The training room was clear of all personnel, High
Colonel Veller's orders being quite clear on that
fact. Sergeant Batua, dressed in his casual uniform,
stood off to the side, leaning against the wall,
waiting for his apparent charge to appear. He went
over the video the High Colonel had played for him,
his sharp eyes noting both El-Nay's performance and
his new overall commanding officer. That bounty
hunter sure was dumb, he thought, cracking her
helmet with an armed man in the room. Had she kept
her helmet on, the stun night have shook her up, but
he doubted it would have knocked her out. He'd been
up against a few Mando suits of armor, impressive if
they had the right person inside them.
He glanced at the time panel high in the wall and
nodded to himself. Yep, he thought, typical of the
"I already know everything" crowd. Ah sure hope
she's got a hot tub she can soak in tonight.
He settled his cap down over his eyes as he leaned
against the wall, arms crossed one leg crossed in
front of the other. To the unobservant, it might
look like he was sleeping, but he wasn't. His ears
were listening for that warning hiss they were about
to open. He would give the girl another ten minutes
before he sent troopers out to drag her into the
training room. He didn't figure the girl would try
to win any brownie points with him, but she would
learn to either respect him or fear him. He didn't
really care which, just so long as she learned from
El-Nay stood silently in the refresher that adjoined
her modest cabin aboard the Interrogator. She did
not like being out of her armor ... specifically her
helmet ... as she felt it made her a more imposing
force than the young *girl* that was staring back at
her in the mirror. She looked at her young face,
with her short dyed blonde hair, and shaved sides
for a long moment, unaware that the hour of her
appointment with the sergeant had passed. She was
wearing a basic environmental suit that accentuated
her petite, yet toned feminine form. She reached
into a drawer to pull out a pair of glareshades and
placed them over her gray eyes offering her some
anonymity from the members of the crew.
She moved through the corridors, which all seemed to
look the same to her. He was finding it difficult to
make her through the hallways, but eventually made
her way to where she thought the training room was.
When she stepped into the room, she reached a hand
to the bridge of her nose to pull down the
glareshades half of the way to gaze at the sergeant,
who seemed to be relaxing quite comfortably. "Are
you Sergeant Datua?" she asked, getting the name
wrong, as she did not remember it correctly from the
orders she received.
"Batua, sweetheart," the Sergeant said, as the door
closed behind her. He reached out with his hand, and
pressed the play button on the small remote he held.
On the wall ahead of him, the scene with Mark played
out, of him entering the room, through to Mark
stunning her. The scene froze with her on the floor
unconscious and Mark spinning around to face Major
Eona, "Nice pickle ya got yourself into, darling,"
his voice impersonal, not judging quite yet. "Tell
me what happened here that landed ya'll in the
brig." He then raised the tip of his cap and turned
his head towards El-Nay, nodding just ever so
slightly at the lack of armor. She could take some
instruction at least, he thought.
"Batua ... isn't that what I said?" El-Nay asked, as
she raised her hand to gently scratch at the left
side of her shaved head. "What happened was that I
was attempting to train for an upcoming mission, but
that officer had other plans," she said, bitterly,
as she shook her head and looked away from the
holoprojection. "He was wrong to shoot me," she
said, her hands involuntarily tightening into fists.
"So why am I here?" she asked, before she raised her
arms in front of her, folding them in front of her
chest. She had yet to look the sergeant in the eyes,
instead nervously shifting her gaze, behind the
glareshades, at everyone in the room besides the
Batua sighed and pushed himself off the side of the
wall, walking towards the holoprojection, pressing
rewind as he neared it to the beginning of the scene
with Mark entering the room. Batua wasn't tall as
men go, even a little bit on the short side coming
in at 1.7 meters. But he was all muscle and the gray
hair at his temples attested to the fact he had
survived longer than most in the service. "Ya'll are
here, sweetheart, cause ya failed to react to the
High Colonel's entrance. What if he'd been an
assassin? Ah'll tell ya what, ya'll be one dead
Mandolorian now, sweetheart. Dead."
He thumbed the control to the end with her on the
floor, "'Stead of sleeping off a stun bolt, there'd
be a hole in ya'll's head, allowing everyone ta see
just how empty that pretty little skull o' yours
is." Turning to face her, his brown eyes took her
in, judged her and found her lacking. "What's the
weakness o' that Mandolorian armor ya have?" he
asked, folding his arms as he waited for an answer.
El-Nay scoffed at the Sergeant's incredulous
suggestion that Colonel Veller was a would-be
assassin. "There's no assassins aboard a Star
Destroyer. And, if there were, why would anyone want
to assassinate me?" she asked, shaking her head at
the man, and not at all taking his warning very
serious. "Empty ... little ... skull..." she
repeated slowly, as she scrunched her face together,
slowly realizing that the man was insulting her.
"Hey!" she said, angrily stepping forward, allowing
her passion to govern her unwisely. Her heart was
racing, pumping blood through her small body, and
causing her cheeks to flush red with anger. "There
is no weakness to beskar'gam!" she boasted, proudly,
as she was now nearly directly in front of the man.
At 1.65 meters she was nearly the sergeant's height
and had no issue getting directly in his face as she
snarled back at him.
The sergeant almost smiled as she came closer, her
cheeks all flushed and her temper obviously up. His
arm and hand quickly went to her right shoulder,
giving it a firm push as he stepped forward, putting
his left foot behind hers to throw her off balance.
As she twisted, his left arm grabbed her right
wrist, pulling it behind her and then pushing her to
the floor. His strike was fast enough that it should
allow him to pin her beneath him, a knee to her back
and her arm pulled behind her. She would end up
eating the mat for a little bit.
"Ah'll tell ya what the weakness is, girl," putting
it as matter-of-factly as he could, "the weakness o'
any suit of armor is the person inside it." He
leaned forward to whisper in her ear, "Oh, and by
the way, darlin', ya'll's dead again."
El-Nay was not expecting an attack and therefore she
was not prepared for it. "Gaah!" she squealed as she
was expertly dropped to the floor by the sergeant.
As he planted her face to the ground, the
glareshades shattered, and cut her nose, causing a
slight bit of crimson to stain her face. "Ngh," she
groaned against the floor, struggling with all of
her might to lift herself up, but with no luck as
the sergeant had her expertly leveraged. "Ok. I
give. I give," she muttered, between grit teeth, as
she stopped struggling and allowed her body to go
limp between him. "I'm not supposed to be attacked
here. It's not like I'm on a mission," she
complained bitterly, as she again tried to lift her
face off the deck, but with little effect. Her voice
was muffled by its close proximity to the floor, as
she was speaking almost directly into it.
Batua held El-Nay expertly but without malice. He
was here to train her, not punish her, but he knew
the type. Words would not do, only actions and only
those actions that were reinforced with a bit of
pain and perhaps even fear.
"There's ya'll's first mistake, sweetheart," he
said, "The only ones ain't getting attacked are the
dead." He chuckled softly, "As for no assassins on
this ship, better to say ya'll's name ain't on any
assassin's list, least not yet." He released his
hold on El-Nay, quickly stepping out of hand-to-hand
combat reach to await her next move. "Sweetheart, in
ya'll's profession, every place is dangerous if
ya'll want to live long enough enjoy the fruits of
ya'll's labors. Even places ya'll's think is safe.
Ya'll live long enough, Ya'll's gonna get a long
list of enemies that 'ill want ya dead. Better start
thinking with it now before ya'll's got a
reputation. Mandolorian graveyards' full o'
He assessed the young woman again, "So, ya'll want a
chance at surviving whatever mission ya'll's going
on? Or are ya'll's the type ta die quick?"
When El-Nay was released, she quickly rolled over
onto her back, and lay there panting like a winded
animal. As a cigarra smoker she was already having
trouble catching her breath at times and had
developed a slight cough. A thin layer of sweat had
formed upon her forehead, causing her already short
hair to matte to her forehead. "I'm beginning to
accept that this ship is more dangerous than a Hutt
palace," she said, before she finally sat up, her
slender legs outstretched in front of her. "It would
be a honor to die in battle," she said, sounding
quite nihilistic, before she placed her hands flat
next to her, lifting her off the ground, and
eventually back into a standing a position. "Of
course I want to survive. The entire reason I was
making use of the training facility was to increase
my chances, but the Colonel didn't understand that,"
she said, before leaning back her head in an attempt
to stop the flow of blood that was spilling from the
top of her nose and down her face.
"Oh, the Colonel understands alright, sweetheart.
It's ya'll's who don't understand the way things
work in battle," he said, suddenly stepping close
and swinging a fist into her midriff, hard enough to
cause her to bend over. He let fly his other fist,
catching her in the face as she began to double
over. El-Nay would have a very nice shiner in the
morning. He stepped back a few paces, rolling his
shoulders slightly and standing on the balls of his
feet. Waiting patiently for her to recover, he was
ready to ward off any attack. Since she was
obviously not well-trained in hand-to-hand combat,
he was on the lookout for any wild attacks.
"Here's the deal, sweetheart," he said, not even
breathing heavily, "take me down and ya can walk out
that door never to return. But going through me is
the only way ya'lls gonna get dismissed from my
tender mercies." He grinned at her, the type told
her he was going to enjoy pounding her into the mat
over and over again. It was the type of grin that
said she was worthless and they both knew it. It was
the type of grin designed to engage every shred of
pride she had in an attempt to wipe it from his
El-Nay was in the process of addressing the cut to
her nose when the punch suddenly connected with her
stomach, causing her to double over in pain and take
a sharp inhale of air. She could not understand why
she had been called here to train just to have her
ass handed to her by another Imperial. Before she
could react, the second fist connected with her
face, causing her right arm to shut, with a nasty
cut developing. She staggered back, raising her hand
to cover her eye, which was beginning to swell and
discolor. "Oh I'll take you down alright, asshole,"
she said, bitterly, as she lowered her hand from her
face. In a fit of blind rage she surged forward
towards the man, attempting to leap forward and
tackle him to the ground. Her attack was not thought
out or precise, but rather an undisciplined, angered
attack that embodied her nature.
Expecting an attack of rage, he neatly sidestepped
El-Nay, sticking out his foot to trip her in her
reckless plunge for the far wall. Stepping in close
again as she fell to the floor, he grabbed her by
the back of the shirt with both hands, pushing her
forward fast enough that it was difficult to regain
her balance as he ran her towards the far wall
before slamming her into it face first. Placing one
forearm across her back, he leaned into her, using
his weight to pin her to the wall. He leaned in
close to her ear, "Ya'll dead again, girl."
Abruptly, he released her again, stepping back a few
paces to await the next attack. He was crouched a
little bit more than before, ready for her. "Ya'll's
gonna have to get smart, girl, to have a chance. Ah
already gave ya a few openings," he told her.
"Argh!" El-Nay let out a scream of rage and
frustration as he avoided her attack and turned the
tables on her again. When her young body was slammed
into the wall she led out a weak, pathetic groan of
pain, and her eyes slowly rolled back in her head.
"I'd like..." she began, but stopped short with a
slight cough that brought up some blood. "I'd like
to see you do that with my armor and weapons," she
said, before coughing up again. "Are you enjoying
this?" she said, as she struggled against his
weight, fighting in vain to pull away from the wall.
"I'm smart," she claimed, erroneously, as she began
to groan continuously, aimlessly lifting her legs
one at a time in an attempt to kick back at him.
Having easily avoided the kicks, that being the next
thing he expected from her, he released her and
stepped back, "Oh, ya think this 'ill end
differently with ya in armor?" he asked, "Really?
Ready to risk that family suit?" he nodded, "Yeah,
Ah know some of the Mandalorian traditions and Ah
have faced Mandalorians in battle. Ah have seen a
single Mandalorian hold back a company of
Stormtroopers for a few hours 'afore going down. But
ya'll, girl, ya'll ain't got it. Not when ya can't
even handle yourself out o' armor. Ya think that
suit's gonna make ya a bad ass? Respectable? It
ain't gonna do ya shit 'till ya can control
yourself. The suit's only as good as the person
inside, honey. Goes for Stormtroopers, Rebels *and*
"If ya really want to see how it would go, then wear
that armor next time, honey, and Ah'll wear mine,
and we'll see just how well it goes," he looked at
her, "But we be using training weapons, or ya'll
better be able to repair that monstrosity ya call
armor, cause it's gonna get shot up." He grinned at
her again, "Wanna take another swing, honey? Cause
Ah got all day."
"I *know* it would go differently, chakaar," El-Nay
replied, cursing him in her native Mando'a tongue.
When the sergeant released her, her body comically
slid down the wall, leaving behind a mixture of
blood and sweat. She finally landed at the bottom of
the wall, slumping against it, in a decrepit mess.
Her right eye was swollen shut from the punch, and
her left eye had a glazed over look in it from
exhaustion. "Next time?" she asked, tilting her head
up to look at the man, her vision quite blurry and
disoriented from the abuse. "You ... you mean we
have to do this again?" she asked, without even
trying to stand back up. Instead, she simply let out
another pathetic moan from deep inside of her,
before collapsing forward, her body folding over
itself in a broken heap.
Moving from a combat stance to a relaxed one, his
eyes narrowed slightly and he shook his head,
disapproving of the young woman collapsed against
the wall like a rag doll, "Ya ain't never completed
a hunt before, have ya?" He waited a moment, then
turned on his heel to leave the room. At the door,
he paused and turned back to face El-Nay, "Yeah,
same time tomorrow, honey, and ya'll gonna learn how
to fall. And if ya ain't learned that by the end of
tomorrow, my report to the High Colonel will say
ya'll's a worthless sack of shit and a failure to
boot. That putting ya on any mission will doom it to
failure. Look at ya," his eyes full of scorn, "ya
ain't even managed to muss my threads. Now ya listen
and ya listen hard, girl," he stressed the word,
putting as much scorn as he could in it, "ya wanna
prove yourself? Ya gotta prove yourself to me
With that, Batua spun on his heel and hit the
release for the door, walking out and leaving El-Nay
gasping on the floor behind him, not sparing her
another glance as the door closed. The training room
was silent. Racked practice weapons stood against
one of the walls. The holoprojection of her
unconscious on the floor was still up against a