Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Rachel King, Christopher Levy, Sarah Riggs-Shute, and Matt Shute.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:7:10) in the Essesia system: Kwai, Phachi, and Warspite and the Kuat system: Kuat Drive Yards Orbital Array and Kwai.
Lieutenant Mark Alexander, Lieutenant Allegra Ames, Flight Lieutenant Haven Anson, Captain Tiberius Anson, Tam Ara, Liliya Benedt, Ewwiekewwieikkie, Jerasea Ginhers (spirit), Commander Augustus Hood, Apprentice Inquisitor Kia Kaen, Major Kerrie Kiley, Kuat, Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca, Grand Moff Claudius Rodney, Lady Drusilla Rodney, Lady Jelena Rodney, Lieutenant Bethany Sheppard, Doctor Cole Shuura, Inquisitor Serine Thanor, Flight Captain Randi Trainor, Helena Trents (death), Major Arden Zevrin.

Kia was grumpy, Captain Serra had thought it appropriate to give her a copy of the official death certificate and letter of condolence that was sent along with it. The teenager had blamed the Captain for this and she was the focus of Kia's anger, being honest with herself she was even a bit irritated at her Master. She had entered her quarters, locking the door behind her and dropped heavily into the chair in front of the data center worthy set-up she had going. The teenager had always turned to the nets when things had irritated her, and it had been ages, to her at least, since she had really found something interesting to do. Idly tapping on the keyboard in front of her, an amused but slightly malicious grin spread across her young face. Pulling up a clean command console, she began the usual data hops to mask her location, she was upset but not careless. She did not know what she was looking for at first, but thoughts of her parents and family had pulled her attention towards what should have been her profession. Ships, and research and development. Nothing interesting going on at Mon Cal yards, bouncing through the various connections and menus, disregarding the more mundane craft in production. Calling up the terminals at Kuat, she started skimming through ships in production, mostly Imperial craft ... big surprise there ... and this was starting to look like a bust as well until she came across a file that even with the backdoor access she was going through was still secured. Talking to herself, ''Huh ... what've we got here? Someone wants you to be a secret don't they..." With that, she had her task, she wouldn't release the information to the public, this was more about keeping her individuality not causing harm. Her typing grew more enthusiastic as the file eluded her access twice, she never tried a file more than three times, it would likely cause all sorts of red flags to be tripped. She half-closed her eyes, letting her fingers flit over the keys, typing at what felt random. When she looked up at the screen the slow grin returned. Maybe the Force was useful for things other than killing and hurting. The quick scrolling of data and specifications for this grand warship had her full attention, eyes going wide at some of the specs. Quickly grabbing a spare datacard, she started downloading the entire project file. Surprisingly, she felt a lot more at peace after this little excursion into the illegal lands of her past time. Kia looked over at the chrono and was surprised to find nearly two hours had past. She grabbed her datapad and the card with the information on it, heading to the door, when it did not open, she remembered that she had locked it and moments later was animatedly knocking on Serine's door.

Serine was surprised when she felt Kia's presence on the opposite side of the door, sensing her approach well before she even knocked as their bond was strong in close proximity. The Inquisitor assumed her apprentice would spend a good portion of the day sulking, and she had planned to allow it to happen, determined to at least have the illusion of understanding and thus be a far better mentor than Tremayne had been to her. The moment Kia knocked on the door, it slid open to introduce Serine standing there looking rather perplexed and intrigued at the young girl before her that seemed a bit excited. This was an unexpected visit and the Inquisitor attempted to surmise the reason, noticing the datacard in Kia's hands instantly. ''Well?" A simple question, she waited for the girl to explain the details, assuming she had found something of interest.

''Master Thanor! You *have* to see what I found. This is *amazing*! It's *huge*, I mean in a real sense, it's so pretty. I can even ignore the whole death by paper trail to show you this." The girl was nearly bouncing where Kia stood in excitement. ''You're still in the doorway. Need computer...or do you want to come next door and see it on mine? We really need a hallway between rooms ... this is inconvenient."

Her apprentice was nearly vibrating in place with dramatic animation, obviously overly excited about a discovery of some sort. Serine was only slightly miffed since she found this to be more tolerable than a sullen and testy teenager. Apparently the Inquisitor could not move fast enough as it seemed Kia could not hold back her youthful demeanor that was prone to over hyping things. She could only assume her apprentice had been on the holonet and she was going to be really disappointed if Kia was so desperate to show her a new holonet singer. Teenagers... ''So you have been on the holonet instead of training?" Said with contempt as she directed them towards her terminal, not sure if she should even give Kia opportunity to disclose what she was so anxious about. ''Let us see it then." Almost said with a sigh.

The teenager actually squeaked happily as she scooted past Serine and then Sanu to get to the terminal in her Master's room. This was of course a copy of the original datacard, the one she she actually copied the information to was safely in her quarters. Kia inserted the card, and began tapping quickly to pull the information up onto the holoscreen on the table, the sleek shape of the Star Dreadnaught slowly rotating with the smaller research and development tables beneath and to the sides of it. ''Isn't she pretty?"

Well this was a real surprise! Who would have thought a moody teenager could uncover obviously classified information and a Star Dreadnaught no less. Just the knowledge of this information could have been extremely dangerous for anyone under their prestige, and no doubt many were executed to keep the knowledge of this vessel secured. ''You uncovered this information in the time between visiting the Captain?" Said in disbelief as Serine leaned closer to the screen, analyzing the detailed notations. ''The ... Executor?" Said as the Inquisitor read the readout of the proposed name of the warship. Serine took a deep breath as she leaned back into her chair, staring at the readout nearly transfixed. Surely the Governor would want to be privy to this monumental information, and she was still in slight shock that Kia managed to uncover this, and she doubted her apprentice even understood the importance of her discovery.

''I ... was angry and I know my skill level in this arena, Master. I can keep up with one of the most wanted 'criminals' Intel is looking for, getting into an R&D lab, took a little more work, but I do know what I'm doing. I just kind of let my mind and I guess the Force guide me to a ship that was still in research and development, Mon Cal is boring right now and this one ... this one is at Kuat." Kia shrugged uncomfortably, she knew she was supposed to have gone back to her quarters and train, ''I saw that too! I guess it kind of looks like a knife-blade not on a hilt, and the *weapons* compliment. Yeah, that name fits her. I just wanted to share this discovery with someone."

''You did well to show me, and I assume I was the *only* person you told?" Surely Kia would be wise enough not to throw around Imperial secrets of this magnitude, at least not without asking Serine first. ''So ... the Kuat shipyards have been harboring a secret, a massive one in fact. I believe it is time for us to visit the Grand Moff with this information." She paused for a moment, realizing that she had not yet formally introduced her official apprentice to Rodney. It had only been a day so it was well within an acceptable timeline. Serine was not actually sure how the Governor would receive the news of now having access to *two* Inquisitors though he rarely ever even requested Serine's assistance in anything ... she frowned at that thought. No matter, he deserved to know this information and to have the honor of being introduced to Serine's new pupil. ''I believe it is time for a new lesson in Imperial tradition." A bit hypocritical as the Inquisitor's history with Rodney was far less than professional. ''We are going to demand a bit of the Grand Moff's time today. Do try to be ... somewhat respectful."

The teenager looked a mix of hurt and offended, scowling slightly, ''I didn't make my choice lightly to join you, Master, I wouldn't do something to hurt or intentionally undermine our chances for success in any area. I may have been a data specialist, but even they have codes of honor. You really thought I would take this to anyone *but* you first?" Kia had crossed her arms, looking a little grumpy again, surely her Master did not think *that* little of her...

Tilting her head, Kia had observed some of the Grand Moff's feeds that Zevrin had set up, so meeting him would be interesting, ''Why would he want the information, Master?" Kia had been listening and blinked again, ''We can do that? Just demand someone's time? Neat! Hey.. I'm always respectful. To people who deserve it."

Serine stopped herself from saying something disrespectful about Rodney, only two seconds after she said to be respectful. Perhaps it would be far better to allow her apprentice to form her own opinions about that man, as Serine's dealings with him did not necessarily have to wash over into Kia's. The Inquisitor ignored the young Kaen's objection and focused on her question regarding their influence and power on this ship. ''Of course, though I would heavily suggest you refrain from it until you can handle yourself. Strength and ability is what people respect and it is far better to be feared in these circumstances. I was assigned to this vessel to be the Grand Vizier's eyes and ears and to also ensure victory in this sector by *any* means necessary. It is my responsibility to remove by force if necessary any who would prevent success or would hinder our objectives. However, this is not your purpose for being here, you are merely to learn and grow in your training, and if you survive the future trials, be awarded Inquisitor and your own missions. Now! Let us go meet with the Governor." Serine removed the datadisk from the terminal.

She had not realized just how much influence Serine carried aboard the Warspite, other than the Force. It made sense to learn what she was doing before trying to throw weight around and Kia had been nodding in all the right places as she listened. Kia nearly flailed as she watched Serine remove the disk without shutting *anything* down first, ''Master! Don't do that! You could corrupt data, break things, just ... augh! *No*." It was clear she was speaking strictly from a data techie's point of view here, not that of an apprentice, and the look of horror on her face was clear of that. ''Data is fragile, think of it like an egg. Would you just slam an egg in a door? Or would you make sure the egg was safely in a container before closing the door? I'm just glad that's a copy..." She was semi-ranting about data safety as Serine was ushering her out of the room.

Serine was fully startled when Kia got so passionate about the datacard, causing her to fumble the thing all over the desk before it dropped to the ground. ''What? What?!" Said with an exasperated gasp as she stared at Kia with confusion and shock before she slammed a fist on the table causing the other items to bounce once. ''Don't scare me like that!" She yelled though it was obvious she was not nearly as keen on technical issues are her apprentice and did not fully understand the dos and don'ts of technology. With a growl, she picked up the fallen datapad before fiercely glaring at Kia. ''Are you done?!" Said with an angry huff before composing herself a moment later and taking the initiative towards the door.

''Remind me to give you a crash course on data and information safety at some point, Master. Please? Or I'm going to have an aneurysm before I'm twenty." It was said good naturedly, still a little sarcastically, but very good naturedly. ''OK. Datacards, datapads, terminals, anything with bits going from here to there, have a start *up* and shut *down* procedure. Would you clip your lightwhip to your belt while it was still active? Or a lightsaber? No they could hurt you. You can hurt data just the same way. If it's not closed down properly, it can get corrupted and not display right anymore. I didn't mean to startle you, I just ... I'm sorry." Kia had fallen into step with her Master, falling quiet.

Liliya Benedt stood in front of the Grand Moff's office like she had been for the past few days, attempting to gently ease him into a schedule he could be capable of following. She had to cancel all appointments the day before due to her worry that her charge was accumulating far too much stress. As much as it had pleased her to assist him and allow his relaxation, that had put them far behind and Liliya was struggling to organize today's appointments in a matter that optimized the Governor's time while he was currently in the proper mindset. The aid sympathized with many of the individuals whose appointments continued to be push back, many had requested to see Rodney for almost a week. One such occupant was Doctor Cole Shuura who had put in a request the very day he was first assigned to the Warspite and was only now being summoned to the Grand Moff's office. Pleased that things were moving along, she made a few notations in her datapad for his summoning not moments before she noticed Inquisitor Thanor and Apprentice Inquisitor Kaen. Oh dear ... Liliya was not at all excited with this notion. Perhaps they were not here to see Rodney, perhaps if she stood very still, they would not see her.

There were not enough hours in the day. Perhaps if he were free to focus on the duties of being a Grand Moff there would be. Perhaps if he were were to just be a husband and a father there would be. But it seemed as if the attempt to balance a personal life with a career not only threatened to undo him, but those around him as well. As he stood at the viewport his fists were clenched, unbeknownst to him as his body attempted to relieve the stress and tension in any way that it could. From what he understood, he had an appointment with Doctor Cole Shuura pending ... perhaps it would help, or perhaps it would just serve to infuriate him further and push him farther behind. He needed a vacation, but there was no time off for the governor of a priority sector. And if he were to take leave, he would only return to find more chaos, and more work awaiting him.

Doctor Cole Shuura strolled down the passageway leading to the Grand Moff. He wore his khaki pants and a new shirt featuring blumfruit of a different color. Sewn onto the shirt, over his heart and on the pocket was an emblem signifying his allegiance to the Empire. He assumed it would make him not stand out so much on the Imperial ship. He stopped a few paces in front of Liliya, beaming with the success of making another mark in his career and pushed his small glasses higher up on his pointed nose. A meeting he had with the Grand Moff. He had met his fair share of famous people before, but perhaps no one who commanded such power. ''Greetings lovely Ms. Benedt. I believe we have an arrangement." His tone was professional, but she would have easily noticed the way his eyes traced her form.

Kia got a purely mischievous wicked grin as she spotted Doctor Shuura, offering a mocking half-bow, but did not say anything yet, waiting to see how her Master reacted to the sight of the flamboyant creature that was the ships 'counselor'.

Serine tried her best to suppress the urge to roll her eyes as Kia continued to spout out dribble about the merits of technology, but she refrained, barely, as she felt her mind drift with boredom. Her attention was heightened dramatically the moment they turned a corner and she spotted Liliya Benedt and that ... 'doctor'. This was already annoying her as apparently she was going to need to assert their importance here for anything Doctor Shuura needed could not possibly be as significant as the Inquisitor's reason for a visit to the Grand Moff's office. In addition, Liliya was always an irritating thorn and Serine heavily contemplated an altercation right in the hallway. Serine needed to be an appropriate example to her apprentice and this was a perfect situation to showcase their clout aboard this vessel. The Inquisitor fiercely stalked over to where the Doctor was standing in front of Liliya and abruptly shoved him directly out of the way so that now she alone was standing in front of the aid in an aggressive posture. ''My apprentice and I will now see the Governor." There was no negotiation possibilities in her voice.

Doctor Shuura turned to see the two coming down the hall. He had met Kia and returned her not-knowingly mocking half-bow with a perhaps mocking half-bow of his own. He was still slightly afraid of her, but at least she was not accompanied by some sort of nasty creature. The female with her looked inhospitable and dangerous in her own right, but perhaps less vicious than a gaping, snarling Nexu maw filled pointy teeth and bad breath. Doctor Shuura connected the dots however and realized this woman must be the other's master, Serine Thanor who he had tried to visit on a few occasions. Apparently, she was not getting the messages. ''Ms. Thanor, a pleasant surprise to ... ugh!" The Doctor was interrupted mid sentence by a sudden and aggressive push by the Inquisitor. The impact led him into a second impact with the wall. He slumped down; however, regained himself and stood behind her, angered for two reasons. His short round stature left his anger causing no intimidation as he looked up and argued to her shoulder in short ragged breaths, ''I scheduled a meeting with the Grand Moff. Perhaps you could follow the same protocol. It's bad enough that you pushed me for no reason, but now you attempt to thief my spot?" Reason would have told him that Sith have never been someone to mess with, but it was simple for anger to bypass reason.

There was an emergency protocol flashing in Liliya's databanks like a blinding red light as she witnessed the events before her begin to escalate to dangerous proportions. There was a soft yelp that escaped her as Doctor Shuura got shoved from in front of her and replaced by a scathing Inquisitor. Benedt found herself pressed up against the door leading into the Governor's room terrified that there was about to be a physical confrontation right outside his office, with the horror that she may be pulled into it. The datapad she held tightly to her chest was accessed in a panic as the button that linked the pad to his desk comm unit was rapidly pressed in succession. Liliya couldn't fathom how a psychiatrist could lack such ... sense to purposely instigate trouble with an Inquisitor and the color began to drain from usually such lively cheeks as the thought of what may come next crossed her.

When he heard the panic button he was instantly pulled from the trance-like state he had only moments before existed in. Was it an attack, like had occurred at Captain Anson's chambers only weeks prior. Liliya was all he could think about in that instant, and he rushed for the desk where he still foolishly kept a DH-17 blaster pistol. Grabbing it from the top drawer, he wondered when he last fired a blaster and had assumed it had been during the Battle of Skor II during the Clone Wars. Checking to make sure the safety was off, he bolted towards the door at his top speed ... which was not much for a man of 55 years. As he reached the door it opened, but instead of seeing a Rebel attack there was something much worse ... Inquisitor Thanor. "What is the meaning of this?" he demanded, as he lowered his sidearm and waited for those around him to make sense of the matter. "Are you all right?" he asked softly of the young Liliya, his prime concern at the moment.

Serine could not believe the bold insolence of Doctor Shuura, already agitated about the situation, but his ill-placed remarks and accusations put the Inquisitor completely off tilt and approaching infuriation. Fortunately for Liliya, her dire attention was completely derailed from the petite woman to the portly middle aged man and in an instant she was upon him. Both hands clutched his demeaning flowery shirt, and in a rage, pulled him up from a standing position and threw him viciously into the nearby wall. The Inquisitor followed the brunt attack, still holding tightly to that man's apparel, now pushing him up cruelly against the wall so that he was hanging. There was an ominous crackling in the air as the Inquisitor had reached a boiling over point and at the moment her rage was blinding her to any possible repercussions. As far as she was concerned, the Doctor had crossed a line so ignorantly, she had to make an example of him in front of her apprentice. The pressure in the surrounding air seemed to increase to a point of severe discomfort around that unfortunate man until suddenly the unseen tension caused a thin fracture in the doctor's glasses before the duraglass exploded into a dozen pieces, sending shrapnel in a concentrated direction towards Shura's pudgy face. There was a moment when Serine was building for a further offensive but her concentration in the Force was severed the moment Rodney stepped into the hallway and her attention was divided. With a snarl, she savagely threw the doctor to the durasteel plating before stepping over his body towards the Governor. ''My apprentice and I ... have an appointment, now." She said bluntly, still brimming with malicious intent left over from her assault on the doctor.

Kia watched the exchange silently, trying to see what Serine was doing more than the results of what happened. She intended to take her orders to watch and learn very seriously, she thought she understood how the glass was fractured, but she couldn't figure out at first how her Master had sent the glass in a directed push. Pausing just for an instant to study the damage caused the teenager couldn't hide a snicker, ''Looks like you'll have to reschedule. So sorry, Doc. Maybe make a mini series out of it!", she quickly hopped over the fallen Doctor and returned to Serine's side, blinking up at the Grand Moff.

Doctor Shuura laid against the wall without a complaint or even a sound. He could feel the warmth oozing over his face. Blood, he assumed as he confirmed another ruined shirt by the wetness that trailed from his face. He did not dare to open his eye to see the result of his bravery. He was not sure if he could see, but would not attempt to try until he got proper medical treatment. He was in pain but he didn't let it torment him. He couldn't help the bad situation, but he still got his small victory. The young innocent lady in the black dress was made safe with his taunt. It was the least he could do to make the universe a better place. In lieu of doing anything, Doctor Shuura chose to wait for the help that must be coming.

Miss Benedt shrieked as the Inquisitor all-out attacked the poor Doctor causing the man to bleed protrusively from multiple lacerations on his face. She was all too relieved when Rodney burst from the office with a blaster no less. Her programming caused her to quickly move behind him as if urged by instinct for self-preservation. Her small frame quivered with stress and fear behind him as dainty hands grasped at the back of his uniform, clinging to him as if he were her only life preserver. ''Milord..." Said with a trembling soft voice, ''... I didn't know what else to do... I'm sorry!" Said in a near panic, fearful to look around him to see the damage occurring.

Losing himself for a moment, he turned to the panic-stricken Liliya who was trembling behind him. "It will be all right, my dear," Claudius said softly, as he placed one arm around her in an embrace meant to steady her nerves. Little did the man know that it was all part of a carefully made program, designed to ruse him into becoming close to the droid that was at play here. "In the office ... quickly," he said to Inquisitor Thanor, as he used his other hand to furiously wave in the direction of his open door. Once that was done, and he was convinced he had some privacy, he brought both of his hands up to the side of the woman's face, with a gentle touch with the hope of steadying her nerves. Pushed too far, he lowered his head and placed a quick, almost paternal kiss upon her forehead. Satisfied that the situation was at hand, he then headed into the office to deal with the Inquisitors ... leaving Doctor Shuura to his fate.

Serine brushed past the still fretting Liliya who at that time was signalling for the medical team to retrieve an injured occupant from outside the Grand Moff's office. The Inquisitor was all too thankful to be rid of two annoyances at once, now in the privacy of the Governor's place of business so that they could focus on far more important matters. ''Governor, I don't believe you have been officially introduced to Apprentice Inquisitor Kaen." Said with a frigid exterior but also with a noticeable tinge of pride as she motioned to Kia who had been standing behind her as appropriate. ''But this is not the only reason for our visit ... I shall allow her to explain it to you." This would be the first time Serine verbally requested that Kia be the one to direct the conversation, as now it was the young Kaen's privilege and also, Serine was not the sharpest at ... explaining technical matters.

Eager to prove she could be as respectful as necessary, Kia offered a half-bow, her blue-green eyes blinked once, ''It is a pleasure to meet you, Governor." She was doing her best to keep her expression neutral, she really was working on that, some things like electronics and ships and explosives got her as animated as a teenager could be. ''Thank you, Master Thanor. Governor, may I use your terminal? I have the information here on a data card." Assuming she would indeed be given the permission, she stepped over to the terminal, inserting the datacard into it's reader and tapping a few commands to open the correct files, revealing the same beautiful, sleek, deadly ship as before. This time without most of the technical data along with it, this was more of a production view. ''This is the Executor, she is a new breed of Star Destroyer." There was a note of awe in her voice as she was explaining the ship. ''The shipyards at Kuat is where she's being built." It was then that she tapped the commands in to bring up a slimmed down version of the weaponry, shielding, and engine capabilities. If Kuat needed a salesperson for this ship, Kia would probably be awesome at the job.

Now there are two of them, Claudius thought to himself with some degree of trepidation. As if his problems were not multiplying enough, now the ranks of the Inquisitorious aboard his ship were multiplying as well. All he could do was offer a polite, politically fashioned smile at the direction of the Inquisitor. His attention then shifted to the young Kia, who seemed to be roughly the same age as his daughter Drusilla. He could never imagine her in such a capacity, and when his eyes caught a glimpse of the two lightsaber hilts attached to her he was immediately drawn back to his youth in the Clone Wars. But suddenly the two beings ceased to exist and all he could see was the technical readouts of the Executor. "Thank you, Inquisitor," he said to Kia, before moving forward to take over the controls. He wondered how they could have concealed the development of such a massive vessel, and instantly he coveted one. A smile appeared on his lips, and without knowing he was doing it, he hungrily licked at his bottom lip. "Thank you very much indeed," he concluded, before turning his attention back to the duo. "I must confer with my staff," he explained to them, before moving swiftly towards the comm panel. "Liliya, could you alert Captain Anson to assemble his senior staff at my office ... immediately," he said with a sense of urgency, before seeing the two Inquisitors out.

"It is called the Executor," the cold, foreign voice of Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca began, as she stood in front of a large holoprojector that displayed a large, rotating modeling of the Star Dreadnaught. "As you can see it is exponentially larger and more powerful than even the new Imperial II-class Star Destroyers entering service. It is a fleet unto itself ... if you had asked me prior to seeing the schematics I would not have thought it possible to build such a vessel," the Chiss tactical officer concluded, before her red eyes scanned over the officers that had hurriedly gathered for a briefing.

"Well now I've seen everything. Next they'll be building weapons capable of destroying entire systems!" Captain Tiberius Anson exclaimed, as his eyes shifted from the holographic model to the technical readouts that were on the datapad in front of him. "I think we must have one. The Rebels would be forced to withdraw their entire capital force at the mere presence of a warship such as this," he said, as his attention turned towards the Grand Moff. "May I ask how you came across this information, Milord? The material seems to be highly classified," he asked, slightly concerned at how information like this was getting around. After all, if they knew ... then soon the Rebels would surely know as well.

Grand Moff Claudius Rodney laughed softly at Tiberius' question, but deflected it, as he did not want to reveal to his staff that he had come to rely on a teenage Apprentice Inquisitor. "As a Grand Moff I have access to information from a variety of channels," he explained, vaguely referencing the events that led to its discovery, without directly referencing the Inquisitorius. "Lieutenant Ames, have you been able to get any information from unofficial channels through Admiral Griff's staff?" he asked, tilting his head slightly towards the Operations Officer. He was at his most professional stature in ages, having become reinvigorated by the discussions surrounding the Empire's new wonder weapon.

Lieutenant Allegra Ames cleared her throat, and taking a sip of water, before she addressed the other officers. "Milord, it seems that Admiral Griff is deceased. Admiral Ozzel now commands the Executor," she paused, as there was a great deal of murmuring and gasps from the officer corps. "The Rebel force has been driven from the fourth moon of the planet Yavin, and the new vessel performed superbly," she said cheerfully, hoping that offering some good news might but a spring in everyone's step.

"I am confident that the Rebellion will soon be crushed, and it will be the Imperial Navy that delivers the ultimate victory," Commander Augustus Hood said confidently, as his brown eyes looked longingly at the model of the Executor. "However, most of the Rebel activity has been focused in the Outer Rim. That is where the bulk of their fleet is concentrated as they cowardly run from every engagement. I do not think that they would assign one here ... as it stands it took a great bit of effort to secure even a second Star Destroyer," he said, grimly assessing the situation. He knew, as the others did, that the Empire was reluctant to deploy resources to the Ringali Shell, to give the illusion that all was well.

Lieutenant Bethany Sheppard sat silently as she examined the model of the Star Dreadnaught. Already she was at the helm of a pathetically slow Star Destroyer, that was a labor to navigate with. She expected this much larger warship to move even slower, and be incredibly more difficult to navigate. She was amazed by the hangar capacity and longed for the desire to pilot something more nimble. In retrospect, it was a mistake for her to enter the navy, when she would have much rather been piloting a starfighter ... but she was twice rejected by the TIE program and so desperately wanted to escape the poverty or Berchest that she took the first commission was offered. Many officers would have coveted a position on the bridge of a command ship, but she looked with longing to the freedom of a TIE fighter ... blissfully unaware of the dangers kept within.

"If you ask me ... and you haven't ... I think that the more complex they make these things the more that can go wrong," the voice of the seasoned engineer, Lieutenant Mark Alexander, sounded off. "Back in my Corellian Defense Force days we utilized small, easy to operate, easy to service craft," he explained, reminiscing from his earlier days as he was oft to do to the boredom of many of his compatriots. "It's a struggle to service this beast of a ship, but that monster? It must be a nightmare. Leave it to someone else to worry about," he concluded, feeling quite impressed with the Executor as she appeared in the schematics ... but he had been around long enough to know that reality was often far more harsh and unpredictable than what was contained on a datapad. As a Corellian, he was naturally biased against Kuati designs, but he honestly believed that a new ship, this large, and that complex was bound to have designed flaws that he did not wish to be confronted with.

Claudius looked over the senior staff of the Warspite for several moments of silence. He had come to rely on them for years, going back to when he was merely an Admiral tasked with patrolling the Bilbringi system. They had stuck by him at his lowest moments when he had been reassigned to Malastare, and he had come to both respect them professionally and trust them personally. There were dangers to be sure, and perhaps it was his ego, or his need to compensate for lacking something else ... but he was now convinced he *had* to have this ship. "Very well. I will travel to Kuat and make a personal request of Kuat of Kuat himself. He cannot deny me," he boasted, as he rose from his seat at the head of the table, a motion which the other officers quickly emanated. "I reward loyalty. And I do not want to have to learn the eccentricities of a new staff ... when this new ship is made available, I'll have you all transferred," he informed them, with a kind smile, which was met with a chorus of applause and cheers. He thought the matter was settled, and was preparing to collect his datapad and adjourn the meeting, when he was interrupted.

"Milord, is this wise?" Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca asked, her facial expression unmoved by the news that excited the others. "The Rebellion has displays no major capital presence in the Ringali Shell. This Star Dreadnaught would be overkill ... as if we were smashing insects ... we already have more than enough firepower in these sectors to destroy the Rebel forces tenfold. Moreover, it will present an all too attractive target for Rebel spies and saboteurs. If, by some miracle, they were able to damage or destroy the vessel it would be a propaganda coup," she concluded, to the great dismay and consternation of her fellow officers. "In short, Governor, we would gain nothing while providing the enemy much to gain," she said, as her hand moved to the control panel and deactivated the holographic presentation.

The Grand Moff could not help but roll his eyes at his overzealous tactical officer, becoming increasingly displeased with her cautious, defensive strategy as of late. "I value your concerns, Mohorovic, but if I can acquire one of these Star Dreadnaughts ... we will put it to good use," he said, as he moved past the group of officers that was filing out of the room, to draw closer to her. "And I expect your help in putting it to good use," he said to her softly, as he raised his hand to her shoulder, to offer her a reassuring touch.

Once the officers had left, he turned his attention to his aide, Liliya Benedt, who had been taking minutes of the meeting in the back of the room. "You know, there's always the real chance the Kuatis may not want to assign me one of these warships," he said, as he brought his right hand up to stroke at his chin, thinking over his situation. "Inform Inquisitor Thanor to meet us on the flight deck. Let her know we will be traveling to Kuat," he said to her, somewhat reluctantly, given how their last encounter had went. "...and you will be going too. I may need you," he said, somewhat softly, revealing just how much he had come to depend on her.

With some apprehension, Captain Randi Trainor hurried across the flight deck to the Lambda-class shuttle Kwai, despite having not had the opportunity to fly the Grand Moff in quite sometime her mind still dwelled on the beating she had been given by Inquisitor Thanor. The blonde's classic, wide-eyed smile was no longer plastered upon her face, as she began the preflight check of the vessel. Her black uniform had once again fallen into disrepair and there was still dried blood present, as Allegra had only arranged for it to have been cleaned and pressed for her promotion ceremony. Despite her promotion to Captain, she had fallen into her old routines concerning her appearance and attitude.

"Hey. What are you doing here? This is *my* ship now," Flight Lieutenant Haven Anson shouted at Randi, quite displeased to see her skulking about. "I've been assigned to pilot the Governor's shuttle. This isn't your post anymore ... you're over there," she said, motioning over towards the Darkened Oblivion. "You off your meds again?" she asked, sounding quite mean, as she started doing a near-identical pre-flight check to the one Randi was doing.

"Listen, you blonde bim-" Randi began, but then stopped suddenly once she realized that she, too, was in fact a blonde. It took her a moment before she said anything else, and her face seemed to drift off into blank space as she attempted to find something else to say. "Listen, you. I'm a Captain now", she said, as she puffed up her chest, and angled her new rank insignia at the junior officer. "And that means ya gotta do what I say!" she shouted, going off on a bit of an ego trip with her newfound power. "And I says I'm flying this mission. You can co-pilot," she said, offering a nod of her head so firm that it caused both of her pigtails to flail up and down wildly. Although she was not aware of it, she was taking out her hostility towards Serine on the junior officer.

Inquisitor Thanor was pleased when she was informed her presence was requested by the Grand Moff to accompany him to Kuat. She could only assume he was anxious to investigate the Executor since she had recognized a lust for power swirling in his eyes when her apprentice introduced him to the warship. Serine's trip to the flight deck was an amusing one due to young Kaen physically vibrating with excitement behind her every step of the way. Kia's reward for uncovering such top secret material was the opportunity to travel by Serine's side to the Kuat shipyards along with the rest of Rodney's entourage. Serine arrived at the tail end of the conversation between Randi and Haven, but from what she did gather, she nodded in approval towards Captain Trainor with a knowing look. It was about time her pilot started to pull rank and use the power that the Inquisitor afforded to her. Besides, it was *days* since that violent incident with her pilot, she assumed Randi had already moved on.

Kia was trying her best to be professional, but they were actually going to *see* the ship she had discovered. This was so exciting! She was carrying her trusty backpack, her lightsabers were both clipped to her belt, and the teenager was nearly bouncing along next to her Master. The stark contrast between Master and Apprentice made the girls age even more apparent. She darted up the ramp to the shuttle, pure youthful exuberance, moments later she had poked her head into the cockpit, ''Hi! Can I help with something? I know how to fly. We're going to Kuat! Hi Randi!"

"Kia!" Randi exclaimed, as she saw the young girl who she had recently transported to the Prakith system. Rushing forward, and without offering much in the way of professional behavior, she wrapped both of her arms around the youngster and gave her a big hug. "Ooof!" she groaned, as she lifted Kia into the air, spinning her around in a circle, before placing her back down in roughly the same location as she began. "I was just explaining to Lieutenant 'Captain's Daughter' here that I'm flying this one," she boasted, looking over her shoulder to glare at the younger, junior officer once again.

"Ugh. Fine. I cannot deal with anymore of this," Haven said, gritting her teeth and growing quite red with frustration. It was just one mission, she thought silently, convincing herself that she could tolerate Randi's unorthodox behavior for a short while. Exhaling sharply, and shaking her head with some frustration she began walking up the ramp to take her reluctant position in the co-pilot's seat. Her father had encouraged her to be nice to Randi, and she would do her utmost to please him, to continue to advance her career through paternal nepotism.

Grand Moff Claudius Rodney strode confidently onto the flightdeck, carrying with him a datapad that contained all of the information that had been acquired on the Executor-class Star Dreadnought. He was not at all pleased at the infighting between Captain Trainor and Lieutenant Anson, but the sight of the Inquisitors was most welcome. He was quite sure that if Kuat of Kuat declined his request that these two Force-sensitives could find a way to compel the man to see things his way. "We don't have time for this. Everyone get on board," and with that, he moved right past those assembled by the ship and headed towards the shuttle.

Miss Benedt was eager to shadow the Governor on this mission for the sole purpose of absorbing statistics and information on this classified warship. However, she was very uneasy with the prospect of working in close proximity to both Inquisitors, especially after the bloody and frightening display that transpired not but a few hours prior. Liliya had been keeping a steady pace to the left and behind her charge but when she caught sight of Inquisitor Thanor, she was all the more desperate to get on the ship quickly to avoid any initial contact, rushing past Rodney to disappear inside the shuttle.

Major Kerrie Kiley hurried into the hangar bay, in hot pursuit of the Grand Moff. "Milord, I have rested, have been cleared by Doctor Tohan, and am ready to return to duty at your side," she said, sounding eager, and offering the closest thing she could to a smile. Her uniform was immaculate, and she looked much more refreshed than she had in days past. Her hands were still damaged, but that was obscured by her black gloves. She was armed, ah she was hoping to renew her service to the Governor as his bodyguard.

Claudius froze when he heard Kerrie's voice, believing he had made it clear that she had been relieved of duty. He turned his head to face her, and simply shook his head, in a dismissive gesture. "Major Kiley. I have two of them," he said, motioning to Inquisitor Thanor and Apprentice Inquisitor Kaen. "What possible need could I have for you?" he asked, sounding a bit harsh ... albeit accurate. Without saying another word, he turned towards the interior of the shuttle and proceeded towards his seat.

Kerrie was heartbroken the moment she heard the Governor's words, her head sinking down until her chin was buried on her chest. She glanced at Serine for an instant, believing that she might have been right about her assessment, but then quickly turned on her heels and began walking towards the exit. She now believed there was only one chance to redeem herself in his eyes: put an end to Jelena's treachery. Feeling quite confident about her decision, she was sure that he would reward her by saving his daughter's life and stopping the flow of information to the Rebellion in one fell swoop.

The moment Serine heard the unmistakable voice of Major Kiley, she glanced over her shoulder at the approaching woman with a look of heavy scrutiny. The last time she had seen her, Kerrie had collapsed into a miserable and wretched pile of wasted potential outside her quarters after a heated exchange. The Inquisitor had been initially very curious to see what affects of that event had upon the Major. Apparently very little! Serine gawked at the Clawdite's inability to reform and continued ill-advised loyalty to a man that resented her. Kerrie would not be a nuisance to the entourage for much longer however, due to Rodney's blunt and malevolent comment. Serine's accusations that the Major had so blindly rejected were now fully vindicated. The Inquisitor's eyes locked with Kerrie's but for a moment. There was no gloating in deep silver hues, instead the emotions conveyed were heavy ambition and desire. Serine made it clear with only a fleeting glance that her offer still stood, she could give that broken woman a meaningful existence again. A Clawdite assassin would be a powerful tool for an aspiring Inquisitor.

Kia all but ran up the ramp into the shuttle, headed straight for the cockpit, she truly enjoyed watching pilots work, and learning what they were doing.

"Nyah!" Randi said, sticking her tongue out at Haven, as she assumed the pilot's seat of the shuttle Kwai. Her hands began running over the controls to begin powering up the main reactor, while instructing the co-pilot to begin downloading the coordinates for the Kuat system. "Next stop Kuat!" she announced to everyone, as she lifted the shuttle off the hangar's deck and began accelerating out of the bay into real space. Only moments later did the wings of the shuttle descend into cruise configuration, enabling her to push forward on the throttle and sending the small craft into hyperspace.

And so they were gone, Lady Jelena Rodney observed, as she stood on the walkway overlooking the hangar bay. She smiled realizing that the moment had finally come for her to make her move, yet simultaneously sighed knowing she would very likely never see her family again. As she watched the shuttle disappear into hyperspace, she felt a single tear roll down her right cheek, before hurrying off to tie up her loose ends.

Jelena Rodney sat silently at the terminal in her cramped quarters aboard the Star Destroyer. She was replaying the recording she had made to the people of the Ringali Shell, announcing her defection, condemning her father, and revealing the information she had discovered. It was a bold move, and she knew that it would pain her father. But she was convinced she was making the right decision, and believed her father had been lost to a mad delusion that the Rebellion had destroyed Alderaan ... when in fact it had been the Empire in which he served. Moving over towards her sister's bed, she knelt down and placed a gentle kiss upon her forehead. "Drusilla?" she said softly, in an attempt to wake her gently from her slumber.

"Mommy?" Drusilla asked, initially confused by the sight of the woman standing over her. She blinked several times, as she emerged from her slumber and stumbled back into consciousness. When she realized it was Jelena hovering over her, she became frightened, and immediately suspected something was wrong ... she could not remember her sister ever waking her before. "Jelena? What is the matter? Father?" she asked in a panic as her fear jarred her awake, causing her to sit up in the bed so she could be at eye level with her sister.

"He had to leave. Everything is fine," Jelena said with a smile, attempting to calm her younger sister, who it seemed she had frightened. "I have to leave. I wanted to say goodbye, and tell you that I love you," she said, her lower lip trembling, and the tears beginning to form in the corners of her eyes. She had considered taking her sister with her, but what she was going to do was very dangerous, and she did not want to risk her life as well.

"Go? What are you talking about?" Drusilla said, as she flopped back into her bed, pulling her blanket around her. "You woke me up for this?" she snarled, sounding quite displeased, as she placed her head firmly against the pillow, and rolled over onto her side with her back to Jelena. "If I say 'I love you too' will you let me go back to sleep?" she asked, wearily, as she had already begun the process of drifting back to sleep. She did not want to be bothered by her sister's theatricals ... she thought her to be quite the drama queen ... and *she* needed her beauty sleep.

Jelena laughed softly at her sister's behavior ... she should have expected as much. Deep down she was convinced that her sister loved her, in her own way. Next, her attention turned to Ewwiekewwieikkie ... although she was not her sister biologically, she had been an adopted member of the family before she was even born. As she moved over towards her bed, she smiled as she observed her having an intense dream that caused her to snarl and kick her leg. "Ewwie! Ewwie!" she said loudly, as she placed her hand on her shoulder and attempted to wake her up.

"Raaar!" Ewwiekewwieikkie growled angrily as she was awoken from her sleep, in the middle of a vivid dream, in which she was chasing after a shiny kite. "Raar!" she continued, as she leapt from the bed, and began running around the room in a panic-stricken frenzy, unaware of where she was or what was going on. Finally, she realized where she was and focused on Jelena, who had been distant lately. "Jelly!" she exclaimed, as she nearly tackled her sister to the ground in an frenzied hug.

"Oof!" Jelena groaned as she stumbled forward into the bed, pushed there was a result of Ewwiekewwieikkie's overzealous hug. "I'm glad to see you too, Ewwie," she said with laugh, reciprocating with a hug of her own, but adding a sisterly kiss to her cheek. She looked into her yellow eyes happily, as she allowed the embrace to linger. "Ewwie I have to go. I want you to know that even though you're not my sister by birth ... you're my sister by love," she said, before pulling in to tighten the hug for a moment, before releasing.

Drusilla was beyond frustrated by the noise her sisters were making, and angrily rolled over to confront them. Her hands grasped one of her pillows and she angrily threw one of her pillows in their direction. "Some of us are *trying* to sleep!" she snarled, like the petulant little princess that she was. A moment later she huffed, throwing herself back into the bed, in an attempt to fall back asleep ... *again*.

Jelena groaned as she was struck by the incoming pillow, but regarded it as nothing more than typical Drusilla behavior. "She's right. Ewwie, back to bed," she said, as she assisted her Squib sister back into the bed. As she walked to the exit of their quarters, she lowered the lights to complete darkness to allow them easier sleeping. She stood there for a moment, lingering, as she played over in her head what was she was about to do. She could still change her mind ... she could keep her family ... but at the cost of her soul. Finally, she turned on her feet and hurried out of the room before she started to cry. There was not much time left.

The Lambda-class shuttle Kwai emerged from hyperspace further down the Hydian Way in the Kuat system. In front of them lay the vibrant green planet of Kuat, surrounded by massive shipyards that surrounded the planet like a ring. "We're here!" Captain Randi Trainor announced, once again stating the obvious, as her hand moved to the controls to begin accelerating the small shuttle towards the massive shipyard complex. As they moved closer to the shipyards a veritable armada of warships was seen under construction, including countless Imperial II-class Star Destroyers and several of the massive new Executor-class Star Dreadnaughts.

"Look at the size of those things!" Flight Lieutenant Haven Anson exclaimed as they began to pass by the partially constructed hull of one of the massive Star Dreadnaughts. Her eyes lingered for a moment, before she noticed flashing lights on her control panel. "Kuat control, this is the shuttle Kwai on final approach with Grand Moff Claudius Rodney and his party. I am transmitting our clearance now," she said, as she pressed several buttons on her control panel to transmit their identification.

"I'm more of a Sienar Fleet Systems gal myself," Randi said, before she began to maneuver the shuttle towards the docking bay they had been assigned to. As she did so, she scrunched her nose several times, still getting used to the repair job Doctor Tohan had recently had to perform. Her eyes darted over her shoulder into the back compartment where the Inquisitor was, hoping that this trip would go better than the last. Upon entering the hangar bay, she raised the wings of the shuttle, and rapidly descended onto the deck of the hangar. The small craft shook violently as it touched down ... another of her less than stellar landings.

Before the ramp had fully descended, Grand Moff Claudius Rodney was already unhooked from his harness and upon his feet, excitedly rubbing his hands together. "Let's go! Let's go!" he said, sounding excited as a young boy. Being in such close proximity to the new fleet of command ships had seemingly reinvigorated him, and he began walking down the ramp with quite the spring in his step. In his mind he began to go over the various verbal tactics he would employ on Kuat of Kuat in his efforts to procure one of the vessels.

It had been a very awkward ride due to the strained history that all of the members in the ship shared and Liliya had found herself shifting in her harness in a distressed manner. She smiled enthusiastically towards Rodney after his elated outburst, positively responding to his energy and heightened animation which was a nice change of pace from the uncomfortable and silent trip to Kuat. Liliya had never seen Lord Rodney this excited since she was assigned as his assistant and made several mental notes about his strange personality quirks regarding close proximity to warships. ''Of course, Milord. I'm ready!" She jumped up from her seat as well, datapad in hand ready to collect a potentially unfathomable amount of data during this trip that would no doubt be proven useful if ever she was able to report it.

The trip was completely uneventful which gave the Inquisitor time to consider recent events while appraising the current situation. She found it a vast improvement that Rodney had specifically requested her to join him on this venture, since one of her key complaints in the past had been his lack of utilization of key personnel at his disposal. Eyes drifted over towards her apprentice with a small air of pride, Kia being instrumental at locating vital intel that the Governor decided to directly act upon. This was an acceptable step in the right direction. What was not acceptable was her recent dealings with her personal pilot, Randi, and the ever irritating presence of Liliya Benedt. Serine felt Rodney was becoming far too attached to what the Inquisitor surmised was an unnecessary waste of space. Regardless of the mild annoyances, she was determined to push through them and see this outing become a success since that would verify Kia's significance and the importance and usefulness of members of the Inquisitorius. She could tell her young apprentice was overly excited with the notion of seeing these ships, understanding the extent of the teenager's fascination.

Kia had planted herself just behind the pilot's seats to watch what they were doing, as long as Serine had not pulled her away from the two that were flying. The entire trip she had been quietly asking the two women what the various controls were, how they affected the flight of the shuttle, the types of engines, and generally acting more like a gearhead than an Apprentice Inquisitor.

The unmistakable sound of stiletto heels piercing the durasteel hangar deck could be heard approaching Grand Moff Rodney and his entourage as former representative Tam Ara approached. Ara had recently been removed from her position as one of the Kuati delegates to the Imperial Senate, but now served as one of the administrators of Kuat Drive Yards. As she approached the Governor she paused, somewhat apprehensively ... as it was she who arranged for the release of Major Arden Zevrin following his wife's torture. "Grand Moff Rodney, my name is Tam Ara, to what do we owe this pleasure?" she asked, tilting her head slightly as she examined the man, and those that surrounded him. She wondered perhaps if the man traveled with a harem.

The Governor stopped in his tracks as he eyed the beautiful young Kuati who stood before him. "Good afternoon, Miss Ara. I would meet with Kuat of Kuat," he insisted, as he took a commanding step forward. The reason behind Major Zevrin's release had never fully been revealed to him, other than the intervention of the Grand Vizier ... had he known the Kuati was responsible this meeting would have gone far differently. His left hand extended towards the series of Executor-class Star Dreadnaughts visibly under construction.

Tam blinked silently as she studied the man, not at all expecting this kind of reason for his being here. However, she did not have the authority to deny a Grand Moff a meeting with Kuat of Kuat, and offered a phony smile in response. "Of course, Milord. He would be happy to meet with you. If you and your ... aides ... would be so kind as to follow me," she concluded, before alluringly turning on her heels and beginning to saunter towards a waiting repulsortrain that would take them to the administrative wing.

"Now we are getting somewhere!" Claudius said, turning over his shoulder to smile at Liliya, Kia, and yes ... even Serine. The war weariness that had fallen upon the Grand Moff these past one-and-a-half years had seemed to evaporate the moment he returned to one of his most comfortable elements. He began following behind Tam, his feet feeling as if they were walking on air, as he effortlessly made his way into the train.

"Master, could we go see the Research and Design labs while the Governor has his meeting?" It was obvious the teenager had no desire for the boring politics of a meeting, not while this close to a lab again, Kia knew how to talk to the Engineers.

As Serine listened to Kia's request, she painfully realized that her apprentice has not had a chance to leave the Warspite for any recreation since she rescued her from that failed Jedi on Esseles. Perhaps a trip to the Research and Design labs at a later date, just the two of them, would be a reasonable relationship building experience. ''The Governor has specifically requested my presence here, this is not a vacation, Kia. However, I am not against coming back here for a visit when we are not on official business." Said with a stern, but understanding look towards the adolescence as she followed the overly hyped Rodney towards their new transport destination.

Once everyone had boarded the tram, it began to rapidly accelerate through the tube until it reached the administrative section of the massive shipyard complex. Once it arrived, the door opened and Tam Ara was the first off. Stopping at the receptionist outside the corporate offices, she was told that Kuat of Kuat was just wrapping up a meeting with personnel from Research and Development. "It should only be a few moments, Milord," she said, as she awkwardly stood in the exterior office. She was not one for small talk ... particularly with one she held in such little regard. The silence was suddenly ... and mercifully ... shattered when the doors opened and a large assemblage of research and development personnel emerged.

Kia did not argue, or sulk, following her Master off of the monorail, so much had happened since their return to the Warspite, she had not yet had a chance to regale her teacher with the details of her adventures. Instead taking that time of silence to study the entire office, she was right, it was a boring, diplomatic office, it did however afford a beautiful view of the shipyards.

A dark haired woman who appeared in her mid to late 30s broke off from the group of people approaching the monorail, she looked friendly, in that sort of 'tech-geek' kind of way. She appeared to be studying the group waiting to see the Kuat of Kuat intently, then recognition lit in her eyes, "Kia? Is that you?" She quickly closed the distance, looking the teenager over from head to toe, "Oh, Jamie is going to be so happy you are alright! We were so worried after you disappeared on Esseles..."

Kia froze, blinking up at the woman who had just spotted her, then looking to her Master and back to the engineer. "Mrs. Trents? What ... are you doing at KDY?"

Helena pulled the girl into a big hug, oblivious to the near panic'd look Kia had given Serine. "We transferred after I got remarried. Are you going to be here long? Are you applying to be an intern? We would love to have a Kaen on the team, you know!"

Kia blinked ... again. ''Uh, no ma'am ... I'm not here as ... I ... um ... I'm here in a different capacity."

The Inquisitor just stood there completely in shock as some random woman started handling her apprentice so freely without any caution what-so-ever. It took her a few moments to realize that this ... individual knew Kia on a personal level which caused her eyes to shoot open as she stared at the scene before her. A slow glance over her shoulder to the fellow occupants as she calculated who would be witness to the unfortunate and likely gory demise about to transpire. The remaining research and development team had all vacated the area which was satisfactory enough to set this display in motion. Helena would not be embracing Kia for long as a right hand fiercely dug into hair and ripped the woman free from her apprentice with a sudden snap of movement. Serine brutally threw this atrocity to the ground with a solid and powerful action before vivid eyes shifted from her prey to the young Kaen. ''Now you will learn why you must always sever ties." Said darkly as the Inquisitor began to pace around Helena, quickly formulating how to perform a meaningful execution that would forever be embedded into Kia's memory. This person before her was no longer a sentient being in Serine's mind, she now was merely a discipline assembly and would be treated as such. ''Unhook a lightsaber!" She growled and it was all too apparent what her vile intentions were.

"Kuat of Kuat will see you now, Milord," Tam announced, after re-emerging from his office. When she saw that Inquisitor Thanor was confronting one of the members of their research and development team, she was obviously displeased ... but said nothing. Merely grimacing, she shook he head silently and moved towards the presumed safety of close proximity to the Grand Moff and his aide.

"Exce-," Claudius began, before stopping himself, as he saw the murderous intent in Inquisitor Thanor's eyes ... he had seen this look before. "Do we have to do this *now*?" he asked, followed by an exasperated sigh. In this moment he both looked and sounded like a young boy who wanted his dessert without having to finish his vegetables. Instinctively, he reached out with his right hand to gently push Liliya behind him. "Get behind me, dear," he whispered softly, as he positioned himself to shield her. It did not take someone with precognition to realize what was about to happen.

When Helena gave Kia a delightful happy hug, Liliya was smiling because she thought it was so sweet, but of course any sort of optimism or contentment had to be instantly crushed by Inquisitor Thanor. She gasped in alarm when the woman was shoved on the floor and immediately she turned to Rodney to protest but he beat her to it and she found herself being ushered behind him quickly. This was all too familiar to her and Liliya had the sudden dread that there was going to be a horrible scene unfolding in a few moments. ''But Milord..!" She cried out in defense of the woman who was about to meet her impending disaster. ''Please ... she'll be killed..." A sorrowful tone washed over her as she felt helpless to stop it, but Rodney could ... if he would only interject. Hands clutched the back of his uniform in anguish ... why was he going to allow this to happen? ''She didn't do anything ... Milord..." Softly said with a gentle sob...

Kia looked surprised, then looked down, feeling more than a bit responsible for this trouble. She also knew better than to object to what her Master chose to do. "I didn't know she was here, Master, I promise. I didn't arrange to meet her or anything, I'm not going against what was decided."

Helena let out a surprised and pained yelp as she was jerked nearly off her feet and sent tumbling to the ground, rolling once, the engineer looked completely confused at the treatment, and that no one was interfering, not even the child she knew. "How dare you treat someone like this! I do not know who you are, but civilized people treat others with respect, young lady." Her attention shifted back to Kia, shaking her head slightly, "This is what I was afraid would happen when you ran away, bad influences ... and people like ... this."

Kia wanted to sink into the floor and become a puddle, looking quickly between Helena and Serine. "My path no longer lies in a lab, Mrs. Trents, I am an Apprentice Inquisitor. This person," she motioned to Serine, "is my mentor, teacher, and Master. I'm sorry..." Hearing the order, Kia froze for a moment, she did not know how to fight with or use the weapon yet, but she did as she was ordered instantly, more afraid what Serine would do if she hesitated than of the weapon itself. Unconsciously, the teenager had drawn Jerasea's saber, it was the first one her hand had found, not moving from where she had been standing.

It was not as if Serine enjoyed killing helpless citizens of the Empire, especially useful citizens working to outfit the Emperor's Navy, but this situation was too dangerous in the long run for Kia. This apparent childhood acquaintance of hers would no doubt spread word that she saw Kia Kaen at the Kuat shipyards and word would filter out to all of her relatives. Though it may not be immediately apparent, Serine was attempting to protect both Kia and her family. To ensure that the remnants of her family were never pulled into the Citadel Inquisitorius to their doom, only a single person needed to be sacrificed. It was the price that had to be paid, it was the price Kia had to pay now. The woman subject was talking far too much and likely making this more difficult on her apprentice, so thus Serine found it necessary to cease her idle and idiotic chatting. ''An execution requires that the prisoner be positioned properly and adequately depending on the mode of termination. In this case, decapitation." Quickly the hilt of her lightwhip snapped into her hand, and in an instant, coils lashed out in a vibrant display before entangling around Helena's torso. With a heavy solid motion, Serine yanked that woman into a kneeling position in front of the young Kaen. It was fitting that Kia's first real use of her lightsaber would be for an execution. The Inquisitor's eyes watched her apprentice intensely and scrutinized every movement the young girl made.

Claudius heard the beautiful young Liliya plead for mercy for the Inquisitor's intended victim, he did nothing ... he coveted the new Executor-class Star Dreadnaught more than anything. If he had to allow the Inquisitors to brutally execute this woman in the administration to achieve that goal ... so be it. However, he could not bare to watch directly, and turned his back on the scene so that he was now facing Liliya. He brought his arms forward in an attempt to embrace her and shield her eyes from what was to come, not wanting to expose the innocent to their misdeeds. "Hide your eyes, child," he said, as he brought one hand up to her trendy pixie cut to cradle the beautiful young thing that might one day spell his doom.

Liliya was already devastated and there was yet to be bloodshed. She could not believe her charge would allow this to happen... The Grand Moff could easily intervene ... and Benedt was getting terrible reminders of that one time Tremayne ripped apart a poor messenger in front of her while Rodney was too afraid to act. But this situation was different... It was not fear that prevented his action ... it was something else that she could not determine due to the limitations of her software. Regardless of the reasoning behind Rodney's cruel indifference to the future suffering of innocent lives, Liliya felt defeated, her only action now was to allow her charge to shield her from what gruesome and terrible event was to happen. Before his hand covered her usually brilliant eyes, there was a heavy glimmer of disappointment and sadness directed at his inaction this day.

Helena looked up at Serine, shock plain on her kindly features, surely she had heard that wrong. Execution? Decapitation? She knew the meaning of the words, but she didn't have time to process what was going on. Trying to free herself of the unyielding coils that kept her trapped. "Kia, don't do this ... you can stay here, whatever influence they have you under, you're no monster ... no killer." She looked up, meeting the teenager's wide blue-green eyes, "If you are going to kill me, look me in the eyes and tell me that your parents would be proud of what you are doing. I remember watching a child who didn't even want to step on a bug, because she didn't want to hurt it."

As soon as her Master had ordered her to draw a weapon, Kia knew what the command was going to be. She stared in wide-eyed surprise that was only slowly fading into anger and even guilt, seeing the woman on her knees before her. Her thumb was resting against the activation lever on the hilt as she listened. "Why couldn't you have just ignored me here? Why did you have to meddle ... where you weren't needed or *wanted*? You brought this conclusion. All you had to do was keep walking." The teenager brought her thumb down on the activation switch, the weapon held loosely in her right hand the tip mere inches from the floor, surprised at the green-white glow that cast harsh shadows across the pair. She never looked away from Helena's eyes though. "You speak of a child you knew, a child that lost her parents far too early, a child that didn't want to cause harm at least not intentionally." Her eyes flicked up to Serine, then back down to the kneeling woman. "That child had to die for me to survive."

A deathly silence had fallen upon those in the waiting room, and if one listened closely each of their heartbeats could be heard in a unique rhythm. Time seemed to slow to a crawl, and from somewhere, a voice long gone would shatter the silence ... yet be heard only by Kia. "No, Kia! No!" the disembodied voice screamed, sounding at the same time both infinitely far away and directly in front of her. And just as quickly ... it was gone.

Her mind had instinctively reached out to the dark side, letting it sear this into her memory as she took a half step to her left, bringing the saber up into a two handed grip as she spun the blade in a tight loop in front of her, the blade coming down to take the woman's head off at the neck, as soon as the deed was done, she stepped back to her original position, her attention no longer on the dead woman at her feet, but on her Master. Her breathing was faster than it had been, the actual act of killing had given her a rush she had not expected, though it had caused the death of a woman she had thought of fondly, she could not *be* that person anymore. The blade was not deactivated yet, and the slow thrum sounded ominous after the collapse of the corpse. "I believe I learned the lesson ... Master."

Serine was highly impressed by her apprentice's lack of hesitation to such a vexatious deed, following the execution command without quarrel or resistance. The Inquisitor listened intently to Kia's conviction, her principles and doctrine being molded and developing exactly to Serine's approval. The bond between them would grow increasingly stronger, for every act of unwavering devotion and obedience from Kia would be steadily matched by an equally fierce possessiveness from Serine. The Inquisitor was wise to put her faith in this girl! It was so very gratifying to know that the time spent on Kia's instruction was not wasted, it only made Serine all the more anxious to continue her training. She could feel the very strength of the Force coursing through her apprentice, it augmented her abilities and focused her power ... it made her strong. As the vicious execution ended, that lifeless decapitated body was uncoiled allowing it to collapse to the ground with a sickening thud. Her lightwhip was returned to her belt as she stared down at the young Kaen. There was no praise in her voice as this was partially punishment and partially duty, but Kia would be able to sense the overwhelming pride that hemorrhaged from the Inquisitor. Their bond with the Force was developing so strongly that Kia would now be able to directly gauge the emotional state of her Master in close proximity. ''Indeed you have. Do not ever question my motives regarding your development again." Said coldly as she peered behind her to the Governor, a relentless gaze met his own in silent acknowledgement that this was the kind of power and control he could command at a whim.

At the acknowledgement of her Master, Kia thumbed the lightsaber off, lowering her her head slightly in deference. "Yes, Master Thanor." Even as she heard heard the harsh tone from her mentor, she felt the surge of pride at her actions coming from Serine.

As Tam Ara observed the head roll past her, her look was one of grave concern ... but not concern for the young woman's life ... concern for the cleanliness of the waiting area. "Call janitorial. I want this *mess* cleaned up," she said coldly, before turning her attention to the Governor who was cradling the youth he suspected of being his mistress. "As I was *trying* to say..." before shifting her glance momentarily to the Inquisitors. "Kuat of Kuat will see you now," and with that, she opened the doors to his conference room, and waited for the Governor to enter before she would follow him in.

Claudius released the lovely young Liliya from his grasp when he heard that it was time for his long awaited meeting. Before he would enter the conference room, he raised his hand to stop the Inquisitor from following. "Wait here. Allow my diplomatic efforts a chance to succeed. If I get in over my head-" he stopped suddenly, realizing the poor choice in words, and becoming slightly flustered as a result. "If I ... uh ... have any difficulty I will give you the opportunity to use your more *direct* methods," he explained before walking into the conference room with Liliya in tow.

Liliya's entire body tensed as that impliable and unnecessarily cruel act was committed. She could not see the scene since Rodney so gently covered her eyes, but she could hear the unforgiving spectacle occurring. The sound of the weapon searing flesh, the smell of burnt human remains ... the horrible and merciless things that young girl was saying ... all of it was too much for the woman. Benedt's knees buckled causing her to collapse into the Governor's arms weakly and quivering heavily with the inhumanity displayed here. ''Milord ... I ... I...'' This was overwhelming her sensors and processors, she just was not programmed to witness this sort of brutality and for a moment she considered literally shutting down to escape. She struggled with the notion, it would merely appear as if she passed out, but the repercussions could be deadly as Rodney would no doubt wish for her to be seen by a medical personal ... and that could not be allowed. Instead Liliya feebly clung to her charge's uniform, being held up only by his strength as she attempted to cope. With only his guidance and support, she managed to be ushered into the conference room.

Serine's antics and display of power over the situation no doubt influenced Rodney as the man was finally considering using her talents to advance his goals. ''Of course, Governor." Said with a sharp and stern sense of fierce loyalty that may have been shocking to Rodney due to their troubled history. He likely had no idea how eager the Inquisitor was to perform her duties at his command despite her telling him on multiple occasions. Her attention fell to Kia once the Grand Moff entered the conference room. ''If my skills are necessary, you will remain here. Your presence may hinder my progress and be a distraction." Kia will have ample opportunity to learn how to intimidate the insignificant politicians and businessmen at a later date. Now was not the time for any further lessons ... the Inquisitor had a duty to perform if requested.

Kia looked back to the corpse, studying the results of her actions. Before her attention snapped back to Serine, "As you wish, Master." Her voice had a new solemnity to it, as if she were still processing what she had done. The rush was still there but it was sinking in that she had killed on command.

Despite the presence of two young women in his midst, Kuat of Kuat did not rise from his seat. He remained seated ... not just as a show of dominance ... but of practicality as well due to the presence of a small felinx half-asleep in his lap. As he stroked the small creature in his lap, his eyes studied the newcomers intently. This had been a last minute meeting, and he noted this Governor had not gone through the standard procedures. If he were a planetary governor he would have had him arrested ... if he were a Moff he would have simply had him sent away ... but a Grand Moff? he supposed he *had* to meet with one of those. He was dressed in maroon and purple formal attire, befitting one of the richest business owners in the galaxy. "I'm afraid I did not catch your surname, Governor Rodney," he said, in all seriousness, having assumed 'Rodney' to be a first name. "Do make this quick. I am quite busy, and I do bore easily," he said, as his attention shifted back to the felinx whom he found infinitely more interesting at the moment.

In his former career as a member of the Alderaanian diplomatic corps, Claudius had to deal with this sort of people all of the time. Unfortunately, since the formation of the Empire his role had been largely military and had become used to simply 'ordering' people what to do. This would not work here, he quickly realized, and did his best to remember some of the pleasantries and platitudes that had served him in this youth. "Rodney is my surname. Lord Claudius Rodney of the planet Delaya," he began, as he closed the distance between himself and thed of the long conference table. "Currently in His Imperial Majesty's service as Grand Moff of Oversector Ringali," he explained, getting on with the formalities that were an unfortunate necessity to meetings such as this. "I came to you on a matter of some importance," he began to explain, before noting that the man was quickly losing interest.

Kuat could not get over the fact that this man's surname was 'Rodney'. In fact, he was so thrown by this bit of information that he barely paid any mind to the rest of the words he was saying. "What is of great importance to you means very little to me," he said, abruptly, as he began to scratch the area behind the felnix' ears, which began to emanate a soft purring noise in response. "Speak more softly. You are disturbing him," he warned the Grand Moff, as he smiled down at the precious little felinx that so occupied his thoughts and interests presently.

Claudius was taken aback by what he was witnessing, but obliged the man by lowering his voice to accommodate him. "Very well," he said, bowing slightly in an unnecessary sign of respect to the Kuati. "As Grand Moff of a priority oversector with Rebel activity I am in need of one of your newly developed Executor-class Star Dreadnaughts to enforce the Emperor's Will," he explained, matter-of-factly as he made what, at least in his mind, was a very reasonable and well thought out request. "I see you have several under constru-" he was about to continue, but soon found himself cut off by Kuat.

"Executor-class? How did you find out about that?" Kuat asked in a heightened state of rage, rising so quickly that the felinx in his lap was sent falling to the ground. As it scurried to safety, he locked eyes directly on the Grand Moff. "That project is classified. Despite your title and your over inflated sense of importance you are unworthy of one!" he shouted, spittle flying from his mouth as he angrily spoke. He looked past the man towards the young woman, Liliya, who had accompanied him. "What is it, my lovely? Is the old man trying to compensate for a shortage somewhere else with one of my large warships?" he asked of her, as a cruel grin curled upon his Kuati lips. Yes ... that must have been it, he thought to himself.

The suggestion about his manhood made by Kuat nearly sent Claudius over the edge, but he remembered why he was here ... the ship was more important than his pride. "As a Grand Moff I am entitled to one of those vessels. You have several under construction. We passed them on the way in. Surely we can find some way to accommodate my request," he continued, easing back on his tone of voice, as he still maintained the hope this could be resolved amicably.

"If you want one every Grand Moff will want one. These ships will all be assigned to the Outer Rim Territories where the *real* war will be fought. One cannot be wasted on your sideshow ...a sideshow of a sideshow if you ask me ... simply because of your vanity," Kuat said, before dropping swiftly to his knees to look for the frightened felinx ... to him that was much more important. "Look what you've done ... you've frightened him! Out, damn you out!" he said, before continuing his search for his pet.

Claudius moved his jaw from side-to-side in frustration as the man disappeared beneath the conference table. "So be it," he said, as he abruptly turned on his heels and began walking out of the office, motioning for the young Liliya to accompany him. Once he was back in the waiting room, his attention immediately shifted to Inquisitor Thanor. "You must get us one of those ships, Inquisitor. I am counting on you," he said emphatically, pacing back and forth in frustration from what had just occurred. He curled his right hand into a fist, before punching it into the palm of his left, before squeezing down on it in a vain attempt to calm his nerves.

That was all Rodney needed to say to the Inquisitor, as she was already eager to comply and showcase exactly why he should utilize her abilities for his purposes. As Kuat of Kuat was engaged with searching for his felinx, he would be interrupted by the fierce shaking of the walls of the conference room causing all sorts of items to fall from shelves and scatter across the floor. An instant afterwards the shrill horrid sound of durasteel twisting and snapping filled the room as part of the wall holding the door was torn completely asunder. A large portion of gnarled and tangled metal violently collided with the interior of the room in a massive outward explosion. The Inquisitor could have easily walked into the room using the door, but this was for intimidation purposes. Serine stepped through the massive wrenched hole she had created looking feverishly livid with a severely aggressive and murderous posture. Her vile plans here were to break this man quickly and effectively to validate part of her purpose to the Grand Moff.

When Kuat heard the horrific noise, he immediately began the process of extracting himself from beneath the conference table. Unfortunately, he did so in such a rush that he banged his head upon the underside of the table as he was pulling his head out to see what was amiss. "Ow. Damn it!" he cursed, as he brought his hand up to his head, rubbing it gingerly, as he stared off at the Inquisitor who was wrecking his conference room. "Stop that! Stop that at once! You will allow my pet to escape and then we'll have to search endlessly for him!" he complained, not yet realizing the gravity of his situation. As the owner and operator of the Empire's largest military contractor he thought himself invulnerable, and began marching defiantly towards her. "If anything happens to my pet I will see you are held personally responsible!" he said, before coming to a stop only two meters in front of her.

It was apparent that this man thought himself important, but the Inquisitor was about to display exactly how insignificant he really was. ''You are easily replaceable." Said as her eyes locked upon him with dire intent. Serine mused that if he were killed, the power vacuum would be quickly filled with the next lowly worm to come along. ''You are not showing the proper respect that members of the Inquisitorius demand." This man did not deserve any leeway, showing the kind of filthy disregard that Serine found disgusting, thus she was going to make it painfully obvious exactly how she viewed him. With a sudden snap of her wrist, her hand flicked towards that man causing an unseen agent to slam into his form with enough power to knock him from his feet and collide to the wall behind him. There would be little time for him to recover as the Inquisitor was quickly upon him with a thrashing lightwhip already in hand. Metallic coils wrapped around his torso, pinning his arms against his chest tightly and restricting his diaphragm, making it much more difficult to breath. ''The Grand Moff requested one of your Executor-class Star Dreadnaughts, but you so ignorantly defied him. How unfortunate for you." Serine wasted no time giving the man a chance to defend his actions, assuming that anything salivating from his mouth now would be putrid waste. With a dark look of heartless yearning, she activated her weapon, instantly causing the many coils wrapped around his body to ignite into a brilliant crimson. The rancid stench of burning flesh filled the air and would no doubt be noticed by the few occupants that lingered outside of the conference room.

As Kuat was thrown into the wall by her unseen powers, the noise alarmed the felinx most of all, which hurried out of the conference room to find safer territory. The spoiled executive had never been treated in such a way, but before he could recover to make formal protest he felt her deadly weapon coil around his midsection. "How dare-" he began angrily, before his voice was cut off by the ignition of the lightwhip. His screams filled the conference room, and due to the gaping hole in the wall, his voice carried far beyond. The tears began to flow down upon his proud face, and he quickly made the decision that no ship was worth this. "Fine!" he screamed at the top of his lungs, moments before they were in danger of being singed. He hoped that the other Grand Moffs did not possess weapons such as Inquisitor Thanor, or he would quickly run out of warships to assign.

He broke quickly as she had expected. Worms with ego and power such as this generally had no strength of will and would easily snap under pressure. The lightwhip was silenced, the red glow vanished before the deadly weapon was removed from his form. However, the Inquisitor was not fully satisfied since this kind of man may grow comfortable and bold again once they had left ... and she needed to make sure he understood the dangers of failing to fulfill his obligations. Serine's left hand enclosed around Kuat's throat and slammed him back into the wall as she glared directly into his eyes menacingly. ''If you are incapable of effectively accomplishing this task, I will remove you and place someone more competent in your position." She nearly snarled at that miserable man before she released him fully, but not before throwing him to the ground in a spiteful fashion for wasting everyone's time. As she exited the conference room she would immediately look to Rodney with a single nod of success to indicate they were wholly triumphant here.

And so it was done. Claudius clasped his hands together so quickly, and with such force that the noise it emitted echoed far beyond the waiting room they were in. A nod of thanks was returned to the Inquisitor, but he could not hold back his Alderaanian reserve and offered the most genuine of smiles ... a first between the two. He turned to the young Liliya, so unaware of her emotions as he had totally become engrossed with obtaining the warship, that he took her in his arms and spun her around victoriously, over the pool of muck that was once Helena Trent. When he placed her back down he thrust both of his hands forward in a gesture of victory ... as if he had just won a game of shockball as a youth. With the most satisfied of grins plastered upon his middle-aged face, he turned and began the process of moving back towards the tram that would return them to the hangar. He did not think of Helena, nor what Kuat had been put through, nor even the felinx that had escaped and was now free to roam the corridors of the shipyard ... all he could think of was what to name his new command ship ... his new toy.

When Kerrie Kiley arrived at the quarters belonging to Rodney's children, she fully intended to arrest Jelena. It was for her own good, and moreover she thought it would place her back in the Governor's good graces. But, to her dismay, when she opened the door she found only the sleeping Drusilla and Ewwiekewwieikkie. "Blast," she muttered on her breath, as she stealthily examined the room for evidence of Jelena's whereabouts in the darkness. Finally, she saw that Jelena's terminal had been left on, and she moved towards it swiftly. In the silent darkness Kerrie viewed Jelena's formal declaration of Rebellion, betraying her father, betraying her family, betraying all that she held deal. She was shattered, and was convinced more than ever that if she stopped this behavior, she would be justly rewarded ... but where had Jelena gone? There was only one woman that likely knew.

Major Arden Zevrin was sitting quietly in her office, drinking a caf, and reviewing reports from the Battle of Ralltiir. Was the battle in the Ringali Shell finally going the Empire's way? If so, we should find a way to take the credit. She had reviewed the staff meeting earlier, and was aware that the Grand Moff had rushed off to her homeworld of Kuat on some foolish quest with the Inquisitor in tow. As far as she was concerned, that meant she was in charge, and was quite content as she sat there, feet elevated, mistress of her own little universe.

Suddenly the door to Zevrin's office was forced office, and Kerrie stepped through in a frenzy, her KYD-21 blaster already drawn. "Listen. We have a long history, and we both know what you really think of me," she said in haste, hurrying towards the woman, and menacing her with both her physical presence and the blaster. "I swear that I will kill you where you sit if you don't give me access to your monitoring system ... now," she demanded, before raising her blaster pistol and leveling it steady with Arden's chest. Her right finger hovered over the trigger, twitching nervously. She was serious ... *deadly* serious.

Arden was horrified when she saw Kerrie burst into her office and draw down upon her, having not expected to see her as she was listed as relieved of duty. "C-c-calm down, Kerrie. I'll give you whatever you want," she stammered nervously, believing that the woman had very likely lost her mind. She had studied Kerrie for years and believed she was nearly at her breaking point, but based on what she was seeing now she believed she had finally past that point. Slowly, she moved from her desk, and gave her access to the bank of monitors that showed every aspect of the ship.

Kerrie had learned not to trust Arden after years of misdeeds between them, and in fact she considered her the most dangerous person aboard the Warspite due to her duplicity and scheming ... more so than even the Inquisitors and Rebel spy. Her eyes scanned over each of the monitors, spotting many officers and personnel that she knew ... but no Jelena. She was growing increasingly frustrated by the lack of success, clenching her feet and gritting her teeth as she cycled furiously through the cameras. Her speed was producing no positive results, and her increased frustration made it all the more likely that she would simply pass by Jelena even if she spotted her.

"You know..." Arden began, taking a step forward towards the Clawdite Commando, and speaking in a soft, non-threatening tone. "I could help if I knew what you were looking for," she continued after a pause, still considering the woman to be a mentally unstable threat. She had never seen her like this before, and she considered it a very real possibility that she was about to be blasted. Still, it was in her nature to be curious and she could not resist the opportunity to uncover what had set her off like that. She considered reaching for the blaster while Kerrie was distracted and looking over the monitors, but realized it was very likely to fail and acknowledged that she was a weaker combatant than her.

"Gaah. Stay, uh, over there!" Kerrie screamed, waving her off with her blaster pistol as she continued to scan the monitors. Finally she spotted Jelena, but she cycled past too quickly, and eventually lost her. "Wait. I need that back," she complained, calming herself, and cycling back three channels until she had Jelena in her view again. She scanned her surroundings carefully, and discovered she was heading to her father's office. "Thanks," she said, sarcastically at Arden, before running out of the ISB office to confront Jelena in the Governor's office.

"Don't mention it..." Arden said, before finally exhaling with relief that she was not going to be fried by a mentally deranged psychopath. "I *have* got to get those locks changed," she snickered to herself, before turning to her seat. She took a calm sip of her caf, and kicked her heels back up on the obsidian black table that was in front of her. Her eyes scanned the viewscreen, expecting to be given quite the show when Kerrie confronted Jelena. She had no idea what was going to happen, but she loved surprises. *Slurp* escaped her lips as she took an unladylike sip of the caf, not caring much as she was alone in the room. Manners were best left to formal occasions.

With Liliya caught up in her father's adventure, Jelena Rodney found no presence outside his office. She was his daughter, and no one suspected her in the least ... other than Kerrie who had been relieved of duty. And so when she was observed moving down the corridors towards the Grand Moff's quarters and office, no one thought to question it ... she belonged there. When she entered, she closed the door quickly behind her, and swiftly moved towards his desk. Frantically, she inserted a blank datadisk into his terminal and entered the password to access his most sensitive files ... it was 'Julia', her mother's name. Next, she pressed the button to download all pertinent information from his local network. "Come on. Come on," she said frantically, as she watched the status bar slowly move forward towards completion.

"Step away from that terminal. You are under arrest," Kerrie said, when she finally arrived at the office. She had run at her best speed from Arden's office to Rodney's ... it seemed he had deliberately placed them far enough away from one another that he would not be bothered by her. She was fatigued from the run, slightly out of breath, perspiring lightly, with cheeks that were flushed red. She raised her blaster pistol at Jelena to show that she was deathly serious ... she no longer saw the teenage girl she had sworn to protect ... she saw her way back to a purpose in life.

"You're not going to arrest me, Kerrie. You wouldn't dare," Jelena said with a smug laugh, not moving from the terminal in the slightest. "Now go back to whatever it is you were doing, and leave me to my task," she informed her, in a derogatory and dismissive fashion. She had convinced herself that the woman had been spayed, and would not turn her in, lest she fail in her duty to protect her. When the terminal beeped, the datadisk was automatically ejected, and she quickly palmed it ... sliding it into her pocket.

Kerrie could not believe the words that were coming out of Jelena's mouth. "I have ... killed to protect you," she began, growing incredibly emotional, as she remembered how she murdered Trent Irso after he suspected Jelena of treason. "I have covered up your crimes. I have cleaned up your messes. I have protected you from your father's scorn," she said, starting to become very emotional ... she was trembling, and starting to cry. "I have kept our family together ... despite your best efforts to shatter it. I have seen your treasonous recording. It is over. I should have done this a long time ago!" she said, as her attention moved to a pair of stun cuffs that were attached to her belt.

"I *never* asked you to do any of that, Kerrie," Jelena spat back at her, unrelenting in her determination to go forward with her defection. "You did all of that. That is on you. Because you have no family ... and you're obsessed with mine!" she continued angrily, starting to yell at her in an aggressive tone. She had crossed the line and there was no going back from this at this point. "He is *my* father. Not yours, and he never will be!" she said, as her hand moved to open his top desk drawer where she knew her father kept his sidearm in case of emergencies. Her eyes gently angled down towards the DH-17 blaster pistol that she had just exposed.

The words that Jelena spoke struck at the very fiber of her core. She had desperately sought a family ... a home ... since it had been taken from her since she was very young. When the Mabari, the Clawdites, and even her own sister turned their backs on her all she had left was the House of Rodney. While Htaere had always treated her like one of the family, there was always a distance between her and the Rodneys themselves. She had given everything to them ... and had nothing to show for it ... not even gratitude. And not only that, but now she had lost her job as well. Her head lowered in absolute dejection, and she lowered her blaster pistol, stepping off the side to give Jelena plenty of room to walk past her. "Go ... just go," she said quietly, without making eye contact with the vengeful teenage. "Before I change my mind," she quickly added, as her mind began to swirl with options. Maybe she could go with her and return to her career as an assassin ... she had one well at once and developed friends ... sort of. She could be on her own, and perhaps meet people who would value her again. As far as she was concerned there was nothing left for her here.

In her mind Jelena had taken a step forward, but in reality she had not ... she was still standing at the desk. She looked at Kerrie and all she saw was the anger she had against the Empire for murdering her people with the destruction of Alderaan. Her mother's side of the family had been completely wiped out as far as she could tell, and all of her friends from the Alderaan Select Academy for Young Ladies. And so in an instant she pulled the DH-17 from her father's desk, and leveled it at Kerrie's torso. Unbeknownst to her, her father had remove the safety and set the weapon to kill when the Inquisitor had earlier terrorized Liliya. Her finger pulled back on the trigger and unleashed a deadly, crimson bolt of energy at her former protector's midsection.

"Ugh!" Kerrie groaned as the kill bolt impacted her midsection unexpectedly ... she never would have thought Jelena capable of such an act. The pain began to radiate throughout her entire body, as her midsection, and the contents of her abdomen were viciously burned. Her hands released their grips on the blaster pistol and the stun cuffs, and they fell to the ground, breaking the silence as they slammed upon the durasteel floor. She lost the ability to maintain her human form and shimmered back into her natural Clawdite appearance. Her body suddenly felt as if it weighed a ton, and her knees buckled, and she fell to the ground. She was unaware of what was happening ... she was afraid ... terrified even. "Beeogola nechaska," she muttered upwards towards Jelena, speaking in Huttese, as she was no longer able to remember Basic. She felt weak, and was losing many of the sensations in her body ... and she now felt as if she were freezing cold. It was now too hard for her to even maintain a position on her knees, and she keeled over to the deck and one last groan emanated from her mouth. Everything started to become blurry and Jelena became nothing more than a silhouette, but even that would soon fade as her eyes felt like they were being pulled down by unseen weights. Her eyes closed, her heart rate slowed, and her breathing nearly ceased ... she was nearly gone.

Jelena looked down at Kerrie, pitying the creature, but convinced that she had removed a ruthless killer from Imperial service. A killer who had an unhealthy obsession with her father. With the datadisk secure, and now armed, she stepped over Kerrie's body and hurried out of her father's quarters. Her face was pale, and she was trembling slightly, but the members of the Warspite crew were too afraid of her father to question her. She had used his influence to her advantage before, and if she could just hold on for a few more minutes she would be home free. When she arrived on the hangar bay she moved as fast as she could towards the shuttle Phachi, which Randi had trained her to pilot earlier. She calmly marched right up the ramp as if she belonged, and by the time she reached the pilot's seat no one had said nothing. She froze for an instant as she looked at all of the controls in front of her ... there were so many and she could not remember the ones Randi had told her to use. "Calm down. Focus. If that idiot Randi can do this ... so can you," and with that she began to activate the shuttle's navcomputer. Once she had activated the ramp, the personnel on the flight deck became concerned and started moving towards the shuttle. It was then that her hands moved to the controls, and roughly eased the vessel off the deck and accelerated the craft to attack speed. Imperial Stormtroopers began firing on the shuttle, and she heard the voice of Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca ordering her to land on the comm, but she ignored them both. When the shuttle emerged from the Warspite's hangar she considered her options ... she knew the Rebels were in the nebula, but she had no idea how to find them. With Alderaan destroyed she could not think of any system she could travel to where she could find safety. Through the viewport she saw Esseles ... she knew there were Rebels there ... she had met them there before, but was sure if she went there her father would never stop looking. There were no good options, and so she chose the easiest ... Esseles it was.

When Claudius arrived back on the Warspite he was thrilled with the prospect that he would still have a new command ship ... worthy of a man of his stature and importance. When he emerged from the shuttle Kwai, he could see that some commotion had gone on ... but he thought it a matter for Captain Anson and the bridge crew rather than for his administration. He was sure that Liliya would provide a datapad report on the incident, once he had had time to relax. For now he simply wanted to get to his office, review the daily reports, and then, if possible, get some rest. When he arrived at his office he was horrified when he came across the fallen body of Kerrie ... what had happened? Had she finally killed herself? "No!" he exclaimed, but perhaps he did not realize that he had said it. He immediately dropped down to her body, and lifted it into his lap, as he cradled her in his arms. "Kerrie?! Do not leave me," he said, roughly slapping at her Clawdite face in an attempt to stir her. "Help! Someone get help!" he cried out, feeling as if the room was about to spin.

Liliya gasped heavily at the sight of the downed and dying Kerrie and was so startled she almost dropped her datapad but regained control just in time to fumble it around and retrieved it. In an instant, she accessed the emergency medical channel only reserved for the most dire of circumstances. If her memory banks were not so strained at the moment, she would have wondered how she never needed to use this priority channel before despite the rampage Inquisitor Thanor displayed on a daily basis. Her voice was shaky and extremely worried, concern washed over her whole being. ''Doctor Tohan, please acknowledge. Major Kiley has been shot inside the Grand Moff's office!" The horrid events upon Kuat were still completely vivid in her mind, making her all the more panicked and desperate to reach the medical bay.

"Unh," Kerrie murmured weakly as he smacked at her cheeks and briefly stirred her into a semi-conscious state. Her eyes blinked softly, and she could vaguely make out the image of Claudius cradling her. In that moment she thought he was her father, and in many ways he was. "Uma ji muma... " she said weakly, as she reached up with her right hand to loving touch his face. She thought she had reached it, but in reality she never got her arm very high. A moment later, her arm fell roughly back to the floor, and her head turned to its side to bury itself in his torso. Her eyes closed, and her face pressed firmly against his torso so that no one could look upon her, she curled up in his arms and prepared to die.

"No!" Claudius screamed at the top of his lungs and he felt her heart rate slow to a near halt, and was no longer able to detect if she was breathing. It was only then he realized how much she meant to him, and whereas his daughters barely acknowledged his presence, this Clawdite woman who he had caused so much consternation since childhood worshipped the ground he walked on. "Where are the medics?!" he yelled, as his emotions shifted from sadness to anger. Whoever did this would pay dearly he vowed silently to himself, as he wrapped his arms tightly around her and held on for dear life.

Serine was instantly disappointed when her eyes fell upon yet another pitiful display of Major Kiley's inadequacies and surmised she was about to lose what could have been a useful assassin. However it was very clear that Kerrie's failures were too numerous for only a worthless and incompetent fool would be so easily dispatched in this manner. She was surprised by the show of emotion Rodney was displaying, convinced from before that he cared nothing for Kerrie. This was not even the first time the Inquisitor witnesses a dying form of the Major, but instead of leaving the woman to her own devices like before, perhaps Serine ... could assist in some manner. She was not entirely void of attachment for the Major or unfazed by Rodney's desperate pleas for help. The Inquisitor stood over the kneeling form of her superior who so delicately cradled the Clawdite and found herself at a bit of an impasse. For years Serine was conditioned brutally by her Master, Antinnis Tremayne, who physically and mentally purged her past from her. The knowledge of her being an apprentice to a Jedi Master, Jerasea Ginhers, was repulsive to him and he did all he could to punish Serine at every moment she dwindled on it. But despite his vile intentions, she never fully forgot those Jedi teachings, only buried them deep so he could never discover them. Serine stood there with the realization that now could be the time she reconstructed those lost lessons. The dark side and all its fear and hatred was inadequate to heal and preserve, but that was not the only side of the Force she had been trained to harness. In order to save Kerrie, she would have to let everything go ... for just a moment ... but to abolish that seething anger for even a fraction of time would be a monumental achievement due to the difficulty. The dark side never appreciated losing the ones it had enslaved. Kerrie was dying, she could sense it...but help was also coming ... all Serine had to do was delay Kerrie's demise just for a moment ... she could do it, she *knew* she could! Serine had meant to lower herself next to Kerrie but she dropped to her knees in anguish instead as the entirety of what she was about to do afflicted her. All of the smoldering rage she accumulated over the years due to Tremayne's actions had kept her focused, kept her alive! To give up that power even for a moment ... she feared she would be lost, completely defeated and cast aside as less than nothing! The lies of the dark side attempting to contain her were persuasive and influential, but not impossible to overcome. Serine gasped with a heavy wince, trying to control and suppress those heavy emotions was so very difficult since she had been harboring them for so long ... that loathing and taste for revenge were so strong, it was twisting and contorting her very soul, writhing to keep its dominating foothold. She was panting in a heavy rhythm as she began the strenuous burden of clearing her thoughts, banishing the vile emotions ... focusing on the tranquility of nothing ... on the serenity of silence ... on peace. There was a sudden contentment and comfort that washed over her ... it was very familiar ... every muscle of her body that had been completely tense now relaxed and calmed and her eyes fully dilated as a temperate sigh eased slowly from her. A steady and confident hand reached out to gently touch Kerrie's shoulder, the instant contact was established there would be a brilliant flash of light in Kerrie's mind followed immediately by a warm sensation of benevolence and compassion washing over her entire form. The wound that Kerrie sustained was stabilized with a flood of fortitude and reassurance pouring freely from the light side tether to Serine. She would not die this day.

Kia watched the scene in shock, she hated Kerrie, but she did not want the woman dead. The sudden distress emanating from her Master had the teenager worried. Knowing better than to interfere she observed the unfolding tragedy. She recognized the feel of the light side, a strange confusion filling her as she hadn't felt that sense of peace since Ty had been trying to teach her.

"Oh dear!" the alarmed voice of Doctor Pilaq Tohan announced when he arrived at the chaotic scene in the office. The medical droid he had brought immediately began to inspect the fallen woman and quickly relayed the severity of the situation to the Ithorian doctor. "We are losing her," he said grimly, feeling as helpless as when Claudius' first wife, Julia, had died in his care while giving birth to Drusilla. "Claudius. You must release her. We need to get her to sickbay!" he said to the man, who now seemed to be entering a state of shock himself.

It was then that Lieutenant Allegra Ames arrived on the scene, to make her report concerning the incident on the hangar bay. She panicked when she saw the Inquisitor, the medical personnel, and the Governor cradling Kerrie's body on the ground. She was about to turn and leave, when she caught an angry glare from the Inquisitor and decided to stay. "Milord, Inquisitor..." she began with great discomfort, fearing the repercussions from what she was about to reveal. "It is with great difficulty that I must report that the Lady Jelena Rodney has stolen one of the shuttles and fled to the surface of Esseles. She was last scene in this section ... armed," she reported, and then began backpedaling ... she knew the implications of the report. She was terrified she was about to become a victim of 'kill the messenger', but at least had the satisfaction of knowing that medical personnel were here.

Serine did not hear a single word Allegra spoke to her, and in this split moment of time, nothing else even existed in her mind. Every ounce of her concentration was being used to sustain Kerrie's life and she was not even aware Tohan had arrived. Serine's connection to Kerrie was instantly severed once Tohan removed the injured woman from Rodney's possessive embrace, causing her to gasp heavily as all of reality came rushing back to her. Serine collapsed on her hands upon the ground in a disheveled mess, breathing erratically but feeling extremely accomplished and relieved. ''She will ... be fine...I know it..." Said between sharp intakes of air, but in an uncharacteristically reassuring and encouraging manner ... the Inquisitor was not at all acting like her usual self.

As Kerrie was transferred to a repulsorbed to be taken to sickbay, Doctor Tohan began to follow her out, but stopped suddenly when he looked back upon the room. In it, he saw his old friend Claudius on the verge of emotional collapse, and Inquisitor Thanor on the verge of physical collapse. Much had transpired here today of which the true meaning of he was as yet unaware. Ordinarily, these would be problems best left to a counselor, like Doctor Shuura, but he was already in sickbay with his own set of problems and could be of no help to these two. He was perhaps the most empathetic being on the Warspite, and his heart ached for both of them ... but he knew that if he hesitated for even one moment to check on their condition he would likely lose Kerrie. Triage was always the hardest part of being a doctor, he thought silently to himself, before hurrying after the droids transporting the wounded Clawdite with the skilled aid of his walking stick.

Claudius attempted to scream, but was so overwhelmed that no sounds escaped his lips. There was obvious much he did not know, nor understand. It seemed he was losing Kerrie, and now Jelena was gone. It was the most heart-wrenching pain he had felt since the loss of his wife fifteen years earlier, but it had seemed this had surpassed it. There were no words for a moment like this, and as medical personnel pried his arms off Kerrie and took her from her, he remained motionless on the floor he entered a catatonic-like state. He could feel the unmistakable feel of Doctor Tohan's hand upon him, as his one true friend in the galaxy offered him what comfort he could. His mission to the Ringal Shell *should* have been an easy one, but he had suffered so many setbacks, so many defeats ... and now his family had been shattered.

"Well I didn't see that coming!" Major Arden Zevrin said as she watched the drama unfold on her viewscreen. As the scene played out and the curtain fell, she could not help but think of the High Inquisitor and what he might think of Serine's display of compassion. Even she was at a loss of words by what had just unfolded. 'Look at your precious Serine now', she added at the top of the transmission, with equal parts contempt and jealousy. But there were other more practical, local concerns that dominated her thoughts. The fact that the Governor's eldest child had defected to the Rebellion could be used to her advantage of she played it skillfully enough, but she could see he was in a diminished capacity and felt it would be better to have a weak superior whom she could take advantage of. If a competent administrator were placed in the Ringali Shell it would be very likely that she would be restrained and many of her ambitions roped in. As for the matter of Kerrie she was torn, as when she first met the woman long before their days on the Warspite she had hoped to turn her into a powerful asset ... now she was a shell of her former self. In many ways it would have been merciful for her to die in the Governor's arms, and have some form of closure ... and find the peace in death she would never have in life. She knew the Inquisitor's magic combined with the Ithorian doctor's skills would likely sustain her, and she pitied that the poor creature would eventually revive to find her world so changed and shattered beyond what she recognized. In many ways, she had come to realize, death was preferable than a life racked with pain. It was a shame Jelena did not have firearms training, she thought to herself, or she might have had the sense to shoot her in the head and simultaneously succeed at her task and spare Kerrie a continued life of suffering.

It was then that every viewscreen in the Ringali Shell flickered to life with the pre-recorded message of Lady Jelena Rodney. "My name is Jelena Rodney ... daughter of the war criminal Claudius Rodney. I stand before the free people of the Ringali Shell as a proud and free Alderaanian ... one of the last of my kind. Do not believe the propaganda that has been forced upon you ... it was the Galactic Empire and their ultimate weapon that destroyed Alderaan ... before being destroyed by the brave pilots of the Alliance to Restore the Republic. I urge you all to rise up ... as I have ... against this tyrannical Empire and work to restore freedom and democracy to the Republic. Look no further than to your neighboring world of Ralltiir, which today is in flames at the hand of the Empire. All around you are brave souls with the courage to stand up and honor the lives that have been lost. Will you stand up and join them as I have? Or will you allow their deaths to have been in vain while the Emperor continues to strip you of your freedoms." The transmission ended and the Galactic Civil War within the Ringali Shell had now become a bitterly personal family affair as well.

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