see if anyone was staring inappropriately and once seeing how the majority were averting their eyes, Miss Benedt sighed in relief.

Serine recoiled her whip and hooked it to her belt in quick and irritating movements. The Inquisitor balked at Arden's suggestion and her overly informal way of addressing her. Noticing that the Major was about to dress, she angrily shifted to the side while crossing her arms in a displeased manner. How the crew bent backwards to Arden's inappropriate mannerisms was beyond her understanding. "Of course she survived," Serine snapped at the folding screen. "Your targets could have been taken by children. It was hardly a challenge for some of the Empire's most trained and seasoned special operatives. Regardless, I need to know what you intend for these prisoners. Many did not survive the initial phase and many more are dying in custody. If there are any you have a special interest for, now is the time to inform me," she reported while tapping a finger upon her crossed arms impatiently, regretting the decision to arrive unannounced though she doubted that would have changed Arden's massage therapy plans.

"You used children?" Arden asked, sounding confused from behind Liliya's folding screen as she began to place her uniform over her tall, curvaceous figure. The cream tunic of her Imperial uniform fit her well, while the black trousers were slimming and gave her the appearance of even greater height. Finally, she emerged from behind the screen, fully dressed, and outstretched her arms as if to say 'ta da!'. "Execute them!" she said, gleefully, as she moved towards Serine, raising her hand and gently brushing off some fallen hairs from the shoulder of her armor. "We have their money. We have their records. Within the year that political party will be forgotten," she declared, victoriously, as she smiled at the Inquisitor. "There is but one thing. Your Colonel Veller is very good, but I reviewed the report and saw some inefficiencies," she began, pursing her lips as she tried to remember the figures that Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca gave her. "Your response time in the launching of the TIE fighters allowed several Rebel vessels to escape. I computed that you could increase their response down to one-point-six seconds," she said, with a firm nod of her head, seeming exceptionally confident.

Meham'ohorovi'cloca's red eyes rolled skyward as she heard the ISB Major began to address the Inquisitor. She did not mind that Zevrin had co-opted her work and claimed her statistics as her own, but what she did mind was when she had gotten them wrong. She cleared her throat loudly, several times in fact, to draw in the attention of the Major. She could not allow this inefficiency to be misreported, no matter how much ire it drew.

Arden was just about to continue with the Inquisitor when she heard the Chiss began to clear her throat. "Water, Liliya. Water for the Chiss," she said, clapping her hands twice to signal her. "Oh! Ohhh! Just a moment, Inquisitor," she said, as she crept down towards the crew pit. After listening to Meham'ohorovi'cloca whisper in her ear for a moment, her face noticeably reddened. "Do you really think that moment of time was worth this distraction? It took ten times as long for you to tell me that!" she said, angrily, before thwapping her on the head so hard that her hat fell to the ground. "Do your duty. And didn't your mother ever tell you that it's not polite to eavesdrop? Now go in the corner and hold your breath until you're blue in the face!" she ordered, with a wink to the young officer. "Oh good. You're done already. As efficient as ever!" she said, as she raised to her feet and walked back to Serine, acting as if nothing had transpired. "I am sorry. Her coughing distracted me. I believe you can get it down one-point-four seconds," she said, nodding her head firmly once again.

The High Inquisitor had to actually focus on trying not to choke Arden as she had done in the past. The Major was irritating beyond belief, but Serine wanted to continue their semi-professional relationship that she had been commanded to do by Lord Vader himself. Aggravated silver eyes watched with contempt as Major Zevrin so casually removed a hair from Serine's shoulder and she had to fight the urge to slap her hand away aggressively. The Inquisitor did not approve of the way the Lieutenant was being treated, but Serine had already made it clear to Meham'ohorovi'cloca that her service on board of the Interrogator would be a far more agreeable one if she requested a transfer. If the Chiss was willing to continue to subjugate herself to the Major's whim in order to serve on board of a Dreadnaught, that was her prerogative. Serine did feel the need to defend the honor of her High Colonel, and although he did make a few mistakes, she was pleased with the overall result. "As you know, this was his first major operation. A few adjustments are to be expected moving forward. If the Interrogator continues to conduct these large scale missions, and if you are so concerned with their success, then I *advise* that you provide a capable tactician to correct these matters." Serine stressed the point and it was quite clear that she was suggesting a more hands-on approach to Meham'ohorovi'cloca's presence if she were to be sent for observations in their next operation.

"I think we have broken their back on Esseleseseseseseseseses," Arden said, struggling with how exactly to end the word, as she circled around the Inquisitor. "I've reviewed your personnel and I feel your Lieutenant Dunford is adequate," she said, inhaling sharply through the nose. She would *not* give up the Governor's prized Chiss tactician, despite her detest for non-humans. "Do you like to travel, Serine? I like to travel. You know, there really is so little we know about each other..." she said playfully, as she produced a datapad containing a list of names. "Get thee to Brentaal," she commanded, as she handed over the datapad. "Rid me ... er ... us ... er ... the Emperor of these pests as you did on Esseles," she said, before moving back towards the young Liliya. "The device, my dear," she ordered, as she pointed the girl in the direction of the Inquisitor. "Give it to her. Do not be afraid. If she hurts you, I'll give you a hug like the Governor did. Would you like that?" she asked, before she raised her hand to the top of Liliya's head and roughly mussed her pixie cut.

Liliya was absolutely against what Arden had in store for a few innocent and undeserving individuals on Brentaal, and it pained her to be in any capacity for murder. The aide also had protested with the way in which Arden wanted their deaths carried out, but Liliya's soft pleas for their humanity apparently fell on deaf ears to the suffering of others. There was a heavy hesitation in gentle eyes as the woman struggled to follow Arden's orders. A video and audio recorder and receiving device was produced from a small satchel and it was held in slender elegant hands as Miss Benedt continued to debate the issue. There was no doubt that Arden would delight in watching the deaths of many, and the aide would likely never be excused and would be forced to also witness their terrible demise. "Your .... your Majesty ... I ..." Liliya was not even sure what to say but it was clear every fiber of her being rejected this, and she continued to hold onto the small device without giving it to Serine, defying Arden's orders momentarily. Her only real hope now was the potential refusal of the Inquisitor to participate, sparing Liliya the fate of watching the target's suffer in real time.

"Oh. Serine. Look how frightened the poor girl is," Arden said, as she stood behind Liliya, placed her chin on her shoulder, and looked towards the Inquisitor. "That's what happens when you go cutting heads off. People get scared. People can't focus. People can't get anything done," she said, as she placed her hands upon Liliya's butt, which had perhaps 40-percent of her body mass index. "Get moving girl," she said, as she continued to push her forward until they both neared the Inquisitor. "Like Tarkin always said, 'rule through the fear of force rather than force itself'," she informed Serine, with a wink, as she continued to push Liliya forward. Once Liliya was directly positioned in front of Serine, Arden turned her face to Liliya's ear and screamed. "Boo!" she yelled at the top of her voice, before staggering away, hunched over in a deep belly laugh. "Why aren't you laughing?!" she angrily chastised the bridge crew. Following that a chorus of fake laughter began to fill the bridge at pretty little Liliya's expense.

Liliya found herself being inappropriately pushed towards the Inquisitor, and she realized it was useless to try to go against Major Zevrin's wishes. She was about to present the small device to Serine, but the loud scream so close to her ear startled her and she nearly dropped the unit. With a nervous fumble, she recovered it and held it out to the Inquisitor with both palms up that were slightly trembling. "I-Inquisitor, this ... is a recording device that transmits live feed." She started to explain before pausing for a moment to gather herself, unsure of how Serine was going to respond to this unprecedented request and she feared repercussions. "It also has an audio receiver ... um ... for communication." She stammered trying to explain the workings of the tiny unit that was being held out for Serine to take. Liliya did not have the nerve to explain exactly why the Inquisitor needed such device ... she would have to leave that to Arden.

Serine carefully considered Arden's suggestion of using Dunford more earnestly, as she had not deliberately thought of that possibility. He was indeed a tactician himself, and the Inquisitor made a mental note to meet with that man to gauge him herself. The conversation quickly pivoted towards a direction she had not anticipated as Arden produced a datapad with presumably a list of names that needed execution. The Inquisitor immediately snatched it from the Major's grasp quite angrily as she noticed Arden's subtle posturing to maneuver and manipulate her. "Explain, Major! Why do these targets need *my* personal attention?" Serine nearly barked her question as she glared at Zevrin combatively. While it was true that the Governor had the power to send her on personal errands, Arden Zevrin did *not* since this arrangement they shared was precarious at best. Eyebrows raised when Serine heard Liliya address Arden as 'Your Majesty', and she mused that the depths at which Arden was willing to drag her unfortunate subjects was an unending void of regret and shame. Things became even more complicated as Liliya provided a curious device to her, but Serine did not accept the offering. Narrowed silver eyes continued to stare at Zevrin defiantly.

Arden frowned at Serine's rejection, while she pushed aside the young Liliya. She pursed her lips into a mock pout as she listened to the woman's criticism, shaking her head that she still did not get it. "Very well, Inquisitor. If you prefer to sit around lamenting instead of traveling to the planet and executing enemies of the state then perhaps I can find someone else," she said, as she moved down the command walkway towards the massive viewports that gave her a view of the entire Essesia system with the planet Esseles, the Imperial navy's systems force, and the Ringali Nebula beyond in full view. "Perhaps the Lepi," she rudely suggested, expecting that to goad the Inquisitor and motivate her to do her bidding. "Yes. You are quite right, Inquisitor. Executing these traitors in public, humiliating a fashion is not a job for you at all," she teased, using reverse psychology to the best of her ability. "Dismissed," she said, as her blue eyes arched upwards to watch the Inquisitor's reflection in the viewport in front of her.

If Serine was being at all honest with herself, she would admit that she had been extremely eager for the Governor to use her more unique abilities in just the way Arden had described. It was just infuriating that it had to be Major Zevrin to have the gall to order public executions for the Inquisitor to initiate, whereas, Claudius Rodney was too much of a simpleton coward to appropriately wield Serine as the devastating weapon that she was. With a heavy growl, she clawed at the small device held daintily by Liliya before angrily advancing towards where Arden was posted in front of the viewport. The Inquisitor was irate, but restless for this enterprise that the Major so cleverly dangled in front of her. "Fine!" She nearly snarled at that woman as she clutched the small device in her fist, almost breaking it. Serine was not even sure what this unit Liliya offered her was, being a bit ignorant on technology, but she knew it had some part to play. The hand not holding the recording piece slammed into the side of the viewport as she aggressively postured in front of Arden. "And this device?!" She demanded to know what purpose the Major held for it.

"Effif-effif-efficiency, Inquisitor," Arden replied, without turning her head, as she tripped over the word like stepping on a discarded fruit peel. "We must observe your actions. Learn from them, my dear Inquisitor," she said, as she reached out with her hand and stroked the viewport that featured Serine's reflection. "You are the best, are you not? Then allow us to watch in awe of your mastery and develop teaching protocols to aid our agents. While of course they can never match you, or any of the Inquisitorius for that matter, they can nevertheless improve slightly and serve His Majesty all the more better," she said, laying it on incredibly thick, and having to bite down upon her lower lip to keep from losing her composure. "I am sure you see my point. Don't you?" she said, as she finally turned to look at her directly. "Shall I alert Admiral Raven to expect the Interrogator at Brentaal then?" she asked, as she began to move towards the turbolift with the Inquisitor, delicately ushering off her bridge. "It is always a pleasure spending time with you. But if there's nothing more, toodeloo," she said, waving her fingers at her at a ferocious speed.

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