Ensign Felthan Doran was not in any sort of pain at
all. Though there was a small part of his brain that
seemed to be screaming there was something wrong
with all of this. His eyes managed to focus on the
ceiling and he understood he was in a medical bay.
Only medical bays had lighting like this, soft, yet
designed to illuminate everything.
Doran sighed as he lay on the bed. There were straps
keeping him there, but they weren't tight, just snug
and he actually felt secure and safe. That little
voice in the back of his head said it was the drugs
talking, but he didn't care. The pain was gone, he
could breath normally. After he had confessed,
eventually, the High Inquisitor had allowed the
surgeons to put back the ribs she had taken out.
Panic started to fill his mind at the thought, but
it was soon soothed as more medication was
administered to keep him calm. Even though the ribs
had been put back, the cruelty and malice the High
Inquisitor had shown was enough to make Doran want
to run away. It was her enjoyment of it that had
really broken him. It was that knowledge that
threatened to turn him into a gibbering idiot.
He sighed again as the medications adjusted. Terror
and panic receded until they were nothing. A med
droid sailed up to him, checking a few things. It
blurbled something he had no interest in
translating, probably some dull medical terminology
on how he was healing. Whatever was happening, he
didn't pay it much mind. Here, there was no pain and
that is what was important. No pain, no monsters.
Morgan arrived at the medical bay to discover Thanor
had not yet arrived. She was tempted to go in and
check out this Ensign Doran to see what fish her net
had caught. But, she stopped herself. While
tempting, she had already shown too much initiative
to Thanor. She had to be careful to make sure Thanor
never considered her a danger. This meant a fine
balance between initiative and following orders.
Thanor must never get even the slightest idea that
she was using Thanor as a way to the Citadel.
Her people had been hunted down and if not for the
colonies whose locations were unknown to the home
world, her people would be extinct. The home world
could not be reclaimed until this threat was taken
care of. That was the mission she and Agatha had
been sent on, to discover the source of the threat
and handle if possible. An impossible mission but
one that had to be done.
Waiting outside the medical bay, she watched the
personnel go past. It was interesting to observe the
general crew. So many high-ranking officials ignored
the lower ranks, thinking that once they rose above
them, they were no longer important. Morgan knew
differently. It was from the lower ranks that
rebellion could come. And one thing the high-ranked
individuals seemed to always forget, there were a
lot more of lower ranks than the higher ranks.
As people walked past, Morgan came to understand
there was a nervous undercurrent to everyone's
movements. On the surface, things appeared normal,
people walking about on their duties, talking to
their co-workers as they went. But when a
Stormtrooper patrol would march past, things became
quieter and it took several moments for the chatter
to return to normal. Morgan sighed, what she didn't
know was if this was normal for the ship or not. She
reminded herself to be patient. It had taken years
to get to this point and was quite likely to take
several more years to find a way to the Citadel that
did not mean her death. She wished Agatha was here,
she was better suited to this line of work.
Her ears detected a hush to the chatter and then
Thanor's voice. Drawing herself up to a more
acceptable stance of attention, she waited for
Thanor to appear, holding the datapad in her hand at
There was quite the commotion in the corridor as the
High Inquisitor and High Colonel made their way
towards the medical facility where Major Petrovna
was waiting. The distinctive irate clamor of Thanor
preceded a rush of personal through the halls as a
dozen or so officers quickly pressed past Morgan to
escape any possible harm to their person. What
appeared to be the telltale sounds of Serine yelling
at Veller had caused the disruption. Where normally
personal would respectfully bow and step aside for
the Inquisitor, here her sudden and unexpected
temper had caused them to hastily remove themselves
from her path. With word spreading like wildfire
that Ensign Doran had recently been subjugated to a
series of brutal waves of torture, officers were on
edge, even more so than usual.
Serine paid no mind to the affect she had
instigated, her mind was far too conflicted by much
more pressing matters. She felt she had a relatively
decent plan on locating the Jedi and capturing his
ship, but she was now, with Veller's description of
the Jedi's abilities, uncertain on how to subdue him
once his ship was seized. The High Inquisitor had
intended on challenging him directly, but realized
she may very well need to plan for contingency. She
wasn't an arrogant fool like Tremayne had been in
their duel, assuming he would win without cause for
concern. Serine was far more pragmatic, and thus
willing to speculate on the chance she may be bested
in combat. Realizing she was nearing the Medical
bay, she pulled Veller aside, noticing the hallway
had fully cleared out, affording her a moment to
speak to him candidly.
"If we are successful in locating and disabling this
Jedi's ship, it will then be tractor beamed into the
cargo bay of the Interrogator. In order to subjugate
him, it will likely be necessary to physically
confront him, and if so, I will move to engage him.
I am confident in my abilities but I cannot assume
anything. I want you to mobilize all available
Stormtroopers under your care and have them fortify
and array the cargo hold with hidden stun grenades.
If the worst case scenario should happen, and I
fall, they must be ready to detonate the charges and
be prepared to rush him if that should fail as well.
With enough numbers, any Jedi can be overwhelmed. We
must not take any chances here, we can not afford to
do so. From your descriptions, he is too dangerous.
You have much to prepare, you are dismissed, High
Colonel. Do not fail in these tasks ... it is too
important." And with that, Serine turned the corner
and came into full view of the Major awaiting her
patiently. "Report." She bristled at the woman,
clearly much was on the High Inquisitor's mind.
Mark nodded at the dismissal and gracefully turned
to head towards a cargo bay. Mentally, he was a bit
stung by the High Inquisitor's reprimand. He had
seen Jorad fight. Most of the moves Master Roste had
used were ones Mark knew himself. Had they both been
using weapons that were equal, Mark was still sure
he would have a chance. He was not entirely
confident he would succeed, but he knew he would
have a chance. Patience, Mark told himself, the only
true way to tell would be to actually fight and it
would be best to wait until the odds were more even.
Arriving at the cargo bay, he called for a few
squads of Stormtroopers to begin planning their
layout as well as the placement of stun grenades.
Within a few minutes, the squads had increased and
Mark's worries were drowned in setting up a
successful capture of a Jedi Master.
While waiting for the Stormtroopers to finish
placement of the stun grenades, Mark worried at the
problem of capturing Master Roste. Hearing the High
Inquisitor voice a doubt at whether she could take
master Roste bothered Mark. While he heartily
approved of backup plans, the High Inquisitor seemed
to think there was a good likelihood of this backup
plan being used. He was beginning to not like the
odds that seemed to be presenting themselves.
Another thought struck him as to the repercussions
if she was defeated by the Jedi Master, even if they
were successful in capturing him. What if Master
Roste felt the need to kill her? Even if it was only
by accident? Where would that leave him? His eyes
narrowed at the sudden thought of Serine not being
in command of the Interrogator.
If she were to be replaced, Mark doubted she would
be able to arrange his transfer elsewhere. He also
doubted High Command would acknowledge his oath to
High Inquisitor Thanor as being senior to his other
oaths. If they were aware of that oath, he would
probably find himself imprisoned and facing a court
martial. What if Inquisitor Tremayne managed to
regain command of the Interrogator? Given what
little he had gotten from Lieutenant Dunford, he
doubted his tenure would last long.
The stun grenade setup was reported as complete so
Mark started drilling his Stormtroopers on various
possibilities and their response. It would be
vitally important to contain Master Roste to the
cargo bay. If he were to gain the corridors of the
Interrogator, there were places where he could give
them the slip and they would never find him until it
was too late.
The alarm sounded to announce their arrival at the
Corulag System. Mark left Sergeant Batua to drilling
the Stormtroopers and went to implement the next
phase of the operation. Inspection of the ships
currently awaiting permission to leave the system.
The next few hours would be tedious and dull and
Mark was not even sure he would find anything. But,
whatever he found, he vowed, would be dealt with in
such a way as to leave High Inquisitor Thanor in
full command of the Interrogator.
Morgan came to attention as Thanor came up to the
medical bay. Offering the datapad, she said, "As you
suspected, Milord, Ensign Doran's family is dead. I
retrieved the videos of their deaths from the
Interrogator's databanks. Their deaths appeared to
have occurred shortly after Ensign Doran started
spying for Inquisitor Tremayne. All communications
he received from his family were forgeries. There is
an indication Ensign Doran attempted to get
transferred off the Interrogator as there is a
record of Inquisitor Tremayne rejecting the
She glanced at the closed med bay door, "I have not
spoken with the Ensign. A search of his quarters
revealed nothing unusual, save the forged
communications from his family." She nodded,
indicating that was the end of her report.
The High Inquisitor accepted the datapad restlessly
and immediately began to scrutinize the files with a
narrowing gaze. While the Major explained her
findings, Serine would cycle through the data to
verify it was all represented accurately. This was
exactly what she expected, though she was a bit
surprised that even Tremayne would be so arrogant as
to have the information stored blatantly in the
Interrogator's database. It was as if he was
flaunting the tasteless murder of the Ensign's
parents for those cunning enough to research the
logs. He likely believed no one was intelligent
enough to investigate his dealings, and if found
out, he was proud to display his cruelty
"Excellent Major, this may prove to be valuable."
For a moment, Serine's eyes washed over the Major's
form in a quick appraisal, impressed the woman had
been an asset so soon in her transfer. Perhaps she
was an acceptable replacement for Major Eona after
all. Morgan's efforts led to their discovery of
Tremayne's influence, a possible plot against her
officers and the knowledge that there were
potentially other spies on board the Interrogator.
The High Inquisitor realized that Petrovna was
quickly becoming a vital key to her operations in
the same way her past Intel officer had been. "This
concludes your investigation of Ensign Doran. I now
want you to focus your efforts in careful
observation for additional leads. If there are other
spies on board, I want them apprehended. I charged
High Colonel Veller in assisting you, but other
unforeseen avenues have now constrained him.
However, your recent successes demonstrated your
keen ability unaccompanied. I expect further
achievement. You are dismissed." Serine concluded
her assignment with the same firm tone as usual, but
it now hinted at mutual respect.
She waited for the other woman to depart before she
turned and entered the Medical bay. The human
doctors had long since departed, having
reconstructed the Ensign's ribcage with immaculate
attention to detail, even attaching the small muscle
fibers that had been stripped away. After surgery
and careful bacta treatment, there would only be
very minor scarring, and certainly no one would be
able to tell what gruesome tale had happened by just
gendering at the small indentions on his skin. With
only droids caring to the routine nursing of Doran,
the facility was nearly soundless save for the soft
humming of the bacta tanks and the weak beeping of
some monitors. The officer had been strapped to a
bed comfortably and hooked up to a device that
administered a cocktail of drugs to sooth him and
relieve any pain. With one look at the narcotized
gleam from the officer's eyes, Serine mused that the
man had never been so content in his entire life,
and then a dark thought crossed her. The Inquisitor
could easily replace those alleviating drugs with
far more sinister agents if the man had further
fight in him.
Even in his deeply induced state, Doran would be
able to realize that she was looming over him.
Serine was no longer adorned in her ceremonial red
robes, and had a far less aggressive manner, but
that predatory gleam was ever present in hardened
silver eyes. "Ensign Doran, your family is dead."
She said bluntly with little regard to the shock
value, she doubted the need to soften the news due
to his injections keeping him mellow, his mind would
likely have difficulty processing the sudden
revelations. "Inquisitor Tremayne murdered them well
before receiving your covert report and falsified
their responses to make it appear as if they were
alive and well."
Eyes drifted down to the datapad Petrovna gave her,
hesitant to show the Ensign the video of the
horrendous deed, hoping her word would be enough to
convince the man. Tremayne was well known for using
mental probing or convincing his prisoners that he
was a friend and then easily discussing their
secrets. But here, he had been unnecessarily
vicious, drawing out painful and terribly vile
torture for no reason except to vent his
frustrations upon those unable to defend themselves.
It was likely that the ex-High Inquisitor was still
struggling through his complete humiliation and
defeat by her hands. "I'll have you know that I
would very much like to end this man's life. He is a
waste of flesh, a corrupt and vile creature,
depraved of humanity and debased beyond
recognition!" Serine spat bitterly as her eyes
flared with anger.
"Not only are his dealings a serious security
concern, his interference is exceedingly personal.
His very existence is an offensive blight!" She
snarled with an intensely hostile bite to her voice
as she leaned over the bed, her hands dug into the
fabric by his side, nearly clawing into the material
with caustic resentment. "He has been defeated but
not destroyed! My victory continues to be denied!
Now stripped of his resources and reputation, he has
nothing left but to hide in the shadows and scheme
against me, his obsession never quenched." The High
Inquisitor paused to gather her composure, feeling
herself begin to slip into a rage. After a moment,
she leaned back from the bed to look upon him more
stability and rationality.
"You and I now share a commonality. I have suffered
half of my life under his tyranny, and you have lost
your parents to his vicious and twisted mind. Your
past infractions will be forgiven, now knowing what
I do of your circumstances, in exchange for the
information I need to finally end him and rid the
galaxy of his perversion."
Doran's day was going well, considering how it had
started. He was resting and healing just per orders
when *she* came to see him. At first, he could only
stare, his mind struggling to interpret what the
monster was saying. It was probably best he was
restrained, otherwise he would have been cowering in
the corner, especially when the monster's claws
began to dig into the sheets. Doran began to worry
that the monster would start digging into him.
Slowly, the words the monster was saying were
becoming clear. Doran blinked a few times and then
blinked again. These medicines they had him on must
be really powerful as he tried to muddle through
what the High Inquisitor was saying.
His parents? His family? Dead? But how? He had just
gotten a letter from them last week. "H-how?" he
managed to stutter, "B-b-but... I got a letter..."
Descriptions of Tremayne didn't really register. He
didn't need someone to tell him Tremayne was the
devil's boss. That was something he already knew,
having had to spy for the man while he was in
command of the Interrogator.
He was about to pursue the manner of his family's
death when something managed to filter in through
his drug-fogged mind. Past infractions forgiven. The
High Inquisitor had really said that? Did that mean
everything? Even the stuff she didn't know about?
Was she actually offering a way out? Or was she
merely holding out a hope to then crush him when he
took it, confessing all manner of sins?
She had, by her own admission, spent half her life
under his thumb, surely some of his cruelty had
rubbed off on her. Of course it had! She had tried
to eat him! Cut out two ribs! And then put them back
to take them out again! *She* was the *monster*!
The meds adjusted themselves again, to calm him
down, as his heartbeat started to rise. Doran seemed
to crumble, trying to shrink into the bed, mumbling
something that sounded like, "Don't eat me, don't
Doran took a deep breath, as if trying to calm
himself down. The mutter changed to, "My name is
Felthan Doran. I am an Imperial. My name is Fethan
Doran. I am an Imperial officer." His eyes finally
focused on the High Inquisitor, though he had a hard
time keeping her in focus.
Tremayne was a monster, he had spawned this monster.
Now, this monster told him she wanted to destroy the
original monster. He thought for a few moments,
knowing he could send this monster to the other
monster. He doubted they would destroy each other,
but he was confident one monster would go down with
the other wounded, if not seriously. He just had to
figure out how to make sure both of them went down.
He started to see that look of rage in the monster's
eyes and while he wanted to hide, he knew if he did,
the monster would kill him and then both monsters
would be free. Taking a grip on his mental state, he
smiled weakly, "I'm sorry, Milord," he said, "these
medicines they have me on are pretty strong, makes
it hard to think. I keep getting distracted." He
closed his eyes and let his head rest on the pillow.
He was really tired and it was easier to talk to the
monster with his eyes closed. "What do you want to
Serine was not at all surprised by his lack of
mental fortitude, his mumblings or his slow
responses. This was all typical of the heavy
medications required to keep his body from falling
constantly into shock from the physical and mental
trauma of being interrogated by her hand. The Ensign
had the misfortune of showing more resistance than
normal by not being broken as fast as typical
prisoners, and thus had caused the High Inquisitor
to allow her subdued and restrained sinister
cravings to take full reign. That vileness that
overcame her as she was embraced by the dark side
was a reminder of the deep sickness present. It
constantly lurked just behind a well-kept veil and
was ever ready and eager to be unleashed again.
Keeping her cruel tendencies in check was an
ever-perpetual struggle she faced nearly every
moment. How easy, and satisfying it would be to give
herself over and violently shred everything in her
path, but she had to be constantly vigilant, lest
she turn into what she hated most, her former
master, who catered to every one of his ruthless
appetites with no regard for life or duty.
Eyes checked on the machines tethered to the man to
ensure he was receiving the proper dosage of
medications. She wondered what his frame of mind
would be when he was taken off the comforting drugs.
There were times when she had brutally punished a
detractor and they had become fiercely loyal after
she spared them, and then there were times where the
individual crumbled afterwards from the pressure and
fear. Serine pondered in what spectrum would Doran
fall into to. If perhaps this had been too much for
him, she could show him clemency and allow the
transfer he had requested back when Tremayne was in
command. She may be her master's apprentice, but she
was *not* her master. She was capable of showing
leniency, especially for a victim of Tremayne's.
"There are only two questions I have for you, Ensign
Doran. What data did you send to him, and where did
you send it? Answer these questions truthfully, and
I will be willing to permit your transfer to a
vessel or station of your choosing."
Ensign Doran considered his options, as best he
could through the fog of medications. His eyes grew
wide when the monster, no, he thought to himself,
blinking furiously, the High Inquisitor mentioned a
transfer. He understood the threat, even though it
was voiced as a reward. Mess with me and I will toss
you out to the other monster.
He worked to answer her questions without the panic
that was gibbering in the back of his mind. "I... I
sent everything I could, Milord. Accounting data,
expenses for the Interrogator was the most of it, as
that's what I had access to. Whatever reports on the
bombing of Esseles I could get," he hesitated a
moment, "Your ... actions on Brentaal," he said,
putting her rampage as delicately as he could. "And,
I ... included the stories about High Colonel Veller,
about his arrest and punishment." He thought a
moment, "Personnel changes were included too, but
that's also in the Accounting data."
Knowing she would probably not like his next answer,
he tried to meld in with the bed, "I, I don't know
where it went, exactly. I just had a mail address
that could have been anywhere. I'm sure it has
already bounced around the galaxy a bit before
reaching Hi... I mean, Inquisitor Tremayne." His
expression took on a pleading note, "Please don't
transfer me off the Interrogator. He's going to know
I betrayed him when he gets the report of my arrest.
I'm sure there are others onboard spying for him. I
just don't know who. I can get you a copy of what I
sent, if you want it."
Had the Ensign been able to, he would have shrunk
under the covers until only his eyes were visible.
He desperately wanted to get out from under the
silvery gaze of this monster. He needed time to
figure out how to set up these two so they destroyed
each other, if that was even possible.
The High Inquisitor scowled fiercely at the word
that a multitude of information had been leaked to
Tremayne. Even though she had just requested that
the Ensign be truthful with his disclosing of the
data he sent, it was *not* the information she
*wanted* to hear. This put them at a tremendous
disadvantage, with her former master knowing far too
much about her activities. Sabotage, spies,
subterfuge, all of these things were now on the
table and that made her feel very exposed and
uncomfortable. Even worse was the notion that the
data feed had been sent erroneously to an
undisclosed location that was likely untraceable.
Serine felt momentarily foolish, obviously Tremayne
would have covered his tracks, and it infuriated
her. That coward felt he couldn't face her straight
on so he had to resort to these tasteless tactics.
He was no better than the pathetic terrorists
nipping at the Empire's heels. Was she destined to
be continuously badgered and harassed by his cloaked
A low growl rumbled in her throat as she snapped
angrily at the Ensign. "Of course I want a copy of
the data you sent!" She snarled at him heatedly,
eyes flaring with rage, knowing that somewhere in
the galaxy, her former master was grinning to
himself in victory as he plotted his next scheme.
Serine grit her teeth with the fire that threatened
to erupt from her, struggling to maintain herself
and fighting back the urge to rip this traitor apart
into gruesome gory chunks. Due to a slight lapse of
judgment, the High Inquisitor had not considered
Tremayne tracking down the Ensign to slaughter him
like cattle once he was transferred off the
Interrogator. For a fleeting moment, Serine
considered throwing him out from the ship and
sending a message to her former master herself
disclosing Doran's whereabouts, as if ringing an
unconventional dinner bell. That cruel notion faded
from her mind as she began to regain her composure
and remembered she had planned on clemency here.
Narrowing silver eyes glared upon the helpless form
of the Ensign, like a predator studying the near
lifeless body of the prey before contemplating
moving in for the kill. Her voice was ominously low
as seething words eased from her, "If you betray me
again, there will not be much left of you when your
mangled body finally does reach Inquisitor Tremayne,
but you will still be alive as he peels off the
remaining flesh." With that final warning, Serine
turned from the man and swiftly exited the medical