Serine did not even remember making it back to her
ship, Darkened Oblivion, that was still docked in
the Retributor hangar bay. The High Inquisitor had
lost such a significant amount of blood that she was
becoming delirious, and was fading in and out of
reality. Perhaps her subconscious mind that had
piloted her body thus far did not desire to stay one
more minute upon this vessel. Her pilot was about to
be in for a shock as the Inquisitor stumbled up the
ramp looking like she was mauled by a Nexu and a
Rancor simultaneously. She was holding her side that
was oozing out blood slowly, attempting to apply
pressure to stop the flow. Serine was barely in her
right mind but she knew she could not return to her
command ship looking as she did. But before she did
anything, she needed to tend to a few of the sutured
wounds that had ripped open.
"Interrogator..." She eased out softly to Randi
before clumsily staggering to an onboard medkit and
fumbled around in its contents for a stimulant and
bandages. She didn't have to perform surgery, all
she had to do was be passable as someone not dying
just long enough to get to her own ship's medical
bay. After applying improvised bandages she wandered
further into the ship to locate a spare set of
crimson Inquisitor robes. This would be a good cover
to throw over her mangled armorweave to hide her
many gruesome injuries from her officers and crew
members. And if she so happened to bleed through her
makeshift patches, it would likely not be obvious
against the deep reds of her attire. As she began to
try to pull her robes over her head, she gasped in
agony and she was unable to continue. Weakly she
glanced over to her pilot with a distressed and
miserable look of help that was borderline pathetic.
Randi Trainor was sitting in the cockpit of the
Darkened Oblivion, oblivious as to what had
transpired, despite the fact that much of it
happened just outside the ship in the Retributor's
hangar bay. She was eating some of her friend's,
Lieutenant Sheppard, cookies with a cold glass of
blue milk. When Serine returned she was initially
startled, which caused her to spill some of the milk
all over the front of her uniform. Because she was
preoccupied with the mess, she did not notice
Serine's arrival in a condition much worse than
whence she left. "You don't talk to me much anymore,
Serry," she replied, bitterly, before activating the
thrusters of the Conqueror-class assault ship. "Go
to the Interrogator. Go to the Retributor. Go to the
Interrogator. Go to the Retributor," she said,
shaking her head to each side with each statement.
It was only as she departed the hanger that she
turned and saw Serine's condition. "Holy moly, Serry.
What the heck happened to you?" she asked,
scrunching her eyes together to study the wounds. As
she turned back she noticed an oncoming Lambda-class
shuttle that she nearly collided with, but with a
sudden downward motion of the controls she astutely
avoided the condition. "You been hanging out with
the wrong crowd. You look like this one kid from the
Academy. Everyone picked on her," she said, with a
big smile that covered most of her face as she flew
over towards the smaller Star Destroyer. "...wait a
minute. That was *me*," she said, as her smile
immediately shifted down into a frown. Gradually the
assault ship touched down inside the hanger of the
Interrogator, as it had countless times before,
without any fun at all. "We're back," she said,
stating the obvious, as she tried to help Serine get
into her robes ... backwards. "Do you need me to get
your doctor?" she asked, as she tried her best to
cheer her up with her award winning personality.
Though despite her compromised state of mind, she
understood her pilot's frustration on not having
enough interesting tasks to perform and would make a
mental note of that for later. Serine was grateful
for Randi's assistance, and was even more grateful
that this unfortunate turn of events was for her
pilot's eyes only. She had been through quite a bit
in the past with Randi and felt comfortable around
her in more vulnerable states. "No Randi ... I do
not want to alert my staff..." Her sentence trailed
off before she readied herself, now the real task
was at hand, bluffing her way through her entire
ship and staying conscious enough to reach the
medical bay. She had no idea that her Inquisitorius
robes were on backwards, and that would likely be a
hint to individuals that paid notice that something
was not right.
It was going to be a difficult journey for Serine,
the physical strain alone would be nearly
impossible, but the mental one would be even more
daunting. She couldn't just walk through the
hallways, she had to act as if nothing had
transpired. With great determination and fierce
resolve, she took her first steps down the ramp,
using all she could muster to feign an air of
strength and command about her that she usually
effortlessly displayed. But now ... the very act was
excruciating. Her journey took her slowly but
steadily through the hallways, every step was a
challenge. Throughout her grand deception, her
officers did not seem to notice there was anything
amiss, they averted their eyes and distanced
themselves as usual. So far ... so good ...
The alarm dinged on Mark's desk, reminding him he
needed to check in with the medical droids on his
ribs to make sure things were healing properly.
Getting up slowly from his desk, he winced slightly
and sighed. Looks like another day taking those
damned painkillers. He downed another tablet dry and
looked forward to when the pain was diminished
enough. Though he didn't like taking them, the
constant pain from cracked ribs would make it
impossible to get anything done.
Mark had timed the reminder around this section's
lunch time to ensure the fewest people in the
medical bay. At as fast a pace as he could manage,
he strode towards the medical bay, pleased at the
lack of crowds. He didn't really need a lot of
gossip going on about his visiting the medical bay.
He was sure there was enough going on about his
black eye, he really didn't want to add cracked ribs
and whatever that would magnify into.
So, it was with a start that he recognized High
Inquisitor Thanor walking ahead of him towards the
medical bay. His eyes narrowed slightly as he saw
her stop for a moment and rest a hand on the wall.
It was only for an instant, but it was there. His
eyebrow raised suddenly realizing what was wrong
with the picture. For some reason, the High
Inquisitor's robes were on backwards. He wondered
that no one else had noticed it, but then, not a lot
of people had the courage or stupidity to stare at
the High Inquisitor as she walked past. As Mark was
learning, she had a reputation for a temper. No one
wanted to stare and then become the target.
There was a moment of alarm when he realized the
High Inquisitor was wounded, and badly so. He had
seen this type of dead walk before. Wounded soldiers
moving by willpower alone. He was quite familiar
with it, having seen it and done it a few times.
His mind raced for what to do. If she was wounded,
it was imperative that no rumors spread on this.
Wounded commanding officers were not a great boost
to morale and Mark didn't know of any ongoing
engagements where the High Inquisitor could have
been wounded. This meant some sabotage or something
which again could generate a poisonous rumor.
Hastening his stride, he passed the High Inquisitor
and nodded as he passed, "Milord," continuing on as
if nothing was wrong. But to every person he saw as
he completed the trek to the medical bay, he sent
off on an errand, ensuring they would not see the
High Inquisitor in whatever state she was in.
At the medical bay, he made sure it was only medical
droids. To them, he could issue restricted access on
the records. He waited by the door for Serine to
enter and once she did and the doors closed, he put
her arm over his shoulder and guided her to the
nearest bed. "Easy there, Milord, you're safe now."
Mark winced at the additional stress on his ribs.
Mark motioned for the medical droids to begin their
work. His eyes narrowed with worry when the medical
droids cut away her robes, showing him the extent of
her wounds. Eyes widening in wonder, How in the hell
is she still moving? he asked himself, I've seen
dead soldiers more alive than this.
The moment High Colonel Veller walked past the
Inquisitor, the woman visibly tensed, attempting to
the best of her ability to feign health despite her
many grievous injuries. He was absolutely the last
individual she wanted to know how truly injured she
was. It was imperative that all of her high ranking
officers respected her or the chain of command could
be completely compromised. After he walked past with
a quick formal but polite greeting, she eased her
posture in a bit of relief as it appeared he did not
notice how close she was knocking on death's door.
Apparently her respite was short lived as she
noticed him directing all incoming foot traffic away
from her approach. While incredibly clever, his
actions weighed heavily on her since it was now
clear that he understood the extent of the trauma.
The realization that her efforts had been in vain
nearly crushed her, but she had to get to the
medical bay without further incident.
Thoughts soon drifted to her apprentice,
understanding that soon Kia would notice since no
doubt the Inquisitor was giving off death throes
through the Force. Perhaps the damages to the High
Inquisitor's reputation could be limited to *just*
her High Colonel and apprentice's knowledge.
However, both knowing just how close she came to
death was extremely detrimental to her pride and
potentially very harmful to her command of them. The
inflictions to her dignity were not over apparently,
as Veller decided to take it upon himself to assist
her into the facilities. It was no use pretending to
him anymore, and as soon as the doors closed to
shield her state from the rest of the ship, she
nearly collapsed in his supportive arms. The moment
he bore the majority of her weight, he would be
greeted with the feeling of moisture coming from her
robes. A quick look to his hands would see them
covered in blood as it was now obvious that areas of
the Inquisitor's robes were fully saturated with her
It surprised her how very gentle he was to her in
both his words and mannerisms. The world of the
Inquisitorius was a brutal and unmerciful place, so
such tenderness was nearly foreign to her, but
welcomed all the same. She was drifting in and out
of consciousness and it would take Veller to
practically position her on a gurney to allow the
droids to begin their emergency actions. The last
thing she remembered before darkness overtook her
was a deep feeling of regret that it had come to
Kia had been in the middle of lightsaber drills as a
wave of intense pain and dread had washed over her.
She felt like she was mentally drowning in it and
worse, she recognized the Force presence at the core
of it. Gasping, she forced herself to close off her
mind. In blocking everything out she could focus on
the important task of finding and defending her
mentor. Both of the lightsabers were quickly
deactivated and returned to their place at her hip.
Only once she was certain she was not radiating her
own emotions did she step out of the training room.
Mark stood there watching, his thoughts crashing in
themselves, unable to leave though he had other
duties to attend to. Death was a frequent companion
to him. He was fully aware it visited when and where
it wanted. The droids hooked up a feed to handle her
blood loss as they started stitching up her wounds
and preparing her for the bacta tank.
Trying to organize his thoughts, Mark sought to find
the reason for his distress. Commanding officers had
come and gone in his career. Most hadn't liked him
much and, Mark had to admit, he hadn't liked them.
But, he executed the orders given to him, so the
dislike had only shown socially.
The High Inquisitor, however, had somehow managed to
get under his skin in a way previous COs had not.
With a start, he realized the beginnings was from
when they sparred. He thought about that spar often.
Taking it apart and working out different actions he
could have taken, trying to find flaws in his own
actions. He had come to the uncomfortable conclusion
that had the spar continued, he would have been
lucky to wake up in a bacta tank. The knowledge that
his commanding officer was better in combat than him
was a new one and he wasn't quite sure how to handle
What he had managed to conclude was that the High
Inquisitor was a commanding officer worth serving.
As he watched the droids work to save Serine's life,
he was almost surprised to feel a fierce loyalty
towards Serine. But then, not quite. Mark took in a
deep breath, winced at the pain and then let it out,
his mind calm now.
He respected the High Inquisitor, both for engaging
in the spar and for the control she exhibited in not
making him pay too high a price for the spar. The
respect and loyalty that fueled his passion for the
Empire had finally found a commanding officer worthy
of it. That she survived this horrible onslaught
only served to cement it further.
Practiced eyes followed the droids, he might not
know exactly what they were doing, but he knew the
signs of droids determining if the patient would
live or die. His sigh of relief when the droids
continued past a certain point was interrupted by
the arrival of the High Inquisitor's apprentice,
Inquisitor Kia Kaen.
She had stalked through the halls, following the
sense of pain. A part of her smirked at the
Stormtroopers who nearly jumped at the teenagers
passing. She didn't know how her expression looked,
but she was not projecting. Something was wrong, the
fact the entire ship wasn't on alert said volumes.
She was mildly surprised there were no guards on the
door. Kia stepped into the medical bay, one hand
resting on a lightsaber hilt. Whatever she had been
expecting, it wasn't Serine on a gurney and Veller
waiting. She was worried and angry and wanted to
know what was going on. Trying to keep that panic
from her voice and not immediately rushing to
Serine's side took every scrap of will power.
Mark's attention immediately went to the door
opening and he realized with a touch of horror that
in the urgency to get Serine looked at, he had
forgotten to restrict access to the medical bay.
Only the fact that it was lunch time, and troopers
loathed giving up meal time to see the doctor had
kept anyone else from entering.
Quickly, he keyed in the command codes to restrict
access before addressing the young Inquisitor. Once
done, he stood at attention and nodded to Kia,
"Inquisitor Kaen, I was reporting to this medical
bay for a routine checkup when I came across the
High Inquisitor heading the same way. Seeing she was
injured, I cleared the hall before her and then
assisted her once inside." He glanced at Serine's
still form and the surrounding droids, "I had no
idea at the time her injuries were this grievous.
The medical droids are preparing her for the bacta
tank. I believe the critical moment has passed."
Standing there, he was suddenly aware of the
bloodstain on his tunic and hands, the sticky
wetness unmistakeable. He was bothered that his
uniform was no longer pristine, but he could hardly
do anything about it while delivering his report to
Inquisitor Kaen. His expression was that of a
professional soldier standing watch over a fallen
comrade, determined. Something was subtly different
in Mark's demeanor.
As the droids began to peel back the shredded
armorweave away from the many hideously deep
lacerations that had appeared to be hastily tended
to, the true extent of the damages could be seen.
Dozens upon dozens of gashes had gouged into flesh
from a series of sources that resembled explosion
patterns, but not just a single explosion, multiple
explosions at point-blank range. Many of the deep
slashes were overlapping in different orientations
signaling individual sources. There were large
patches of the Inquisitor's skin and armorweave that
were scorched and pocketed with debris, some
fragments were still imbedded. But perhaps some of
the more gruesome injuries were where the more
severe lesions had been sutured at one point but
then violently ripped asunder that had shredded the
surrounding skin and connective tissues. The
external trauma was accompanied by internal trauma
with heavy bruising to organs and fractured ribs
characteristic of impact distress that seemed to be
unrelated to the lacerations as a second event.
It was apparent from a keen eye that the High
Inquisitor survived not one, but two different
confrontations in the time span of her leaving to
arrive at the Retributor and returning now. By the
swollen and bruised appeal to the many wounds, it
could be concluded that the multitude of gashes were
not but a day old. She had been gone a day and a
half from the Interrogator which put her life
threatening injuries in that window of time. As the
droids continued to attempt to blot the bleeding and
seal the arteries, the High Inquisitor seemed to
still be fighting unconsciousness, eyes would
flutter during moments and a few fingers would
twitch and curl. It was remarkable the woman was
still alive, let alone attempting to regain her
senses. There was no question that Serine was a
fighter, but even she could not stir awake despite
the desires of her subconscious to do so.
Mark stood stoically as yet another droid joined the
party. One of the advantages of medical droids is
they worked in concert and, if necessary, could
reconfigure themselves to work above the patient.
None of this jockeying for position breathing
doctors would have had to do.
This was an advantage when the injuries were within
certain limits. Med droids couldn't treat what
wasn't in their databanks, hence the need for
non-droid doctors to think out of the box when
necessary. Serine's injuries, however, were well
within documented experiences and he could tell the
droids were using every bit of that knowledge to
patch Serine back together again.
Watching as the droids passed tasks between
themselves, he let himself feel a touch of hope.
Serine was almost invisible beneath the cloud of
droids working on her, but they were still working.
The goal was to stabilize her enough to dump her in
the tank. Mark wished that moment would be soon.
Though there was nothing he could add to the droids'
work, he refused to leave. He also refused to wish
for her survival. He had seen Death claim too many
who should have lived to know he had any power over
her survival, he would not set himself up for such a
fall if she died. But he would not leave her to die
alone with the droids if that was her fate. So he
waited, mindful of the young Inquisitor who also
stood there, the only other person on the
Interrogator he would have let through the doors.
Kia only nodded, she felt numb as she watched the
droids work. She hadn't felt this helpless in
months. Moving back, she edged around trying to get
a better look at what had happened.
As she got a good look at the damage, her eyes went
wide. "Come here and tell me what these look like to
you." She was addressing Mark. To her it looked like
multiple explosive devices had hit Serine. She
wanted confirmation from a soldier though.
Explosives almost took another person she cared
Respectfully, Mark moved to Kia's side, "From my
experience, Inquisitor, High Inquisitor Thanor has
suffered an explosive device at close range. Perhaps
more than one, though that is something the droids
will be able to determine better than I. It is my
speculation that she had medical treatment before
arrival on the Interrogator, but something happened
to disrupt the treatment, causing her to seek
medical attention aboard the Interrogator. A few of
her wounds are reminiscent of re-opened wounds."
Mark paused for a moment, "I have no explanation for
the circumstances that resulted in her injuries.
None of my troopers have reported combat since the
High Inquisitor left for the Retributor. Nor have I
received any alerts concerning possible combat." He
let out a sigh, when he spoke, there was just the
smallest hint of worry in his voice as he watched
the droids lift Serine into a bacta tank. "For more
information, Inquisitor, I am fear we will have to
wait for High Inquisitor Thanor to regain
consciousness and hope her injuries have not
resulted in permanent damage. I will, of course,
maintain the highest security around this incident.
We cannot allow any rumors of the High Inquisitor's
health to begin without further information," he
Mark suddenly realized that his tunic was
bloodstained as were his hands. Further inspection
showed that the blood was also on his trousers.
Turning to Kia he said, "Inquisitor, if I might ask
a favor. Could you possibly go to my quarters and
get clean uniform for me? If I leave the medical bay
in a bloodstained uniform, that will cause even more
rumors to be generated."
Kia nodded slowly at Veller's confirmation of her
suspicion. "They don't know it yet, but the ones
responsible for this are already dead." Her voice
was soft, and deadly cold.
Watching her Master being put into the bacta tank
made the tension in her chest ease slightly. "I do
not mind at all. You are right, walking through the
ship covered in blood might not be the best idea.
Walking through the corridors topless might also
cause concern. Where are your quarters?"
Memorizing the location, she quietly slipped out of
the medical bay. As she walked purposefully through
the ship, Kia had plenty of time to think and plan.
Arriving at the specified quarters, Kia palmed the
door open and stepped inside. It took a few moments
to gather the required pieces of a fresh uniform but
before long she had them folded into a neat bundle.
She even made sure not to add any more wrinkles to
the fabric. Walking through the ship with a uniform
slung over her shoulder was likely to cause as much
gossip as if Veller himself had gone.
The trip back seemed to go faster for her, perhaps
because she was anxious to get back to Serine's
side. It didn't matter that she was unconscious and
in a bacta tank. Kia wanted to be there. Stopping in
front of the medical bay door, she rapped twice to
signal that it needed to be unlocked. Once she had
entered the room again, Kia held the package out to
Going behind a screen, Mark washed off the blood as
best he could and changed into a clean uniform. He
put the bloodstained clothing into the biohazard bin
for disposal. Stepping back out he felt much better.
As he had been changing, he had gone through
possible cover stories to why the med bay was off
limits. Discarding a few as silly and impossible, he
finally decided on shutting the bay down for updates
He gazed at the floating form of Serine in the tank,
most of her body was covered in injuries. He hoped
the time in the tank would minimize the scarring. "I
am closing this medical bay for repair and update.
You and I will be the only ones with access. Though
the call is not fully mine to make, I believe it
best to keep this knowledge between us. When the
High Inquisitor awakens, she can decide who else
needs to know."
He looked over at Kia, took a deep breath and
winced, remembering he needed to get his ribs looked
at. "I think one of us should be here at all times.
If you don't mind, I would appreciate your taking
the first watch so I can lock down this medical bay
properly. I am also considering putting another
layer of deception in that a high profile prisoner
is being treated. This will explain the two of us
coming and going but no others." He gave Kia a wry
smile, "It will also explain one of us arriving with
palatable food, unless you are truly fond of what
the med droids try to pass off as food to those
Seeing Kia agree and then settle down on an opposite
bed, Mark gave her a short bow and left the medical
bay. There were things to do, and while he disliked
keeping Major Serra out of this loop, he wasn't sure
the High Inquisitor would approve, so he decided to
err on the side of caution. Entering his office, he
closed the door and got to work.