Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Christopher Levy and Sarah Riggs-Shute.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:7:17) in the Essesia system: Warspite.
Liliya Benedt, Major Kerrie Kiley, El-Nay Darr, Dimona Xirie Nuebla, Grand Moff Claudius Rodney, Lord Marcus Rodney, Inquisitor Serine Thanor, and Major Arden Zevrin.

It had been nearly an hour since he instructed his aide to summon Inquisitor Thanor, and yet she had not arrived. The middle-aged Grand Moff grew increasingly frustrated by being ignored by the woman, and immediately began to regret taking the advice of turning to her at this moment. "Damn her!" he said in annoyance to those in the room, before slamming his fist back down upon the comm panel. "Liliya, my dear, has there been no word from the Inquisitor?" he asked, with a voice that seemed to grow increasingly frustrated with each spoken word. He was angry and looking for someone to blame, and the tension that filled his body caused both his jaw to clench and his hands to ball into tight fists. The one time he truly believed he needed *his* Inquisitor she was nowhere to be found ... the audacity!

Miss Benedt had instantly been anxious the moment her charge requested that she contact Inquisitor Thanor for an impromptu meeting. The events of everything leading up to their trip to Kuat and the execution upon the surface had drastically affected her and it had taken a whole week for her to properly recover from the relative safety and sanctuary of her locked room. It was fortunate that Lord Rodney did not request her assistance during that time though on many occasions her thoughts had drifted towards him, concerned for his condition and state-of-mind. She was relieved when he finally requested her service again and he had appeared to be as she remembered, no obvious emotional blisters or craters in his overall personification. Despite the many ... many complaints the young aide had for Inquisitor Thanor, it could at least be said she was always prompt and efficient, so it was odd that there had been no word or sight of her for nearly an hour now, and it was not for lack of trying on Liliya's part to contact that woman. The Governor's comm was answered with her gentle voice that was perplexed with the development, and she hid her overall relief well that the Inquisitor decided not to show. "No Milord, still no word from Inquisitor Thanor. Shall I attempt to contact Inquisitor Kaen instead?"

"The insolence," Claudius cursed as he heard Liliya's reply, unable to believe that the Inquisitor had chosen this moment to defy him. "No," was all he bothered to reply to her over the comm, before angrily rising from his desk in a manner so swift that the chair went tumbling to the ground behind him. "You stay here!" he ordered to those in the office with him, and upon exiting the office did not stop to acknowledge his aide as was normally the case. Instead, he moved swiftly and suredly down the corridor that would eventually lead him to the turbolift. At long last he arrived at the corridor that brought him to the cabins assigned to the Inquisitorius, moving faster than he had since his youth. His hand slammed onto the buzzer at the door so forcefully that it shattered, sending sparks flying to the floor, and causing the buzzer to remain continuously on within the Inquisitor's chambers.

The Inquisitor had been well aware of his consistent summons for a good portion of an hour but had refused to acknowledge them, allowing the comm unit on her desk to flash and hum repeatedly while she sat listless and unmotivated in the chair. The past week had done much to stifle her drive and ambition, causing her to question her tactics and methods. Her responsibilities to Warspite had been forfeited and her allegiances strained. The only thing that was still keeping Serine grounded was her obligation to her apprentice, Kia Kaen, in which she still continued to train although a bit more inattentively. She had every inclination to completely ignore the buzz at her door, assuming it was Allegra or other undesirables she was indifferent to at this point. Very few would have the access to override her priority code that kept her door sealed but apparently that was not enough to discourage some ingrate from busting her panel and causing the buzzer to sound in an unceasing alarm. She could not even fathom who would be so bold, though it was not anger that sparked her action, merely annoyance. The speaker unit linked to the now wrecked panel was ripped free from the wall with a sharp motion of her wrist and then slowly crushed as the fingers of her hand entwined around air, finally ceasing that cacophony. Yet, she made no move to answer the door. The fool outside would likely get bored and leave.

Claudius could hear the buzzer cease activation from outside the door and his blood pressure increased exponentially. Ordinarily, he would simply key in an override, but he had smashed the panel and limited his options. There was no time for this, he angrily thought to himself as he reached down to produce his comlink. "Proceed to the Inquisitorius suite. Immediately," he ordered into the comm, and then stepped aside to await their arrival. If Inquisitor Thanor was foolhardy enough to ignore him ... then *they* would force her to acknowledge him.

Marcus Rodney in the guise of The Nerf Herder rose suddenly when he heard his brother's frustrated voice, having rushed to the aid of his brother upon learning of his niece's peril. With the bounty that had been placed on Jelena, nearly every bounty hunter in the region would be on their way to the Ringali Shell. His handsome, noble face was concealed beneath the helmet that him offered him a unique perspective upon the world. He had not seen his brother since his marriage, and although he could see how pained the man was at the loss of his child ... he could not simply remove his helmet and console him. "Let's move, Dimona," he said in a cold, dry tone, that was clearly meant to impress the other that was with them. Gone was the humor and the spontaneity ... he was now performing a character for the benefit of others.

Dimona had been lounging extremely comfortably in the chair seated directly adjacent to her partner-in-crime Marcus. She was perched diagonally with a right leg kicked over the armrest and was propping up her cheek with a left palm while gazing lazily through holofiles on this Jelena Rodney with her free right hand. "This was so super-super important, really?" Chasing an adolescent rebellious girl around the galaxy was not where the impulsive bounty hunter got her kicks, especially since every teenager did that. What was the problem? "Ugg ... come on! My precious Nerf! Yaaaaawn!" She couldn't help but stretch out from her seat even further, rolling to the side so that her back now lay on top of his thighs and she stared up at him with a wicked grin. "She is just being a kid, you want to fault her for that?" The sudden order from the Grand Moff through their comlink jolted Dimona into a full sitting position back in her own chair with a sideways smile etching across her features. "Oooo ... someone's in trouble." An Inquisitor perhaps? Now that was more like it ... and very exciting. As soon as Marcus starting maneuvering towards the exit, she was right in tow and already ideas of what dangerous encounters they may be approaching flew through her mind. "Let's just try not to get dead. This will of course cost him extra!"

From beneath the unmistakable dome of a Mandalorian Death Watch helmet, El-Nay Darr had been glaring at Dimona. That ... woman ... had somehow replaced her, but why she did not understand. She found her to be quite annoying, unprofessional, and not nearly as attractive as she thought she was. "Oh pipe down you twit," her youthful voice said between two clicks as she activated the helmet's comm system. "That teenager will be our easiest score ever. My only regret is that I have to share it with the likes of you," she said, angrily, though her jealousy could not be suspected. She was far too proud to reveal the story of how The Nerf Herder deflowered her, and then left her to pursue a bounty, only to never call again. She would not lead on as to how hurt and betrayed she felt, but that did not mean that she did not feel those things ... she most certainly did. If the bounty was not so high she never would have associated with them, but truthfully she wanted to see the Nerf Herder again ... but she did not expect him to have a side piece. Dutifully she followed them as they exited the Grand Moff's office on their way to meet with the Inquisitor. Hopefully she would put up a fight ... her parents had told her about battles with the wielders of the Force, but she had never encountered one.

Liliya had no idea there were three bounty hunters in the office with Claudius! Was this what humans called karma? Was she being punished by the galaxy now for not being completely on top of everything like she usually is? How did she miss this? She understood there were guests inside ... but this was absolutely startling. Not only was her charge now hiring these ... individuals, but was he honestly sending them to ... deal with Inquisitor Thanor? This was very unlikely to end well and already she was starting to panic as she witnessed all three of them exit the office one-by-one. Lord Rodney's comlink was receiving a series of requests for open communication with his secretary. "Milord!" Liliya said with a gasp, obviously disturbed with the events taking place. "This is likely to escalate the situation. You are in danger! Please reconsider this course of action, please Milord!" Said a bit desperately, have they not seen enough tragedy when Inquisitor Thanor is met with any sort of resistance?

As Claudius impatiently awaited the arrival of the bounty hunters he heard his comlink activate with the sweet, soothing sound of Liliya's voice. "Fear not, my dear. According to Major Kiley's files these are among the most skilled and daring bounty hunters in the galaxy. I have never been safer," he boasted, with a sense of confidence he did not normally exhibit. It was then when he heard the sound of heavy footsteps approaching, and a satisfied grin came upon his worn face. He began rubbing his hands together excited in anticipation for what was about to come. Now they were finally getting somewhere. "Open this door!" he demanded, as he stepped across the bulkhead, and wet his lips with anticipation.

"Enough El-Nay," Marcus said, chastising her from beneath his helmet, and they moved to the Inquisitor's quarters. The combination of Dimona's uncontainable enthusiasm and El-Nay's bitter jealousy threatened to be his undoing. The only reason he had agreed to include El-Nay was due to her youth and inexperience. She had a strong desire to prove herself by claiming a large bounty, and he feared her recklessness could lead to Jelena becoming injured ... or worse. In his hands he gripped his Model AXM-50 "Blast and Smash", and easily could have unhinged the door with the launch of a single micro-grenade. "El-Nay. The door," he ordered, as he stepped next to his brother to supervise the task undertaken by his minion.

Dimona took a glance over at their new employer, finding him to be enjoying this almost as much as her ... which she found a bit ... unexpected. She did not know much about Imperial protocols but this whole situation seemed a bit lavish and unnecessary, especially coming from a Grand Moff. "So I gotta ask, does this sort of nonsense happen daily around here? And I thought it was going to be so dull." She allowed El-Nay to walk past her and address the door while Dimona pulled out her datapad to once again access the holofiles Claudius gave her. Now she was extremely curious on what exactly they may be up against here and pulled up the standard officer files that were low security. Just a single request for information regarding Inquisitors stationed on the Warspite received plentiful documentation notes along with some holovids. "Oh! Scruffy-scruff, check these out!" She motioned to Marcus to gander at the vid she was watching and boy did it pay off. "That guy just got decapitated!" Dimona exclaimed wildly, partially out of awe, partially out of fear but completely enthralled. The second video was a hallway security capture of an office door being torn away by Serine Thanor effortlessly without even making contact with it. A witty but sinister grin was plastered all over her face as she glanced towards El-Nay. Dimona started backing up behind Marcus, a dark giggle of anticipation softly easing from her.

"El-Nay get the door," she muttered beneath her helmet, but did not activate the comm so they would not hear. "Yeah I'll shove the door right up her ass," she continued as she sauntered confidently over towards the sealed blast door. Her right hand came to her left wrist as she activated the fusion cutter on her gauntlet, producing a white hot glowing beam that she began to apply to the door. The metal began to give way as she started to cut through the top of the door, unaware of what was waiting for them on the other side. She did not believe in homework or research, and therefore had read none of the files as Dimona had. She was young and reckless, and worst of all ... overconfident.

Serine had continued to sit idly at her desk in deep thought over the events of the past week, completely unconcerned about the mild muffled commotion happening outside of her chambers. The ruined speaker she had ripped from the wall lay in a faintly smoking heap on the floor beside her desk but apparently that was not enough to deter the antics of her would-be assailants. It was allegedy impossible for her to have this small moment of solitude, ironic being so often individuals avoided this hallway like the death sentence. It was also clear that whoever was behind this intrusion had an overconfident gall that Serine was not accustomed to witnessing from the cowering denizens of the Warspite. The Inquisitor was all too forgiving at this point in time due to recent vulnerabilities, and thus was nearly going to allow this audacity to pass until she heard the distinctive sound of a fusion cutter slowly grinding through her door. This act was ... unforgivable, and thus in a split moment of time, Serine decided the outside occupants were beyond redemption. Ever so slowly did the Inquisitor turn to glance at her door, now beginning to glow white hot on partial edges, and oh ... did she begin to feel that rage building, it bit into her like a durasteel trap, gnawing at her insides in a fit of violent fury. That spark missing for days suddenly burst behind cold silver eyes, igniting that vile passion and she glared viciously at that door with a rekindled desire to maim. All seemed well in the hallway, not even a hint of malice as El-Nay continued her progress on the door, but for a second the air seemed to change, something was not right ... something wayward and evil was building. Suddenly and without warning there was a massive outward explosion that caused that durasteel door and meters of twisted metal at either side to erupt and burst from the wall in jaggad unsightly pieces of devastation. Huge chunks of duracrete and contorted metallic debris slammed into the fall wall, embedding into it in a hideous display of irregular shrapnel. Such havoc would have likely taken up anything in its path to certain destruction. Half of the wall belonging to Serine's room was completely destroyed, and she stood there positively irate and seething as sparks flared up around the carnage.

"Almost got it!" El-Nay gleefully announced as she continued her cutting job, when there was an unexpected surge force of energy that sent the door flying into her. "Ugh," she groaned as it slammed into her arm, and instantly she lost consciousness as her head was bounced around inside the helmet. Her unconscious form was slammed against the bulkhead opposite Serine's quarters, only an instant before the door arrived once more, encasing her broken form in a sandwich of durasteel. Her mangled body only maintained some life as a result of her reinforced armor, otherwise the young woman would have been nothing more than a puddle.

The Grand Moff watched in a state of shock and awe as the door exploded outward, sending the young Mandalorian flying forward into the bulkhead, before being pinned beneath the door. "Well. I say. That's one way of getting the door open," he said blissfully, as he began to clap loudly in applause for the show he had just witnessed. "Stand down. All of you," he said, no longer having time for his nonsense, as he stepped boldly between the bounty hunters and the Inquisitor. Gingerly, he stepped over the splattered body of El-Nay in order to get more directly at Seine. "Inquisitor Thanor, you really must learn to answer your comm. It is quite rude. I was worried, and had these fine individuals come to check on you," he said playfully, as he motioned towards the Nerf Herder, Dimona, and what was left of El-Nay. "Now, then. We have an important matter to discuss," he said to her, returning to the more important matter at hand.

That build up of anticipation and resulting absolute destruction was well worth the wait, and the absolute shear weight of what was happening was difficult for Dimona to process. She had never once been witness to a demonstration of this sort of power, she was not even sure if this was *real*, only ever hearing stories about abilities such as these and she never believed them. Her eyes shot open with that initial eruption of metal, finding herself horrified but too fascinated and intrigued to look away and she had not even realized she was tightly clutching Marcus' arm in a vice grip. "Oh ... Oh ... that is incredible." Said under her breath, barely above a whisper as she eased out a sigh of reverence. Dimona was too transfixed and enamored by the scene that had just unraveled for her viewing pleasure to make an aggressive move. Perhaps it was best that Claudius stepped in when he did because the lively bounty hunter was heavily contemplating joining this Inquisitor's fan club because she was certain one existed.

Instinctively, Marcus raised his AXM-50 "Blast and Smash" at the open doorway after witnessing the young El-Nay incapacitated. He was about to launch a grenade into the void when he saw the Grand Moff give the order not to attack. Normally, Dimona's affection would have been welcome, but at a moment like this it was a distraction ... and a potential embarrassment. "Not in front of the Grand Moff," he said to her, rolling his eyes at her beneath his helmet at her display. They were *supposed* to be fear inducing, but her reaction had served to clip their claws. Prior to their arrival on the Warspite, he had stressed to her the importance of playing the role properly as the fate of his family was at stake. Even though his brother had intended to disarm the situation, he nevertheless remained alert and prepared should his efforts fail.

Serine was absolutely livid that her privacy had been so bluntly encroached in an unorthodox manner, and that hatred was clearly visible in narrowing eyes full of murderous intent that were directed towards the other individuals she did not recognize. Her line of sight with the bounty hunters was severed as soon as Claudius approached her in a presuming manner. She scowled at him while gritting her teeth, a very primal look coming from her as she continued to stand unmoving from the ruined and still sparking remnants of the wall and hallway. Her posture was still overly stand-offish due to the intensity of her offensive just moments ago but the Inquisitor made no move to afflict her commanding officer, though she continued to heavily glare at him with utter disapproval of his course of action. "What business ... Governor?" She managed to growl out though eyes continued to flick towards the other participants that were still standing. His reasoning for hiring what appeared to be bounty hunters escaped her ... she would not even trust that filth to water her plant.

Interrupting the scene came the medical staff in time to start emergency procedures to excise El-Nay from underneath the rubble. They had been called in advance before the event even took place due to Liliya Benedt's persistence and had convinced them to assemble. It was clear she gambled correctly and even had timed her instructions so that they arrived just moments after the injury. It was as if Liliya distilled this process down to a science due to the numerous occasions she had called in assistance because of the Inquisitor's rampaging. The members of the medical team were quick and efficient, likely because of constant practice.

Claudius paid little mind to the medical staff working to extract El-Nay from the mangled metal ... she was inconsequential. "I have been trying to reach you for more than an hour," he explained to her, sounding generally displeased with her distance. A moment later, and without permission, he slid past her and moved into her quarters. "The bulkheads have ears," he warned her, as he retreated within the 'safe' confines of her chambers which he hoped were not under surveillance by the Imperial Security Bureau. "The time has finally come to remove a thorn from our side. It is something that should have been done long ago," he began, getting himself wound up as a series of images of his past encounters with the ISB flowed through his brain and became further enraged. "Eliminate Major Zevrin," he said, glaring at the Inquisitor with his brown eyes ... never had he issued a death warrant before ... but his manner was serious and clear.

Dimona gawked at the Grand Moff's mannerisms and apparent lack of compassion for life. Sure the impetuous bounty hunter did not care too much for El-Nay, but that is a far cry for wanting someone to die in front of her, and if she had not so underestimated the explosiveness of Inquisitor Thanor, Dimona would have totally warned her female *associate* of the dangers ... she did not know it was going to be that bad, honestly. A disappointed look was given to Marcus before she motioned to the chaos that was before them and the unfortunate mess El-Nay was being extracted from. "Did ... did he know that was going to happen? I think our *fair and compassionate* employer purposely put her in harms way." Arms were crossed over her patchwork armorweave in disgust with a shake of her head. "I don't like this Scruff. You know how I feel about stuff like this..." Dimona was no murderer nor did she actively take bounties that required her to harm the captive. This Jelena job seemed innocent enough, but working for that man? "He is an ass. Not interested, thanks!" She brushed rudely past Marcus, now bitter at him and upset that this was his brother. If anything, he could take this job and she could split, she was not helping this time.

Marcus took a moment to verify that El-Nay had survived her trauma, before hurrying after Dimona in a panic. When they suitable down the corridor and out of his brother's earshot, he increased his footspeed, and moved past her. He turned suddenly, attempting to block her path as he looked towards her through the visor of his helmet. "Dimona, I explained to you what was at stake here. This is my niece's life we're talking about!" he exclaimed, feeling a great deal of exasperation at the thought of the Empire getting their hands on her before they did. "You are not working for *him* ... you are working with *me*," he explained to her, trying his best to reason with her. His gloved hands moved upwards, before coming to a rest on her shoulders. "Damn it all. I need you," he said, shaking her ever-so-slightly as he tried to drive in his message. He no longer knew if he had the assistance of El-Nay, and he knew other bounty hunters beyond his influence would soon arrive as well ... he did not think he could succeed without Dimona's help, which was a bitter pill for a man of his stature and reputation to swallow.

Serine followed the Governor's movements through the gaping hole and into the more private interior of the room. He should well understand how everywhere was covered in surveillance except for her secluded quarters, unfortunate now that there was a huge section of the wall missing so it was very possible their words could float freely into the hallway if they were not careful. Eyes narrowed upon him warily, starting to recognize his slow progression into a different individual, no longer knowing where he was coming from, before being so predictable but that was no longer the case. The Inquisitor listened to him intently, his words holding an intriguing meaning as he was purposely building to his reason for speaking with her. The revelation that he desired the suggested execution of Major Arden Zevrin was significant and caused a sudden flare of mixed emotions to course through her, grinding into her like glass shards. On numerous occasions did she suggest the exact thing but he had denied her with pitiful reasoning. But now, despite his change of opinion and initiative, Serine found herself extremely hesitant with the prospect for numerous reasons. That seething hatred that was so visible in her eyes seemed to melt away and disintegrate completely, replaced by concern and uneasiness. Eyes shifted to the left, avoiding his gaze. "I do not ... think that is wise, Governor." This was going to be difficult to explain to him ... but she would ... as soon as she got over that initial shock of the request.

"You don't think?" Claudius repeated slowly, lowering his eyes to the ground to examine his shoes for a moment. "You don't think..." he said again, as he moved slowly towards her desk, his back turned to her, as he would not allow himself to look at her. As he reached the desk he leaned over it for a moment, but said nothing, as he played this out in his head. "*You don't think*!?" he exclaimed at the top of his lungs as he grabbed hold of the desk with both of his hands, flipping it over and causing the massive of datapads to fly across the room. Her terminal became dislodged and sparks flew angrily towards the sky, followed by a plume of smoke. "It doesn't matter what *you* think. It matters what *I* command!" he said, as he turned to her swiftly, and raised the index finger of his right hand to point at her. "Since your arrival I have listened to you whine about wanting to be utilized by my office. And I have also listened to you carry on about Major Zevrin as if I were listening to my two daughters complain about one another like a couple of spoiled teenagers!" he screamed at the top of his lungs, the veins in his forehead bulging visibly as he took a menacing step towards her. "At least they have the excuse of being spoiled noblewomen. What is your excuse, Inquisitor?" he asked, folding his arms in front of his chest as he closed the distance between them. "I ask for you at our darkest hour ... and order you to carry out a task you, yourself have recommended on numerous occasions, and now you ... you ... you defy me?" he glowered, curling his hands up into a fist as he squeezed the anger within his soul into the clenched palms of his hands.

The Governor was not completely accurate in his statements. It was in fact her obligation to him to be his advisor and suggest alternatives, and it apparently was still not something he appreciated or bothered to recognize. This was not an anger she was accustom to seeing Claudius demonstrate, and she was actually a bit impressed, he managed to round out the complete annihilation of her room with the overturned desk. However, this was escalating faster than she had anticipated and if left unchecked, he may attempt an assault upon her and she was sure they both remembered the outcome the last time he tried to strike her. "I am not defying you." She said sternly to his face as eyes met his quickly. "I would in fact fail in my duties to you if I did not properly inform you of the potential consequences." Despite her past animosity towards Major Zevrin, she had concluded that the woman was merely an annoyance compared to the real issues at hand and was far more trouble than she was worth. "I need to explain this to you, Governor, and I *strongly* suggest that you listen intently because the lives of your entire crew may be in jeopardy." The Inquisitor paused for a moment to allow the severity of those words sink in. "When I was assigned to this vessel, it was the first time I was given a mission to fully claim as my own, but because my new duties brought me to the Warspite, it freed me from the Interrogator. I had served on that warship for..." She actually had to think for how long ... it was information she generally wished to forget. "... fifteen years, quite to the satisfaction of High Inquisitor Tremayne, my still acting and official Master. Now! In order to keep tabs on me, because he is obsessed and is not so pleased on losing what belongs to him, he enlisted the assistance of Major Zevrin. On his visit here, which I am sure you remember fondly, he specifically warned me and made it very clear that the Major was to stay playing the middle-man. Are you following so far, Governor? I will not be repeating all of this." She snapped at him with sharp words, making sure he was not drifting off because this was vital. "This is where it gets extremely delicate. Due to Jelena's assumed defection, High Inquisitor Tremayne could easily make it an excuse to charge this entire ship with harboring a traitor towards His Majesty and he would have the backing to do it. Worse case scenario: you would be incarcerated and your crew executed. Would he do this *now*? I believe it is unlikely, he would need motivation, motivation that I *do not* want to give him!" Serine would cease her explanation short there for now, the entirety of the second half of this reasoning went as of now, unexplored.

"You speak only of others, Thanor ... but what of me?" Claudius asked, as she finished her lecture, as if she were a professor at the now gone University of Alderaan. "The only reason Jelena was brought to this sector was because Major Zevrin ordered it. As part of some propaganda scheme to convince the people of these worlds that if I felt that it was safe enough for my family it was safe enough for them..." he said bitterly, as the conversation replayed in his head, and he seemed to drift off. He still remembered how pained his daughter was at not being permitted to go off to university, and having to leave behind all her friends ... that was the start of things ... and it was Zevrin who started it. "Well it wasn't safe!" he screamed in Serine's face so loudly that droplets of spit flew from his mouth and chased hopelessly after his words. "Where my family is concerned I care not of my crew, nor High Inquisitor Tremayne. Am I not a Grand Moff?" he asked of her, his head visibly shaking now as he continued to argue with the woman. "If you will not help me, then perhaps someone else will!" he concluded, shaking his head with disgust at the young Inquisitor before turning to move from her shattered quarters. One way or another he would put an end to Major Zevrin this very day.

"Your family..." She stressed, "...are in even more danger. Your daughters would be the first to be interrogated. If Major Zevrin no longer concerns you, than her recommendation for your family to live here should also be negated. Move them now, Governor, because if you go ahead with this irrational plan, they will certainly not be safe, not on the Warspite. I reviewed the video surveillance that day High Inquisitor Tremayne visited. You did nothing to stop him from shredding one of your junior officers in front of your eyes, and that was him on a good day! What do you think he is going to do when he storms your crew under Imperial mandate with fiercely loyal and far more organized and efficient underlings at his command? You do not know how things are run on the Interrogator ... but I do. You would have no chance." Her attitude grew far darker, the knowledge that Claudius was lacking was disturbing, and surely if he knew ... this debate would never had occurred. "The Major is nothing, she is less than nothing, she is not worth this! See the logic here. I am trying to protect this vessel ... I am trying to protect you. Can you not see it?" Said almost ... desperately, why could he not see this logic...? He would be signing his crew's own executions!

There were no more words. He was already halfway down the corridor by the time Serine finished speaking. He had contracted the bounty hunters to find Jelena, but for the right price he was sure he could convince them to help him with his ISB problem. He had crossed over into another state of mind, where logic and fear no longer had the same values and meanings they once had. Now all he saw was the loss of his daughter and the desire for revenge. And it was revenge that he fully intended to have.

Major Arden Zevrin could not believe what she had gotten to watch on her monitor this day, and she had taken particular satisfaction in watching a loop of El-Nay Darr being blown away by the door repeatedly ... perhaps excessively. She even watched it on slow motion and added in her own sound effects. The Warspite had been a mess for the past week with the Grand Moff in retreat, and the Inquisitor emoting beyond all regard ... she alone was the rock that kept the Ringali Shell together. Her agents were already on the surface of Esseles in hot pursuit of the traitor Jelena Rodney. She believed she would have the satisfaction of capturing her and getting her long deserved promotion to Colonel, but when the conversation turned to her she became absolutely infuriated. "The nerve! The audacity!" she complained, as she began gathering her things in preparation for a hasty escape. She planned to flee and seek the assistance of those loyal to her, who could put the insolent Grand Moff in his place.

It did not take long for Zevrin to have a guest for as the woman was swiftly packing, Inquisitor Thanor promptly allowed herself into the Major's room quite unexpectedly, nearly bursting through the door because it was not opening fast enough. "Major!" Serine shouted in a near frenzy, quickly scanning the room for that vile creature and noticing the woman was already packing. Arden was impressively quick with this information! "What matters more, those useless items, or your very life?" Most of the things she was packing were likely lifted from other officer's care packages anyway. "You must already know why I am here. Get out! And make sure you stay in contact with the High Inquisitor, I can even feed you data if necessary." She did not know how much longer Zevrin had before further confrontations might occur so Serine was extremely anxious to get the other woman moving quickly off of the Warspite.

"This information is worth more than any of our lives, Inquisitor," Arden said to her, before slinging a pack containing countless datadisks over her shoulder. "But, I see your point, and will make haste," she said, offering a soft nod of her head, as she rushed from behind the desk to begin her escape. However, she could not leave without getting in one last word for the Inquisitor, her often rival. "Why, Inquisitor ... I never knew you cared," she said playfully, with faux sweetness, as she moved her face towards her and place a soft, brief kiss upon the Inquisitor's cheek. As she pulled her lips away, she blushed softly, and offered a sweet smile before heading towards the door.

"You should have already been prepared for this, Major. I am disappointed in your lack of foresight and your shoddy planning." Serine crossed her arms while tapping very impatiently on her arm, expecting Zevrin to say something ridiculous and biting, but being negatively rewarded with more than she had anticipated. She heavily scoffed at the other's comment, looking away from the other disinterested. "You do not realize how close you came to death on numerous occasions by my hands, and I still have the option of changing my mind." She warned cynically, looking down at a datapad on the table as if it were far more compelling than the events happening in this room, it was a tad bit awkward to be assisting the woman who she had fantasized murdering for months. The Inquisitor's mental distraction seemed ample enough time for the Major to take a surprising initiative, and Serine was not at all prepared for what came next, that bold ambition catching her completely unaware. The moment lips brushed her cheek, the Inquisitor stood absolutely stunned, a heavy gasp was nearly caught in her throat as wide eyes flashed to Arden in shock. Disorganized, bewildered and immobilized, Serine just watched the other leave silently questioning what the hell just happened.

As Arden stepped to the door it opened, revealing the form of Grand Moff Claudius Rodney. He took a step forward, and raised his right hand to forcefully shove her back into the room. "And just where do you think you're going?" he asked, raising his eyebrow as he questioned the woman. He would have none of her lies this time, his decision was made and there was no going back. "Ah. Inquisitor, so nice of you to join us ... I assume you are here to carry out my will?" he asked her, tilting his head ever so slightly to look at the Inquisitor. He knew why she was really here of course, but he would allow the charade to continue. "Kill her. Immediately," he ordered towards Serine, as he stared at the ISB Major with his piercing brown eyes. He would have his revenge.

Arden laughed at the Grand Moff's pathetic threats, as she swiftly moved towards the presumed safety of the Inquisitor. "We shall see about this!" she said confidently, as she activated a comlink to High Inquisitor Antinnis Tremayne. "Have you been monitoring?" she asked, folding her arms in front of her chest and smiling smugly at the Grand Moff. She then canted her head in the direction of Inquisitor Thanor and silently mouthed 'watch this' before winking at her.

"Indeed I have, Major. Indeed I have," the steely voice of High Inquisitor Antinnis Tremayne bellowed through the comm panel on Arden's desk. There was silence, followed by laughter as he considered the absurdity of the situation that had presented itself to him. "You have failed me, Major. I have tolerated your petty machinations, but only because you excelled at providing the Empire with information on those in your Oversector," he began, his voice sounding both menacing and intimidating, despite the fact that he was many sectors away. "But while you managed to uncover affairs, scandals, and personal bickering you have failed to identity a Rebel agent operating directly under your nose. And the Grand Moff is correct ... *you* did bring her to the Oversector," he was quick to accurately point out, his disgust flowing with every word he spoke. "And you Serine. Perhaps you are not ready for an Apprentice of your own if your senses are so blunted that you cannot sense duplicity so close to your midst. Your thoughts dwell on your former Master, and what you had learned from her should have been unlearned, but in a pathetic display you have clung to her knowledge as you did her corpse!" he taunted her, being as condescending as possible. "It would be fitting if you all killed one another. You are no use to me ... to the Emperor ... or to anyone!" and with that, the transmission ceased and nothing but static emanated from the comm.

Serine felt very uncomfortable when Arden presumed to take sanctuary behind her, placing the Inquisitor between an overly confident spider of a woman and an off-centered and unstable raging Grand Moff. This was the exact encounter she wanted to avoid but now it came to this and she was about to be forced to decide between her allegiances to the Citadel Inquisitorius and her loyalty to the Empire as they were not one-in-the-same at this point. As Arden reached to contact the High Inquisitor, Serine mused that this would be the only real time that action may prove valuable, for his opinion here could easily sway her obedience. As she listened intently to the words of her Master, she felt instantly foolish. Of course he would have blamed the ISB officer in her failure to detect Jelena's wavering fidelity, why did Serine not foresee this? She was an idiot for missing the obvious and her Master had every right to chastise her upon it, but what he would say next would crush her. As Tremayne continued, she started to feel weak as absolute dread and horror began to creep into her gut and envelope her very spirit. The Inquisitor stumbled backwards into the desk, barely holding onto it that prevented her from collapsing. This action would take Serine away from the current building tragedy by totally exposing the Major to any and all offensives Claudius may wish to inflict upon her. The Inquisitor was far too overwhelmed to even respond to her Master's accusations ... because they were true and the future potential consequences for Serine's betrayal of Tremayne wracked her so heavily she was completely incapacitated.

As Serine moved out of the way, Claudius began to slowly and menacingly move towards her, like a predator stalking its prey. It was then that a squad of Imperial Storm Commandos arrived on the scene to secure control of Major Zevrin's data before it could be removed or destroyed, as the Grand Moff ordered. The head of the squad moved forward, and placed a hand on the Governor's shoulder, as if to deliver a message. But suddenly, the Commando pushed the Governor aside with a gentle, yet effective shove. The Commando glared across the room at Major Zevrin and surged forward like a beast until she was directly in front of her. A gloved hand reached for the ISB Major's neck and squeezed at it so forcefully that the woman could no longer breath. Beneath the obsidian black helmet, the Commando stared at her before throwing her into the bank of monitors that dominated the room with no mercy.

Arden was too terrified to speak. First, Inquisitor Tremayne had abandoned her, and then Inquisitor Thanor had followed suit ... leaving her to the mercy of the Grand Moff. As the Storm Commando choked her she struggled, and weakly kicked her legs in a desperate attempt to free herself. But her booted feet had no effect against the reinforced Storm Commando armor. She would have cursed him, but with the hand gripping her throat she could not speak, and could only barely breath. When she was finally released there was a moment of relief, followed by a deep gasp of the air she so desperately needed. But then horror as she found herself flung into her bank of monitors. A shrill scream preceded the sound of the glass of the monitors shattering, before the horrifying sound of her electrocution. Her body jolted violently as the volts of electricity surged through her, causing her to soil herself as her bowels emptied. Her broken body fell to the ground, practically lifeless, before a shower of glass rained over her, leaving her badly cut. The monitors too began to fall, leaving her buried beneath a pile of rubble where an electrical fire began to grow.

The Commando watched Zevrin's smoldering body, and felt quite pleased, before canting her head to look at Inquisitor Thanor from beneath the polarized lenses of her black helmet. Hands came up to the clips that fastened her helmet on, and they were quickly released revealing the unmistakable face of Major Kerrie Kiley beneath. "I understand I owe my life to you, Inquisitor," she said with a genuinely appreciative tone of voice and kind smile. She hated Arden Zevrin, long before either of them had ever heard of Ringali Shell. The unsettled business between them had at long last been settled, but more importantly she found herself back at her master's side. She was her old self with a purpose again ... strong, confident, with a mission. She had a place in the galaxy again, and it was all that she needed to regain her footing. She would not fail anymore, nor would she dwell on her past ... for now she believed she had a future.

The sounds of glass shattering, Arden screaming and monitors brilliantly exploding were barely perceived by Serine, it was as if everything was under water due to the intense fogginess of her mind. The only thing the Inquisitor could focus on were her Master's words as they were so pervasive, they penetrated every ounce of her being. She was not even sure how to function with the knowledge that he knew ... he knew what she did, and in all of the years she served him, he never once called her out on betraying him like he just had. It sounded like he had wrote her off, but Serine could not hope to be so lucky, as she fully doubted he would surrender his hold on her so easily. She could not envision a solution that did not contain severe repercussions, but for now, she was lost on the course of action to take. Despite her constant drudging through the troubled recesses of her mind, she managed to pinpoint Kerrie's question. Eyes silently met the Major's in acknowledgement, nodding once before she appraised Kerrie's apparent newfound strength and direction. At least Serine's particular sacrifice in saving Kiley was not in vain, that hidden potential in the Clawdite was shining once again.

Claudius took a step forward after being quite confused by the Commando's interference with his attack, but once he saw it was Kerrie he realized the woman had spared him from doing something horrible, that would have plagued him for the rest of his life and altered his character. She had both carried out his will, and saved his soul in one swift action. As he came up to her, he put his arm around her waist and drew him close against her in a loving embrace. He had thrown her away, and then nearly lost her ... now he intended to do everything in his power to keep her. His daughter had betrayed him, but in Kerrie he had found someone who gave him the unconditional love he had never experienced from any of his children. She would never question him, never go against him ... she was loyal in a sea of disloyalty. As he lowered his head to the diminutive young woman he placed a kiss upon the top of her head, despite the presence of her matted, sweaty hair ... she deserved it. His eyes then turned to what was left of Arden Zevrin, looking upon her with equal parts satisfaction and disgust ... "get that bitch off my ship!"

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