Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Sean Brandt, Kit Gwynne, and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:1:2) in the Essesia system: Interrogator.
El-Nay Darr, Major Serra Eona, and Colonel Mark Veller.

High Colonel Veller entered the cell block, his two troopers marching in step behind him. Nodding to the troopers on watch as they saluted, he scanned the monitors until he found the one he wanted, the cell with the bounty hunter in it. He was about to release her from the cell when a thought occurred to him. Leaning down to the monitoring board, he activated the comm link to Major Serra, "Major Eona, this is Ca... High Colonel Veller," suppressing his frustration at almost saying his old rank. Being a High Colonel was taking some getting used to, "If you have a moment to spare, I'm about to release the bounty hunter from the brig. Your presence would be helpful in handling this situation."

Major Serra Eona was in her quarters, watching the private interface on her desk, smoke rolling from her lips to add to the haze that the air filtration system fought like hell to clear. The feed she was currently observing was relatively mundane, but its existence was a well kept secret, known only to her. The soft chime of her comm broke her gaze from the screen. Another drag was taken from the cigarra while Veller's voice came over the unit. Once he finished, she plucked it up from the desk. "Of course, High Colonel. I'll be there momentarily." She rose, burned down the cigarra in a few heavy drags before discarding it, and slipped on her uniform jacket. The door slid open as she finished buttoning it down, shutting behind her as the Major made her way to the brig.

As she walked through the corridors of the Interrogator, Serra couldn't help but feel a small sense of amusement at the near slip of the High Colonel. It had been a hell of a jump in rank, of course, and she had a feeling that he was going to have quite a bit of difficulty ahead of him. How he handled it, of course, was all part of the trial. Whatever amusement she did feel was gone by the time she arrived at the brig. Stepping through as the door slid open, she gave a slight but formal bow in Mark's direction. "High Colonel."

Waiting for the Major, Mark did an informal inspection of the cell block, finding only a few minor errors easily corrected by some significant glances. Cell block duty was a very boring duty to pull. It was a rare occasion that something happened. When the Empire built something to hold a prisoner, even Wookies had a hard time breaking out. He made a mental note to see about adding other duties or something to help alleviate the boredom.

Glancing over the instant the door opened, he returned the Major's nod, "Major," he said, "I believe our bounty hunter has stewed long enough. Shall we pay her a visit?" And with a slight bow and motion towards the cell block that held the bounty hunter, waited a moment for the Major to follow him up the narrow corridor of the cell block. While his gentlemanly manners called for him to let the Major go first, this was *his* cell block under -his- authority. This time, rank would take precedence.

Entering the corridor, the Stormtrooper on duty lead the line of people, the High Colonel, the Major and some backup troopers. If the bounty hunter was rash enough to attempt escape, there was a long gauntlet she would have to run before she escaped the cell block. Mark loosened the blaster pistol in his holster, casually making sure it was set to stun. He wanted no casualties if she did do something rash. He didn't expect it, but that didn't mean he wouldn't prepare for it.

Arriving at the cell block, he nodded to the Stormtrooper who entered in the code on the touch pad, disengaging the lock and opening the door. Mark gave his uniform jacket, a working uniform and not the dress uniform he had worn last night, a tug to ensure it was in place as the door slide open. He stood there for a moment, allowing the bounty hunter a few seconds to notice the change and to take note of where she was in the room.

El-Nay Darr had spent *another* night stewing in the cell block aboard the Imperial II-class Star Destroyer Interrogator, and she was none too pleased about it. In fact, since arriving aboard the Imperial ship she had been spending more time in detention than freely roaming around the ship. Stripped of her armor she felt naked, devoid of her identity, and forced to face the crew of the vessel in her small, diminutive female form instead of the imposing Mandalorian in vibrant orange armor.

She was *supposed* to be on a mission on Jabiim, but unfortunately she had been delayed, and now once again found herself in detention. The Stormtroopers had informed her the armor had been jettisoned, and the thought of losing her mother's archaic armor made of a source of Mandalorian armor no longer accessible caused her to toss and turn the entire night. She barely got a wink of sleep, and by the time the Colonel opened the door to her cell she felt nearly near her breaking point.

"Can I go now?" she asked, sounding more the child than the fearsome Mandalorian warrior. She did not adjust her head to make eye contact, nor did she even move when he stepped forward into her cell. This experience was proving everything true everything she had heard about the Galactic Empire and their crimes against her culture and her home. Her hands were intertwined in her lap, uncomfortably rubbing against one another, as she fidgeted endlessly, desperately awaiting a reprieve.

"As you say, High Colonel." Serra fell into place behind him, the deference to rank rather than civilian etiquette failing to be of much concern. The fact Mark chose to command respect rather than play for favor spoke well of him, so far as she was concerned.

Serra hung back while Mark entered the room. Though El-Nay was her responsibility, so long as she was in the cell she was Mark's prisoner, and Serra was more than happy to let him handle her however he saw fit right now. With the High Colonel stepping into the cell, Serra turned towards one of the Stormtroopers who had accompanied them, her voice little more than a whisper, not wanting El-Nay to hear. "Retrieve the bounty hunter's belongings. Keep them out of sight from the cell until instructed otherwise." The Stormtrooper saluted and turned to see to the order. The Major moved to the upper doorway of the cell, positioning herself to witness without intruding.

Mark studied the young woman sitting on the bench before him. Taking a few steps into the cell, he stood at ease. Letting out a slow breath, he worked out a possible way to reach this bounty hunter just enough to be able to impart what might be some life-saving lessons. In a reasonable tone of voice, he asked, "Do you know why you are here in this cell?" curious as to what her answer would be.

"Because you're a jerkface," El-Nay muttered under her breath, without bothering to lift her head in response to the man's question. "Can I go now?" she asked, repeating her question, before unleashing such a powerful sigh that it threatened to deflate her. It was only then that she turned her head, tilting it up so that she could make eye contact with the man. "I needed to train. I have a very important mission for the High Inquisitor," she continued, with a hint of whine in her young voice. "All you Stormtroopers do is march around scaring people anyway," she muttered, before breaking eye contact and staring back down at the cell floor between her feet again.

"Indeed you do need to train, your actions last night revealed a severe lack of tactical awareness," he said, crossing his arms across his chest, "First you did not take my appearance into your reactions. Second, you continued to ignore me when I picked up a rifle. Third, you executed no defense when I shut down the simulation and finally, you made yourself susceptible to my stun attack when you removed your helmet." He paused for a moment, "Each and every one of these errors is a rookie mistake, something I would expect from a raw recruit. Any one of these errors in a live combat situation would get you killed. Your mission for the High Inquisitor would end in failure. That is the reason you are in this cell."

He was silent for a moment, "However, in reviewing the simulation, it appears you have some small skill and the potential to do better. After conferring with the Major, we agreed to create a training program more suited for the type of combat you are likely to encounter on this mission for the High Inquisitor," he continued. "There are, however, some conditions." He stopped to await any response, wondering if any of his words were making a dent in the rash woman's head.

"I thought *you people* were on my side and that I would not have to worry about your presence ... di'kut," El-Nay replied, bitterly, before raising up from her cot and turning to face the man. "I would not fail her," she replied, a burst of red rushing to her cheeks as her heart rate began to raise, increasing her blood flow as she entered an agitated state. She wanted to strike him, but she knew they would just shoot her again, so instead she simply stood there, silently, clenching her jaw and bawling her hands into tight fists.

She paused for a moment, before breaking off eye contact, and slowly angling her head towards the ground. "Ahh!" she screamed at the top of her lungs, releasing all of the tension in a loud, ear piercing scream of frustration. Her blue eyes closed and she began a deep breathing exercise as she tried to regain her composure, while the fingers of her hands repeatedly opened and closed. It took a few moments ... perhaps awkwardly long ... but eventually she calmed herself down without using impulsive force.

"What are these conditions?" El-Nay finally asked, with a soft, broken voice, as she stood there trembling before the Imperial Colonel. She had nowhere else to go and believed she *had* to either make it here or return home to her parents and admit that they were right about her not being ready for this. She would rather endure the hardships of Imperial servitude then let her parents know that they were right and she was wrong.

Mark hardly flinched at the scream, merely watched as the young woman before her worked at regaining her composure. If this one was typical of the Mandalorian race, it was no wonder they were so troublesome with their lack of discipline. But, there was just the hint of promise that showed. If he could cajole that to the surface, this woman might have a chance at surviving the trial awaiting her.

"You no longer kick my troopers out of any training area. There will be a training schedule to which you will adhere. If you wish to request more time, do so, and it will be granted," he paused, "after it is requested. You will also train with a few selected troopers," he smiled slightly, "take them out in training, you will score points, as will they when you are tagged. At the end of the training, we will see which side scored the highest. Understood?" he asked.

El-Nay quietly listened to the Imperial officer lay out his terms. It sounded a lot like the Imperial Academy that she had declined to enter. There were so many rules, procedures ... a giant bureaucracy that gave her a headache. By the fifth word she was already beginning to tune out the Colonel and her mind turned blank with nothing more than loud static being heard. When he finally stopped speaking, she blinked slightly, and obediently nodded her head. "Understood," she said, fighting back her best instinct to roll her eyes at the man.

"Did you really space my armor?" she asked, her mind immediately rushing back to most pertinent of topics on her mind. It was hard to imagine that something that had been in her family so long had been carelessly discarded by an aruetyc. She was almost afraid for the answer that might follow, so much so that she swallowed nervously, causing her neck to noticeably bulge. The redness that was in her cheeks began to recede, revealing a pale white complexion, as she shifted nervously in front of the man. She was a creature uncomfortable in her own skin who *needed* the armor to hide in and present a false, confident image to the galaxy.

Mark gave a short nod in response to her agreement, then glanced back at the Major, "Major, I believe the adjudication of the bounty hunter's armor is in your domain." He took a step back, moving to the wall of the cell near the door to allow the Major easy access to the cell if she desired it.

Serra had stood by and watched, listening while Mark did his best with what was, for all intents and purposes, a damaged product. His effort was admirable to say the least, but the Intelligence officer wasn't ready to say whether or not it would bring any success. "Yes, High Colonel." She came down the steps, making a motion for the Stormtrooper with the armor to follow. As she fell in not far from Mark, facing El-Nay, her hands went to her pockets. It was that or give in to the impulse for a cigarra, and she was making every effort not to do so right now. "Your armor is safe, El-Nay Darr." A nod of her head and the Stormtrooper followed, dropped the armor on the floor of the cell like a sack of nerf hides, saluted the Major and the High Colonel, then moved on.

Rather than let the young bounty hunter claim her belongings the moment they were deposited, Serra stepped over them, placing herself between El-Nay and the garish orange of the much prized armor. "This man is High Colonel Mark Veller, commanding officer of the Stormtrooper legion aboard this ship. He outranks me, which means so long as you're on this vessel, you listen to him as well." The next words were lowered to a point that even Mark would have trouble discerning it. "But you still answer to me, and if you prove more of a problem than a boon, well..." Serra leaned in, speaking into El-Nay's ear "...I won't be as kind as the High Inquisitor." She drew her head back, staring at the girl while the words sank in. Serra turned and stepped over the armor once more, giving Mark a nod as she walked up and out of the cell. Not that the Major went far, of course, stopping by the escort of Stormtroopers. It would have been an enormous breach of professional etiquette to walk off without some sort of dismissal.

Mark blinked once at the sight of the garish armor, once again wondering what these Mandalorians saw in such colors. He waited, straining his ears to catch the threat, a slight chill going down his spine at the coldness in the voice. While he didn't entirely approve, at times, it was the only way to make an impression. He nodded to the bounty hunter and walked out of the cell, motioning the other troopers to follow him, leaving her alone in the open cell with her armor in a heap on the floor. Making his way to the entry area, he joined the Major where she waited, nodding to her in understanding that they both would stay until the bounty hunter left the cell block.

While El-Nay Darr would freely mock the Stormtrooper Colonel, she was wise enough not to speak ill of Major Serra Eona due to her current status as one of the Inquisitor's favorites. The relief of learning her armor was safe was quickly shattered by the silent threat shared by Serra, which caused a shiver to run down her spine. "I-I-," she stammered, pathetically, in a whimper as Serra departed the scene, leaving her alone to contemplate her fate. She had not made a good first impression, but in that moment she made a vow to attempt to do better next time. Whether or not she had the skill or the temperament to honor that vow would remain to be seen.

When El-Nay regained her composure, she moved swiftly towards her beloved her armor. She visually inspected it for any signs of wear and tear, before beginning the length process of dressing herself. When the environmental suit was on she began to apply the various pieces of Mandalorian armor until they uncomfortably fit into position. The last to go on was the helmet with its iconic T-shaped visor, which allowed her to hide her face and feel more at ease. Her breathing normalized and she slowly stepped out from her cell. She silently tilted her helmet to look at both Colonel Veller and Major Eona for a moment, before dutifully marching from the cell block.

Waiting in a position where el-Nay would have to pass him in order to get out of the cell block, he put out an arm to block her passage momentarily, "Training begins tomorrow, oh nine hundred. Sergeant Batua will be handling your initial training. It will be in your best interests to listen to him." He lifted his arm, neither asking for nor expecting an answer from the armored woman.

Serra simply watched as El-Nay moved along, having no need to add to what Mark said. She had given her instructions to the bounty hunter, and so long as that was followed, it was all she needed for now. Once El-Nay was on her way, Serra's attention moved to Mark. "If she proves problematic, I expect to be notified. That Mandalorian has enjoyed a great deal of leniency before she was handed over to me for handling. It's a trend I don't mean to continue." Mark was, for perhaps the first time, getting a glimpse into just how well suited the Major was to Imperial Intelligence.

Mark looked over at the Major once the bounty hunter had left the cell block and the door closed behind her. He actually smiled and chuckled briefly, "I don't believe that will be issue, though it does gladden my heart to hear your intentions. Sergeant Batua should be able to handle the young woman and even if he can't get through her thick Mandalorian skull, she will be too exhausted to cause any problems." He paused for a moment, "Segreant Batua is a drill sergeant and a rather good one. I was pleasantly surprised to find him among the ship's complement. El-Nay will find herself hard pressed to pull anything over on him, nor will he take her backflash. He will prod her into excellence, even if he has to kick her the whole way." He ignored a few groans that came over his comm link from the troopers nearby as he mentioned Batua's name.

The confidence. That's what Serra found most impressive in the man. It wasn't brash or forced, but a simple self assurance of ability and skill. For the second time in as many days the ghost of a smile crossed features that generally defaulted to cold apathy. "Then for now, I shall place my faith in you and your soldiers, High Colonel." She gave a bow and turned to make her way out. As fascinating as she was finding Mark, something else was far more pressing; the itch for a smoke.

Mark gave a bow in return and finished off his inspection of the cell block, praising the good points of what he found and expressing his satisfaction with their performance with the bounty hunter. He was pretty sure that when he came back the next day to re-inspect, the minor flaws would be handled. As he left the cell block, he smiled to himself. So far, the problems of his command were surmountable. He was pleased to have the backing of Imperial Intelligence. It would make his transition period much smoother if he wasn't involved in the constant backbiting he had observed in his former superiors. Straightening his shoulders, he went about his duties, High Colonel, he thought to himself, if only Brody would see him now.

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