Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Kit Gwynne and Sarah Riggs-Shute.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:6:34) in the Corulus system: Blazing Bolt and Interrogator.
Major Morgan Petrovna, High Inquisitor Serine Thanor, and Colonel Mark Veller.

As Mark finished off the rest of the inspections, he took a few notes on some of the ships, not for any real reason, but more as a way to back up the story he was going to have to weave for the High Inquisitor. Of course, he could not just tell her, "Hey, you know that Jedi you wanted to capture, I let him go cause I felt like it."

Lying to her, however, was something he was loathe to do. Still, he would have to tell her something. He doubted the High Inquisitor would drop tracking Master Roste down. It was, as she had reminded him, her purpose. Mark thought of the comm link Master Roste had taken and knew that someday, that link would be used by one of them. As the Interrogator loomed closer, Mark prepared himself for what would probably prove to be an interesting debriefing.

His thoughts turned to Master Roste once more, wondering at the link between them. He had never given it a second thought as a child. Lessons with Master Roste had become a sanctuary in the storm of his life. During the years he had trained with Master Roste, even the gangs respected Master Roste. It was in that sanctuary Mark found the praise and approval he could never get from his father. Then, came that fateful day when his world had crashed in on him and Master Roste was nowhere to be found.

Cast adrift, no longer with a place to let go the anger, Mark had only one goal. Escape. Get off planet. Once he had gotten wind of the scholarship, he had thrown himself into his studies. Then, when that was denied him, the Empire had rescued him, given him another chance. The Interrogator's landing bay came into view and the shuttle settled down with a gentle bump. His eyes lit upon the Imperial symbol, stirring a sense of pride, shunting away his doubts. The Empire had taken him, lifted him up out of the muck his home world would have buried him in. This was where he belonged. There would be a reckoning between him and Master Roste all in due time.

High Inquisitor Serine Thanor had watched the Sentinel-class shuttle Blazing Bolt through the entire operation, intensely transfixed, her piercing gaze never once lifting until the craft was safely aboard the Interrogator in the hangar bay. It was terribly unfortunate that Veller had been unsuccessful in locating the Jedi, as it would have been the prime condition to apprehend him. There was a chance that the Jedi had escaped before they arrived, or before the blockade fully assembled. It was also a possibility that the Force bond between Veller and this Jedi had never formed, and her assumption had been completely miscalculated. In her mind, she compared her approach with other possibilities as she stared through the viewport with a distant look to her eyes. Should she have issued each ship to be boarded and searched instead? No, that would have been far too risky, especially for her High Colonel, and none of her officers or Stormtroopers could have handled such a difficult target in the small confined spaces of the ships.

Her attention finally focused back towards the Captain who stood by her side. "Call off the orbital blockade Captain, our quarry has likely escaped us. However, I want an investigation opened immediately. We'll see if this ... Jedi left a trail." With that, the Inquisitor turned and proceeded to depart from the bridge. Soon Major Petrovna and High Colonel Veller would both receive a summons to the conference room close to Serine's office, a large room outfitted with an equally impressive table with a dozen chairs and a terminal in the center of the table capable of casting projections into the air for presentations. While Serine awaited their arrival, she had a few spare silent moments to contemplate the series of events she found herself combating. A proper full briefing of the multiple situations and their plan of attack for each was well overdue.

Mark exited the shuttle and saw to the dismantling of the backup setup. He was not about to leave a bunch of undetonated stun grenades in a busy hanger. Receiving the summons just as the last stun grenade was put back into its crate, he nodded to the troopers, gave the Sergeant in charge a few last orders and left the hangar bay.

He debated taking the time to change into a new uniform, but, remembering how the High Inquisitor had reacted that one time he was a minute late, decided his uniform would have to do. It was slightly crumpled from sitting in the shuttle's cockpit for several hours, but should still be presentable.

Nearing the conference room, he stopped a moment as the High Inquisitor's presence suddenly became known to him. He took a deep breath to calm his sudden attack of nerves. Knowing when another person was nearby, even if there were walls in the way, was something difficult to get used to. It offended his sense of order. But, offended or not, it was there, so Mark would learn to deal with it.

Giving his uniform a tug to straighten it out, he entered the conference room, nodding to the High Inquisitor as he took his seat with his usual sense of efficiency. If the High Inquisitor had been able to sense any hesitation when he came into range, it was gone by the time he entered the room.

Seeing that Major Petrovna was not there yet, he stayed silent, not wanting to have to repeat himself and sure the High Inquisitor did not want that delay. If there was something she wanted to ask of just him, the summons would have been to her office, not the conference room.

Major Petrovna was busy handling routine matters when she received the summons. She was about to go when the matter on her screen caught her attention. Puzzled, she read it and then queried the computer. The answer made no sense.

Realizing she didn't have the time to fully investigate, but needing more data, she transferred it to her datapad and then went to the conference room. Perhaps, after the briefing was over, she would have a chance to bring it to the High Inquisitor's attention.

Entering in, she found that High Colonel Veller had preceded her. She hoped she hadn't kept everyone waiting for very long. With a nod of respect to the Thanor, she took her seat nearby Veller and across from Thanor, but with a few empty seats between them. Turning her attention to Thanor, she waited for her indication of what the briefing was about and who she wanted a report from first.

Serine was uncharacteristically stagnant and muted as she waited for her officers to arrive, her elbows rested on the table that she leaned forward into with her hands interlocked by her chin. She was in deep and quiet thought as Veller and Petrovna entered, and she did not acknowledge them even as they sat down and attentively looked upon her, patiently awaiting the introduction. The briefing continued to be delayed as the High Inquisitor sat mulling over the problematic events and how best to approach them. There had been a significant amount of controversy and contention brought to the forefront in a relatively short timeframe. Serine had been completely pelted and overran with issues that she struggled to handle while maintaining a semblance of control.

Despite the multitude of concerns all bombarding her at once, she felt confident that her management of everything had been to the best of her ability. But yet, she was no closer to apprehending the Jedi, no closer to punishing Jorad, and certainly no closer to ending Tremayne. In fact, she felt far greater behind than when she started, and now with more potentially devastating problems to address. All three of these concerns were immensely important, and for all she knew, could all be linked somehow. Deciding which was the most vital to pursue was difficult. The High Inquisitor realized during this process that she needed to rely more heavily on her talented officers. Major Petrovna being a surprising standout that made certain aspects of the current operations even possible. If not for her uncovering the spy when she did, Mark may have been captured by Tremayne at this moment, a fate far worse than death.

Serine had to be honest with herself or she only doomed herself and her entire crew to failure. She knew she was too young to be a High Inquisitor, but she could never admit that. She saw the haunted look in Veller's eyes when, in a moment of weakness, she admitted she was unsure if she could defeat a Jedi Master. How foolish she had been to instill that type of uncertainty and fear in her High Colonel, she should have never been so honest. She knew she didn't have the experience necessary to run the Interrogator, she was never trained to take over for Tremayne as no doubt he never anticipated her winning a duel against him, let alone challenging him. Serine had never even wanted to command the vessel, she had only challenged Tremayne as a last-ditch effort to save Kia from his clutches. His defeat at her hands gave her far more than that, it awarded her the Interrogator and his title.

But now here she was, overwhelmed and feeling inadequate due to their recent mission failure. She knew that was not a fair assessment, that anyone else, including Tremayne, would likely have lost the Jedi in the same fashion, but she was not *anyone* else, who had more experience and understanding and training, she lacked those things and now she worried it would eventually catch up to her. No one had challenged her yet, and even Inquisitor Jorad assaulted her officers well beyond her reach, but that biting sensation in the back of her mind warned her that any slip, any sign of weakness, and others would come to try to take what she had claimed.

After about ten minutes of Serine agonizing over the details, she finally began the briefing. "We have three major points of contention to address: the Jedi known as Roste, Inquisitor Jorad's violation and the constant threat from Inquisitor Tremayne. I have ordered an investigation to be organized by Captain Jantiss of the planet's surface where Roste may have been hiding. A thorough investigation may also uncover any information that may tie circumstances to Inquisitor Jorad or Inquisitor Tremayne, both who may have had a part to play here. I cannot rule out anything yet and I am relying heavily on any further pieces of data you both can give me."

Serine's eyes flashed over towards Veller. "High Colonel, I will need you to write a report regarding your past association with Roste and your entire confrontation with him and Jorad. Any and every detail is important, past and present. Anything may end up being vital to our operation."

Her attention was then drawn to her Intel officer. "Major Petrovna, I will need you to continue to monitor our holonet and internal activity for any leaks. We may still be under additional espionage and surveillance by nefarious agents. I also want you to keep a close watch on Ensign Doran. He may be unstable and prone to further problems. We need to ensure that Tremayne does not still have him under his control."

The High Inquisitor unfolded her hands before she leaned back into her chair, switching gears to a new direction in the conversation. "Now ... let us discuss how we move forward from here. I would like your opinions on which avenue you feel is the most pressing, which should we devote the most energy towards. Apprehending Jedi and other Force-sensitives is the mission statement for this vessel. However, two of my officers were brutally attacked by another member of the Inquisitorius and this cannot stand. In addition, Inquisitor Tremayne will continue to be a constant threat until we neutralize him." Serine motioned for the High Colonel to speak first, as he outranked the Major.

It had been a slight bit unnerving to sit there as the High Inquisitor reviewed matters in her mind. Not unnerving in that it undermined his confidence, unnerving as it was a change of behavior for her. Was she too realizing events were happening out of control? He recognized the look of thought and waited, wondering what questions she would ask of him and how he could answer without revealing he had let Master Roste go and the reasons behind it.

As an officer of the Interrogator, it was his duty to do everything in his power to protect the crew and support his superiors. If the High Inquisitor thought she was not ready for this encounter, then it was his duty to make sure it did not happen and his further duty to ensure the next time, everyone was ready.

At the mention of Jorad, his hands tightened on each other as they lay on the table, hands folded together. The encounter with Jorad still burned in his mind. His own mistakes and Jorad's actions had left no question that he was unarmed in this arena he had been thrust into. He wanted Jorad to burn.

Before speaking, he took a deep breath and forced a calm into his thoughts. It was imperative that the High Inquisitor not know of his desire for revenge as she might send him on other duties for his own safety. He was also aware his desire was nearing an obsession and that too could compromise his effectiveness, both with this duties and his ability to gain his revenge.

"Milord," he started, easing the tension in his hands, "It will take some time to find the trail of this Jedi. Finding this trail is also a matter best done by others. If you or I were to get close, the Jedi would probably rabbit and the trail would be lost again."

Endeavoring to keep his expression as calm as possible, "However, the attack on the crew by another member of the Inquisitorius is something only you can address and handle. If I was to present the accusation, at best I would be ignored. The Citadel is well known for handling its own. My advice is to pursue Inquisitor Jorad's attack upon your personnel. I will admit to a slight bias in favor of that, but if this attack is allowed to go unanswered, I believe it will merely embolden others along with Inquisitor Tremayne, to further attacks. The end result is us bogged down in defending ourselves while the trail of the Jedi gets even colder."

Pausing for a moment, he continued, "Milord, I, for one, have no wish to see Inquisitor Tremayne back in command of the Interrogator. The whole crew knows of my support of your leadership. If you were to lose command, I would still remain. Whether Inquisitor Jorad and Inquisitor Tremayne conspired together in the attack remains to be seen. I do not doubt for a moment that Inquisitor Tremayne will attempt to use it against you once he learns of it. It is what I would do. We must handle the threat Inquisitor Jorad has presented and through that, lower the threat Inquisitor Tremayne holds."

Mark leaned back in his chair, forcing himself to relax, hoping he hadn't shown too much eagerness to go after Jorad. But he knew some of his desire had leaked through. He wanted to see Jorad punished for what he had done, wanted to see it with his own eyes and not hear the rumors about it. Only Jorad turned over to the High Inquisitor for punishment would see that a reality. He already knew the High Inquisitor was angry over the attack. The image of Jorad meeting the High Inquisitor's whip made him want to smile a very dangerous smile. With a nod and a "Milord," to the High Inquisitor, he gestured to Major Petrovna that he was done for the moment.

Major Petrovna watched and listened. That was the most important skill to master, her sister had told her. Watch and listen. She could tell there was some connection beyond that of commanding officer to officer. Was there a sexual relationship between the two? That was the most common connection. She would have to keep an eye out, if she could get some evidence of it, it might be useful. When Veller was done, she took up the conversation.

"Milord, a watch had already been put on Ensign Doran. He has been given another week to recover from his ... injuries and also to determine his stability. I am already in the process of producing a profile for him to handle any incoming traffic if necessary, similar to what Inquisitor Tremayne set up for his deceased family.

"There are several prospects I am watching. I am also watching to see the repercussions of Ensign Doran's extremely public arrest. Due to that, Ensign Doran may not be of much use to us in either tracking down Inquisitor Tremayne's whereabouts or in feeding him false information. However, it may net us some other prey as the cage has been rattled." Morgan was silent for a moment, carefully considering how to word what to say next. It was becoming obvious to Morgan that Thanor had little training in how to run espionage and was rather like a bantha in a gift shop.

"Milord, the advantage of finding spies is best kept by either not letting them know they have been found or turning them to spy for you. Since we do not know how infested the Interrogator is with ... agents not working entirely in your favor, it is my suggestion that we use any other spies we find to flush out others, by feeding them false information. Then, when something happens based on that false information, we can get another link in the trail," Morgan leaned back a bit in her chair before continuing.

"Ensign Doran might serve us best if he were to be executed for being a Rebel spy. It would certainly shake things up a bit, perhaps cause some of the other spies to panic, along with sending a strong signal to Inquisitor Tremayne that we are, indeed onto him, and don't care that he knows it," she bowed her head slightly, "I do not know the man as you do, but what records I have seen tell me he is arrogant and sure of his own abilities and decisions. Obviously, he thought it best to leave Ensign Doran on the Interrogator rather than remove him. If we execute Ensign Doran, it will put a bit of doubt into his mind, that doubt will, hopefully, lead to more mistakes," Morgan smiled, her eyes hard and cold, "Mistakes will lead to his defeat."

She glanced over at Veller, then back to Thanor, "As for our direction, I agree with the High Colonel. I am watching for evidence of further spies and working at isolating them. This process, however, is often time consuming and tedious. We are not prepared to move against Inquisitor Tremayne at this moment, thus, Inquisitor Tremayne is out of reach, as is this Jedi. Inquisitor Jorad, however, has acted against you directly and such a threat must be met as soon as possible." She folded her hands in front of her, nodding to indicate she was done for the moment as well.

The High Inquisitor listened intently to the advice of her High Colonel, picking up on his veiled animosity for Inquisitor Jorad, and she was not in the least bit surprised with the notion. Not only was she expecting him to desire revenge on a personal level, she was counting on it. Serine now considered him her unofficial apprentice, and as such, would need to keep his training in mind. What better way to slowly acclimate him to the intense suffering of others than to present him a bound Jorad to torture and afflict. Despite his severe offense against her officers, she was even more interested in apprehending Jorad for use as a training aid for Veller, than for punishing him for his transgressions. But considering her ruthless intentions for Jorad in the near future, the man may rather an execution for his miscalculation than be the object of Veller's soon to be developing taste for human anguish.

Serine was all too willing to satiate her High Colonel's growing need for retribution against Jorad, and planned on feeding and promoting that appetite until it expanded and flourished with vile cravings. She was going to teach him to harm Jorad in ways he never imagined. If successful, the fire of hatred would burn clean away any of that Jedi's remaining influence and sympathy still clinging like a parasite to Veller. Once she perfected him through her training regime, it would be very unlikely the Jedi could persuade Mark away from his true calling with petty nostalgic and sentimental trickery. That spark of anger that flared in her mind with the reminder that they failed to capture the Jedi irked her, but it was quickly doused with the secret relief that she did not have to face him just yet. She pushed those emotions down as she nodded to Veller before turning her attention to Petrovna.

The Intel officer had a unique perspective and certainly added a point-of-view and suggestion that she had not initially considered. The thought of executing the Ensign rubbed her the wrong way, causing a sour taste in her mouth, considering she had offered the man clemency. The High Inquisitor was not one to resort to dishonesty and deception, both of which she did not favor nor practice. However, if the Ensign crossed her yet again, her promise of mercy would be retracted immediately and Doran would quickly find his pitiful life a mere empty husk of what it once was. Serine was finding this meeting useful, hearing the opinions of both of her main officers was certainly beneficial to her command and decision making. They both appeared to be adamant about focusing on Inquisitor Jorad, both for different but viable reasons that were convincing. After they delivered their speeches, Serine mulled over their opinions in her mind for a few silent moments before she broke the silence.

"Very well, we will divert our resources to Inquisitor Jorad's incarceration." She motioned to Veller first, commenting to him regarding his belief that Jorad's assault would harm their reputation. "We cannot assume Inquisitor Jorad plans to disclose his attempted assassination. For now, very limited individuals even know of that event. Considering his failure to succeed and his failure to capture the Jedi that opposed him, alerting anyone to such a deficiency and deterioration of his abilities could be fatal for his own future." Serine tapped her fingers together briefly before continuing. "It is also not safe to assume that he would desert his station and disappear. Being ousted from the Citadel Inquisitorius as a traitor and deserter is a fate worse than death. No..." She paused while pursing her lips together with a thought. "It is very likely he plans to return to Prakith to continue his assigned duties. It would be very easy for me to contact the Inquisitorius for his detainment once he arrived."

Her attention shifted to Morgan. "As for Ensign Doran, I have no plans to execute him as of now. However, if you find he continues to work against us, then that will be a very possible option." Suddenly Serine's voice grew annoyed and sore as she angrily glared at the Major. "Whatever you may have heard or read about *then* High Inquisitor Tremayne, *I do not* execute officers after I grant them amnesty!" Bubbling anger broke through the surface, as she slammed her fist upon the table, clearly agitated. Serine did not appreciate even the slightest suggestion or hint that she followed the same chaotic and cruel habits of her former master. While it was true that she unavoidably adopted some of his darker instincts, she loathed to compare herself to him in any form or fashion. After a second to let the intense emotions subside, she said in a more collective fashion. "I have already pardoned the Ensign's situation as it was complex and tragic. Understood?"

Mark felt a sense of relief pass through him as the High Inquisitor agreed with his assessment of what to do next, as well as not questioning is desire to go after the errant Inquisitor. He wanted Jorad, but he wanted him on his own terms and was well aware his desire could be used against him. He would have to be vigilant to make sure his own desire for vengeance did not run away with him.

When the High Inquisitor mentioned having him detained, Mark asked, "Is that wise, Milord? It will let others know something has happened. If, as you say, he goes back to his duties, which I agree is his most likely course of action if he does not want anyone to know of his failure, then alerting the Citadel in advance of our arrival could allow other elements to move against you. I believe it is vital that we strike without any warning in order to detain Inquisitor Jorad with minimal difficulties. As you say, being named a traitor to the Citadel is a fate none truly want, given warning, he might still decide to flee. Trapped men can engage in unpredictable actions if they know the trap is closing in."

He wanted no chance of a warning to reach Inquisitor Jorad. "I would also suggest informing Captain Jantiss that our destination is to be kept from the crew to keep the information out of any spies we might still have aboard. If he does manage to flee, then we will have a very small group of people to interrogate, Milord." Nodding, he gave the floor to major Petrovna.

Major Petrovna nodded in response to Thanor's declaration, "My apologies, Milord, I was not informed of the Ensign's pardon. I will keep him under surveillance to ensure his continuing loyalty to you."

She glanced over at Veller before addressing Thanor again. There were signs of an obsession in the man, but she couldn't quite put her finger on it. From what she had observed so far, this Veller character had an intensity about him and would require careful handling if she were to use him in her plans.

"Again, I agree with the High Colonel. Until we manage to root out the majority of spies aboard this vessel, we must be mindful of what is transmitted. Anything can be used against us with enough imagination. I am not yet in a position to fully counter what we might discover as I am still in the process of getting to know the Interrogator. Discovering what is not working right requires I understand how things should be working and that will involve research and time. As you have ordered, this is my top priority." She stopped for a moment, looking at Thanor, "Milord, I wish to stress again that the finding of spies is a time-consuming and tedious process. While I have promising leads, this is not something that can be done with deadlines."

Glancing at her datapad, Morgan continued, "Milord, an odd note of business crossed my desk. I received an execution order for one M'Kaso, but when I looked for a file for this individual I found nothing," Morgan pressed a few buttons on her datapad sending the file over, "I thought it best to bring it to your attention. I don't know if this is a glitch or not."

The High Inquisitor suddenly found herself feeling extremely foolish after she heard Veller's response. He was absolutely right, and she should have thought of it herself. Considering they didn't know how deeply they were infiltrated, alerting the Citadel to their arrival could spell all sorts of disasters if that information found its way into the hands of those that desired her downfall. She had been drawn to the notion of recruiting the assistance of fellow Inquisitors by using her standing and influence because it would have been the easy route, but that line of short-cut thinking could have disrupted her entire operation. She could feel that self-doubt building again and she was quick to suppress it. Serine had to remind herself not to get sidetracked with growing upset with trivial things, this was why she had a support staff of talented officers in different fields, to recommend these courses of action and supplement her deficiencies.

Serine nodded to the High Colonel, agreeing with his suggestion that they keep the knowledge of their objective to a minimum, but she was willing to take it one step further and designate the entire operation as stealth. "A covert mission would work well here. We will treat the encounter with Inquisitor Jorad as if we were moving to apprehend any Force-sensitive. So that we do not alert him, our crew or the Citadel of our movements, we can arrive to the Prakith system without announcing our presence. I will then take a shuttle craft to the surface in disguise and ambush him at his place of residence. He will be placed into our custody without any attention drawn to our activities. Eventually, I will need to contact the Inquisitorius to explain Inquisitor Jorad's situation, but it will be well after his incarceration."

Her eyes met with Veller's with a stern and intense gaze. "His actions against my crew were indefensible, but not necessarily one that warrants his execution. It is unfitting for me to eliminate members of the Inquisitorius without it being absolutely necessary. As low in the hierarchy as Inquisitor Jorad is, that does not mean he is incapable, unskilled or expendable. Every single Inquisitor had to survive multiple devastating trials full of horrors you cannot imagine, and if I told you even a small mention, you would be beyond aghast and disgusted. Only a fraction of a fraction of the galaxy's entire populace, each one is an asset to the Empire in their own unique way..." The High Inquisitor trailed off a bit as thoughts fell to Tremayne. "...each a vital component, which is why eliminating one is such a difficult prospect. They are a guarded asset and cannot be so quickly discarded. Do you understand, High Colonel?" She singled him out firmly, eyes narrowing at the man. "I first must question his motives for his assault. However, even if I eventually pardon his crimes, that does not mean he will not suffer greatly for his transgressions." She added with a gleam of vile intentions glistening in silver.

Her attention was directed back towards the Major, and as she listened to the woman, her aggravation grew dangerously. "Yes, I know you need more time!" She snapped heavily, slightly insulted that Petrovna continued to insist her work was a long and tedious one, as if Serine was incapable of grasping that. While Serine was well known for putting near impossible time frames on completed objectives, she was not such a simpleton that she could not understand when some priorities needed to be addressed with more leeway. The Major's tendency to assume things was starting to irk her terribly. "Work diligently, Major, and there will be no issues." She said while suppressing a soft growl.

Once Morgan mentioned the execution order, Serine's curiosity peeked through the aggravation before she fell back into annoyance. "That is clearly a malfunction!" She barked quickly. "We do not have any Jedi prisoners on board, and ... he was executed over a decade ago." The mention of M'Kaso left a bitter tone on her words, a mixture of fond and hateful memories of him began to leak into her consciousness which she loathed. A thought crossed her that this malfunction could be an indication that they were being further sliced. "However, I want you to consider this and quickly! Something ... is not right here. It sounds more like an attempt to hijack our internal databases, causing this slip."

The heavy notion that they were constantly under slicing attack made her increasingly nervous for the safety of Kia Kaen. She needed to root out these detractors quickly or she feared she would lose complete control over the Interrogator. There was nothing she hated more than the feeling of helplessness. "If there is nothing else, you are both dismissed."

Major Petrovna nodded at Thanor's words and admonished herself. Of course, slicing attempts can create glitches, leaving a trail that sometimes leads to the slicer. She should have thought of that herself. But then, that was always Agatha's specialty. "Milord," she said at Thanor's dismissal and stood up, gathering her datapad.

As she left the room, she thought of the enormous project ahead and wondered once again if there was any possibility of success. Agatha's words came back to her, "One step at a time, eventually, the journey is finished." Pushing aside her desires for vengeance, she stepped into her adopted Imperial mask. For the moment, she would work diligently for this Thanor, rooting out any spies. While Agatha had been best with computers, she was no slouch herself.

Going to her office, she shut the door and pulled up the program that was still running. Reading the results, she smiled. Two others had been pinpointed with a high degree of accuracy. At a rough guess, with a crew this size, she figured the program would probably pick up about two hundred "spies," most of them involved in Inter-departmental politics. The fun part would be sifting through all the false positives to find the handful that were actual spies. Knowing of the internal rivalries within the ship, however, would be productive of later matters.

Pulling up the order to execute one M'Kaso, she went to work pulling down the trail of the slicer. If she could find the slicer, she would probably open up another whole line of spies and their communication channels, something even more precious than the spy themselves.

Allowing Major Petrovna to leave first, Mark got up from his seat and headed to the door, but stopped before leaving, turning back to face the High Inquisitor. "Milord," he started hesitantly, "I understand the necessity to keep this operation covert, but it is wise to go down to the planet without a backup plan in place? In the time since the... incident, Inquisitor Jorad could have taken steps to reinforce his position, perhaps to set some sort of trap in case he was pursued."

Concern showed on his face, "I dislike the idea of going in cold without some backup plan to support you, Milord." Standing at the door, he readied himself for a dismissal, knowing the High Inquisitor was getting irritated with his desire to go up against Inquisitor Jorad. But it was something he could not let go, his duty to protect and support his commanding officer. Though he would obey her commands, he would be failing in his duty if he did not at least point out what he saw as flaws in her plans. They had little to no intelligence data as to Inquisitor Jorad's situation and possible allies. He would feel better with a few backup plans in place.

When the High Colonel suddenly voiced his skepticism regarding the operation, Serine nearly choked on her own air, she was so caught by surprise. She managed to stifle the gasp, but her eyes widened as her body grew rigid, afraid that if she made any motions, she would erupt into an unreasonable violent backlash to his assumptions. Serine's fists drew tight as she struggled to maintain a semblance of control as her mind briskly rushed through these implications. There was that glaring doubt in Veller's eyes again! He looked upon her with concern, as if she was incapable and weak. Was he *still* questioning her abilities? Was that one foolish reveal about her concern with facing a Jedi Master going to haunt his thoughts indefinitely? Was he going to challenge every one of her commands now? Did he need to hold her hand?!

"Do you feel I am so incapable?!" That fiery intensity finally flared out from her own mental riling. "I can handle this, Colonel!" She insisted as palms slammed upon the table for emphasis. Her voice was a heavy bark laced with aggravation but also adamancy. She was now completely determined to accomplish this mission without even the slightest bit of assistance. Serine was resolute on demonstrating her strength and talents, put them on full display to alleviate this anxiety Veller seemed to be stuck on. Her desire to have a backup plan against Kerr had polluted his mind in the first place, and there was no way she was going to rely on one again so soon after she foolishly placed that doubt in him to begin with. With some carefully placed gasps and exhales of air, she calmed herself just enough to prevent a chair from flying into a wall, but that burning malice in her eyes was still clearly potent.

"This is what I was trained for. This is *my* responsibility on board of this ship, to confront those that wield the Force. Now ... dismissed!" She snapped angrily, her eyes widening with resolve and fury. As he finally left her, she found herself alone with her own troubled and confused thoughts. Though her surface only displayed irate ferocity, deep inside she was distraught that he continued to show doubt in her talents, and even deeper still she was comforted that he cared for her safety. She paused a moment, utterly confused with that epiphany...

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