Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:7:3) in the Essesia system: Esseles (The Void).
Trooper Kaiya Crion, Commander Kerrie Kiley, Inquisitor Jessa Thrope, Prav Ulmgo, and Captain/Commander Thaddeus Updike.

Commander Kerrie Kiley had been recovering, mentally, from the recent clashes with Rebel commandos on Chandrila. Over the course of two days she had lost more commandos than she had in two years of operating in the Ringali Shell. She had been reviewing reports from the surviving troopers and visiting wounded in the medical suite. The last thing she wanted to do was report to the Inquisitor, who had led them into that massacre, but she did not have a choice. As she made her way into the lower level of the Void on Esseles where the Inquisitor had taken up temporary residence following her own injuries she did not know what to expect. It seemed that both of the women had come to hold one another responsible for the defeat. Her previous encounters with Inquisitors had often left her worse for wear. She had her pistol with her, but she knew it would not do a lick of good against one like Jessa. As the turbolift stopped on the lower level she found that it had already been redecorated from the opulence of when Min Traebor and Tosha Previn ruled from the facility.

Prav Ulmgo was stationed outside of the door that separated Inquisitor Thrope from the rest of the galaxy. While he was once a Padawan and a Commander during the Clone Wars, he now wore the simple black uniform of the Imperial Navy's flight division. He seemed nothing more than a manservant and personal pilot to the Inquisitor, without even her master, Lord Vader, being outwardly aware of his true role. As Commander Kiley approached he knew she was on the schedule, and in fact had been summoned, but he also had a role to play in setting the mood for the meeting. He raised his hand to slow the Commander as she approached, to make her wait, despite the fact that she had been prompt to the meeting. Reminding the Commander that it was the Inquisitor in charge was essential. "One moment, Commander," he said, politely, as he mentally counted down until he felt he had made her wait long enough. "You may enter," he finally said, as he activated the button that opened the large durasteel blast door that served to protect Jessa from the outside world ... and the outside world from Jessa. As the Commander entered, Prav followed, silently taking up position in the corner of the room, waiting if needed.

Inquisitor Thrope was not a happy woman. What had happened on Chandrila was a mess. A mess which *she* was going to blame on Commander Kiley. The Lepi was seated at her desk with her feet propped up. She massaged her temples slowly with her good paw. The other, though completely covered from time in the bacta tank, was free of her fur. Instead of looking at it and being reminded of the Mandalorian, she kept it under wraps. She was pissed that he had managed to trump her. He had also played a part in killing many of the Storm Commandos on her team. Her paw touched with her neck. She recalled Lord Vader choking the life out of her. She had fallen out of the grace of *both* Lord Vader and the Emperor.

When the door leading into her office opened, her eyes laid on Commander Kiley. She ignored the Clawdite, speaking to her Jedi slave. "Prav, will you be a dear and give me a massage?" She said, slowly lowering her feet from her desk. She bent forward to give him access to her shoulders. "Commander," Jessa said coolly, acknowledging her. There was a datapad in front of her on the desk. She picked it up, eyeing it. "Chandrila is not going well." She growled, slamming the datapad back down on the desk loudly. "Why are the ShadowWhispers performing so badly!?" She asked the woman. "Are your commanding skills really so poor? *How* many of your troopers did we just lose? Do you want to remind me!?"

With silent obedience Prav Ulmgo circled around behind Commander Kiley until he came to a resting position behind his Inquisitor. He reached forward grabbing hold of her shoulders and began rubbing at them vigorously. Anything he could do to please her he would do, as she had succeeded in gaining complete control over him. He never uttered a word, although there were times he would have liked to. As he listened to her begin to chastise the Storm commando Commander he wanted to smirk, he wanted to laugh, but his expression did not change. He simply remained focused on the task at hand, which was giving the Inquisitor the upper hand in the room.

As the manservant began to massage the Inquisitor, Kerrie arched an eyebrow, but she did not make a comment. These Inquisitors always believed in theatricality and stagecraft. When the Inquisitor began dressing her down she became angry ... and then very angry. Beneath her leather gloves her hands began to clench tightly into fists, while she broke off eye contact to look down at the ground instead of the Lepi. "Intelligence led us to believe they had cleared the planet of most Rebel sympathizers. There had been no Rebel attacks of note on the planet. There was no intelligence whatsoever of an organized, highly skilled Rebel cell operating on the surface," she reported, making several excuses as to what went wrong. "We were not facing some Chandrilans who picked up a cheap blaster and decided to oppose us. This unit was highly skilled, expertly trained, and experienced," she reported, as she rose her head and nodded her head firmly. "I think it is likely that we were up against individuals with military training. Perhaps even from one of our elite units," she concluded, after reviewing the tactics employed.

The massage was keeping Jessa seated. What she really wanted was to get in the Clawdite's face and scream at her over the failure. She had been furious for days. She said nothing more to Prav. He actually excelled at doing his job, unlike the foolish commando Commander. After she had dismissed Kerrie, she and Prav would laugh at the pathetic woman. For now, Jessa had to make her new position within the Void known. She could feel the Commander growing more and more angry. It was like a cool drink of water after wandering the hot, sandy plains of Tatooine. "Were you not aware that Rebels had broken through the blockade and were landing on Chandrila?" Jessa asked. "You know better than to blindly trust the intel you are giving. Intel is always changing. *Always*! Had you taken more precautions, perhaps your unit wouldn't have painted the walls of that damn warehouse." She shrugged Prav off and began rising from her chair. She grounded her desk slowly.

"Is that all you have for me, Commander? Because it isn't enough." She slowly sauntered towards Kerrie. "I *need* to know more about those in that Rebel cell, especially the man I fought with." The distance between them became less and less. "I've heard of your failures, Commander. I heard about your demotion too. Tsk, tsk. I'd think you would want to be more impressive in your new position. Of course, I can see you demoted to Ensign and assigned to Captain Updike." Jessa had been looking into her own intel in preparation for this meeting.

"Lieutenant Slin provided us details on the Rebel safehouse she received from an informant. Unfortunately, both the informant and Slin were eliminated. *No one* suspected we were up against professionals. We were expected frightened amateurs like the ones you dispatched at the Chandrila assembly," Kerrie continued, as she looked the Inquisitor square in the eye. "We were told those ships would likely be evacuating their people. We did not expect them to stand at fight. When Ralltiir was made example of they withdrew ... they did not fight," she said, as she continued to make excuses, when the Lepi finally began to rise and move in front of her. "I did *not* fail. My demotion was a personal matter involving a corrupt ISB officer whom the Grand Moff saw fit to remove ... personally," she said, finding herself now personally insulted, which only resulted in her tightening her fists even more. "Captain Updike is reckless ... uncontrollable ... ruthless ... and has no honor," she reported, but as she spoke the words she remembered whom she was addressing.

Jessa's eyes rolled. Of course Slin was dead. Most of their commandos were dead at this point. She listened to Kerrie's excuse, but they were only making her impending headache worse. "Stop, just stop." Jessa's good paw rose. She lifted the Commander from the floor by using the force, then thrust her hard against the back wall of Jessa's office. There was space between them again, but it wouldn't be for long. She took a single step forward. "I don't like excuses, Commander. What happened during our last trip to Chandrila was on *you*." Another step. "Captain Updike took added precautions before entering the building. I noted his use of a spy droid. What did you do for the safety of your commandos? Maybe I should call him in here. Prav...Summon Captain Updike. Let's see what he has to say. It seems the man has more honor than you." She toyed with Kerrie. She slowly began constricting the woman's windpipe with the force. It was a gentle action that Jessa didn't seem capable of performing. She had learned after messing with the Governor's wife. There was a careful art to destroying someone.

Kerrie was about to offer another reply and a quick defense of her actions when she felt her windpipe construct. "Ugh. Ugh," she gasped, as she brought her gloved hand to her throat instinctively to fight the invisible force throttling her. Her blue eyes widened as the color began to lose her face, as she desperately looked around the room for help that was not coming. As she began to lose her breath her human visage faded away, revealing the reptilian-like Clawdite appearance that lay beneath. She dropped down to her knees, continuing to gasp, with one hand around her throat, while the other was placed on the floor in front of her to keep herself from collapsing entirely.

Prav paid no attention to Inquisitor Thrope choking the commander, as he had a task to perform. Walking past the crumbling commander he did not even offer her a glance as he moved towards the comm unit. "Captain Updike to the Inquisitor's suite," he stated, plainly, over the comm as he fulfilled his duties. Only when he had issued the summons did he allow himself to turn and relish in the torture that Commander Kiley was being subjected to. Indeed the Inquisitor *was* powerful. There was much she could teach him that he was never able to learn in his limited, incomplete training during his youth in the forgotten Jedi Order.

Kaiya Crion's tail swooshed happily behind her. She had quietly stalked her Captain, and boyfriend, then pounced him into an unused training room. What had happened on Chandrila was disturbing even for the Cathar. Many of their comrades were dead. Most of the bodies had not been recovered from underneath the rubble of the warehouse. It had struck a chord inside of her, so she was sure Thaddy was feeling the same. As his girlfriend, she wanted to keep his mind preoccupied with the occasional pounce. She was purring loudly on top of him. "Thaddy, you're the best ever." There had even been close calls for her as of late. These last few months had seen her more injured than ever before. Her face nuzzled against his in a cat-like way all up until she heard the announcement over the comm. "Awww.." Her face shrunk. Her fun was over for now. "I wonder what the bunny wants." She began crawling off of him. "Maybe it's promotion time!! She seemed *really* angry this morning!" Kaiya reported, helping him to his feet.

"You need to be mindful, Kaiya. Inquisitor Thrope does not tolerate outbursts," Captain Updike said, as he adjusted his black Stormtrooper branch uniform. "How do I look?" he asked her, as he placed the black cap on top of his head. He turned from over his shoulder to look at her, and arched an eyebrow at her. "And don't call her 'bunny'," he warned her, with an exasperated sigh before he exited their quarters and began moving towards the turbolift. "I'm sure it's just another mission. Go here. Kill so and so. You know how it is," he said, as he led her to the turbolift and allowed the door to close on them. "Nothing ever happens it's here. It's our lot in life," he reminded her, as the turbolift descended down to the the Inquisitor's level. He expected at some point for her to blurt something out that might endanger her ... the easily excitable Cathar could just not help herself.

She nodded her head. "I'll be on my best behavior, Captain. You look sexy, Thaddy!" Kaiya followed him towards the turbolift as he reminded her about how boring life in the Void was. She let out her own annoyed sigh. "Nooo... I gotta say, this place is a step up from being stationed at the Governor's house, but not a very big step up." She grumbled. She felt impatient inside of the turbolift. The next time the doors opened, they were standing in the corridor leading to Inquisitor Thrope's office. Kaiya did her best to make herself professional. She patted down the front of her uniform. When she reached the door, she used the comm to announce them. "Nyah, Captain Updike is here to see you, Inquisitor."

Meanwhile, Jessa had continued to let Kerrie struggle to breathe. The Lepi fed off of her suffering. It was hard to control herself...hard to stop. At last, her paw fell to her hip and she released the Clawdite. She sensed Updike and his Cathar bitch waiting outside her door. "Prav, please greet our guests. They may join us now." She demanded, turning her back on her prey. She approached her desk where withdrew glasses from her top drawer. There was soon to be celebration in her office. Good news to make up for all the shit news Commander Kiley had presented her with.

Prav nodded to his mistress before moving towards the large blast door that separated Jessa's office from the rest of the void. With a subtle motion of his hand he opened the blast door, revealing the presence of Captain Updike and Trooper Crion. Despite his own complex relationship with the Inquisitor he sneered at the couple, finding their match to be decidedly unsuited. "The Inquisitor will see you now," he said, before bowing to the pair, and then stepping aside to allow them entry.

Captain Updike nodded to Prav, whom he assumed was only a manservant. When he stepped into the Inquisitor's office he spotted Commander Kiley on the floor, gasping for breath, seeming to be on her last legs. He quickly brought a hand up behind him in an attempt to silence Kaiya, who he feared would make a comment. "Captain Updike reported as ordered, Inquisitor," he said, as he assumed a more rigid military posture. He could not help but allow his eyes to roll down at the pathetic sight of his commander writhing on the floor. Finally, he thought.

For Kaiya Crion, the sight that welcomed her in the bunny's office was amazing! She wished she could take a picture. This was one moment she wanted to relive over and over again. The Cathar picked up on her boyfriend's clue and remained absolutely silent. She took in the image of Kerrie. It seemed that the Inquisitor had not taken the immense loss of commandos well. Kaiya's eyes said what her mouth couldn't: she was excited.

Inquisitor Thrope lowered herself into the seat behind her desk. "Please, sit. Updike. Crion." Though she had not summoned the cat, Jessa didn't object to her presence. There was enough xenophobia in the Empire without her adding into it. As a Lepi, she had to do much to command respect from her superiors. At the very least, Governor Rodney's lack of xenophobic feelings made him better than other Imperials she had worked beside. Jessa brought a glass bottle of strong Corellian whiskey from her drawer. She poured gracious amounts for both the Captain and his trooper, then added some to her own glass. She set the bottle down and sat back. "I am unimpressed with Commander Kiley's work with the commandos. I'm looking to make a promotion... The question is, are *you* going to fail me, Updike?"

Captain Updike stepped forward, making a deliberate point of stepping over Commander Kiley's fallen body. He moved into position in one of the chairs in front of Inquisitor Thrope's desk, allowing his hands to fold neatly in his lap. "It was to be expected, Inquisitor, the Commander was a military aide the past several years," he said, as that familiar sneer crept upon his face. "She is best suited for standing around fetching datapads," he explained, as he did his best to help push the Commander under the speeder bus. He looked to Kaiya, trying to do his best not to smirk.

Kerrie let out a gasp of air as soon as the telekinetic grip on her had been released. She could move, let alone get up, and so she lay upon the floor coughing as she tried to collect herself. Blood vessels had burst from the lack of the oxygen, and the color had left her grey, reptilian skin. She felt awful and perhaps had come as close to death as she had ever done before. As she lay there she could hear perhaps one word in three of what the Inquisitor and Captain Updike were saying ... it was not good ... but she had no ability to defend herself ... verbally or physically.

"A military aide? That *does* explain it. I've met with the Governor's aide. We all know what she's good for." Jessa snorted. She took a drink. She wanted to get her mind off of the fight with the Mandalorian and the fact that he had actually hurt her. Until her fur grew back, her arm was a constant reminder of what a sore loser she was. She wanted that man dead. "Perhaps that's what she shall do from now on... Fetch datapads, read me my morning report." Jessa rose to her feet. She could see that Kerrie had decided to rejoin the group. The Lepi crouched down in front of her. "You're not looking so good, Commander. I think the weight of responsibility is crushing you. Tsk. Tsk. Tsk." Jessa's paw ran over the front of her uniform. She ripped the rank insignia from her shirt so hard that it left a hole. "What does this mean to you, Commander? As far as I see it, it means *nothing*." Her tone went nasty as hate drowned her brain.

Kerrie was gasping for air, trying to regain her composure when the Inquisitor came to loom over her. Before she could react her rank insignia was stripped from her uniform. She had gone from a Major to Commander and now, she feared, something worse. She had enjoyed the protection of Grand Moff Rodney for many years, but now it seemed she had been forgotten, forced to dwell in this pit of vipers and fight for her life everyday. She reached weakly to attempt to reclaim her rank insignia, but her vision was blurred, and she could not lift her arm enough. "Ugh. Ugh," she groaned, as she pathetically swatted at it, hitting all of the air around it, but never grasping it. Finally, when she had exerted herself more than she should have, she fell backwards, laying flat on her back and looking to the ceiling in pathetic desperation. She had been broken by this Inquisitor that the ISB had never before managed.

Captain Updike turned in his chair, but did not stand, watching in delight as Commander Kiley was thoroughly humiliated. He wondered if she would even survive this. As the Inquisitor's back was to them, he momentarily turned to look towards Kaiya, offering her a quick grin. Success, it seemed, was at hand. As much as he wanted a promotion ... he wanted to see Commander Kiley suffer more. Now it seemed he was going to get both. He reached across, placing his hand upon Kaiya's thigh, squeezing it to keep from crying out in exaltation.

It was turning into an infinitely better day than Kaiya had expected. While the managed to stay calm and seated, it was her tail that flicked through the air and showcased her excitement. She had imagined hurting Commander Kiley before, but this, this was *so* much better. She sat at the front row to the greatest show on Esseles. Her whiskers twitched, attention briefly diverting towards her boyfriend. She, too, flashed him a quick snicker. They had chased the Mandalorian out and now, at last, Kerrie was getting what she deserved. Her paw fell on top of Thaddeus', clinging onto it. Undoubtedly, he'd be able to feel how her body was shaking with happy anticipation of what was to come next.

Jessa boredly watched the Clawdite attempt to reclaim her rank insignia. She let the woman paw at it pathetically until she could fight no more. "I thought so." Jessa commented, rising to her feet. She lazily stepped over Kerrie on her way back to her desk. Her booted feet hit against the woman's body just to add salt to her wounds. She held the rank insignia which she soon presented to Captain Updike. "I trust you won't disappoint me in the same ways she did, *Commander* Updike." She placed the rank insignia on her desk in front of him. "At the very least, I see your Trooper girlfriend doesn't fear showing her true colors... Unlike Kerrie over there. It's pathetic, isn't it? Prav! Warm my carrots." She demanded of her manservant, rounding her desk to sit upon the chair's plush cushions. "Do nothing with Kerrie Kiley. She makes for a lovely rug."

"I will not fail," *Commander* Updike said as he rose from his seat, with the commander's insignia firmly in his grasp. With a bow of his head, he dutifully began to walk from the room, unable to believe his luck. "Come, Crion," he said, in a commanding, professional voice in an attempt to seem authoritative in front of the Inquisitor. As the blast door closed behind them, separating them from the Inquisitor and her considerable ears he let out a cheer. "That went so much better than I could have ever imagined," he told her, before lowering his hands to her thighs, and lifting her in the air, before spinning her in a flourish. "Give your Commander a kiss," he told her, as he allowed her to fall back on her feet.

Prav nodded to the Inquisitor, as he looked down at the Clawdite and laughed condescendingly. He remembered the Clawdites from the Clone Wars ... he was surprised that Kerrie was even permitted off Zolan. Later he would suggest to the Inquisitor that she be shipped back to Zolan in a cage with the rest of her people. As he moved to the small kitchen on the side of her office he busied himself in the work of preparing her meal. Whatever she needed, he was happy to oblige. Whenever he saw her behave in such a powerful way he was intoxicated.

There was a noticeable skip in Kaiya's step as she rose from her seat. She bowed and walked out of Inquisitor Thrope's office as calmly as she could manage. It lasted only long enough for the blast doors to close, then she let out a happy cheer. "*Yay*! *Thaddy*!!" She continued to cheer in their moment of triumph while he spun her around. The Cathar hadn't been this happy in some time. When her feet touched the ground, she remained close to him. "Yes, *Commander*." She kissed him lovingly. At long last, Thaddy was finally receiving the attention he deserved... While Kerrie suffered. The celebration was only beginning for the couple.

Jessa was feeling intoxicated too. The fear of the Clawdite had made her feel *very* alive. She loved terrorizing all the moron Imperials she was forced to work with. The Lepi didn't wait for Prav to come back. Instead, she rose. She swiftly passed the body of Kerrie and continued on into the small kitchen. She came up behind her manservant, wrapping her arms around his waist. "I love it when you watch me bring down our enemies." She whispered against his ear. She rubbed herself against him gently. "The carrots can wait." Her voice held implications. He'd know exactly where this was going.

Each breath put a little more strength in Kerrie's body. As she lay there being passed over by those around her she attempted to reflect on her fate and all of the decisions she had made to bring her to this point. In her mind she was a little girl on Zolan again, being abandoned by her family and given over to the Mabari for training. This was Claudius Rodney's fault. He had destroyed her family, and now he, like her own father, had abandoned her to this. Eventually she managed to sit up, and as soon as she could she channeled her limited strength to shift back into her Human appearance. She placed her hands on the floor, giving herself a boost to try and stand up. She failed, landing back on her butt for a moment. She grunted, before pushing herself back onto her feet. She was a mess and she felt awful, and now it seemed she had neither a rank nor a purpose. Lowering her head, she marched out of the Inquisitor's office in total defeat ... she had reached her low point.

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