Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Kit Gwynne and Sarah Riggs-Shute.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:4:34) in the Essesia system: Interrogator.
Major Morgan Petrovna, High Inquisitor Serine Thanor, and Colonel Mark Veller.

The ISDII Interrogator finally began to loom in the viewport. A lone officer, rank insignia demoting a Major, stood on the observation deck. The next hour would determine if the game was still afoot. Memories came and went as the officer stood silently, expression unchanging. Was this as far as Agatha Phoebe Elmira Morgana Petrovna would go? How long had it been? 30 years? 40 years? More?

The officer sighed, eyes never leaving the growing ISDII, after so long, years faded and merged together. The years since the Empire had formed had been interesting, drawing interest more than otherwise predicted. Now, with a Major's rank, it was time to up the game.

Major Petrovna removed a packet from the jacket, reading the orders again, the Major checked the authenticity, verifying the seals. It looked proper, though the actual orders were a bit odd. "Major Serra Eona is to be removed from the Interrogator without incident. You will replace Major Eona in her duties, serving High Inquisitor Thanor to the best of your abilities. Major Eona is to be returned with your escort."

The orders were signed by the head of Imperial Intelligence, Madam Director Ysanne Isard. There was a further authorizing signature from the Grand Inquisitor. Major Petrovna eyes had widened slightly upon realizing the signature was Darth Vader's. Someone high up wanted Major Eona off that ship.

The sound of the ship landing came through the hull, bringing Major Petrovna back to the present. The orders were placed back into the jacket, next to the envelope for Eona. Glancing at the viewport, Major Petrovna was gratified to see a lack of senior officer. Apparently the orders transmitted concerning their purpose was accepted. Activity in the hangar deck went on as usual, crews working to do what maintenance and refueling they needed to before the ship could leave.

With a precise turn, Major Petrovna left the observation deck. Best this first step was done quickly with no delays. There were to be no questions until it was too late. Her escort of six Imperial Stormtroopers followed her down the ramp. The path was known and taken directly. Rank and the presence of the Stormtroopers ensured there were no delays in getting to their destination.

Arriving at Major's Eona's quarters and office, Major Petrovna executed the orders, seeing to their swift resolution. A small smile appeared seeing the back of Major Eona squarely sandwiched between the Stormtroopers disappearing down the hallway. Sitting down at the desk, Major Petrovna took in a deep breath and let it out. The first step was done and would be finalized once the ship took off in about another thirty minutes. Nothing would delay that as the captain of the ship had orders to blast his way out if necessary. Things had gone smoothly, it was unlikely those orders would be needed.

Attaching a small device to the holoterminal, Major Petrovna went to work. There were accounts to be sliced and information to be dug up. Soon, the Major was sure, a call would come through from the High Inquisitor. This was the dicey part of the game. Inquisitors had a reputation for being... unstable. Though this one, High Inquisitor Serine Thanor, appeared less unstable. Images began scrolling on the screen, the changes in light reflected on the intent face. How much time until that summons? How much time to prepare for what was likely to be an unpleasant meeting? And what of the outcome? Would it be an end? Or a beginning?

A light blinked on the terminal, Major Petrovna smiled. Major Eona had done herself quite well with her data feeds. A notification flashed that the ship had taken off without incident. Major Eona was now heading towards her destiny, whatever it might be. Perhaps, depending on outcome of the next few days, Major Eona's fate would be researched as a curiosity point. Perhaps.

Then, sooner than the Major would have liked, the summons came. Major Petrovna stood, organizing the data reviewed. It would just have to do. Making sure the uniform was precise, Major Petrovna left the office and strode, head held high, to the High Inquisitor's office. Buried deep in the eyes was a smile of anticipation.

After receiving permission to enter, Major Agatha Phoebe Morgana 'Morgan' Petrovna entered into the lion's den. Her eyes swiftly took in the office and the figure behind the desk, determining that this must be the High Inquisitor. Another figure stood in front of the main desk, a tall man in the uniform of a High Colonel. Coming to stand a few feet to the side of this man, she brought her full 6' 2" of height to strict attention. "Major Petrovna reporting as ordered, ma'am," she took a few steps forward to the desk, laying down the transfer orders for herself and Eona, then stepping back and returning to attention. Her uniform almost rivaled High Colonel Veller's for neatness, almost. Long red hair caught in a simple braid cascaded down to the bottom of her back, unbraided, it probably reached her knees. Green eyes stared forward but took in everything. Looking to be about 35, she seemed fit enough for an officer doing a mostly desk job.

Morgan considered saying more but thought it would be redundant to state she was recently transferred. That much was obvious. Watching the High Inquisitor, upon whose reaction so much hinged, Morgan readied herself for disaster. It had been awhile since her last frantic escape from an enemy fortress, a smile nearly crossed her face, perhaps long enough to make one fun again.

High Colonel Veller was trying to keep his temper from fraying even more. His attention kept wandering from the matters at hand back to Lieutenant Dunford. Things had been going well, the man appeared to be recovering from his stress, and then something had happened to shake it and he had no idea what it was. Mark wasn't finished with Dunford yet so still needed to keep the man under his protection, but not knowing what to protect him against was maddening.

Twice already, the High Inquisitor had to return his attention to the matter at hand; final cleanup and any occupation duties from their operation in Esseles. The matter was very routine, Mark could have rattled off the policies in his sleep, but his mind was on Dunford.

He strove to regain his concentration during the lull as Major Eona was summoned. Just as he managed to push the matter of Dunford aside, in walked Major Eona. Or rather, not Major Eona. The woman was tall, unusually tall, for she was taller than he was. Her uniform was rather neat. A long braid of red hair went down her back and green eyes stared out from an average face.

Mark was hard pressed to keep his composure. Part of him wanted to break out into a defensive stance. Every other sense was telling him he was just being silly. The woman standing beside him was another Imperial officer. The woman's voice was precise with a very faint accent he couldn't place. As she spoke, Mark tensed slightly, readying himself in case the High Inquisitor's reaction included the use of her whip. He had rapidly come to the conclusion this woman was reporting in Major Eona's capacity. With the placement of transfer orders, he knew Major Eona was no longer on the ship, otherwise she would be standing here introducing her replacement. Mark wondered what was going on.

High Inquisitor Thanor sat behind her desk struggling not to become extremely irritated at Veller for his distance and minor unresponsiveness to her specific questions. "Is there something you rather be doing right now, High Colonel?!" Serine snapped angrily as she mulled over his apparent flagging mental fortitude. It was becoming clear that the lack of any respite from the tedious demands of the Interrogator's daily operations was having a real effect upon not just a handful of her officers, but the entirety of her work force, and not even her High Colonel was immune. The desire for simple luxuries and comforts was nonexistent for Serine, as she felt they were a distraction from her responsibilities. The thought of having leave away from her duties was a foreign concept to her, thus she did not even consider that her crew needed such amenities until recently when she started to notice the apparent shipwide deterioration.

Out of curiosity, she had previously checked the shore leave record of the Interrogator and was not at all surprised to find out that it had been years since the last liberty was allowed. The vessel had been under High Inquisitor Tremayne after all, who was notorious for his intolerance and cruelty. He did not even allow transfers, and it was safe to assume that the only way off of the Interrogator during his reign was in a body bag, which happened regularly. Serine felt she was far more obliging than that of her predecessor, and she was willing to prove it, but convincing her crew of this was not her main intention. The Inquisitor's true concern was the capability and performance of her officers. A healthy amount of fear for one's superior was desirable and beneficial, but there came a point when too much dread could lead to atrophy with officers unable to perform even the most basic of duties.

Serine noticed productivity taking a small dip after the events of Veller's impoundment and her own savage rampage through Brentaal, both incidents had been wildly speculated and discussed to a near feverish pitch by all the denizens aboard. Even officers who she felt were substantially stable were faltering which brought to mind seeing Lieutenant Dunford. From what she remembered of him, he was extremely stoic and dispassionate but when she passed him in the hallway, and even though he did a decent job suppressing it, she could sense he was under tremendous pressure. When even her veteran officers that survived Tremayne were struggling, she knew the problem needed to be addressed, and thus that was the true reason for her calling her senior staff into her office. It was time to discuss the possibility and procedures behind an extended shore leave for those on board that desired to participate.

The High Inquisitor began to tap her fingers upon the desk, realizing the Major was uncharacteristically tardy, but only slightly, and would let it slide providing Serra arrived soon. Eyes quickly flicked to the chronometer the moment she heard the door slide open, relieved that her Intel officer managed to arrive timely enough so that Serine did not need to make an example out of her in front of Veller. When her gaze was removed from the timepiece and fell upon her officers, she quickly realized that it was not actually Major Eona arriving ... but an officer she was not at all acquainted with. The Inquisitor knew every face and every name on the Interrogator, it was the duty of the commanding officer to know the crew, and she tirelessly read reports to keep updated on the ship's progress. But here was a face she did not recognize and the initial shock was overwhelming. The Inquisitor was practically paralyzed with outrage as a long fixated glare narrowed at what appeared to be transfer papers in the other's hands. Silver eyes focused intensely upon that folder, and followed its movements until the orders were gingerly placed before her. The Inquisitor briefly hesitated before slowly opening the folder to read the contents inside.

What followed was a tediously long moment of surreal silence that felt like an eternity devoid of sound save the chronometer whose continued ticks became deafening. Serine's measured movements became painfully deliberate and foreboding as she slowly stood from her chair ... this was most certainly the calm before the storm ... bitterness and rage were building quickly until the air felt thick with malice. Hands trembling with livid frenzy were pressed upon the surface of her desk, and her eyes that never once left the papers wavered with unparalleled loathing and hostility. What could be gathered was the Inquisitor was using every ounce of her willpower not to erupt into fury and rampage, but that did not save the immediate objects within her reach. There was an ominous rumbling that preceded a cacophony of noise as small objects jittered then darted off her desk in every which direction, colliding with the walls and ceiling with enough force to shatter or imbed them into the durasteel. A horribly jarring and offensive cracking sound screeched as a huge disfigured crack splintered her desk nearly in two. Serine's right hand slowly curled into a fist, crunching the transfer papers along with it before suddenly she swung fiercely to the side, smashing her terminal with such velocity that it ripped clean from its mount to explode violently into countless ruined fragments.

These meager outlets for her immense anger were barely able to sustain her shred of control which was tittering on complete failure. She knew none of this was Major Petrovna's fault, and the document was signed by both Madam Director Ysanne Isard and Lord Vader, but that did little to negate her intense animosity and resentment for losing her trusted and respected Intel officer whose career she bolstered personally. Serine felt betrayed even, the orders specified a covert operation, as if to sneak Serra out from her grasp and throw her an unknown and untested officer she knew nothing about and could not possibly trust. Serra was hers after all ... she belonged to Serine, everything on his ship belonged to her ... and now this woman ... dared to attempt to replace Major Eona. There was a dangerous seething that swirled in silver eyes that finally raised from the table to bore into the woman, as she began to move around her desk in an eerie fashion. Veller would most certainly recognize the heavy desire to inflict an incredible amount of pain. He was all too familiar with the sickening vortex of brutality and cruelty that churned along with loathing in the Inquisitor's eyes. She was on the brink of harming the woman as she stalked ever closer like a predator. "... Major Petrovna .. was it ... what makes you believe *you* are a fitting replacement?"

Morgan had stood silently, watching the coming maelstrom with a bit of excitement stirring. A fantastic way to die, shredded by this wonder pinpoint of rage. However much it might be exciting, death wasn't the reason she came here. There were things to be found out here, things which mattered to her and her remaining people.

She met the pale silver eyes, then realized it would be appropriate for Agatha to flinch. Abruptly, she broke eye contact and looked to the floor, rocking back slightly on her heels as if to move away. "Nothing, ma'am," she said, allowing a small tremble to enter her voice. "I was notified of my new orders five days ago, ma'am. Since that time I have been in-transit to the Interrogator. I was given to understand Director Isard chose me for my numerous years of service in Intel. My service record should be included in the transfer papers, ma'am, and I have been instructed to answer any question you might have concerning it as best I can, ma'am. It is my hope that in time, I will be able to serve this vessel and her commander as well as Major Eona served, ma'am."

There were times when she cursed Agatha and the lot fate had thrust upon her. This was one of those times. Before her was an adversary worthy of combat and yet, because of Agatha, she had to play a different game. The cards had been dealt. Now it was time to see how Serine would deal with her new hand.

Only with the most iron of willpower did Mark manage to keep his stance and not flee when an object hit a wall and stayed there. He could barely tear his gaze away from the embedded item, thinking only, "That's what she did to me."

The new major's voice cut through his fixation. Her story sounded very much like his own. Her admission there was nothing to recommend her to the High Inquisitor might be the only thing that saves her life. Or it might not. Mark waited for the High Inquisitor's response, ready to spring into action to stop the Major's death or injury if he could.

The Major's clever response to her loaded question abated a fragment of the Inquisitor's rage but not enough to fully subside her threatening advance towards Agatha. The transfer papers that were still crushed tightly within her left hand had decades of favorable service reports and positive evaluations, but that did little to convince Serine that this woman was not purposely sent to be an obstacle. The leader of Intel for all the Imperial forces across the galaxy, Madam Isard, was a cunning and ruthless woman who could fairly easily disrupt the operations of the Interrogator. In this case, all that was needed was a signature and the High Inquisitor's most trusted Imperial Intel officer was stripped from her effortlessly, right from under her watch, without collaboration or explanation. It was not only infuriating, but dangerous. Serine had no real knowledge of the Major that stood before her, who could just as easily be a puppet for Madam Isard to pull the strings of and set disastrous events into motion.

In addition to these alarming developments, the constant failure to properly address the High Inquisitor with the correct formal title irritated her beyond measure and caused Serine's facial features to further contort with contempt. With a low ominous growl her right hand clutched the handle of her lightwhip, ripping free the weapon to flick the multitude of metallic cables in the air as a foreboding to dreadful incidents ahead. "And yet, in those many years you never once learned established etiquette for high ranking members of the Inquisitorius." Serine nearly snarled the words as a blur of motion brought the many coils of the devastating weapon towards the Major's neck with an uncanny amount of speed. If the Inquisitor truly wished to learn more of this woman, she needed to witness the other in a state of suffering, only then did the true person leak out behind any falsified masks and barriers. Her initial desire was to slowly strangle Agatha until the point of collapse but her plans would have to be modified or abandoned as the momentum of her whip lurched then overlapped an obstacle at the last moment.

The Major had managed to snap up her arm to intercept the coils so that the tendrils wrapped around her forearm in addition to her neck, pinning her arm against the side of her face. It was not a full counter to the ambush, but it was certainly an impressive show of resistance. The speed and reflexes displayed could never have been duplicated by Major Eona, and even Mark would have had to draw from the Force to achieve it. Even though all it would take was the activation of her whip to completely mutilate that woman, the very action of defying the course and destination of a weapon in motion that most individuals would not have even been able to see was dramatic and significant. A deep scrutinizing glare replaced the fury that only moments ago dominated her whole being. Now the Inquisitor was presented with something profound and curious. Serine's attention snapped to the report in her right hand that was crumpled almost to the point of nonexistence, and the redirection of her focus caused the pressure that was once behind the coils of the lightwhip to slack and slump from Agatha to fall harmlessly to the floor around the officer's feet. The Inquisitor combed through the wrinkled report in a fervor of activity, scanning for any mention of the Major's enhanced physical capabilities, but all she came across was some fleeting and unsatisfying mention of luck, how unsavory.

The whole folder was balled up and tossed to the floor with disgust before an irked gaze once again fell to Petrovna. Some of the reports did remind her of a few things within the High Colonel's personal files and suddenly the realization hit her that perhaps Serine was once again bestowed with yet another gifted individual, one with potential Force capabilities. It would have been hard pressed for a human to display reflexes of that capacity, and surely the Inquisitor was not accustomed to her prey opposing her attacks in such a manner. "As it turns out Major... I do have a question that needs answering." If Agatha was indeed Force-sensitive, the Inquisitor was going to need to probe her mind to discover it, an intrusive technique that her former master taught her, who was very proficient at exposing the secrets of one's mind, even the subconscious. There was no physical defense for this new onslaught that the Inquisitor quickly released, and as Serine raised her left hand towards the Major, Agatha would quickly be subjugated to an overwhelming assault and invasion of her inner most thoughts and reasoning. The pain was minor at first, as if a terrible headache was occurring, but the throbbing of her head increased as Serine reached deeper, seeking out the subconscious to verify or refute her concerns, and when she did not find what she sought, she had to pry ever deeper until her inquiry became a devastating rip through Petrovna's being.

Without thinking, Morgan had put up an arm to block the attack. It took a moment to realize her mistake, that such a response was not the normal one. Damn Agatha, she was the warrior, not the spy! She fell to the floor as the whip was suddenly released from her throat, arm throbbing at taking the brunt of the metal whip. Stay down, Morgan told herself, humans aren't that fast. Seeking to regain her equilibrium, she gulped in large lungfuls of air. While the whip had not actually choked her, it had made breathing difficult.

She hadn't thought to verify the proper form of address to the Inquisitorius. After all, they weren't royalty. It was those details Agatha was best at. Morgan was about to apologize and stand back up again when she felt a pressure on her mind.

It very much felt like someone had put her head into a vice and then started to close the vice slowly. At first, she gave a short gasp, then clutched her head as the pain continued to increase. Whatever it was, she couldn't stop it. Her mind raced to identify the attack. Was it a sonic weapon? Dimly she saw that the High Colonel was still standing, watching impassively. Did he hold the weapon? No, his hands were clasped behind him.

She rolled over on her side, curling up as the pain increased. This High Inquisitor had to be source of this pain, but how? She grit her teeth against the pain, determined not to cry out, but it did not relent. Deeper into her, the pain seemed to penetrate until finally, she could take no more. Never before had she felt such a deep, mind-numbing pain. Even getting tortured by Sargon, that arrogant bastard, 316 years ago had been nothing compared to this.

After an agonizing infinity of pain, whatever was wanting in broke through. A final cry of anguish and she fell unconscious, the final question in her thoughts. End? Or Beginning?

Even prepared, Serine was too fast with the whip for Mark to move. That the Major managed even a slight block with her arm was amazing in and of itself, though Mark figured that arm would be aching for days.

The High Inquisitor's next move mystified him, as did the Major's reaction. Without doing much of anything, Major Petrovna was suddenly acting as if in instant agony. He heard the suppressed whimpers of pain. When it seemed whatever Serine was doing was intensifying, Mark made ready to speak. Major Petrovna's cry of pain and unconsciousness interrupted his plan.

"Milord?" he asked respectfully, taking a pace or two back to give the High Inquisitor some space to move. He was a bit shaken by the amount of control it took to not back away into the corner, "I do not understand. Is she not Imperial?" Strange things were happening and he felt very much adrift. Mark's world consisted of blasters, armor and enemies that went down when you shot them. Someone collapsing on the floor in agony with no visible reason was not something that easily fit within his world.

The High Inquisitor's steady attack was merciless as she tore through the Major's mind, paying no heed to Morgan's intense suffering. Serine fiercely sought any indication of potential Force attunement and the assault was unyielding in its relentless savagery until the breaking point. At the very moment that the officer reached her limit, Serine managed to fully puncture through the last remaining mental resistance and scourged the area for any hint of Force ability but came up completely empty. Disappointed yet satisfied in the full vetting, her attention left the Major's unconscious and contorted form to catch the concerned and unsettled gaze of her High Colonel. She silently cursed inwardly the moment her irrational anger cleared and she realized that this was absolutely not the incident she wished Veller to witness. It quickly dawned on the Inquisitor that her unstable behavior caused a variety of phenomena that would confound and bewilder him. Serine loathed the thought of explaining more to him since he had yet to accept her offer of training, but in this situation she had to tell him something at least.

"She is an Imperial, but I had suspected ..." The Inquisitor trailed her sentence then paused for a moment as she contemplated how she would modify the issue for Mark's understanding. Her eyes narrowed intently upon the other as she slowly gathered her thoughts, as if her next words held an enormous amount of weight to them. "There are trillions of individuals alive in this galaxy, and of this immense number of beings, there are but a small handful capable of accessing capabilities well beyond the reach of all the others. Aligned to our cause, they will ensure the prosperity of the Empire for centuries to come, but they are also the only *real* threat to its continued existence. It is the job of the Inquisitorius to locate these individuals because their potential is near limitless." The Inquisitor spoke freely as she began to ravel her whip back into a bunch and fastened it to her belt, still wholly ignoring the unconscious body lying at her feet.

"Now consider the complexities and difficulties of my assignment. In an endless sea of stars and planets, there may only be a few thousand individuals capable of these astonishing feats, with an overwhelming majority of them not even realizing their innate potential or suppressing it, as was in your case. Despite my profession's whole purpose being solely transfixed on finding them, I rarely do. The chances are so scarce and unlikely, that I may become complacent and thus be caught completely off guard, as was the case in our most recent spar. I did not think to check if you had this potential, as I do not just randomly scout people. It is both inefficient and potentially devastating, as you can see with Major Petrovna." She said while waving a hand towards Morgan's body, the woman had indeed suffered greatly with Serine's mental pursuit. "I had suspected she belonged in this esteemed group when she demonstrated an acute level of reflex, and I moved to ... examine her for any unrealized potential. The stress of the process was obvious, but frivolous since she is not one that can wield this power I seek." The Inquisitor believed her explanation was thorough enough, but she was still a bit miffed that her own negligence forced her hand. "Does this satisfy your curiosity, High Colonel?" She said a tad cynically.

Mark stood silently as the High Inquisitor spoke, listening to her words as he willed his universe to stillness. The sudden rage and attack has taken him by surprise and the manner of it had spun him into a world of the unknown where witches and nightmares roamed unchecked.

Her explanation actually made sense and he could understand. It made sense that those who could ensure the prosperity of the Empire could also destroy it. That he was among those the High Inquisitor was tasked with finding came with a sense of relief.

"It is a lot to take in and think about, Milord," he said, "and will take some time to fully understand the implications." Mark also understood that further questions were not invited. "Thank you, Milord, for the explanation." He bowed slightly.

Nodding toward the unconscious Major, "What are your wishes concerning Major Petrovna? Should I summon a medical team for her, Milord?"

For all the world, Mark seemed more at ease and far less unsettled, as if unconscious Imperial officers in a meeting were common place. In a roundabout fashion, the High Inquisitor has answered the question he hasn't found the right words to express. He still had a place in the Empire and that place was his service on-board the Interrogator.

For her part, Major Agatha Phoebe Morgana Petrovna remained unconscious. Within her own mind, she struggled to regain the warrior's certainty on her goal, the mission she had to complete, the information she sought. The nature of the attack was unknown to her, but if there was one certainty in her long life it was that every attack had a defense. The winner was the one with the better.

Slowly her mind gathered up the shattered pieces of her defenses and began to rebuild. Obviously this gambit had been too reckless. Agatha would have to lead her through until Morgan was needed. Agatha was the patient one. Agatha was the one who sidestepped the assault, never being hit until suddenly, the time was ripe for a final strike. Hardly noticeable, Morgan's breathing deepened and became more regular.

"Leave her. We have more important matters to discuss." The Inquisitor immediately dismissed Veller's concern for the Major as irrelevant. Despite the woman's theatrical expression of affliction, the injuries were superficial at best and she would likely recover within the time it took for Serine to deliberate her plans and proposals. The unconscious body was disregarded entirely as the High Inquisitor walked back around to sit behind her now dilapidated desk that seemed to be teetering on total collapse. The remnants of the ruined monitor still smoked and a few sparks jettisoned out of the demolished cavity. Serine seemed completely unfazed that her office was now a wreckage site and she continued her briefing as if nothing extraordinary had just occurred. "I believe some form of shore leave is in order," her deadpan straightforward statement against the backdrop of her defaced surroundings that had followed a violent frenzy seemed darkly humorous. All of which was lost upon her.

"There have been a few events recently, that you have been personally involved in, that have unsettled the daily sentiments of the crew. The wild speculation that went unchecked further harmed the ship wide moral levels. I will be honest with you High Colonel, I personally find intermissions from my duties a waste considering the weight and importance of my responsibilities; however, I also understand the need for the officers to have respite in order to bolster their productivity in the long term. This is the true reason I called you and ... the Major here today. We are at war, so providing any sort of liberty will be a delicate procedure in which I will need your recommendations and experience to ensure its success. I am tasking you and Major Petrovna with establishing and organizing shore leave. I am giving you both two days to fully submit your suggestions for its procedures to me. This will also be a good opportunity for you to gauge the Major's qualifications." A few fingers of Serine's right hand began to absentmindedly tap on the armrest of her chair. "And do not forget of my prior offer. I expect your answer by the end of the week."

Mark bowed slightly, "As you command, Milord." He considered for a few moments, pondering. Shore leave. Privately, he had to admit he shared the High Inquisitor's view of shore leave, though he never denied it to those under his command. When it came time for him to take shore leave, he usually did, but spent most of the time working, enjoying the fewer interruptions.

An idea lit up in his head. He was sure Lieutenant Dunford could use some shore leave. Perhaps, he could convince the Lieutenant to take some shore leave time and they could discuss matters outside the usual surveillance of the Interrogator.

He nodded slightly, "Yes, Milord, the Major and I can come up with a plan. It will be a good task to familiarize herself with Interrogator and her crew."

As he spoke, Major Petrovna stirred, blinked a few times, took a deep breath and then stood up facing Serine. Tugging her uniform straight and standing at attention, she spoke, "My apologies, ma... Milord, I don't know what came over me," which was true, Morgan was grateful her unconsciousness appeared to have only lasted a few minutes if that.

Ignoring the throb in her arm from catching the whip was easy, restraining herself from attacking Serine was difficult. Anger blazed deeply in Morgan's core. Agatha's voice whispered to her, "Keep the blaze contained, dear heart, now is not the time to flare out. The mission is still on. We must complete it. We must know what happened. But after that," Morgan could almost feel Agatha smiling, "Yes, make the fool pay for attacking."

Taking a deep breath to center herself, Morgan said, "I am, of course, at the High Colonel's orders," thankful she had at least memorized that insignia and hadn't made a further mistake with the insignia, "It will be an excellent way to get familiar with the crew and my duties aboard the Interrogator."

Mark caught Morgan's eye and nodded towards the door. While he was sure the High Inquisitor had heard the apology, she was unlikely to respond to it. Orders had been given, it was now their duty to obey and execute those orders. With a slight bow to the High Inquisitor, he followed the Major out. As the door closed behind them, he left out a small sigh of relief. That had been a bit intense, stirring up things he was not ready to face with the High Inquisitor right there.

With a bit of a nod and a wry smile, "High Colonel Mark Veller, at your service, Major Petrovna," said Mark, "Would you like to get that arm seen to before we start our work?" Mark started walking towards the turbolift that would take them to medical bay. "That was impressive. I do believe you caught the High Inquisitor off guard with that block. She is quite adept at wielding it." A tinge went through his back as he discussed that whip.

"Thank you, High Colonel, that would probably be best," said Morgan. "And perhaps something for this rotten headache that I have," she shook her head ruefully, "Not exactly the best of starts with Inquisitor Thanor, I suppose."

The two of them walking through the hallways caught a few stares. Mark decided it was because of her height, though partly correct, it was more the green eyes and long red hair, even if it was currently caught in a braid.

"Do your work well," said Mark, "and she will get over it. After all, she believes one's temper should be reserved for the enemy." As the turbolift doors closed behind them, "I will admit to curiosity as to how you were able to block as you did," Mark said, there being the only two in the turbolift.

"My last few assignments have been on high gravity worlds," Morgan said, "After a lot of time on a 1.5g world, getting back to 1g makes everyone seem to be moving in slow motion sometimes." The high g worlds was true, but not the rest of it. She had fast reflexes because of her heredity, not because of spending time on a high g world. However, it made a good explanation to enough people that it worked and kept suspicions down as to secrets she would rather not reveal. She had a mission to do, after all.

The medical droids quickly took a look at the arm and after a bit of poking and prodding, did their thing, advised her to exercise it every night to keep it from getting stiff, but that otherwise everything was in good working order.

Once that was taken care of, Mark commandeered a conference room and the two of them started putting together a proposal for shore leave for the crew. The first topic was to pick out an appropriate planet. Then, to proposal the guidelines of who was eligible and then, to come up with the schedule.

As they worked, Mark observed Morgan, sure he was under the same scrutiny. Whatever it was that had seemed so dangerous about her, had died down, but still, Mark couldn't totally get rid of the feeling that something was off. The problem was pinpointing it. Perhaps he actually did need a short vacation from it all, take a breather and come back refreshed.

Within a few hours, a plan started to form. Now it was a matter of details, details, details.

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