Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Kit Gwynne and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:1:8) in the Essesia system: Interrogator.
Sergeant Batua and El-Nay Darr.

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 him.

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 man.

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' failures."

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 face.

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* Mandolorians."

"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 first."

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 different wall.

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