Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Christopher Levy and Sarah Riggs-Shute.
Zero years before the Battle of Yavin (35:2:24) in the Brentaal system: Warspite.
Ensign Amherst (death), Lieutenant Allegra Ames, Commander Augustus Hood, and Inquisitor Serine Thanor.

Ensign Amherst stood on the bridge of the Imperial I-class Star Destroyer Warspite, his eyes constantly glaring over towards Lieutenant Ames as she strode upon the walkway that was elevated above the crew pits. He held her in the utmost contempt and a sneer was plastered upon his Coruscanti face, as he turned to gossip with a non-commissioned officer. "She is only here because of her father, you know..." he informed him with a soft laugh.

Lieutenant Allegra Ames stood on the walkway, her gloved hands wrapping around the railings. She appeared the model of a perfect officer. Her uniform was impeccably cleaned and creased in the precisely the right manner, a task she had arranged for countless times with young officers merely by offering a wink of her hair. She did her job and she did it well. If she were a man, she might be a commander by now. What the junior officer said was true, but she never liked to be reminded of it, nor did she like for there to be idle gossip about it. She turned her head down to look at him with a snarled glare. She had heard every word.

There was a chorus of laughter among the non-commissioned officers as they looked up at the frazzled junior officer. "Well, at least you can hear..." Amherst shot up to her, not bothering to make eye contact. He did not feel it was worth his time to acknowledge her presence with anything more than a regulatory nod. She had come to him time-to-time, requesting information about the tactical situation in the Ringali Shell. What she intended to do with it he did not know, but he certainly was not going to give it to a woman. It was bad enough he was serving under a female Tactical officer.

Allegra's gloved hands tightened around the railing as she glared down at the laughing officers. It was completely unacceptable, but she was in a male dominated environment. She had brought it up to the Captain once, but he had only questioned whether or not she had the mental fortitude to serve aboard his vessel in a time of war. He suggested she 'toughen up.' She had learned her lesson and would not repeat that mistake again.

The turbolift door to the bridge opened and out stepped the dark-skinned Executive Officer of the Warspite. Commander Augustus Hood had come for a singular purpose, to discuss a matter of importance with Lieutenant Ames. She was one of the few officers he respected on the ship. She was punctual and always seemed to have the finest uniform on the ship. If she were a man, he would have seen to her promotion already. "Lieutenant Ames," he bellowed in his refined voice, his dark eyes glaring down at all around him in the pits.

Allegra tensed up when she saw the commander approach and immediately her back stiffened into proper military rigidity and she nodded her head to him in a salute. "Commander," she began in a slow, steady voice as she took several steps towards him. There was not so much as a scant trace of emotion upon her face as she looked up at him. She appeared as cold as the ice of Mygeeto.

The commander extended an encrypted datapad to the young junior officer, returning her nod with one of slightly less steep. "There has been a ... situation ..." he said without going into any detail. Before he even finished his address he was turning on his heels and returning from whence he came. "Read it. Familiarize yourself with it. Brief our guest," he said, using as many words as possible. The turbolift doors sealed behind him, giving her no time to query him.

Allegra turned and began to examine the datapad, sneering down at the crew beneath her as if to say 'I am important and you are not.' She would spend the rest of her shift reading over the datapad, finding the news of the past several days very enlightening. But a thought began to swirl in her head, as she considered her meeting with the Inquisitor and the whispers that surrounded her. Perhaps there was an angle here. For Allegra there was always an angle.

During the shift change, Allegra only had a moment where she would be able to quickly descend into the crew pit below. Rather than take the stairs she leapt over the railing and landed perfectly on the deckplating below. In her youth she had practiced gymnastics, it was nice to have money, but she rarely got to use those skills anymore. Perhaps if the Admiral were single, but that thought would be for later. She opened up the console where Amherst had been working and began to fray some wires, arranging for them to slip apart at a later time. She would have to time this perfectly. As the new officer came on duty she had just managed to place the cover back on and hurried up the service ladder for her meeting with the Inquisitor. She was uncharacteristically late.

It had been two days since Inquisitor Thanor's arrival, and although she had been treated with the utmost respect, she felt as though they were... stalling. She had yet to get a proper briefing of the situation, and even though she did speak personally a few days prior with the Grand Vizier, he had not at that time given her the full details and promised her that she would know more upon arrival. She had not even been given a proper tour yet... this was unfathomable. Serine was impatient to be sure and was very close to touring the ship herself, all while giving out her own judgments. It was unfortunate that the Admiral had an emergency to take care of, which she did not blame... but it did not excuse the lack of direction and guidance in his absence, as if the whole ship's crew fell apart with no direction. However, there seemed to be a shred of purpose left in the commanding officers as she had been informed that she would meet with one who would brief her on the situation at hand and also give her a tour... but this officer was late. This was very discouraging, what a waste, this whole ship seemed in need of complete purging.

Lieutenant Allegra Ames moved swiftly through the corridors of the expansive Star Destroyer. Somehow it seemed larger to her each time she had to navigate her way through the complex series of corridors of the expansive ship. She wondered who had designed this ship, cursing the Kuati people under her breath as she finally navigated the corridor to arrive at the Inquisitor's quarters. However, she chose not to enter and to instead take a moment to catch her breath and regain her composure. Her cheeks flushed red and her breathing was rapid, beads of sweat forming upon her forehead matted her hair beneath her uniform cap. The once presentable officer had disheveled herself, and was tardy on top of it all. Her scheme to embarrass the Ensign might have backfired.

The officer she was allegedly waiting for was already ten minutes late. Unforgivable, this was wasting her time and she could stand it no longer. Serine had been more patient than usual, hoping for the crew to redeem themselves before she had to start correcting their behavior, but this was it, the inquisitor had enough. Probably to Allegra's surprise, the moment she approached the door leading to Serine's quarters, it slid open and the inquisitor hastily exited but had to immediately halt or collide with the other. For a split moment the look on Serine's face was one of unexpected shock before her expression slowly changed to one of disdain as eyes roamed over the officer. "Do you enjoy wasting my time? Have you been standing out here for ten minutes?" She automatically assumed, despite the other woman's obvious lack of breath and rushed appearance. Inquisitor Thanor's voice was bitterly sharp and unforgiving, she was about as close to her wits end as she was willing to bear.

Allegra tensed up immediately when she saw the Inquisitor step through the door, immediately fearing for her life. She stood at upright, proper military attention as she presented herself to the beautiful, young woman who had dominated the idle chatter of the ship's compliment the past few days. "I am sorry, Milady," she said in a voice, still managing to catch her breath. Between each word there was a soft gasp and her chest was still heaving. "There was a 'situation' on the bridge that commanded by utmost attention. I ran here immediately following..." she admitted, telling the truth from her point of view.

She was not sure just how much she believed what the other said, and even if she did, it was not a professional way to inform her. "One should never give excuses instead of taking responsibility. " Serine snapped at her angrily before turning from Allegra abruptly to enter back into her quarters where they were to have their briefing. "Come inside, least you stand in the hallway even longer." Said as she took a seat at the expansive and decorated table that was placed in the living section of the quarters. Serine folded her arms with a rather unimpressed and jaded look as she stared in a rather intimidating fashion at the officer. "Your report." Said impatiently, expecting that the other would know what to do from here.

Allegra felt humiliated by the fact that the Inquisitor had seen her in this condition, understanding full well that the first impression was often the most important. She lowered her head in slight dejection, wondering if perhaps she had a mistake with her scheme, but she would nevertheless attempt to pull it off. She stepped inside of the Inquisitor's quarters, surprised by the level of ornate decor that occupied the quarters. Her eyes ceased wandering after a moment, locking on the Inquisitor with icy determination. "I have been instructed to brief you on some recent events in the Squadron that have prevented you from being properly orientated," she said in a crisp, clear voice, having recovered her composure.

It was true that the inquisitor was not at all impressed with Allegra due to the terrible first impression, but as with the rest of the ship, she believed insolence was common place here. The officer was only staying consistent with the rest of the failure. With a light sigh, she waved her hand as if to permit the other to continue. At least Serine would finally hear what was going on.

"The Admiral has been called away to his native Alderaan," the Lieutenant explained as she began her report, looking off at the distance rather than making eye contact with the Inquisitor's unsettling gaze. "His wife was abducted while traveling on Brentaal," she continued, recounting the unsettling details of just how unsafe the surface of the world was. "Apparently she was the victim of pirates. At first we feared it was perpetrated by the Rebel scum," she continued, the word 'rebel' oozing with disdain. "A ransom was paid and he is presently seeing to her safe return," she concluded, offering a sharp, precise nod as she finished the initial report.

Even with her relatively sheltered time on the Warspite thus far, Serine had been able to gather that the Admiral was involved in some sort of tragedy, and although she now knew a bit more, that report the Lieutenant gave left much to be desired. "I see, so it takes vital information that should be known up front a few days to reach me on this ship. I find the proceedings here disgraceful." She had two days to fully develop her contempt for this ship and crew, now at last she finally had an unfortunate soul to vent her anger upon... it was really time to start weeding the whole ship, but her worry was that after the cleansing, there would be no one left... She stood up slowly, there was something very deliberate about her movements, it reeked of danger. Serine was nearly seething and it was only when she walked up to Allegra and a seething dark laugh eased from her did the threat become apparent. "I waited two days to hear that report?!"

Allegra cringed as she listened to the hostile words directed at her from the Inquisitor, knowing full well that the position of 'messenger' was often an undesired one. "One of the tactical officers on the bridge failed to provide me with the information I required to brief you fully, milady," she said without yet naming a name. She was playing a dangerous game here, but at a time like this she felt as if there were very little to lose. "He told me that because I am a 'woman' that I did not have the right to access the information..." she continued, her tone of voice starting to slow somewhat. "Perhaps, because you too are a 'woman,' Ensign Amherst felt you did not need it in as prompt a manner either..." she added, her head slowly turning to face the Inquisitor, her eyes finally making solid eye contact.

 "Oh, did he now?" If Serine was not so dissatisfied and thinking a bit less angrily, she may have picked up on that derailing tactic, but in her current state, Allegra effectively deflected that anger skillfully at a new target. But it was not a story that couldn't be believed, it was well known that the empire at times looked down on women serving in the military. At this point the inquisitor was willing to remove anyone and everyone who made even the smallest mistake as she has only seen hopelessness and ignorance so far. No wonder Vizier Pestage sent her... this ship was so desperately in need of saving that any improvement would be a vast one. "Let me see this... officer in action before I make a decision, and if I find that you lied to me... Let us hope for your sake you were truthful."

"Yes, of course, Milady," Allegra said as she broke the eye contact and returned to silent, military rigidity directly in front of her. There were corpses that moved more than she did at this moment. This would last for only a few moments of silence as she prepared to bait the trap, turning her attention once again to the dreadful Inquisitor. "The Captain requested that I provide you with a full access tour of the bridge, Milady," she said in a quiet voice, attempting to move her plot into action.

"I see, and did this... Ensign Amherst also prevent you from giving me a tour?" Said in a lightly sarcastic tone. "Were your legs broken for the past two days?" Allegra was not completely out of hot water yet, there were a few inconsistencies with her story and Serine was still weary of the officer. Otherwise she of course would agree to finally tour the bridge. "Proceed then, waste no more time."

"Of course, milady," Allegra said in a pleased tone, moving at a brisk pace out of the Inquisitor's corridors and back to the confusing series of corridors that would ultimately lead them to the turbolift. Once she was certain the woman could not see her face, she could not help but grin slightly as her planned seemed to be coming together rather nicely. If she had timed this right, Amherst's circuit panel would fail during their tour of the bridge and that should finish him. She loved it when a plan came together.

Allegra Ames stood nervously in the turbolift of the Warspite's bridge, letting out a soft exhale as the door opened, revealing the expansive bridge. Through the massive viewports the orange and white planet Brentaal IV could be observed, as could the distant purple and red clouds of the Ringali Nebula from where the Rebellion often struck. Officers were hard at work, maintaining their various stations, but Allegra seemed fixated upon the one manned by Ensign Amherst. "If you have any questions, Milady..." she said, her voice slightly trailing off as she leered down towards Amherst. "...I would be more than glad to answer them," she turned as she got towards the end of the walkway, facing the Inquisitor and forcing her facial expression to one devoid of emotion.

Serine barely acknowledged the other as they arrived upon the bridge, and as soon as the doors to the turbolift slid open, the inquisitor walked right past Allegra to get a first look at the work that needed to be done.  Grey eyes peered about the area to take in the scene, the petty officers hard at work within the crewpits and their superiors ever watching. This at least looked promising, not at all pitiful as she had expected. The bridge had an air of professionalism that was a welcomed surprise. She took the liberty to walk upon the overhanging platform while surveying the work being done, and as she walked by each crewpit, the occupants would finally get a look at who exactly Inquisitor Thanor was.

Commander Hood moved at a moderate base across the walkway that ran above the various crewpits aboard the Star Destroyer. Until the arrival of the Inquisitor, he had been the most feared individual aboard the crowded warship. With a stern nod of his head he greeted the Inquisitor, exchanging no words as he continued to stand his watch. For the most part it had been an uneventful shift.

In the distance, not too far from the nebula, a large explosion could easy be discerned. "What was that?" Commander Hood asked as his attention moved immediately from the explosion to the young Ensign Amherst maintaining the tactical officer's station. He needed an answer and quickly.

Ensign Amherst, like most of the crew were speechless, having detected no movement in the Brentaal system for nearly an hour on their tactical displays. The junior officer shook his head repeatedly, looking at the blank screen and not making proper eye contact with Hood. He could not understand why such a reaction would not be easily detected by the Warspite's sensors.

Suddenly, Lieutenant Ames moved from her position in the Operations crew pit and moved towards Hood, having obtained the answer on everyone's mind. "By monitoring communication frequencies we were able to discern that one of our assault shuttles has been destroyed by starfighter attack," she said offering a quick nod of her head. "I am not sure why Tactical did not report the incident when they detected the shuttle under attack..." she said slowly, as her eyes slowly slanted down to glare towards Amherst.

She was not expecting to see an explosion through the viewport, the brilliant red and orange flash of light caught her attention quickly against the black backdrop of space. This was causing a stir of commotion that Serine was curious to investigate. She instantly recognized Hood from before when she was received in the hangar bay, and although they had not been properly introduced by name, she could already discern his importance on the bridge due to his uniform. The inquisitor quickly approached the man with a question quick on her tongue. "What has happened, Commander? Is this something I should be concerned with?" It was never the best choice to get an inquisitor involved as trouble, and oftentimes painful corrections would soon follow.

Commander Hood's attention remained fixated upon Ensign Amherst in the Tactical crew bit below, but with no discernable answer as to what had happened, he was forced to turn to the Inquisitor with little-to-no information. It was not a pleasant situation to find himself in. "It appears, based on Lieutenant Ames' information," he said as he looked towards Allegra, intending to rest the blame on her shoulders if the information were inaccurate. "...that one of our assault shuttles has been attacked ... and destroyed ... by enemy starfighters," he concluded, without even a hint of remorse at the loss of so many of his comrades.

Allegra's face turned to meet the Inquisitor, her lips quivering slightly as they fought against her will to offer a slight smirk. "It seems Ensign ... Amherst," she paused, stating the name slowly and methodically to remind her of the report she had already made. "...failed to detect the attack. Nor did he detect the presence of enemy craft in the system," she concluded her eyes rolled down towards him, the hapless member of the crew still unsure as to why his terminal was not providing him an accurate readout.

Gray eyes opened wide with realization before narrowing in an intense fury as Allegra spoke the name of the ensign. "This is unforgivable..." This whole fiasco had already attracted the attention of the members upon the bridge, even though the majority of them tried to look as though they were still working, but this was only the beginning. Serine could no longer stay her hand, an example needed to be made of Amherst as he was, in her mind, completely past redemption.  Correction now could only mean one thing, dispatching. This would be the very first time upon the ship that Inquisitor Thanor would take her lightwhip by the hilt. She often rolled a few of the metallic coils between her fingers idly, however, this action was deliberate and ominous, with the intent to showcase punishment when failure was overwhelming. There was a light sound of metal scrapping upon metal as the whip was uncoiled before it noisily clanged upon the deck. Many people had died due to the insolence of this ensign... and now it was time to correct the matter. With a flash of movement and a skillful flick of her wrist, the metallic coils whisked through the air right in between Hood and Allegra to painfully wrap around Amherst's neck nearly strangling the life from him. This motion itself would not have been lethal, nor was it... until Serine quickly turned on the weapon. Instantly those coils glowed a bright red, now the properties changed... They were very deadly... the smell of burnt flesh filled the processed air immediately and the ensign was slowly burning alive, the flesh around his neck was shearing off.

Amherst would attempt in vein to groan as the whip coiled around his neck, but the burning whip cut through the flesh, severing his vocal chords almost instantly, preventing anything more than a gasp from escaping his lips. His hands moved towards the whip to try and pull it off, but the pure energy singed at his hands, burning his fingers into little more to nubs as he desperately tried to save himself. As the whip cut deeper into his skin, his jugular vein was severed and his spine was cut. With the loss of nervous function and blood flow to his head, his eyes began to roll back in his head and the dying man fell to his knees. It took several excruciating moments for the man to die, his body eventually keeling over to the side, the lightwhip having burnt itself through his entire neck, severing the head, even after he had expired.

Commander Hood silently observed the scene that was unfolding before him, showing no outward sign of disgust. Internally, he was quite revolted, but would not allow the Inquisitor to see he had been affected in some way. When the grizzly display had ended, he motioned for two of the petty officers to remove what remained of the corpse from the crew pit. He knew that his days as the one the crew would fear were ended, something of a disappointment to him.

Allegra watched in an near-orgasmic state of glee as her plot had unfolded even better than she could have possibly envisioned. The young tactical officer was no more. She would no longer need to hear his insults as she walked the bridge, and have a newfound opportunity to pursue tactical information with whomever replaced him. While she had not planned on the destruction of the assault shuttle, in her mind it was a small sacrifice to advance her career. Moving to the walkway, she gripped the railing and leaned slightly over, peering down one last time to watch the corpse dragged away.

This had been a horrifying scene that would no doubt be burned into the memory of all who were present. Serine felt that this was her first step to restoring proper working order to this ship, and in that sense, she was satisfied for now. Her solemn silence was uncanny, despite what had just happened, she spoke nothing, instead her gaze fell upon the remaining crew, knowing full well that they would never quite be the same after witnessing this scene. "Lieutenant Allegra, shall we continue our tour?" There was a complete absence now of all previous animosity towards Allegra, as if Serine was pleased with the result due to the officer's honesty. Perhaps a working relationship was possible.

"Of course, Milady," Allegra replied in a voice that oozed satisfaction. Her plan had worked to perfection and she could also sense that she had endeared herself to the Inquisitor. As she began to walk further behind Serine, she shot a quick smirk towards Hood, as she nodded her head. She wanted him to know what she had done. More than that ... she wanted him to know the balance of power on the ship was changing. Keeping the smirk hidden from the Inquisitor, she lowered her face and crept carefully behind her ... a position she intended to maintain.

Commander Hood understood all to well the implied meaning behind Allegra's facial expression, having long suspected she was capable of orchestrating situations for her benefit. He would not allow himself to become a pawn in her game, choosing to remain the quiet observer of those aboard the Star Destroyer. Indeed, things were changing, but he believed himself capable of gauging which way the wind blew as well as individuals like Allegra who would attempt to huff and puff to change its course.

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