Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Sean Brandt, Kit Gwynne, Christopher Levy, Sarah Riggs-Shute, J. Kate Stasiak, and Michael Vassallo.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:1:30) in the Essesia system: Retributor.
Liliya Benedt, Major Serra Eona, General Morgan Glin, Major Kerrie Kiley, Vice-Admiral Michael Raven, Grand Moff Claudius Rodney, Admiral Rhiannon T'Jarell, and Major Arden Zevrin.

Major Kerrie Kiley rose from her seat, clearing her throat, and briefly acknowledging everyone in attendance with a momentary glance. As adjutant to the Regional Governor the task of giving the briefing this afternoon. A few keystrokes on the terminal in front of her resulted in the holoprojector displaying an image of the six planets of the Ringali Shell in order: Corulag, Chandrila, Brentaal, Esseles, Rhinnal, and Ralltiir. Overlayed were the current deployment of the Cobalt Scimitar Command with its recently reinforced naval presence having grown to a second superior fleet that brought the total of Star Destroyers in the oversector to twelve ... half what they would have had if they were in the Outer Rim. The command was plagued by the unwillingness of the joint chiefs to admit that there was a major Rebel presence in the Ringali Shell, and therefore they would not commit the same level of resources a priority oversector received.

"As you can see here we have just recently completed the deployment of an additional fleet. One in the Bormea sector and the second in the Darpa sector, under the command of Vice-Admiral Raven and Admiral T'Jarell respectively," she said, offering a nod to each of them as she spoke their names. "Intelligence suggests the Rebels are massing their naval forces in the Ringali Nebula. There was a skirmish near the Chandrila system involving a former Dreadnaught-class heavy cruiser that they have converted into what we are calling an 'assault frigate'. This is, by far, the most significant vessel they have deployed to our command thus far. There were a few frigates and corvettes as escorts," she said, as she adjusted the map to focus on Chandrila with a representation of the Rebel ships overlaid. "We now believe their total presence in the oversector to be comparable to one of our attack lines," she concluded, before clearing her throat, and reaching down to take a sip from her cup of ice water.

Kerrie then adjusted the terminal to display an image of the planet Esseles, but before the planet could linger, she zoomed in further, first on the city of New Calamar, before finally focusing in on the Terril Naval Base. "Unfortunately, a team of Rebels used a stolen Imperial shuttle to infiltrate our base on Esseles. They managed to steal one of our Strike-class medium cruisers that was undergoing routine refit," she said, as a model of the cruiser Grappler was projected into the room. "They left the shuttle behind, which was one of the vessels stolen on Khooriva last month. It seems this Rebel cell is receiving support from outside of the Ringali Shell. Perhaps even engaging outside activity themselves," she posited, before returning her attention to the matter of the cruiser. "While it is a meager loss for the Imperial Navy, it does represent the continued increase of the Rebel's naval forces. It is possible they could choose to challenge our shipping, and I recommend the lines assigned closest to the nebula maintain a full alert," she concluded, before taking another sip.

"We recently received some good results on Rhinnal," Kerrie continued, as she adjusted the holoprojector once again to show first the planet Rhinnal and then its capital city of Rhire. "Due to a breakdown in Rebel comms the Imperial Security Bureau was able to pinpoint the location of their safehouse on Rhire. It was destroyed, but not before we captured intelligence showing administrators of the Rhinnal State Medical Academy were complicit in aiding the Rebels," she said, as the map lit up with the route between the two locations. "These individuals have been apprehended and turned over for interrogation and then expected liquidation," she said coldly, without emotion, as if she was speaking nonchalantly about her grocery list.

"And finally," she said, as the image of Corporal Lovora Rikki of the Rebel Special Forces was projected in front of them. "We had a bit of a fortuitous event as a routine Stormtrooper patrol managed to capture one of the Rebel commandos in Rhire," she said, as she moved her hand up and down the woman's vital statistics. "The prisoner has been turned over to the Inquisitorius for interrogation and disposal," she said, even more coldly than the previous report, before she looked to first Grand Moff Rodney and then Major Arden Zevrin. She offered a half-smile for mere seconds out of politeness, before she sat back down at her terminal and awaited the discussion to follow.

With the apprehension and subsequent detention of Min Traebor, Major Serra Eona had become the defacto representative of Imperial Intelligence for the sector. Among the responsibilities such a position entailed was an obligation to attend these irregular briefings, and so here she sat, positioned around the large, dark oblong shape of the conference table. While the habit of smoking had been somewhat repressed in recent times, it wasn't yet entirely uncommon for officers within the Empire to retain something of the habit, and Serra took full advantage of this. The room was, thankfully, fairly large and well vented, but the scent of her cigarra no doubt lingered to some extent. The smoke rested between her middle and forefinger, a pull occasionally taken as she listened to the summary of recent actions in the sector. Of particular interest to her was the one giving the briefing. Her eyes were on Kerrie as she made the run down, and though her features betrayed little, she couldn't help but marvel slightly at the woman's ability to function. For all intents and purposes, Kerrie's continued work was a silent testament to the success of certain tactics within Imperial Intelligence. Serra couldn't help but feel a small tinge of pride. For the time being she kept silent, intending to do more listening than anything else. Meetings were always an opportunity, the sort not to be missed out on.

High General Morgan Glin was not above making sure everyone knew of the successes of the Imperial Army. At these meetings, sometimes he felt it necessary to end on a high point, at others, to start with the successes and hammer them home. His sharp eyes noted the reactions around him and in the silence, he spoke. "There is additional data on that Rebel Commando. She is one Corporal Lovora Rikki of Tong's Commandos." He paused a moment for effect. "High Colonel Veller's recent report from the Interrogator, where the Rebel was sent includes that data. Providing the Inquisitorius is able to extract more information out of this Rebel, we may have a very good chance at eliminating Tong's Commandos once and for all." The High General certainly hoped so, that group was proving to be a bigger thorn in his side than he cared to admit.

"I am assigning additional resources to Esseles in light of a recent development. The detention center this Rebel had been processed in was attacked just recently. The Stormtroopers stationed there fended them off, but not before learning they were after this Lovora. Given the quickness with which the raid was launched, there is a very high probability of a Rebel base, however small, of being in the area. Already there are more sweeps being staged to find it. If there is a base there, the Rebels will soon find it difficult to move without notice."

The High General glanced at his datapad and didn't see anything else worth mentioning at the moment. He thought he put the raid on the detention center in a good light. When he had gotten the report, he had been livid. Two Stormtroopers dead, one posted civilian and no Rebel corpses to account for. But, as his secretary had mentioned, that they made the raid so quickly did point to a base nearby. He nodded to the others that he was done for the moment.

The Vice Admiral sat patiently for a few moments before his eyes fluttered down to a datapad arranged in front of him, scanning over the notes he'd taken in his own staff meeting a day prior.

"As the Rebel elements have stepped up their attacks in these past few weeks, we are taking significant but measured steps in an attempt to root them out from their hiding place. As we're all aware, the nebula is a natural breeding ground for all sort of privateers and smugglers due to its ability to mask the signatures of vessels and small stations which may exist within its boundaries." He continued immediately into his next thought, just laying out the background of the plan. "To this point, we've attempted to use small patrols of starfighters to sweep the nebula at close range, in an attempt to find out where the Rebel forces may be congregating, but I feel it is time to adjust our strategy slightly." He pulled a data chit from the pad, slotting it into the terminal control console. A map of the nebula snapped to life, with a few dozen red dots around it, almost translucent circles ringing each one of them to represent their sensor range.

"In addition to increasing the security around our convoys as the Major recommended," Raven nodded toward Major Kiley out of respect before continuing, "we will be deploying a small number of probe droids to begin sweeping the nebula's perimeter. Their objective will be to determine the general areas where vessels enter and exit the nebula to begin to narrow the search radius. We'll only be dispatching a few dozen probes to begin, which will roam the perimeter. While this won't nearly give us full coverage, it is meant to also not arouse the Rebel's suspicions so that they don't change their operational patterns until we have an opportunity to narrow our search and potentially catch them. Any location where a probe detects a vessel or is lost will become a priority target for the fighter sweeps and whatever attack lines nearby are available."

The Vice Admiral allowed the display to remain, as he continued with his few final thoughts, "Finally, we are developing enhanced security measures and rotating our codes in order to try to mitigate the threat of another event like the one at Terril. Anything that prevents them from acquiring more ships, in particular our ships, will serve us well."

He quieted down, allowing the display to continue showing the initial deployment plan for the probes and additional escorting fleet elements, and awaited his superior's response.

Major Arden Zevrin of the Imperial Security Bureau sat quietly at the other end of the table, perhaps hearing one word in three that Major Kiley spoke to the group. Her eyes moved towards the chronometer on her wrist, feigning that she was checking the time, but in reality she was tormenting the Grand Moff again. While the others were speaking she looked to the actuator on the chronometer, before slowly rolling her eyes up towards Governor Rodney and flashing him a knowing grin. She would have paid attention to what the others were saying, but she had recently acquired the services of Liliya Benedt, and she would be remembering everything for her. Obnoxiously she let out a soft yawn, as if bored, and then stretched her back, puffing out her chest, and looking towards Liliya. "Liliya, my child, my shoulders are absolutely killing me. I think it's these awful chairs Claudius has ... should be more ergonomic," she said, talking loud enough for the others to hear, in a terribly disrespectful manner. "Would you be a dear and do something about it?" she said, batting her eyelids, as she waited for her aid to give her a much needed shoulder rub.

During the proceedings of the conference, Liliya had been quietly listening to the various details and noting each in turn into her datapad for Major Zevrin's review later. She took up her post silently behind Arden, standing a bit to the woman's right, although her proper place should have been behind Claudius. Her services were supposed to be for him alone, and yet Miss Benedt was assisting the Major instead. The aide felt too ashamed to look anyone in the eyes due to her obvious betrayal, especially Grand Moff Rodney's, and rarely did she look up from the datapad that she was so absorbed into. She had previously begged Arden to allow her to miss this conference, but her request had been denied and Liliya could not help but to feel as though she was being punished for some invisible slight. The guilt and humiliation across her features were unmistakable, she was unable to hide that resentment and disgrace from what usually was a cheerful disposition. When Arden requested for what could be presumed as a backrub, Liliya had no choice but to comply and placed her datapad down upon the table before positioning herself directly behind the other woman. Liliya's massage was quite skillful, kneading the sore muscles upon Major Zevrin's back with firm but careful pinpoint application of pressure. It was clear she was somehow being forced to gratify and oblige to the Major's wishes against her will.

Grand Moff Claudius Rodney was using the briefing as a distraction from the troublesome events that plagued his personal and familiar life. Unfortunately for him, he could not evade Major Zevrin, and she seemed to take particular delight in tormenting him in this public manner. He was about to let it go and return to concentrating on the meeting when the woman summoned *his* aide. His attention suddenly shifted away from the display to look across at Arden and Liliya. As she began to massage her back he lost his temper, clenched his hand into a fist, and slammed it down on the table, causing his glass of water to shake violently, and the water inside to ripple for minutes. He wanted to say something, threaten her, have the security throw her out, but he was powerless to do anything about it. "I apologize," he began, as he shifted towards the others in the room. "I am merely frustrated by our inability to deal with these Rebel ships that continue to harass us," he explained, lying, before throwing a glare in the direction of Zevrin. If only his people could have found a way to deal with the meddlesome witch, but thus far they had all proved ineffectual. "Please, proceed," he said, in a diplomatic voice, as he took a sip of the cold water to calm himself, and return to a professional state of decorum as the conference proceeded.

Eyes remaining closed as she focused solely on the timbre of voices and content of information being imparted, Admiral T'Jarell found herself suddenly and visibly startled as her body lurched forward and eyelids flew open wide ... a direct result of a fist impacting the table around which they all sat ... making Rhia's long, fixed stare darted toward the orchestrator of this sudden and seemingly unprecedented maneuver. Oh, no ... she thought with dismay - that excuse is beyond flimsy and far too obvious to be a real one; the Grand Moff was obviously vexed beyond the very threshold of his durasteel-like patience. Dark gaze moved away from Rodney and slid across to Arden, then Liliya ... women which she knew only by their professional credentials ... but that had so far not made any closer acquaintance with her.

Something was clearly going on between those three; something that Rhiannon was cleverly excluded from. She particularly did not care for the impotent manner in which Rodney had just now behaved ... but the meeting would go on, and she would have her time to question her lover about things, later.

Now was perhaps a good time to address the gathered, since she was one of the few yet to speak at this banal conference. Lifting her chin, adjusting her expression to look authoritative rather than eager, Rhiannon T'Jarell shifted in her seat once more, adjusting her posture to maximize comfort without taking away from her dignity. The small screen of the datapad angled in her hands allowed her to see herself as everyone else did: a soft face of classical beauty, with hypnotic hazel brown eyes and auburn-brown hair highlighted by amber strands. In spite of her overt 'pleasing' features, the Hapan officer carried a definite air of mystery about her. What was even more obvious, was that she no longer wore a belt with her uniform ... making no effort to conceal the growing bump beneath.

The meeting was proving to be more valuable than Major Serra Eona had imagined it could. Arden Zevrin's presence was something of note, and in so many ways the woman's mannerisms reminded her of Min. Funny how these things played out sometimes. While she listened to the various briefings, most of which had very little to do with her immediate work, her eyes observed. She remembered the humanoid droid that had served the Grand Moff, now catering to Zevrin. Rodney's outburst...any fool could see through his attempt to hide why he had lashed out. She took a deep drag from her cigarra, letting the smoke gently roll free from her lungs and past her lips. Her attention on the players in this game was briefly lived, and soon enough she diverted back to the matters at hand. These people, the high command of Imperial affairs in this sector...and they wondered why she had come here in the first place, why the rebels were gaining so much ground despite all efforts to prevent it. For Major Eona, it wasn't much of a mystery at all.

High General Glin's attention was caught by the Grand Moff's display of temper. He waited to see if the Grand Moff would recover and when he failed to do so, knew something was up with that Major Zevrin. He had a low opinion of ISB, considering them annoyances and barriers to getting the job done, though he was careful in his handlings with that branch as he was aware of the power they wielded. Most ISB agents were smart enough not to flaunt that power. He wondered at what Zevrin had on the Grand Moff to make her so confident in such a childish display at this meeting. He doodled something on his datapad as a reminder to bring it up to his adjutant. She might still have some connections with the Inquisitors. If he could get something on this Major... his thoughts trailed off as he smiled inside. He loved sticking it to the ISB whenever he could, leaning back in his chair he listened to the others.

Admiral T'Jarell might have spoken up, but given that everyone had already contributed to the current 'plan of action', she decided to remain mute, even in the circumstances of Rodney's earlier outburst. If she had things to say or ideas to share, they would remain forever silenced in the light of the disgusting secrecy that surrounded the man she loved with all her heart - for he had failed to trust her with whatever obviously troubled him when it came to a certain Major or her little 'pet'.

Disappointment was cleverly veiled beneath long lashes as she refused to look at anyone while they took their leave. If the Grand Moff had something to discuss with her, he could do it at any time, she thought ... but sadly realized that it likely would not take place. Rodney seemed clearly besotted with another vision, and Rhiannon would let it go. Yes, just ... let go.

She felt a sudden movement in her abdomen that sent both hands toward her belly in an instant, and at that moment she would forget about anything that had to do with the conference or even the galaxy, for that matter. The important thing now, was the well being of her offspring ... even if her mate could not see a shred of reality beyond the tip of his own nose. It was all a mistake, a terrible mistake, Rhiannon thought as she contemplated the events of past six months. Drawing to her feet, she pushed away from the table and collected her belongings without so much as a single glance in the governor's direction.

Let him do as he wishes. In the meantime, it was time for Rhia to return to the Ralltiir sector, to oversee military maneuvers in the area. All she need do now, was to make sure her fleet was ready for anything that came their way, Rebel or otherwise. And she would make it so, with or without anyone's knowledge, or approval.

Major Kiley viewed the Major Zevrin of the ISB as the embodiment of evil in the known galaxy. Her own dealings with the woman went back nearly a decade and went far beyond what the others in the meeting could possibly understand. Furious, she stared across the table at Zevrin, but neither said, nor did anything to provoke her. With the meeting getting derailed, she took it upon herself as adjutant to move things along for the sake of the Governor. "Very well, General..." she said with a nod in the direction of General Glin. "...Admiral," she said, with a second nod in the direction of Admiral Raven. "If no one else has anything to add, we will adjourn," she said, as she checked on the recorder so that she could present a report to the Grand Moff at a later time when not being tormented by the Grand Moff.

"Huh? Wha?" Major Zevrin asked, stammering at first as she awoke from the relaxed state she had fallen into following her backrub from Liliya Benedt. "We are holding several non-Human prisoners," she said, before bringing a gloved fist to her hand, and stifling a yawn. "I suggest we have them liquidated. Many of them come from systems that were loyal to the Separatists in the last war. They likely still hold grievances. Best to be done with them," she said, before turning to stare at the Grand Moff. She cleared her throat, before accepting a much needed drink from Liliya. Another glance was given towards her wrist chronometer before she took a sip from the drink, which caused a rather obnoxious slurp to break the silence in the room.

Claudius was looking down at the terminal built into the conference table silently, placing his hands on his forehead to try and push back at the swelling migraine. He thought the meeting was over when Major Zevrin opened her mouth with the most dreadful news. She had been having him order the deaths of many alleged conspirators on the planets, some of whom did nothing more than not properly acknowledge her at diplomatic soirees. It sickened him, but she had left him no choice ... now there was this. Everyone knew that he treated non-Humans well ... he had adopted a Squib, maintained an Ithorian physician, etc. ... and this stain upon his honor and reputation was too much to bare. He looked to Zevrin with disgust, but his eyes moved from her face to her chronometer. He swallowed silently, and then looked away, as he internally crumbled. "Very well, Major," he replied bitterly, nearly gritting his teeth as he dealt with the ISB. "I authorize it," he said, slowly, as his eyes remained transfixed on his terminal. He had gone from incompetent Alderaanian noble to war criminal due to ISB control.

High General Glin stood up, addressing the Grand Moff, "Sir, I feel I must protest this line of action. Those prisoners have value to us alive, either information or as hostages. As corpses, zero value. It is precisely because of where they come from that gives them this value. That the Major willing to throw away the information she hasn't managed to get from these prisoners," Glin smiled tightly, "suggests to me she merely attempting to cover up her own incompetence. These prisoners could be holding vital information that can affect our ability to hold this sector. That information cannot be acquired from corpses. If the Major is too incompetent, then turn the prisoners over to me. I know where we can get the answers from. After all, I don't see a captured Tong Commando among her accomplishments."

It was a bold move and perhaps fraught with pitfalls, but he was interested in whether the Grand Moff would take the way out and just what the Major's reaction would be to the accusation. If he did get custody of the prisoners, well, prisoners died all the time during interrogation. He sat back down to watch the fireworks.

When the General spoke, Major Zevrin shifted the gaze of her blue eyes across the table towards him in a uniquely annoyed fashion. "Who asked you?" she responded, in a sneer, before leaning across the table towards him. "General, a non-Human has the same value whether alive or dead," she said, as he eyes flashed towards the discreetly non-Human Major Kiley. "Do what you will with the human prisoners, but the non-Humans are filth and I want their stench off my..." she paused, biting her lower lip, before shifting that gaze back towards the Governor. " the Governor's ship," she corrected herself, as she leaned back into the chair, crossing her legs. "Keep to your Stormtroopers and tanks, General," she said, dismissively, as she impatiently awaited Liliya's soothing touch. "This is a matter for the bureau," she said, before closing her eyes and allowing her indentured servant to do her wonders.

The Grand Moff looked between the General and the ISB Major in incredible frustration. Privately, he agreed with General Glin's assessment, and as a human being with a conscience he did not want to be known as the perpetrator of a xenophobic genocide, but he was powerless to act against Major Zevrin given her current hold over him. "Major Zevrin is..." he began, but then stopped himself, lowering his hands beneath the table, and clenching them into incredibly tight fists. His fingernails dug into the palms of his hand, causing blood, until he finally transferred his mental anguish into a more manageable physical pain. "Major Zevrin *is* correct, General. This is a bureau matter and I will endorse her recommendations," he said, bitterly, like the neutered lapdog that he currently found himself acting as. His eyes shot towards some of the individuals in the room in order to attempt to gauge how much they suspected from these developments, but his reputation was of secondary concern to his family.

The High General leaned back in his chair and nodded to his superior officer, "It shall be as you command then," totally ignoring Zevrin and refusing to rise to her baiting. An interesting play from Zevrin and it also revealed that her hand was completely dependant on the Grand Moff. Given that, it shouldn't be too difficult to root out what the hold was.

"Better get used to it," Major Zevrin muttered underneath her breath, before placing each of her palms down upon the table and rising to her feet, signaling that the meeting was adjourned. "Well. It was nice seeing you all again," she said, with a wink, before turning on her feet and moving to exit the room. "Come, Liliya," she said, snidely, as if she was speaking to an animal instead of a human being. She had gotten exactly what she wanted and humiliated the Governor in front of the senior staff. She felt very accomplished, which had the result of making her feel incredibly hungry. "So what should I have you cook tonight?" she said to the Alderaanian aide, before departing the scene.

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