Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Christopher Levy and Sarah Riggs-Shute.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:5:12) in the Essesia system: Warspite.
Major Kerrie Kiley and Inquisitor Serine Thanor.

Major Kerrie Kiley stood outside Inquisitor Thanor's door, pacing back and forth nervously. She was dressed in the black uniform of the Imperial Stormtroopers Corps, which was impeccably kept on her diminutive frame. She stared at the reflective lights on the durasteel deck of the ship, rather than make eye contact with any number of the Imperial officers that were meandering down the corridor. Her hands gripped at a bottle of Alderaan Ruge she had taken from the Grand Moff's office, as he seemed to have given up drinking for the time being. Two glasses rattled in her other hand as she stared once again at the Inquisitor's door. She had a bad feeling about this, and at several points she had considered running off. However, Randi made a poor drinking companion as she was prone to crying when intoxicated ... and she could not stand watching her cry. Finally she broke down and depressed the button to announce her presence to the Inquisitor. It was worth a try, she thought, as she forced a smile onto her perfectly mimicked Human lips.

It had been about three hours since High Inquisitor Tremayne left his dominating mark upon the crew aboard Warspite. There was an after effect that followed such a confrontation, and the aura of intensity that was lingering had yet to fully dissipate. None understood that better than Serine; Kerrie was not the only one pacing. She had an appointment to meet, and had perhaps wisely sent her apprentice ahead, and now that everything was beginning to settle, she realized she was quickly running out of time to join Kia at Sylvain Isod's estate. It was still too soon for her to attempt any sort of 'diplomacy', since even in her best frame of mind and state, that was not her strong suite. She was far more adept at intimidation, interrogation and execution. As she continued to pace angrily around her room like a frustrated animal, she contemplated the real purpose behind her so called mission. No doubt Major Zevrin wanted her to fail at this new arranged duty, and no doubt set it up, perhaps a little too well. Serine found herself stopping at a small mirror hanging a bit pitifully by the refresher area of her quarters. She admitted she had seen better days, but she had seen far worse to be sure. Head wounds always looked worse than they really were, but with the way the gashes racked across her forehead, she realized she was not presentable, at least she finally got the blood to stop gushing from them. As the door rang signaling she had a visitor, Inquisitor Thanor growled heavily, not at all wishing or willing to meet with anyone now at this state. Who would even have the gall to request her now ... the majority of the crew were cowering in their rooms in a fetal position. Probably Zevrin! She snarled in contempt, that woman probably wanted to come ... taunt her or something ridiculously tactless. Serine quickly stalked over to the door and lashed it open so fiercely, it almost was ripped out of the wall. "Major Ze ... ! ... Kiley?" She stammered, the look of shear rage and hatred fizzled into one of mild confusion as she looked to the woman who held a pair of glasses and ... was that Alderaan Ruge? She remembered seeing that somewhere ...

Kerrie had heard rumors among the crew that the Inquisitor was sporting a nasty wound, but she did not expect it to be so ... severe. "Hey..." she began awkwardly, forgetting instantly everything she had planned to say. "Um ... I heard that you maybe could use a drink?" she said, trying to sound optimistic as she raised the bottle up slightly so that she could get a better look at it. "I understand if you want to be alone..." she stammered, backing up just a hair as the nerves of what was happening began to overtake her. "I just thought maybe you could use some company and a distraction?" she asked, a smile briefly forming upon her lips. If there was anyone aboard the Warspite who knew what it was like to be physically assaulted by a superior it was Kerrie.

The suggestion that the two of them sit down and ... enjoy a drink was a little ... unexpected and questionable. Serine's look of confusion changed into one of wary cautiousness as her eyes narrowed intensely towards the other. She had every indication to believe that Zevrin and Kerrie were working together to ruin her. It all seemed a little too ... convenient that right after a harrowing experience, and right before she was supposed to be on her way to a diplomatic dinner of vast importance, Kerrie shows up with a bottle of wine. "It was not enough for you that I should look mauled, you want me to show up to Count Isod's estate ... late and intoxicated! Isn't that right, Major Kiley?!" Serine verbally lashed out viciously as her eyes flared open. It was obvious the Inquisitor was under a rather large amount of stress, being very quick to accusations, but with good reason.

Kerrie sunk into herself like a wounded animal when she heard the tone of voice begin to change. She cringed meekly and considered running off while she could, but then she remembered how isolated and alone she felt when she had been so poorly treated by her 'master' and had no one to share it with. "I'm sorry ... I just thought..." she began, but then quickly stopped herself, feeling as if she was engaging in a wasted effort. "I didn't take into account your mission. I apologize..." she said weakly, her voice threatening to crack as she looked at everything but Serine's face.

Serine did not think highly enough of Kerrie to believe the woman was capable of lying convincingly, but that did not excuse the awkward spontaneous nature of the offer. The Major's meekness was aggravating her though, because in her mind, as she has said many times before to Kerrie's face no less, that the woman was a broken down empty vessel of what she used to stand for. "Shut up Major, stop apologizing. It makes you look like a useless puppet. You want something? Then ask with authority, if you even remember how that felt. If not ... then get out of my sight." She glared at her from the doorway while speaking harshly, not at all caring who may overhear, if there were any individuals left courageous enough to traverse down this hallway at this time. Kerrie was though... she gave her that much.

Kerrie seemed to exhibit two personalities. Meek coward and unthinking aggressive. She had failed at the former, so it was time for the latter. Aggressively, she stepped forward and pushed past the Inquisitor into her quarters, without being invited, as she thought it was what the Inquisitor desired. "I want to talk to you about what happened. If you head down to Brentaal with this on your mind you will be distracted and your mission will go poorly," she reasoned, as she pulled one of the two chairs in the empty room out and took a seat. Immediately she pour herself a drink and began sampling the beverage. "Blech," she groaned as the taste was not what she was expecting. "I do not know how the Governor can drink this..." she said, as she pushed the bottle away from her.

Apparently her forceful challenge was met which was somewhat surprising, though perhaps a bit relieving that Rodney had yet to completely crush any remaining will Kerrie had. As the Major let herself in, bushing past her, Serine closed the door before eyeing the other with an unreadable expression. "Why would you possibly care." It was not worded like a question, and she took no movement to join the other, instead wishing to cross her arms and lean against the wall directly to the right of the door. The Inquisitor did not trust this situation, she was not given enough cues to fully believe Kerrie's intentions, or even the desire to chat about anything, as Serine had not but a few weeks prior left the woman to die in a room alone. It was true that Major Kiley attempted to redeem herself somewhat by assassinating a disgraceful politician that she should have killed long ago, but the recent suspicions that Serine had regarding her new 'assignment' thanks to Kerrie's signature sullied that small highlight. "I do not partake in pleasantries with those who seek to destroy my career." She said bluntly from her post across the room, obviously not at all comfortable discussing any matters with Kerrie due to their complex relationship.

Kerrie needed that drink more than ever and forced herself to take another swig of the bitter beverage. "I care because I have been in your position ... too many times," she said as her hands moved to pour herself a second glass of the Alderaan Ruge. "I ... I never tried to destroy your career..." she said, as she took another quick drink of the liquid. She was beginning to wonder what she was doing here. Her body temperature was beginning to raise and her cheeks flushed red from the rapid rate of her drinking. "Look. The whole ship knows what happened to you by now. It happened to me once. I know how hard it can be..." she said, as she offered a genuine smile to the woman. "I'm here if you need someone..." she said, realizing she was going out on a limb as she exposed her emotions to the Inquisitor.

Serine knew a large majority of details regarding Kerrie, she knew the woman was speaking the truth in that regards, but in her mind, the two of them were nothing alike. "Do not pretend we are 'friends' because we may share some similarities. What we chose to do to cope during adversity separates us." She did not appreciate being compared to the Major, even in passing, because she had no respect for what the woman had become. "I do not care what the crew knows, and none of them would be brave enough to mention it in the future." Serine shifted her weight uncomfortably, confiding in Kerrie was not something she had planned on doing, especially since she felt no where was truly safe to discuss matters on Warspite. "What happened was nothing, I assure you. Just my master asserting his so assumed authority." Inquisitor Thanor twitched after she said that, realizing for one, she called him master to someone else and two, ... Zevrin may be listening, and considering Serine's tone and content of that sentence could be seen as disrespectful, she instantly regretting saying it. She growled at Kerrie dangerously. "Shall I remind you again that I only recently left you to perish in an interrogation room?" The other offering her assistance like a friendly ambassador was audacious. "Why are you really here Major? I can not believe that you would be willing to forgive or forget ... You were sent here ..." Serine was still convinced that this was a ploy, a plot to catch her saying something that could be used against her, perhaps it already happened, but to hell if she would let it happen again. "You've done enough damage, Kerrie." She said ... softly for a change, almost defeated. "Get out."

Kerrie looked down into her glass dejectedly, unable to make eye contact with the woman at the moment. "No one sent me here, Serine," she said, using the uncharacteristic first name against protocol. "Maybe I should have died that day ... I don't know..." she said softly, before taking an aggressive swig of the Alderaan Ruge. "People have done worse to me. I guess I'm just used to it..." she said, sounding rather beaten and negative as she finished her second glass of the liquor. "Can we start over?" she asked, her eyes finally rolling up and locking on the Inquisitor with genuine optimism.

"Perhaps you didn't hear what I said. I said get out." Her voice raised from the uncharacteristic quietness from before to a more typical cynical annoyed tone. This conversation was looping ... and Kerrie was drinking too much and probably could not be trusted either due to her probable underhand planning with Zevrin or the fact that she was under the influence and saying stupid things. Starting over? No one 'starts over'. You start and then it is over. Serine was not exactly thinking rationally either, or perhaps she would have seen a potential alliance with Kerrie forming, which she desperately needed. Someone in her court, someone she could trust. There was not even a handful of individuals in that category on this loathsome ship.

"Get out? I sit here and try to work things out with you and you tell me to 'get out'?" Kerrie asked defiantly, as she stood up from her chair angrily. "Serine ... are you trying to hand this sector to the Rebellion?" she asked angrily, as her hands were brought up in front of her and folded in front of her chest. "I am trying to work with you. My mission is to protect the Governor and his command is in jeopardy!" she screamed, as she became impassioned by what was transpiring between them. "They do not 'fire' Grand Moffs. They execute them. I'm not going to simply stand around and let that happen. Damn it!" she said, as she stomped her diminutive boot on the floor angrily. She was fortunate that the nexu was not present.

How dare Kerrie defy her, and this was the most inopportune time to try the Inquisitor's patience due to the recent dramatic events. She already had enough on her mind and insubordination from this little insignificant stain was more than enough to boil over Serine's anger. The Inquisitor quickly traversed the distance between them in a steady and dangerous stalk while glaring at Kerrie, her facial features twisted into a snarl, along with those ugly and deep gashes in her forehead, made her look quite primal. "Get out!!" She screamed as the neck of the Alderaan Ruge bottle was snatched up, and with brutal strength, was slammed down upon the table bursting into hundreds of shards along with wine gushing out in every direction. Silver eyes were seething over, apparent bottled up rage that was now coursing out from all that had transpired in the past day. An ominous rumble began to tremor the table, causing bits of glass to jitter across before littering the floor around it.

Kerrie brought a gloved hand in front of her face to keep the shards of glass from impacting her face. "No!" she said defiantly as she held her ground. She moved her hand down to the table and tilted the glass to pull out the broken shard of glass that had landed in it. "I hadn't finished," she said bitterly, as she took a sip of the liquid cautiously. She then slammed it back down on the table and looked at the woman. "Listen to yourself. What are you trying to do?" she asked, as she took a step forward towards the woman, against her better judgment. "You have a mission to perform. We all need to step up and work together or we'll be hoisting a Rebel flag before the year is out," she said, as she raised her hand up angrily and waves it in despair. "What if your master saw you now?" she asked, as she made the mistake of turning her back on the woman as she finished.

Serine's eyes had been wide with a raw devastating energy while screaming at the other woman, but a surprising thing happened as Major Kiley refused her the third time. Eyes slanted down Kerrie's small frame, regarding the other for a moment as Serine's head tilted back slightly with an air of appraisal, attempting to instantly gauge just how much of Kiley's performance was genuine. The foreboding aura in the room settled on a slightly lower octane of intensity, that tremor slowly halted as she narrowed her gaze at the Major quietly as she contemplated the woman's bold action. Most would have fled the room in shear terror with Serine's display of aggressive intimidation, some may not have even been able to make it that far, but Kerrie managed to stay her ground despite the circumstances of overwhelming adversity. That type of inner strength was a quality that the Inquisitor regarded and the Major's actions resonated with Serine immediately. She all but ignored the majority of Kerrie's rhetorical questions as actions spoke louder than words in this situation. However, the other made a critical error in bringing up her master ... while turning her back. Such an action was not intuitive for gaining ground, Kerrie had been far more successful with a bold stance, but instead with that mistake, yielded the initiative back to Serine who gladly took an offensive. "My master! ... " Her sentence sharply cut off, the sound of a whip lashing was immediate before it wrapped around Kerrie's neck. A pause before she continued with a snarl, "... would have already killed you, Major."

Kerrie dropped to her knees as the whip wrapped around her neck and her hand immediately went to grasp at it. Her face reddened dramatically as she struggled to get at air, but found none as she looked up to her helplessly. Her blue eyes widened like a fish that had been thrown from its tank, but she took no offensive action against the woman. "" she said through struggled grasps as her larynx was squeezed, spittle flying with each struggled word. She had failed in her efforts to bring the Inquisitor back to the right side of the battle in the Ringali Shell and she feared without her the Governor would have no chance in bringing order to the Ringali Shell. As she came close to losing consciousness her visage returned to its natural reptilian Clawdite form.

Serine's hand holding the hilt of the Lightwhip trembled lightly, it was obvious was she struggling not to kill the woman, that desire was burning bright in her eyes now as a thumb played dangerously close to the activation switch of the weapon. She was an executioner by nature, it was trained into her painfully by Tremayne by his 'examples' he forced her to witness. One of her main responsibilities as an representative of the Inquisitorius was to install fear and force order, often by brutal demonstrations, by weeding out the chaff and inconsequential officers. Though Serine had not moved so publicly against Kerrie, she had done so privately out of her own judgment and sentence to the Major. As she watched the other struggle to breathe to gasp out that request, Serine realized once again what wasted potential was kneeling there before her, still pitifully, but for once, regarding the other as not completely lost or hopeless. Did the other not just stand before her defiantly? She mused no one else upon Warspite would have. Something had changed, or was beginning to with the Major, something positive ... a little spark still struggling to penetrate through the massive weight of helplessness and pity that had piled upon it. Perhaps it was just enough ... just enough to save her. "I would have..." She admitted before continuing, "... two weeks ago." The coils were loosened from the other's neck then retrieved as Serine gathered them into a bundle and once again fasted the lightwhip to her belt nonchalantly as if this was all a trivial matter.

Kerrie let out a desperate gasp and sucked in as much air as possible before collapsing face forward onto the deck beneath her. She lay there like a wounded animal, desperately trying to catch her breath but to no avail. "Does that ... does that..." she said weakly as her sweat covered face clung to the deck. "Does that make up for what he did to you? Doing that to me?" she asked, sounding genuinely hurt by what had just transpired. She realized she had come close to death, but she felt in many ways that she was already dead. Other than her complex relationship with Htaere she had very little left in her life at this point. Even her duties had been stripped with the arrival of Liliya. Her one last gamble had been to try and shift the Imperial war effort, but that did not seem to be going as well as she hoped.

Serine regarded the other quietly for a moment as she pondered the other's question, her mannerisms were that of a deathly patient, but recently merciful killer. "Almost, I would have wanted you to suffer more, but you were on the brink of collapsing." Said truthfully, although sadistically, as her eyes gazed upon the other's still recovering form with a glimmer of a rather disturbing cruel desire. Likely unbeknownst to Kerrie, the brief moment where the Inquisitor had touched the Dark Side was more than enough to consume her momentarily, and although she was no longer calling upon it, she had been in such a heightened state of rage, the after effects were nearly intoxicating. It could also be seen swirling in her eyes, that dangerous edge, that shear lust to inflict agony. "You didn't ... 'beg' me to kill you, you merely requested." Said remorsefully, her breathing somewhat ragged, off shot by the Dark Side still coursing through her as she hungrily peered down towards Kerrie who still knelt upon the grating, contemplating inflicting another round to experience that rush again.

Kerrie managed to get up on her knees and she looked up defiantly at the Inquisitor. "Before your tour is over ... you will be glad that I am alive," she promised, is she weakly got back to her feet. "You will thank me that you let out your rage in the privacy of these quarters and not in the course of your mission..." she finally stated, as she dusted off her uniform and she began to walk out of her quarters and left her to her own devices. Before exited she shifted into her faux Human form and a smile came upon her lips out of the Inquisitor's sight. With that, she proceeded to march down the corridors to return to her limited duty aboard the Warspite. She believed she had accomplished her task of purging the Inquisitor's negative emotions, which would enable her to be more successful on her impending mission on the surface. In time, she believed, the Inquisitor would come to respect her abilities.

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