Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Christopher Levy.
Zero years before the Battle of Yavin (35:2:21) in the Brentaal system: Kwai and Warspite.
Lieutenant Mark Alexander, Lieutenant Allegra Ames, Captain Tiberius Anson, Commander August Hood, Major Kerrie Kiley, Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca, Vice Admiral Claudius Rodney, Lieutenant Bethany Sheppard, and Flight Lieutenant Randi Trainor.

The triangular wedged shape of Imperial I-class Star Desroyer Warspite loomed large over the planet Brentaal, its metallic color standing in stark contrast to the polluted, orange atmosphere that dominated the planet. In the distance, as if looking over the shoulder of the majestic vessel, lay the Ringali Nebula within whose red and purple clouds lay the unreachable Rebel base. A seemingly endless flow of TIE/ln starfighters and support craft swarmed the ship, moving down to the surface of the planet and patrolling the expansive Brentaal system. The fate of the planet would have to wait, however, because for the officers of the ship it was dinner time.

The officer's mess was contained several decks below the bridge and was home to a number of small, ornately fashioned tables and seating arrangements that enlisted spacemen could only dream above. The food itself was something of a step above and many officers requested to serve aboard the ship simply because the Admiral's culinary staff often accompanied him. They had only returned to the region several days ago and had been rushed to battle stations every several hours. The mundane drills and training exercises from their exile to the Malastare system already long forgotten.

The first one to enter the mess was Major Kerrie Kiley, the personal bodyguard of the Admiral and his family. Not much was known about her as she rarely spoke with any member of the crew. The black uniform of the Stormtroopers hung tightly upon her diminutive frame that was carefully mimicked to appear as a perfect Human body. Aside from the Admiral and his physician, no one aboard knew that she was actually a Clawdite shapeshifter. Her eyes awkwardly looked over each officer in the room as she placed a very small portion of food on her plate. To her a meal was nothing more than an unwanted break that provided her the energy to do her work. Never comfortable with the idea of sitting with one of the crew she found an empty table and sat down, beginning to eat. She despised the small talk that so often accompanied a meal.

Hurrying into the room was Lieutenant Bethany Sheppard, the Warspite's Conn Officer, moved towards the food. As the ship's youngest officer she often felt out of place among the crew, believing in her mind that they did not think she was qualified to handle the controls of their warship. A smile always seemed to appear upon her face, however, and she took time to greet each member of the kitchen staff as she filled her plate. The daughter of a broken down spacer from the poor world of Bonadan had never had a meal of this quality before enlisting. Offering a nervous smile to Major Kiley, she walked right past and sat at the table the bridge officers usually chose and waited.

The most unique of the bridge officer's soon found herself on the Warspite's mess deck. The blue-skinned Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca's piercing red eyes surveyed the landscape in front of her as she navigated the crowd of officers to place a sparse portion of local vegetables onto her plate. As she moved she could feel the stairs of the junior officers upon her, but all she could do is offer a polite smile and nod back to them. To her knowledge, she was the only non-Human serving aboard the vessel and this was a topic of idle gossip among the crew. The truth was far less interesting: following a war-game victory by Mith'raw'nuruodo and Rodney, the young officer was presented as something of a gift. Joining Bethany at the table, she began to consume the small portion of greens.

The officers began to snap to attention and adjust the tunics of their uniform as Commander Augustus Hood entered the room. Known as something of a stern taskmaster, far from the lax attitude showed by his command officer, he was responsible for disciplining each of these officers and there was genuine fear in their eyes as he approached. He was not a cruel man, but he did believe a disciplined crew was an effective crew. Exerting his privilege, he stepped to the front of the line and filled his plate. With a nod to Sheppard and Meham'ohorovi'cloca he sat at the opposite head of the table and began to eat. "Good evening," he said in his refined voice, something unexpected giving his Outer Rim heritage.

The crew could smell Lieutenant Mark Alexander before they could see him. The Warspite's engineer had something of a hand's on approach to his work that most other officers found distasteful. Having been in the process of working on one of the hyperdrive motivators when the call to dinner was announced the grease was still firmly in his hands and on his uniform. It drew an irate glare from Hood, but he did not have time to respond to it. Putting what food he could onto his plate he moved to the table to join his comrades. The fact that he served with the Captain before allowed him certain leniencies that other officers did not share in.

"Attention on deck," echoed throughout the mess hall as Captain Tiberius Anson stepped onto the deck. Meals were interrupted as each officer stood and presented themselves to him. Having a background with the Corellian Defense Force, such rigidity was something he was unaccustomed to and quickly insisted they return to their meals with a soft motion of his hand. He smiled polite and waited his turn in line, choosing not to take his right to cut. Several moments later he arrived at their table, sitting at its head and nodding happily at each one.

The last of the bridge officers was Lieutenant Allegra Ames, the massive vessel's operation officer. If there was a word the other members of the crew were most seldom to use to describe her was 'spoiled.' The daughter of a wealthy and influential Senator, she had used that connection to work her way onto Admiral Rodney's flagship. If she put half the effort into her career that she did into politicking and scheming she would be the finest officer on the ship. Using her charming feminine smile she managed to work her way to the front of the line and fix a plate, hurrying to the table before she missed any of the gossip.

Lieutenant Randi Trainor literally ran into the mess deck. "I'm sorry I'm late," she yelled over towards the Captain using none of the formality that was required while on duty. She could feel Hood's eyes burning a hole in her back and she stopped, cringing as she arrived on the back of the line. Not having time to change into her uniform, she performed a further breach of military conduct by arriving on the deck in her flight suit. Tucking her helmet under one arm and the tray in another she piled a literal mountain of food on the tray and rushed to the table. As she reached the table she stumbled, and the tray slid forward spilling all over her chair. "Yikes," she cried out as she kicked aside the soiled chair and grabbed a new one, the sound of the metal dragging across the floor causing a shrill grating sound that stopped everyone's meal. "Sorry," she admitted sheepishly as she finally sat down to eat what remained of her meal.

Commander Augustus Hood snapped a quick glare over towards Randi as he observed her behavior. "Lieutenant," he began as he looked across at her. "You will report to my office at the end of your ship," he said in a stern manner as he began to carve his meat. The movement of his knife seemed to foreshadow the night the young pilot had in front of her.

Randi found it hard to make eye contact with the commander as she forced the food into her mouth, having just arrived on the ship after bringing the Admiral in from his estate on Esseles. She only had a short time to eat before she was needed on the flight deck to supervise the maintenance on her shuttle before its next sortie. "You got it," she mumbled through a mouth full of food as she choked down the meal.

The Captain smiled at Randi's 'quaint' behavior and lay his hand flat next to Hood. He did not want anything to come between the enjoyment of the meal. Being the commander of a warship in the combat zone made moments like this one of the few breaks he had in the course of what was normally a long and grueling day.

Lieutenant Sheppard kept finding herself looking over towards Major Kiley, very curious about who she was and what her purpose was here. Being the youngest also made her the most naive and she did not easily pick up on subtleties like some of the older officers. "Why does she eat alone?" she asked to no one in particular as her eyes returned to the dinner table.

"Because no one wants to eat with her," Lieutenant Ames quickly interjected, offering her a polite smile over towards Major Kiley at her empty table as she badmouthed her. She viewed the Major as nothing more as the chief roadblock on her path to the Admiral. The two had clashed many times and she never ceased planning ways to get around her. She viewed her as nothing more than a guard dog who scared weaker officers away.

"Because she chooses to," Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca quickly added, shaking her head disapprovingly at Allegra. Her attention focused on Bethany as her alien voice was accentually different than those around her. "Do not pollute the young one's mind, Lieutenant," she said, turning her head back to Allegra. While she had never spoken with the Major personally, the isolation she felt as an alien on the ship caused her to relate.

Captain Anson shook his head back and forth as he listened to the trio of young officers debate the issue, but he could not care less. He viewed it as a case of too much estrogen aboard his vessel. It seemed to him that he had drew a command with far above the normal female population, much to his chagrin. "Do not forget we will be deploying more assault transports later," he said to no one in particular, hoping it would change the tenor of the discussion.

Major Kiley sat alone at her table, nearly finished with her meal. She was oblivious to the conversation that was transpiring at the other table, and she did her best to make the most of her meal. Given that she only had taken a small portion, it did not take her very long to eat. Soon she would travel to Esseles to inspect the final modifications being made to the Admiral's estate. She had supervised most of it herself, but the engineer had ordered her off the premises after she was accused of micromanaging too much. She shook her head bitterly as she replayed the conversation in her head.

"Lieutenant Alexander," the alien voice of Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca again chimed in as she looked across at the older, more gruff engineer. "I have noticed a 0.018 delay in the recharge rate of one of the forward turbolaser batteries," she pointed out, shaking her head in a displeased manner. "I request that you send your best men to repair it," she said in between dainty bites of her vegetarian dish.

"A 0.018 delay?" Mark said in disbelief, nearly choking on the glass of Corellian Ale he often helped himself to at a meal. "What did you use to compute that with? One of those new super computers?" he asked as he let out a laugh and looked to his old friend Captain Anson. He returned his attention to the meal, not thinking it worth the time to send a repair crew to deal with.

"I computed it in my head," Meham'ohorovi'cloca replied very simply, as there were nothing out of the ordinary with the statement. "And while a 0.018 delay may not seem significant," she stopped to take a sip of her filtered water, "...if that is the 0.018 seconds where you die I can assume you it is the most significant moment of your ... former life." She raised a dark eyebrow in his direction, her red eyes seeming to look right through him.

"For some men, 0.018 seconds can be quite the accomplishment," Randi commented as she finished her meal. There seemed to be more of it on her face than in her plate, having eaten something like a child. Using the sleeve of her flightsuit to wipe her face she laughed slightly, looking at some of the women at the table with a knowing look.

"They have these new inventions. They're called napkins, dear," Lieutenant Allegra Ames pointed out as she casually tossed a fine, cloth napkin across the table at her. As the daughter of a Senator she attended one of the finest finishing schools in the Core Worlds, bred for a career in politics to father in her footsteps. Unfortunately, her father was a healthy man and she was impatient, and she was impatient and thus chose a career in the military instead.

A grim-faced Admiral Claudius Rodney stepped forward into the mess deck, having just had a lengthy holonet conversation with the Grand Vizier that went far worse than expected. All he wanted to do was settle into his new estate on Esseles and get to bed. No longer a young man, the Admiral seemed to have aged ten years since assuming command of the Ringali Shell less than a year ago. He always seemed ... tired ... to those around him these days, but no one dared comment about it. "Admiral on the deck," an unseen officer shouted and not even the sound of a breath could be heard ... until Lieutenant Trainor let out an audible belch. He had not come to eat as he planned to have a dinner with his family in their new home. Ignoring the food, he moved directly over towards the Captain's table and looked towards Lieutenant Trainor. "Lieutenant," he said very calmly, " immediately to the flight deck immediately for an assignment."

Randi stood from the table as she looked up to the Admiral, the pile of crumbs that had fallen upon her lap sprinkled to the floor unseemly. "You got it," she said very informally as she offered him a kind smile. She would always remember how he had selected her to pilot his shuttle after all the others had refused to fly with her. She began to move away from the table, but the helmet that was attached to her flightsuit was left behind and collided with Lieutenant Ames' plate, knocking into her lap. "Oh no," she cried out, cringing as she closed her eyes before turning to retrieve her helmet. "I'm so so so so so sorry," she told Allegra as she began to pluck the food out of her lap.

"You!" Allegra cursed as the food covered her immaculately kept uniform. Of course she had flirted with an insecure uniform who personally cleaned, pressed, and creased her uniform her, but nevertheless she took great pride in her appearance. "How do you pilot a ship when you can't even manage walking away from a table?" her body began to shake, her cheeks becoming flushed red as she stood from the table and shook the last of the food to the floor.

"Well if you had eaten more, there'd have been less that fell on you," Randi pointed out with a smile as she moved away with her food-covered helmet. As she exited the room she turned to Allegra one last time and shook her head, her distinctive pigtails flowing from side-to-side. "If you stopped worrying about your figure and tried eating it would solve a lot of problems," she said with a soft chuckle as she hurried to the hangar bay to find out about her new assignment.

Allegra's eyes moved to the Admiral as her body began to shake. "How can you tolerate ... that ... on your ship?" she asked as she grabbed for Bethany's unused napkin and began to wipe off more of her uniform. "I have never met anyone that classless in my life," she said as she began moving off to find that officer to arrange for her uniform to be cleaned again. She would have her revenge for this embarrassment. There was laughter all around her as she moved, the stains quite evident and easy to see at a distance.

"Captain," the Admiral said as he placed his right hand upon the table to keep himself upright with greater ease. "Assemble the senior staff on the flight deck when Lieutenant Trainor returns," he said without providing many details. "Enjoy your meal," he said graciously to each of them as he began to move back towards the turbolift. He needed to get some rest before his guest arrived. The less the crew knew for now ... the better.

Commander Hood had filed a mental note of each of Randi's indiscretions during tonight's meal. Not even had Meham'ohorovi'cloca had a brain capable of computing the exact number of regulations the unstable pilot had committed. He would deal with this matter later, preferably when the captain was not around.

Lieutenant Trainor arrived on the hangar deck, having not had the time she wanted to perform the post-flight maintenance. She looked at the manifest to ensure that the ship had at least been properly refueled. "Why am I going to Coruscant?" she asked the deck supervisor, who just shrugged at her. "I'm not exactly dressed for the palace," she groaned as she looked over the food stains on her uniform. She lifted her armpits and took a whiff, repelling in disgust. 'Brutal,' she thought to herself as she climbed up the ramp of the shuttle and moved to the cockpit.

Sitting in the pilot's seat, she strapped herself in and began going over the preflight routines. A moment later she placed the helmet firmly upon her head and toggled the switch the activated the Kwai's engine. "Clear for departure," a voice echoed through the comm system as she activated the ship's sublight engine. Ignoring the sign that said 'Maneuvering Thrusters Only' she accelerated to full speed and sent the ship blazing through the hangar and out into the Brentaal system. A smile curled upon her lips ... there was nothing like being in control of a ship.

Randi's attention switched to the navigation computer and she programmed it to begin downloading the coordinates for the Coruscant system. It only took several moments before the computer began to beep, indicating it had the coordinates. Her hand slid forward and the shuttle lurched into hyperspace, her hands moving almost immediately to pull the helmet from her head. "Ugh," she groaned as her gloved hands moved to adjust her pigtails. The helmet was just not designed with women in mind.

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