Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Kit Gwynne and Sarah Riggs-Shute.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:6:17) in the Corulus system: Interrogator.
Ensign Felthan Doran, Major Morgan Petrovna, High Inquisitor Serine Thanor, and Colonel Mark Veller.

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 her side.

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 transfer."

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 unabashedly.

"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 eat me."

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 know, Milord?"

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 hostilities?

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 bay.

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