Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Sean Brandt, Kit Gwynne, and Sarah Riggs-Shute.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:1:18) in the Essesia system: Interrogator and Servitude.
Major Serra Eona, High Inquisitor Serine Thanor, and Colonel Mark Veller.

The Lambda-class shuttle was lifting off the platform, its wings folding down as the landing gear rose into the belly of the ship. Esseles had been the center of a great deal of work for Major Serra Eona, and she doubted it would be her last trip to the planet's surface. For now, however, her work was done, and it was time to make what she felt was a much more positive report than the last one she'd made about her planetside visit. An automated transmission had been sent a few hours earlier, alerting the High Inquisitor that Serra would be making contact within a few minutes of this time. This sort of planning no doubt would seem superfluous to most, but for Serra and many others who had spent most of their careers as agents of Imperial Intelligence, it was habit. Right on time she was standing at the holoterminal, its scanners reading her image to broadcast it to the Interrogator. The initial answer was from a communications officer, who opened up the receivers and saw the crackly blue image of the Major. "Major Serra Eona. Scheduled communication for High Inquisitor Thanor. Patch through using clearance 02-176." The code would ensure the channel was secure, the communication reserved exclusively for Serine and none other. With a nod the officer set to work, and soon enough the holoterminal in Serine's quarters would alert her to an incoming call.

It had only been a few days since last Serine had summoned Major Eona and High Colonel Veller to her office to discuss private matters, so the Inquisitor was quite surprised to hear a request for communication coming from her Intel officer so soon. There was really only one matter at hand so important to Serine that Serra would waste absolutely no time in reporting, even so much as to report while on a shuttle to rendezvous with the Interrogator. With that simple request, suddenly everything that had mattered for the past few hours meant nothing. The Inquisitor immediately cleared her schedule and made haste to her office in order to receive the transmission that would be arriving any minute. Anxious, but confident in the report that Major Eona would give her, she quickly entered her office and swiftly reached her desk where the holoterminal was and stared at it intently. She had been rather uncharacteristically apprehensive about the state of her apprentice, Inquisitor Kia Kaen, and had trusted her Intel officer a great deal to locate her. Serine sat motionless at her desk, forced to wait rather impatiently. Tense and a bit uptight, she waited silently for word from Major Eona. For that woman's sake, it better be a favorable report.

It didn't take long for the receiver on Serine's desk to come to life. A burst of blue light shot from the center of the holoterminal and proceeded to fizzle into place until it presented an image of the Major, standing with her hands folded behind her back. "High Inquisitor. I have made contact and the package is en route to delivery. It will be traveling with a companion. I knew you would want to know prior to its arrival, so I felt it prudent to contact you immediately, as its courier may prove faster than my own shuttle." Tonric had seemed fairly confident about his ship's speed, and she wasn't about to have Kia showing up before Serra had a chance to inform Serine of a successful mission.

Serine was extremely relieved to hear that not only had Serra successfully found and contacted Kia, but they were on their way and may even arrive before her. A soft sigh eased from her, now she could afford to be a bit more relaxed, and slowly eased back into her chair in a more comfortable posture. "Excellent, Major Eona," the Inquisitor said, extremely impressed by the speed of which this sensitive and personal mission was carried out. But what she had not expected, was to hear that Inquisitor Kaen would not be traveling alone. Apparently Serine could not in fact relax in the slightest, this news caused her to grow suddenly tense and a bit sullen. She leaned forward in her chair somewhat aggressively, staring heatedly at the fabricated image. "What companion?!" She snapped angrily, her eyes narrowed in a look of disdain that covered up what would have been the appearance of real concern. Serine had been separated from her apprentice for more than three months. Absolutely anything could have happened in that time, and that realization began to swarm her mind with a multitude of unfavorable possibilities. This companion could quite possibly be anyone and anything harmful, and the thought of having this individual dispatched immediately had occurred to her. "What do you know of this ... person?" She impatiently growled, not at all attempting to shield her scorn at this whole notion.

The fact Kia was traveling with another had been of some concern, but at the end of the day there was little she could do about it on short notice without risking Kia's life and loyalty. Serra very well remembered how difficult the conversation about Kia's family had been, and while that matter had been handled eventually, robbing her of a friend would no doubt do more harm than good.
"Very little, High Inquisitor. I was not aware of the companion until I made contact." Serra paused for a moment, debating on how much to reveal through the holoterminal. While it was a secure line, she never trusted such things explicitly. Still, there didn't seem to be a good way to address this without either breaking security protocols or pissing off the Sith, and the latter was likely the far worse option. "His name is Tonric. Perhaps your Apprentice mentioned him before. They seem rather close, and have evidently been traveling together. They were both rather insistent on his presence."

This was extremely upsetting the Inquisitor as now it was starting to sound like Kia had found someone special in her life ... and Serine had gone through great lengths to explain exactly why this was such a bad practice. Agitated beyond her comfort, Serine abruptly stood from her chair to pace in front of her desk in an irate manner. She just did not have enough information, though Major Eona could not have put it in a more inappropriate light. As she paced back and forth, she pondered the situation more carefully. Perhaps both woman were jumping to conclusions a bit too rapidly. Serine believed her apprentice was responsible enough to have her own subordinate, and if that was what Kia was attempting, she would be far more agreeable to the notion. Despite the Inquisitor being caught by surprise and angered by the whole situation, she was extremely grateful for the outstanding work her Intel officer did, but apparently Serra's work was never done as now Serine had a new mission for her.

"I need you to find out *everything* there is to know about this ... Tonric. And I mean everything, do you understand, Major?" Said as she slammed a hand down on her desk in emphasis that this was absolutely imperative. This companion could be a spy, an assassin, a rebel ... anything! This suddenly grew not only into a security risk, but also a personal risk. She could not allow her apprentice to be caught up into foolishness or placed into great danger by other's negligence. Kia meant too much to Serine to put up with anything other than perfection here, and once again the Major would find herself placed upon another personal and very sensitive task by the Inquisitor.

Serine's reaction wasn't beyond what Serra expected. In their brief time together, Serra had already gained a fairly clear understanding of the woman. She waited, ever patient, as Serine stormed about and processed what had been said. Could Serra have painted things in a more favorable light? Of course she could have, but the Sith needed a point of focus for her anger, and Serra intended to direct it appropriately. She didn't overtly suggest the man was anything more than a traveling companion, keeping herself clean of potentially incorrect assumptions, but with just enough of a hint that Serine might get the wrong idea. The new mission was something she had anticipated as well, and even if it hadn't come as a direct order, the Intel officer would have been pursuing it anyway. She had no intention of letting a stranger wander around this ship without knowing everything she possibly could about them. "As you say, High Inquisitor. I will begin my research immediately."

The Inquisitor had every reason to have great confidence in Major Eona now, as the previous slight a few days prior that resulted in mild physical discipline was all but forgotten. If anything, Serine's opinion of her Intel officer grew exponentially, but with that, the ever increasing expectations for success. "Very good, Major. I expect a few report within a day," she said in a firm tone with no room for negotiations. A reasonable amount of time for such an extensive background check would have been a few days in the least, but the demands of an Inquisitor were notorious for being unreasonable. And with that, the communication line between them was severed by the High Inquisitor, as she had no need or desire to even wait for that woman to respond. Her mind was now completely absorbed with this ... companion her apprentice had collected. This whole situation was sudden and unexpected which made her uneasy and restless at best. She knew absolutely nothing about this person and yet he was going to be arriving shortly with her apprentice. Serine continued to heavily pace around her room now a bit distraught, as this was upsetting the Inquisitor far more than she would have liked. She needed to clear her mind and the best way she could do that productively was to vent some steam in one of the training facilities. She pondered this for a moment and decided it would be for the best, and she could do with a bit of physical training today.

Mark pushed aside the many dossiers and decided it was time for a break. Heading over to the training area, he chased everyone out (rank does have a few privileges) and changed into his practice clothes. Wearing loose pants and a tank top that did nothing to hide his trim muscular body, Mark stepped out onto the practice mat, his bare feet getting a feel for the mat before nodding to the sensor. Within a few seconds, the program activated and Mark found himself facing several training droids.

The ensuing combat drew the eye. Mark's style was graceful yet his mastery of it with his precise strikes made it almost seem as though he was dancing through his opponents. One by one, his opponents started to fall, the droids registering fatal strikes and falling to the ground deactivated.

When the opponents were down to one, another set activated, coming at Mark with stun batons. If anything, Mark seemed to move even faster, though now he was starting to work up a sweat, his dark wavy hair getting slicked down, his ice blue eyes intent on his targets. When he was down to one target, he noticed the entrance of someone into the training facility. A quick move to dodge the droid then quickly put it down, put the visitor into his sights and he was intrigued to see it was the High Inquisitor, not really surprised as it would have taken someone of a higher rank than him to gain access to the facility.

As the last one fell, he took a deep breath and then, instead of calling for the next simulation, he said in a clear voice, "Recover the droids." He had worked up quite a sweat but was by no means exhausted. The AI that ran the facility brought the "dead" droids back to life and they limped off, some of them picking up pieces of themselves.

The moment the Inquisitor stepped into the training facility did she immediately notice High Colonel Veller practicing with a series of target droids. She had anticipated a room full of drilling Stormtroopers as this had been their scheduled time. Serine had been fully prepared to abruptly remove them all from the premise to allow her the sole monopoly on this facility. Thus, she had been quite surprised to instead see the lone Colonel there, though she assumed he had himself demanded this area to himself for the time being and that was why it was otherwise empty. If so, he seemed to be filling into his superior rank handedly, and not afraid to push his weight around. The Inquisitor arrived at the end of his training exercise so she did not have the opportunity to witness anything she would have deemed impressive or ... disappointing. Regardless, he was now, like the Stormtroopers before him, a hindrance to her own goals for this area, and would need to be removed.

The Inquisitor was about to voice her demands, but paused for a moment, the air she had just breathed in to speak was eased out slowly with a new thought crossing her mind. There was a moment in which Serine considered Veller to be potential practice target, and likely far more formidable than a handful of droids, even programmed to their highest difficulty setting. But since she was unsure if he could even handle such responsibilities, or be hardy enough to consider, she needed to quickly test his reflexes to get a gauge if he was worthy enough or a complete waste of her time. It was very wise for Mark to not turn his back to Serine, because if he had, he would have unlikely been able to anticipate or dodge what came next. Fortunately, and smartly, Mark kept the Inquisitor in his field of view, and in the corner of his vision he would see a blur of movement. The strike came suddenly and without any warning as lightwhip coils unraveled in mid-air, flying with incredible speed towards the High Colonel's mid-section. The Inquisitor was immensely skilled with this unique weapon, which was apparent with the course the coils took through space. Serine had no real intention of harming her officer as she was beginning to hold high regards for him, but if he did not dodge this strike, he may have been sent to the medical bay for some attention.

Mark began to turn to face the High Inquisitor, about to bow and cede the training facility to her when he saw the flicker of motion and he heard the sound of a the whip uncoiling. Reflexes took over and he barely managed to dodge the full strike. He felt the tip barely graze his ribs and was sure this shirt was now for the recycler. But he didn't feel the burn that would indicate skin was broken.

A few steps and a roll to give the Inquisitor target that was not only moving but also changing in size, he ended up near the weapon rack. Having already decided which weapon was best to bear for this, his hand easily found the Z6 Riot Control Baton handle. Standing up, he twirled the baton around until it was in the standard position underneath his arm. Nimble fingers flicked the safety off and released the weapon to fully swing. He decided against charging the weapon up. After all, he didn't think it would be a good idea to put his commanding officer on the floor in their first spar. In a quiet voice, but one that still carried to Serine across the room, he asked, "No rank on the training room floor?"

He stood ready to counter her next attack with the weapon, balanced well on the balls of his bare feet, gauging the ten meters or so between them. On his left side, there was a rip in the fabric of his shirt and a slight reddening of the bare skin beneath it could be seen.

The heavy sound of metal coils lashing into durasteel was quite evident as Mark rolled away, a gash in the plating was visible right where he had been but moments before. The Inquisitor stilled her lightwhip as the other rallied and chose a weapon for himself. Another wise choice from her High Colonel to go with the Baton and she very much noted that he opted to not charge it. Eyes focused intensely upon her opponent, deciding that for this to be a fair spar, she would have to refrain from using any of her innate Force abilities.

"Indeed," said to the other as eyes narrowed ever so slightly. She was rather surprised that Veller was so quick to grab a weapon as if this was something he was anxious for. "The first was just a test, you passed." Despite the gouge to the durasteel, this was not intended to be a fight to the death in the least, and Serine was certainly going to go a bit easy on her officer. He was very valuable to her. "However, if you feel you are not up to the challenge, you are free to go." It was important to give him an out if he felt ... uncomfortable with a brawl involving his superior. Perhaps this notion was odd to him, perhaps not, but it was certainly common in the Inquisitorius where challenging one's superior was not only acceptable, it was expected.

Veller nodded to Serine, pleased that she understood the rules of the training room floor. Baton versus whip wasn't his usual taste in training, but he enjoyed the more exotic weapons as it kept his mind sharp for combat and didn't allow it to fall into an established groove.

A smile crossed his face for a moment at Serine's words, he bowed slightly, his eyes never leaving her face. Then he spun the baton around and took a few steps closer, taking a defensive stance to await her next move, "Challenge accepted. Let us agree not to kill each other or do permanent damage." His ice blue eyes were intent on Serine and held a hint of amusement. He was pleased that his commanding officer was willing to spar with him. Most were either to unskilled or too fearful to do it. Odd as it may have seemed to others, he felt the training room floor was a good place to get the measure of someone.

Serine was pleased with the courage and tenacity Veller displayed. It was becoming more and more apparent by the day that Major Eona had recruited a fine officer, despite his lack of experience, and that he was promoted well outside the normal procedure. However, that mattered not if he was able to get results, which was the only thing Serine actually cared about. She herself was the youngest and arguably least seasoned Inquisitor in service so she was forgiving when it came to that subject.

"The Interrogator has the finest reconstructive surgeons in the fleet," said coldly as her only statement to his request. Though she was not anticipating any extremities being severed, as with a high profile spar, anything was possible. But even if an 'accident' should occur, Serine was confident that Doctor Hakan Jarl could piece them back together without issue. She doubted it would come to that though, she was not about to lose her officer who just replaced his untimely deceased predecessor.

The many coils of the lightwhip were whirled in a vigorous slash before her, causing a harsh sound of metal on metal to verberate within the empty corridor, signaling for her opponent to ready himself. Mark would be able to judge the length of that whip, measuring roughly by his estimates to be two meters long. This would give the Inquisitor the distance advantage, but he may be able to close the distance or get within reach to nullify some of that leverage.

So, he desired for her to make the starting offensive, did he? That was not an issue in the slightest, and she would eagerly accept the initiative. Suddenly, Serine was on the move, darting towards the right of Mark, and closing enough distance to be within striking range. However, her target was not the man before her just yet, instead a single heavy slash brought the brunt of her whip energetically into the weapon's rack, causing dozens of various assortments of blades, daggers, polearms and heavy blasters to chaotically fly from their position to rain upon Mark's location. A considerable distraction, meant to divert his attention away from another coil attempting to wrap around his right ankle.

Mark's eyes narrowed slightly as the whip started moving. It was true, Serine had the distance advantage, but that would only remain if she could prevent him from closing, which he intended to do as soon as he could. Whips were effective more because opponents weren't familiar with them than skill. However, as the whip started moving, he quickly reassessed Serine's skill with the whip. It was considerable and probably better than he would be with it, having not given the whip a lot of practice time.

That didn't mean he couldn't fight someone with a whip however. He sprang to his left, Serine's right, dropping to the floor to slide under one of the whip's strikes as it hit the weapons rack. He rolled to his feet and then had to quickly sidestep a few of the weapons that went skidding his way. Clever of her to make the terrain unstable, especially with him in bare feet.

Regaining his feet he darted in from her side, the Baton raised to guard his arm, he rushed in from her right, ready to swing the baton at her midriff. The easy response to his attack was to retreat and pull the whip back. If she was really good, she might be able to change the direction of the whip, in which case the Baton should be positioned to take the brunt of the attack. It was a somewhat reckless way to test her skill, but he felt confident in his own abilities to pull it off and be able to handle something he didn't anticipate. Though he wasn't smiling, he was very pleased to find what was beginning to prove a decent challenge.

Normally it was effortless to change the direction of her whip and its trajectory, even in an unnatural way, but she had decided before this small spar began that she would fight him on completely equal grounds. Perhaps one day he may get to witness her in full battle splendor, but this was enough for now. The whip being controlled by normal means was an extreme feat in of itself, and it made changing the path in mid flight very difficult. It did give her a slight disadvantage, but he would likely not even notice as she carried it gracefully and precisely. The whip was in full swing as he approached her so Serine did not have time to reposition the weapon with its momentum alone, but that did not mean she could not block his attack. The lightwhip was being handled in her left hand, freeing up her right for necessary maneuvers. There was no retreating for the Inquisitor, if he wanted to fight her up close, she had no qualms, and he would be quite foolish to assume she was a long-range fighter exclusively.

Though the many coils of the tail portion were still in flight, she could still position the hilt as necessary. As Veller came in for a strike at her right side, her free hand grasped the shaft of the whip immediately attached to the hilt, pulled it taut and brought it to intercept his attack in one fluid motion. His blow clashed with the metal of the whip with a resounding ring, the power behind his strike was significant enough to cause her to shift position to steady her footing. Her choice of exotic weapons had another advantage, it was extremely flexible. With a quick pivot and whirling motion of that whip, Serine attempted to wrap a few coils around his weapon, followed by a snap backwards in attempt to cause his grip to be shaken.

Mark felt the shock as she blocked his blow with the hilt of the whip. It was an unexpected move on her part and he allowed a small smile to grace his face. This counter to his attack confirmed that sparring with Serine would push his skills to the limit. For a split second, he wondered if she was better than him and then buried that thought. Any combat, real or training, had no room for doubt.

Knowing that getting his weapon caught in the whip wouldn't do him much good at this point, Mark dropped to one knee, trusting that the whip was coming in high to catch the Baton. He had thought to take the the energy from his weapon being blocked and redirect it to an attempt to sweep Serine off her feet. That got changed as the whip threatened to entangle the Baton. As it was, the whip did manage to score across the weapon, but not entangle it. A low growl, hardly heard against the clash of weapons. Putting his other hand on the floor mat as he knelt, Mark aimed a sweeping kick at Serine's legs from behind. It wasn't the best of attacks and put him slightly off balance, but if she wasn't expecting it, it was a gamble he was willing to take not wanting to retreat out of melee range quite yet.

Perhaps opening himself up while performing a sweep attack was not the best of choices in this case, as it left him susceptible for a counter quite easily. But, Serine had not expected such a move because it did not make full sense to her, and she did almost in fact get tripped up. Stumbling and almost falling, her eyes went wide with surprise and quickly narrowed in frustration. A bit of anger fueled her next follow-up as the whip had now fully returned and was in prime position to punish his oversight. His baton was still her target of choice, but this time the full brunt of the coils came down aggressively towards Veller's weapon. No longer attempting to entangle, but to carve into his arms if he continued to try to keep possession of the baton. It became clear Serine was aiming to disarm her foe, and once again, she gained the distance advantage with his half-retreat.

Angry at himself that the sweep almost worked, he was both dismayed and pleased at her response. Anger, he knew, is a weapon only to one's opponent. That wasn't totally comforting as he saw the whip drawn back for a full strike. The main way to defeat a whip was to not be in the path of the whip. Rolling to one side, he felt the whip strike the mat way to close for his comfort. Serine was fast with that whip, faster than anyone with a whip he had fought before.

Gaining his feet, he decided it was time for a full out attack. As she drew the weapon back, he danced in, spinning around to give his Baton that extra speed and aimed a strike at her left forearm. Had the weapon been armed, the strike would disable her whole arm as the Baton discharged. As it was, if the strike hit, he was fairly certain it would shock the hand enough to make her drop the whip. At least, that was the plan.

The lightwhip dug into the mat with ferocity, ripping large chucks of durafoam out and shredding the fabric. There had been a fury to that strike, Serine steadily growing in her brutality as this fight continued. The potential damage done to flesh from her weapon was immense, it could be assumed that one solid blow landing and the High Colonel would need to be rushed to the medical bay. It was absolutely necessary to disarm the Inquisitor if Veller had any chance to holding his own as this spar progressed ... that was turning into a proper fight, but with restrictions. Though if things continued to intensify, Serine had the potential to boil over, as she was not well known for containing her temper. Her desire to lash out at him was unmistakable, and heightened by his acute fighting skills. It made the Inquisitor all the more eager to land a solid blow ... and she was beginning to forget her motives here, and the need to keep him from harm. That was starting to get overwhelmed by battle fervor, and Veller would be able to physically see that gleaming in intensifying silver eyes glaring at him fiercely.

She cared not if her whip was discarded as she now hungered for a profound physical blow upon him. Without any care for her hand, the baton's mark was true, a sturdy and strong connection landed upon her left hand, causing her weapon to be forcefully dropped, but that was an afterthought. As Veller had aimed to disarm her, the Inquisitor sacrificed that successful strike to move into him with a powerful right hook squarely towards the side of his face. Serine pivoted her entire form to put her full strength into the hit, and it was far more dynamic and robust than her small frame should have allowed.

Mark felt a certain satisfaction as the whip clattered to the floor. He had absolutely zero interest in having that thing land a strike on him. Training injuries were one thing, but the force with which the whip chewed up the floor had suddenly turned this spar into something different. Mark now knew Serine's flaw. A actual temper.

That knowledge didn't do him much good as Serine's right hook came at him too fast to fully avoid. Raising his left arm in an attempt to block only kept the blow from his face. He staggered back a pace as the fist rammed into his shoulder, momentarily stunning his arm. Moving with the force of the blow, he glided a few steps backwards, out of melee reach. His left arm dangled a bit, and he tried to work his fingers into a fist, hoping to restore the use of his arm. His right hand still held the Baton though and he swung it round as he dropped into a purely defensive stance.

The intercomm squawked as they stood there facing each other, announcing the detection of an inbound ship named The Shrike. Mark stood wary of his foe, not quite willing to drop his defensive stance with Serine apparently on the edge of going into a berserk rage, even though it was his duty to assign the troopers that would greet and guard the ship.

The Inquisitor was most certainly about to plummet into a darkened violent offensive, that frenzy was building clearly in her eyes. It was not due to any fault of the High Colonel's, as he sparred skillfully and with respect, but now it should be rather clear to him that Serine could quite easily lose control. It was rather fortunate that the announcement broke this confrontation, but it also posed a new problem. Serine's apprentice, Kia Kaen, was on her way and the Inquisitor was far from being able to welcome her onboard, nor were any preparations ready. She had originally came to the training facility to calm down, not work herself back up! It was a real struggle to try to soothe her anger, it was extremely difficult for the Inquisitor and Veller would get a front row seat to that inwards battle. Her eyes were locked upon his in an unwavering intensity with a fierce glare and it took a significant amount of time before that severity began to fade. He fought admirably, and if anything, Serine should be impressed by her new High Colonel, but those emotions were so powerful that it took time for her to see it that way. He was right to stay in a defensive position as she looked quite unstable for sometime.

Finally, with great resolve, she managed to shake this off, and with those emotions dying down, she then realized she had sustained a minor injury in their battle. Her left hand tingled and was slightly swollen. Serine still did not know what to do about this Tonric fellow, and it weighed heavily upon her mind as she reached down to retrieve her lightwhip. The Inquisitor appeared to be lost in thought as the weapon was fully coiled before being fastened to her belt. An epiphany lit a thought and gleamed in her eyes, she realized she had the prime candidate to discuss her concerns with. "High Colonel Veller, that ship that is preparing to dock shortly, my apprentice is on board, along with an ... individual." She paused with an obvious tone of disgust. She did not know or trust this person. "I want you to fully vet his capabilities. I want to know everything about him, and when you done, I would like your opinion on a task ... to send him on that will challenge every fiber of his existence." She fully stressed the last portion of her sentence, and it could be assumed that the Inquisitor did not care if this person should die in his attempts.

Mark stayed in his defensive stance, giving no hint of attack as Serine managed to control her rage. It was a fascinating process, seeing the anger fade from her eyes. He wondered if others had seen a similar phenomenon in his eyes before he had fully learned to control his own temper. He managed to suppress a sigh of relief when Serine clipped the whip back onto her belt as fighting a berserker hadn't exactly been on his list of things to do today. He stood up normally and swung the baton to the closed position, flicking on the safety that would keep the weapon still before giving it a slight heft with his hand to catch it by the middle.

He took in a deep breath before speaking and with his other hand, managed to push his sweat-soaked hair out of his eyes, though he had to suppress a grimace of pain, "As you wish, High Inquisitor. I will see to it personally." He gave the High Inquisitor a short bow. "And my thanks for a good spar. It is rare that I find someone my equal," he paused, "or better." He bowed, this time the full bow of respect of one combatant to another, though his eyes never did leave her face.

There was a moment where Serine silently considered Veller's words and actions. Now with a clearer mind, she was able to better focus and appraise the situation. She peered at him thoughtfully but for a brief time, and digested what he said. He was correct, that was not a terrible waste of time, she realized she learned a bit about her officer. He was skilled, athletic and rather graceful for man of his size. He managed to dodge the majority of her blows, and even disarmed her. That was all extremely impressive. Though if the fight would have continued, things would have likely turned out far worse for the man. The Inquisitor was actually thankful their little 'spar' had been interrupted by the soon arrival of her apprentice, as she truly had not wished for him to be heavily harmed. Serine believed the other man deserved a respectful nod in return, even though their bout only lasted a short while, he demonstrated resolve in which she could appreciate. Without further word, she abruptly turned from him to head out of the facility, eager to make preparations for the return of Inquisitor Kia Kaen.

Mark's gaze followed Serine out of the room. He was expecting her to just leave the training room. There were many who did not follow the sparring protocol he did, which was more formalized that most. That she nodded back, he took as a compliment and also with relief. He had landed a hard blow on his commanding officer. It wouldn't be unheard of for her to hold a grudge for that. The nod reassured him this would most likely not be the case.

He dropped the baton to the floor, for once, not caring that the weapon wasn't put back. Serine's whip had put a serious dent in the weapons rack and the Stormtroopers coming in for training could do with a cleanup task. He raised a hand to his shoulder, rubbing it to accelerate the return of feeling. That punch had been harder than he expected and he had the feeling that if it had landed where she was aiming, he would have been flat on the mat and seeing stars for a while.

Heading off to take a hot shower, the fact that he had more movement in his hand, he decided not to see the medical officer about his injury. Besides, he didn't really want to explain its origin and wasn't up to telling a convincing lie about it.

The shower did the trick and getting into his uniform wasn't too painful. He would just have to be careful for a few days and ease the arm back into motion. Meanwhile, there was an individual he was supposed to test and rate arriving on a ship in a few minutes. While he intended on using Sergeant Batua to help, it wasn't something he was going to foist off totally on him like he had done with the Mandalorian El-Nay Darr.

By the time he was dressed, the ship was still ten minutes out. Rushing down to the docking bay, he got the troopers in line to receive the High Inquisitor's apprentice and stood in the line of other officers there to do the honors of receiving Inquisitor Kaen back onboard The Interrogator. A quick glance told him everyone was perfectly lined up.

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