The bridge of the Victory-class
Star Destroyer, Tenacity was abuzz with activity. Though the
commanding officer was not present therein, the second in command seemed
to be alive and well, delegating orders, checking duty rosters and
ushering an intense, professional glare into the main viewport when it
seemed appropriate. Currently, the sensors officer seemed to have the
spotlight directed upon her, as Tristan ordered the hapless woman to run
an active sensor sweep over the Ringali Nebula. "Sir?" the
lieutenant replied, taking a small step back. "The readings will be
inconclusive. Scrambled, what with all the noise and false returns ... are
you sure you want me to-"
"You heard the order, lieutenant."
A decidedly feminine voice broke through
the momentary silence as Captain T'Jarell's ready room door swept open,
and the woman herself stepped onto the scene. She offered the young
sensors officer a lopsided grin then bid her continue in her assigned
duties. Slow, deliberate strides accelerated her approach to the head of
the bridge as she paused a mere arm's length from Krauss. "You've been
busy, Commander." She observed with a smirk. "Don't run them so haggard.
I'm not the Emperor and you're hardly Lord Vader. What exactly do you
think you're attempting to do here ... impress me?" She taunted him with a
As the Captain approached he turned to
meet her eyes for but a moment returning to the sensors officer at hand
"You heard the Captain," turning back to Rhia he smiled shortly before
clearing his throat "Impress you? No, I'm afraid if I were attempting to
do that I'd be making a comparison to a shuura fruit, for example." a
subtle wink slipping loose as he turned back to Sub Lieutenant Huhtala
"she is lucky, you know, that I am not in fact Lord Vader." a hearty
chuckle slipping loose as he awaited the results of the scan. A swift
glance to the left and right, a check upon the rest of the crews'
officers, speaking up so that all could hear "Situational report, now."
Canting her head slightly, Rhiannon
lowered her gaze to the tip of the Commander's boots, then let it float
up - ever so slowly - resting upon his chest plate for a moment, then
finally relaxing upon the man's sober features. "Are we under attack? If
not, I suggest you run a passive scan over that nebula, and leave on
your break when done. I've got this," she nodded as-a-matter of factly
and chuckled, shaking her head. "One day, Krauss, you and I are going to
get wasted and laugh over this. Your pants are waaaay too tight in the
crotch. The Grand Moff isn't here. Chill out. We run the ship as we've
always ran it. Now, get on with it."
Her signal for him to leave was clear
and he would not protest, well maybe a little, "Why not go ahead and
start early? As for my pants, well they're not as tight as you might
think. Whether or not the 'Moff' is here does not bother me and I shall
'get on with it'. Perhaps, you'll meet me at some point, eh?" turning on
the heel of his boot to leave he took a couple of quick steps before
stopping and once again turning to face Huhtala "Ah, yes, almost
forgot...silly Vader in me and all, best to swap that scan over to a
passive before I fetch my saber." continuing back towards the exit of
the bridge he stopped at the blast door leaving one comment behind "So,
how about that shuura fruit, Captain?"
Among the bustling space lanes that
dominated the Essesia system, the Lambda-class T-4a shuttle
Kwai seemed one of the less assuming vessels. Aboard this shuttle
was noneother than the Regional Governor of the Ringali Shell who was en
route to the nearby Star Destroyer Tenacity for a surprise
inspection of the newly arrived Captain T'Jarell. Without warning, the
shuttle began to spin along its vertical axis as the pilot executed an
unauthorized evasive manuever. In nearly an instant the small craft had
lurched 360-degrees sending the Grand Moff thrashing about in the
passenger compartment. The middle-aged Alderaanian grit his teeth in
frustration, and angrily smashed his hand down upon the communications
panel to speak with the pilot. "Exactly what are you trying to
accomplish, Lieutenant, other than spoiling my lunch?" he snarled, while
moving to strap himself into the safety harness.
"Hey, you try flying this thing between
a bunch of ships all day. I've got to keep myself awake somehow,"
Lieutenant 'Ran' Trainor replied cheerfully over the comm. "Now strap
yourself in because we're coming in hot!" she said, her youthful glee
coming over her as she accelerated the craft to its top cruising speed.
Her proximity alarms began to flash as the looming presence of the
Tenacity began to dominate her viewport. "Shuttle Kwai on
final approach," she announced to the flight controller of the
Tenacity. As she entered the hangar she rapidly pulled back on the
throttle, bringing the craft to an incredibly quick halt with the use of
her thrusters. Her left index finger snapped down on the button that
began the simultaneous process of raising the shuttle's wings and
lowering the landing struts. "We're here, Governor," she yelled through
the sealed blast door, rather than use the communication panel.
Claudius let out a tremendous sigh that
roared through the rear compartment, wondering why he still continued to
employ such a pilot. He was too much of a sentimental and collected
people the way some collected little figurines. Unstrapping the harness,
he adjusted his olive-grey uniform that had grown quite unkempt from the
thrashing about he had just been put through at the hands of the young
pilot. As the ramp at the aft of the craft descended, he slowly made his
way down into the destroyer's hangar bay, casually placing his hand upon
his stomach, which too had been jostled. "Alert Captain T'Jarell to my
arrival..." he said, as his eyes began to look over the interior of the
Rhia was just finishing up her review of
the passive scan when word came in that the Grand Moff Claudius Rodney
had arrived and was making his way to the bridge. Hopefully. Great.
Rhia's countenance became a poker face almost instantly as she wondered
about the reason for this sudden visit. Perhaps Mrs. Rodney kicked him
out of the house? Who knew... No matter; he was here now, and Rhia's ship
was seemingly in shambles where the crew was concerned. Glancing quickly
to her first officer, she assumed a stoic, emotionless posture.
"Commander Krauss, please see to our guest. We must not keep the
governor waiting. See that he finds his way to the bridge without
further delay and for your sake, Commander ..." she paused to offer
a long stare, as if to punctuate her final phrase, "... do not
disappoint me." The last bit was meant to put emphasis on the fact that
the Hapan captain wanted to create just the right impression when it
came to her command. In private, they could be whoever they wanted to
be; but with a high-up Government Official present, they had to be what
was necessary: a picture-perfect Imperial crew, without reproach.
Turning to face the Captain as she put
forth her best professional effort, he stifled a chuckle, which he found
rather cute he would make his way once again back to her side "Of
course, Captain, nothing but the best from the crew of Tenacity
Ma'am, and I will see to it that we partake of that shuura fruit after
all..." with a wry smirk and a wink he was off to greet the oh so esteemed
and Grand, Moff of Moffs. Quickening his pace as he exited the doors of
the bridge he made his way to the main turbolift, several minutes later
he found himself in the hangar bay. Stepping up next to the deck officer
he stared down at the man before him "Grand Moff Rodney, have you made
contact with him yet?"
The deck officer would render a crisp
salute and respond in kind to the Commander "No, sir, but his shuttle
has docked, you may check there sir."
Returning a quick salute in kind Tristan
would nod and make his way towards the pointed out shuttle on the deck
of the hangar bay. His pace quicker than ever as he came to a stop at
the foot of the extended ramp he glanced around quickly and spotted the
Grand Moff. Snapping to attention and rendering a firm salute as he
greeted the V.I.P. "Sir, Commander Tristan Krauss reporting to escort you
to the bridge, sir."
The Grand Moff nodded politely to
Commander Krauss, his eyes scanning him over with the intensity of a
deep sensor sweep. When he was a mere Admiral he attempted to know each
and every officer under his command, but now that he was a regional
governor he felt as if he barely knew a soul. "Commander ... Krauss," he
began, as his eyes returned to eye level and he instinctively rubbed his
two hands together in anticipation. "Would you kindly escort me to the
bridge? I would speak with your Captain," he said, with a surprising
note of pleasantry that might have been unfamiliar to a serving line
Lowering his salute crisply and keeping
his hands to his sides he nodded "Of course, your Excellency, she is
awaiting your presence as we speak. It will be but a few moments, if you
will just follow me this way, governor." turning back towards the way he
had come and the turbolift which would take them back up to the bridge
where Rhia and their crew awaited them. Taking a couple of steps slowly
to ensure that the Grand Moff was indeed ready to follow him before
picking up the pace. Several minutes later and they were both stepping
onto the bridge from the turbolift. Once again Tristan snapped to
attention calling out so that all could hear "Attention on deck!"
Rhiannon had just dispensed with the
last of the instructions she had to give to one of her underlings as her
first officer's words resounded across the bridge. Without turning, she
patiently finished acknowledging the young ensign's report, then
dismissed the man, finally pivoting toward the main entrance facing the
catwalk. She stood upright, steady and straight as an arrow, her
voluptuous frame attired in the dove-grey uniform typical of the
Imperial Navy, twin rows of rank plate designations and matching
cylinders gleaming across her upper left breast. Her glorious chestnut
hair was swept up in a crisp, clean bun that hung inches above the nape
of her neck. Her hands were gloved and lightly clasped behind her back
as she awaited the arrival of her 'special guest'.
His boots clamored upon the walkway of
the Tenacity's bridge as he left the company of Commander Krauss
and methodically made his way towards the Hapan captain he had come to
see. His eyes glared downwards into the crew pits, hoping to catch sight
of some hapless officer or NCO who might make an impression on. To his
slight surprise he found everything in order, and no fault could be
found by the time he arrived in the presence of the taller woman. "I am
pleased to see you have found your uniform, Captain. I had feared you
might have left in the Outer Rim territories and I'm afraid the
Rebellion have made it quite difficult for us to find a suitable tailor
on planet..." he said, in a manner that was both half serious and half
jovial. "I trust you and your crew are taking to your new assignment
with ease?" he asked, as his hands clasped behind his back as typing
during 'small talk'.
"Your Excellency." Came Rhia's crisp
salute as she acknowledged her superior's arrival. "The assignment isn't
exactly new; the only thing that's changed is geography." Lowering her
long lashes, she offered him a demure smile, before offering a wide,
sweeping gesture toward the head of the bridge. "Did you find everything
satisfactory so far? And along that line, is there anything specific you
were interested in, before I invite you to take your ease in my ready
Allowing his excellency to put some
amount of distance between him before finally following in step and
coming to his Captains side, professional yet suave, and speaking not a
peep unless spoken to or asked for his opinion. Admittedly, he did not
like the idea of them being alone in her ready room. This caused some
slight pain in the frontal lobes.
"To my mild surprise everything seems to
be in order, so far, Captain," Claudius replied, pausing briefly only to
glance over the bridge once more. "I have come to speak with you about
the matter you briefed me on the other day. Perhaps it would be wise to
move to your ready room..." he concluded in agreement, having come across
the potential for too many unknown crew members to leak their plot. "As
I am a guest aboard your vessel, please lead the way..."and with that he
stepped to the side, and extended his arm in a dramatic flourish, giving
her ample room to maneuver past him.
Rhiannon did not need to be told twice
as she walked ahead of the Grand Moff, leading the way to her ready
room. It did not matter that he walked behind her; in her culture it was
the norm, and if he found the need to admonish her for it later, so be
it - she could take any discipline he was about to dish out. Nothing
would have made her happier than being dismissed from the Imperial Navy,
but a part of her wanted to complete at least one more assignment before
she parted ways with her new boss - preferably on good terms.
Approaching her ready room doors, Rhia waited until the proximity sensor
activated, causing the heavy durasteel slabs part way before them as if
they were made of air. Taking a single step inside, Rhia turned
perpendicular to the entrance as she waited for Rodney to pass within
and ahead of her. "Please, make yourself at home, sir," she indicated
with a gesture of her arm as one hand pointed toward the high wing-back
chair situated just behind a heavy onyx desk. She would join him as soon
as he took his ease, provided he found the arrangements ... agreeable.
Captain T'Jarell's office lacked many of
the amenities he had grown accustomed to, as it was an older design and
she was of lower rank ... no matter. "Thank you, Captain," Claudius said
politely, moving to take a seat on the other side of the desk. "I find
as I age that the one commodity I cannot replace is time. So I will do
you the favor of not taking up too much of yours..." he began, bringing up
his right leg to drape it over his right to become more comfortable.
"There are some on my staff who advise against executing your strategy,
but I declined to take their recommendations. I thought I would come see
for myself if I have made the right decision," he explained to her in
the most honest and deliberate of ways. He lowered his head slightly,
pausing to reflect on his recent conversations before continuing. "How
much time do you need to prepare for battle?" he asked, a highlight of
color flashing to his cheeks that was not often seen upon him as of
Listening to the Governor speak, the
captain elected to remain standing as she was, merely advancing toward
the desk and keeping a respectful distance. "I could use a few days to
inform the crew of the endeavor we're about to undertake. The supplies I
need are all here, so it is merely a question of planning and
organization. I am sure Commander Krauss would be very useful to me on
this mission, so unless you have any objections, I will have him placed
as the head of the task force? I will, of course, oversee the entire
operation and keep you informed. The easy part will be placing the
charges and getting the nebula and the shielded ships within - lit up.
The hard part ... will be executing the action that comes afterwards. If
the Rebels are there, then we will need sufficient forces to wipe them
out. I can provide you with the placements of various fleet craft as I
see it, but ultimately, the final command would rest with you. I don't
want to presume anything, sir," she paused for a moment, leveling her
gaze seriously with is. "Let us be frank. I am a woman, commanding a
capital ship in the Imperial Navy. I can lay in the ground work, but
having it all executed properly ... I am not sure that your forces would
hearken to my command, sir."
"Commander Krauss?" Claudius repeated,
as if he had never heard the name, before remembering that it was the
officer that had brought him to the bridge. He had seen thousands of
young men in uniform over his career and they all seemed to blend into
one another. An officer would have to leave quite the impression to be
worthy of remembrance at this point of his career. "Oh yes. Of course.
Have him brought in," the Grand Moff commanded, before turning slightly
in his chair to look towards the doors. The young man was likely to be
right outside, and he waited patiently for the officer's arrival. There
were many senior commanders more suitable for the role, and as such he
found her choice curious and one worthy of study.
While the two were busy in her ready
froom Tristan decided to get down to business, so to speak, quickly he
made his way towards the ready room and the nearby food dispenser his
fingers tapping on the screen ever so lightly while meandering through
an assortment of fruit. Coming upon one fruit in particular, the Avedame
fruit used specifically to distill alcohol, he thought for a long moment
and it was decided this was the one! Pressing the button he waited a few
moments before the fruit was dispensed and in front of him, plopping the
bitter and nasty fruit onto a nearby platter he quickly cut the fruit
into assorted bits and pieces.
Grabbing the platter with both hands,
two forks on the platter to boot, he made his way to the ready room
announcing his presence, excuse ready if he were to get his head bitten
off by chance, and passed through the threshold. "Sir, ma'am I have
brought some delicious delights for you two to debate over." a subtle
wry smirk towards the Captain before he spoke again "I trust all is
"Ah, Commander Krauss," Rhia beamed up
at the officer. "You must have read our minds, for we were about to
summon you. Please, stay a moment. The Governor has some questions for
you so take a seat and indulge His Excellency and myself for a little
while. I trust the bridge can run itself without any explosions or other
imminent disasters." Emitting a subtle wink in Tristan's direction, Rhia
took up one of the free chairs across Claudius, before crossing her legs
and turning to her first officer, expecting him to do the same.
"How quaint," Claudius mused as he
reached for the fork and decided to sample a piece of the fruit. "I
cannot begin to tell you how many of this meetings I have in the course
of the day and it so seldom that anyone thinks to serve snacks..." he
commented, before placing the largest chunk of the fruit into his mouth.
There was a pause as he chewed and swallowed, deliberately taking his
time to ensure his control over the flow of events. "Tell me, Commander,
have you seen many battles?" he asked, shifting his focus from the man
to the fruit ... which seemed the more promising of the pair for the time
The request to stay behind left him a
little off guard but he nodded in kind "Of course, Captain." venturing
over to one of the nearby seats he took his place and folded his hands
into his lap. His emotional state turned to one of a stoic calm rather
than onset panic from what the Grand Moff was about to experience with
this rather shit tasting fruit he'd concocted up just for His
Excellency. The first question was the usual, or so he figured, "Three
or four years worth now, your Excellency, all under Captain T'Jarell and
all of which, if I may so myself, have been the most outstanding years
of my short life. I'm sure she would agree." a simple smile was
exchanged between the Grand Moff and Rhia.
Claudius' gaze alternated between the
Captain and the Commander, wondering if something was going on between
the two. "I'll get to the matter at hand, Commander..." he continued,
rising from his seat after finishing a third piece of the fruit. "Your
Captain has recommended you for an upcoming assignment that could give
the Empire it's first true naval victory in this campaign. Do you feel
you are up for it?" he asked, canting his head slightly as he sized the
man up while awaiting his response.
The follow up question was something he
had not expected and took a moment to consider his answer "More than
ever but I'd request that the Captain accompany me during my assignment
if said assignment were to not take place onboard the Tenacity
your Excellency." looking to Rhia beside him "if, of course, she does
not object." smiling softly before returning the man's stare.
The female captain merely shook her head
at her subordinate, clearly indicating that she did not object. The
final word, however, rested with the Governor.
"In for a credit for a kilogram,"
Claudius reasoned, looking over the Captain and the Commander once more.
"Very well, Captain. You have my approval to proceed..." he said, offering
a quick nod before moving towards the doorway. "Two weeks!" he ordered,
without turning his head to speak at them directly. Much was riding on
this decision and he had hoped he had made the correct one, but only
time would tell. For now his sole thought was whether or not he would
survive Lieutenant Trainor's shuttle ride home.