Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Christopher Levy and Sarah Riggs-Shute.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:5:12) in the Essesia system: Warspite.
Liliya Benedt, Grand Moff Claudius Rodney, and Lieutenant Bethany Sheppard.

Lieutenant Bethany Sheppard made her way onto the bridge of the Imperial I-class Star Destroyer Warspite, a frantic expression on her young face as she was quite late for her duty. She flashed a nervous glance to Captain Anson, but said nothing, as she climbed down into the helm control pit. "You're not going to believe what I just saw..." she began, as she whispered to Lieutenant Allegra Ames in the nearby operations pit. "I was just on the flight deck and saw Inquisitor Thanor looking like she got stepped on by an AT-ST! It was..." she stopped as she heard the footsteps on the catwalk above her.

Grand Moff Rodney stood over the young Lieutenant and glared down at her angrily, still recovering mentally from what had happened with High Inquisitor Tremayne. "To your duties, Lieutenant," he said as he scolded her with a wave of his finger. He was on the bridge because he had been avoiding Liliya. After the death of Lieutenant Horst the poor young woman had seemed terribly scarred, and his inability to prevent it kept him from wanting to face her. The man was being a coward ... and he knew it. "Blast!" he muttered under his breath as his booted foot stomped on the deck plating, causing poor Bethany to cower in fear. After a moment he unleashed a powerful sigh that startled many of the officers, and he headed towards the turbolift to head for Liliya's cabin.

"I totally thought I was about to die!" Lieutenant Sheppard said as she stood back up to her full height in the crew pit. A relieved expression came over her face as she adjusted a dial on her control panel. "Is there anyone around here normal anymore?" she asked across the catwalk to Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca who was having none of the conversation. The young officer frowned, thinking no one was in a chatting mood. Such a boring job, she thought to herself as she continued with her duties.

Liliya had spent the last few hours in her room attempting to recover from the harrowing experience of watching an innocent officer be literally crushed to death in her arms, and being unable to stop it despite her best efforts. Her sleek black dress had been nearly saturated in some places with Philip's blood which she opted to burn later, not at all wishing to ever wear that exact same dress again for the memory of what had happened would linger around it forever she feared. Luckily she had other outfits identical to it, and changed into a fresh cleanly pressed dress before tossing the other across the room into a corner as if banished from her sight. She never wanted to look at it again ... and hopefully could convincingly plead with a service droid to go retrieve the dress from her room while she was away. Liliya did not wish to leave the comfort and safety of her room until she was positive that High Inquisitor Tremayne was well gone, but also, she did not feel she could face Rodney right now. The emotional state that her human programming was devising for her was not pleasant as the event of what had happened was traumatizing.

Claudius stood outside of Liliya's quarters for a moment, trying to think of what he could possibly say to the young woman. How did one apologize for an Imperial Inquisitor crushing one's chest? It was not exactly the thing they sold holonet greeting cards for, he thought to himself as he considered simply walking away. "Argh," he groaned out loud to the dismay of a nearby officer as he passed by. He was behaving like a sniveling cadet and he finally pushed down on the button next to the door to alert his presence. He swallowed nervously and folded his hands in front of him, his eyes instinctively lowering so that he could easily make eye contact with the shorter woman.

After a few long silent minutes, Liliya's voice was heard coming from the small comm speaker just below the panel button. The tone of her voice was the most pitiful Rodney would have heard up until this point. Usually so charismatic and lively, her words were now broken and depressed. "... Milord ..." Whispered sadly, and no attempts were made to open the door as she spoke. "... I'm not presentable ..." Obviously emotionally damaged and unwilling or perhaps too afraid to make eye contact with him. Hopefully this would be enough to send him away, she did not know if she could possibly face him now. It was so soon after the incident, could she not just ... sulk here by herself? After such a short while stationed on the Warspite, Liliya was given no real warning or properly prepared for the horrors that would be contained in such a small time frame. How could anyone expect a gentle noble Alderaanian to endure such travails?

Claudius visibly cringed when he heard her response to his query, but he was determined not to let her sit there and suffer alone. He held his hand down on the comm panel and closed his eyes as he struggled to reply. "I wanted to say..." he took his hand off the comm for a moment, realizing he did not have a clue what to say. "I wanted to say ... I am sorry ... so very sorry that you had to witness that earlier..." he said weakly, his voice quivering as he returned to the comm. He brought a left hand up to his forehead and squeezed at his brow as the headache that seemed to have been with him since he took command in the Ringali Shell began to flare once again. She seemed to be the only thing that eased any of his pain lately and he did not want her to have scars of her own to deal with.

The normal response would be to forgive him or tell him it was not his fault, but ... she did not believe that was true. He did not stop Tremayne, he could have ... right? He had stopped the other officer from being choked, and yet Rodney did not intervene on behalf of Philip. It was a bitter reminder to her, and a tinge of regret and overwhelming sadness sullied her for the time being. Liliya was leaned up against the wall on her right side, absently staring, blurry-eyed, down at the small comm speaker as Rodney spoke. Her end was silent for a while as she stood there distraught and defeated. "Why ... why didn't you stop him?" Said softly, a timid tremble in her voice ... as if she were about to break down in sobs again. The image of the event was so clearly in her mind thanks to her perfect photographic memory. It made attempting to forget things all the more difficult, but considering what had happened, even a human would likely be traumatized.

Claudius felt as if he was failing miserable. He could enter a code into the panel that would open the door, but that would be a complete breech of ethics and simply make things worse. His hands squeezed at one another futilely as a series of junior officers walked through the corridor overhearing bits and pieces of their conversation. The entirety of it, unknown to him, was being recorded by the ISB. "I was afraid..." he finally admitted over the comm, speaking truthfully and from the heart. "I was afraid for you, and I was afraid for myself..." he said, as he began to choke up, wishing he was not delivering this conversation in a bustling corridor. "The High Inquisitor is a fearsome individual..." he confessed, leaning up against her door now, speaking at a barely audible whisper into the small comm panel.

"I'm ... I'm opening the door now ..." She stammered softly, realizing that despite the situation, this conversation was not appropriate for other officers to hear who happened to pass by. As always, the leader, and especially the Grand Moff of this sector, should appear infallible, or confidence would be lost and thus the chain of command would disintegrate. It was dangerous to continue this publicly, at least ... they could discuss it in the privacy of her room. The door was opened, it sliding to the left and introducing Rodney to Liliya's small room, but she was not standing in front of the door, she was still leaning dejectedly up against the wall to the right side near the comm, looking emotionally crushed and nearly lifeless as eyes were closed and head hung before him, refusing at this time to make eye contact.

Claudius was relieved to see the door open and quickly hurried inside, free of the eyes of his ever present underlings. Once inside, he was quick to seal the door behind him. "Liliya..." he said, as he turned to look at her, feeling quite out of sorts. "The life aboard an Imperial Star Destroyer is not like life on Alderaan..." he said, uttering the understatement of the millennium. He let out a dejected sigh as he moved towards a chair and sat himself down. "I hope ... I hope that you are willing to continue in your duties..." he said, unable to look at her for the moment, instead shifting his focus to look out the viewport at the distant, shimmering field of stars.

Liliya secretly wished she could just turn off her human programming, it was becoming detrimental to her work, but she just could not get past the horrible experience ... the way Philip's body contorted, the feeling of his ribs shattering as she held him, kneeling in a pool of his blood while weeping over his corpse... all of it, it was agonizing, every last second of it, and disturbing visions of it continuously flashed before her. But ... if she turned off her human programming, it would be over for her, she would no longer blend in, surely easily spotted by Rodney to be less than human. Liliya had to suffer through it, it was the only way to continue her purpose ... how did humans cope ... A hand was brought up to her arm and she attempted to null that throbbing pain in her head by hugging herself. There was something she was forgetting ... she did not like that sensation, and suddenly it hit her, the whole reason Philip died. "At least ... read his report." Her eyes opened as they sadly drifted towards the datapad that rested on her dresser. The contents could not possibly be important enough to die gruesomely for.

"I will," Claudius said as he rose from his seat and moved towards the dresser. The unfortunate officer simply picked the wrong time to deliver this message. It was clear to him that the Inquisitor wanted to impress upon him a sense of dread, and a reminder that an Inquisitor can snuff out an Imperial officer's life in a moment's notice. He was distressed to see that it still had ... Philip ... on it, but he would not allow Liliya to see it, as he worried that it might distress her further. As he skimmed it over it seemed to be a report on ISB Enforcement's infiltration of the local criminal networks. Truthfully, it did not seem that significant to him, but for her sake he would play it up. "Oh. Thank you so much for saving this for me, my dear. It contained vital information. I don't know what I would have done without it..." he said, as he tucked the datapad away so that she would never again have to see the blood stained device.

"Is ... is he gone?" There could only be one person she was referring to, and although she new Tremayne had left a few hours ago, she acquired that information by digital means that she should not have access to, she asked regardless. She had read reports detailing some of Tremayne's exploits, but words did not properly contain the full severity that she witnessed. Liliya was now paranoid, and rightfully so, of the Inquisitor that was still stationed in this sector, and Rodney's advisor. It appeared she was still not safe, and now, after today's events, was far more cautious and intimidated, and rightfully so. "It ... could still happen again." And from her own hidden knowledge of the previous events on Warspite, she knew that it had happened prior to her arrival. "No one is safe ...Please don't let me ... be around Inquisitor Thanor."

"I will 'never' let that happen to you!" Claudius exclaimed as he hurried to her side. His strong arms moved around her as he drew her in close to him in a tender embrace. "You will never see the Inquisitor again if that is what you wish..." he said to her, sounding more like a father trying to please a child than a boss. "I will keep you safe. I promise," he vowed solemnly, as he pulled her young, slender form tightly against him now. His hands squeezed at the small of her back and his eyes closed and settled his chin upon the top of her head, never wanting to let her go.

She welcomed his arms, fitting comfortably and safely within his warm embrace as she lightly clutched at the fabric of his uniform and buried her face in his chest. "I don't want to see her again." Liliya freely admitted, a fearful tone quivered in her voice as she continued in another confession. "I never told you because I was too ashamed, but that one day where I was posted right outside the door where you were preparing for your speech, and as you requested, I was turning people away ..." She trailed off briefly, her clutch on his attire tightened. "She ... was going to remove me violently from the door ... I felt it, if you hadn't had opened the door when you did ..." Liliya had to stop her sentence ... as a sob broke her train of thought. Everything was falling apart and she could not stop herself from starting to break down. "Philip ... it was horrible ..." She began to sob against Rodney's chest, all of those pent up emotions that had previously had no release or comfort were now flowing easily from her.

"She was what?!" Claudius exclaimed as he listened to the harrowing tale of Liliya's ordeal. He would make a note to speak with the woman about that, but for now his attention was focused on the lovely young lady in his arms. He brought his left hand up and ran it through the heavenly soft locks of her short brown hair, sighing contently as he gently rubbed her head and cradled it against his chest. "It will be different from here on out. I promise..." he said to her as he lovingly moved his other hand up and down the back, feeling the soft flesh of her pale skin underneath the plush wool of her dress. Another soft exhale as he felt a stir in his loins that was perhaps an indication that he held her too long. Not wanting her to become alarmed he took a step away from her, and then began a series of controlled breathing techniques to regain his composure and stir his lustful thoughts.

Liliya was not at all afraid to take that step to smear Thanor's reputation or get her at odds with Rodney, it would mean she would be all the safer from her wrath. In her mind, the Inquisitors as a whole were the only real threat to her continued existence aboard the Warspite, and realizing her position, as tender and meek as it was next to Rodney, gave her a unique and extreme edge to get what she wanted without it looking like she was asking anything at all. That brought her at least a little bit of comfort, and the Governor's sincere and passionate words were enough to calm her for the moment as she fully relaxed in his arms. As he suddenly pulled away, she looked confused as she peered up at him apologetically before glancing to the left and down casting her eyes a bit ashamed. Perhaps he did not wish to cause another commotion as before. "Thank you for your kindness and patience with me, I never want to fail you." Said diligently as she glanced back up to him, and once again, a soft spark of determination and most importantly, charismatic life gleamed in her beautiful hazel eyes. If anything, she could be reassured that things were in fact going to be different from now on.

"You never failed me, Liliya. And you never will..." Claudius said, as he looked down at her, forcing a smile onto his middle-aged visage. "You are a bright spot in the galaxy plagued with darkness. I will keep your light close to me and ensure that it never extinguishes..." he said, his cheeks reddening a bit as he reached out to grab her hands. He gently rubbed her hands in his before his face descended towards hers. His eyes closed and he sweetly placed another kiss, but this time upon her cheek. "Let's get you back to work..." he said, with a firm nod of his head, as he believed work was the best way to clear one's mind. With that he led her out of her quarters and down the hallway to his office. Truthfully, he just wanted to get out of there before something he might regret would happen.

Untitled 1

Copyright Era of Rebellion 2005-2018. All Rights Reserved
Terms of Use | Legal Notices | Privacy Policy | Press Release | Disclaimer