Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Sean Brandt and Christopher Levy.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:F2:3) in the Essesia system: Warspite.
Captain Serra Eona and Major Kerrie Kiley.

*Thud* the sound of a bloodied fist slamming into a punching bag filled the empty fitness center aboard the Star Destroyer Warspite. The attractive young human had only recently been released from sickbay, and since there was no one to take her frustration out on ... she instead took to working the bag. Gone was her uniform and her armor, instead replaced with an old, worn undershirt on which her name was stenciled; it was bloodied, it was soiled, but it was hers. and she would not trade it for anything. The rest of her body was adorned with a pair of shorts that was made of synthetic material that was designed to absorb sweat, and it was working overtime as Kerrie pushed herself to near limits during her workout. Her hands were wrapped skillfully, but it not matter, for she had been punching the bag so hard, for so long, that the blood was now escaping and smearing the bag before dripping to the floor below. She felt no pain, and that was the problem, for until the pain came all she would feel was the sorrow of her lowly place in the galaxy.

"Stressed?" The word probably came unexpectedly, and was likely only just audible over the sound of the punching. Serra had been meaning to catch up with the woman for a little while now, though it had taken an obvious back seat to the matters concerning the sith and the rebel spy who had appeared out of nowhere to try and kill Tiberius. That was a mess in its own right, but nothing she could not handle. Captain Eona was by no means dressed for the gym; she was, as usual, in her black uniform, clean and neat. A fruit was in her hand, some crunchy sort that was rather dry, but it did for the time being. She took a bite, heading over towards Kiley as she took her time chewing. Only after she finished did she start talking again, this time much closer. "I hope you aren't harboring any bad feelings over how things have gone recently." She had a feeling the woman absolutely was, of course, which was a big part of why she had hunted her down and cornered her in what should have been a private moment.

When Kerrie heard the voice of Captain Eona she immediately stopped hurling herself at the bag, and let her tired arms hang at her side, rivulets of blood still dripping from her hands towards the floor below like the softest rainfall. She was exhausted, her hair matted and covered with sweat, and she was breathing more like an animal that a sentient being. The last thing she wanted was for someone to see her like this ... especially a newfound rival. "Captain, you have contributed to my diminished capacity," she said rather bluntly, referring to the awful wording of her personnel file that she was so recently given the opportunity to review. "How exactly should I feel?" she asked, with a rapid followup, before finally starting to examine the amount of damage she had inflicted upon herself.

The woman looked like a mess, but that was pretty much to be expected. This was the gym, after all, and clearly Kiley had been working herself ragged. The blood, which earned a lingering glance from Serra, spoke to that. Soon enough her eyes were back on the other woman's, though, and she carried on. "Lets be honest. You contributed to your diminished capacity more than I possibly could have in my brief time here. The faults belong to you. I was simply the vehicle which brought them to the attention of those that mattered. If you truly are a loyal servant to the Empire..." she paused, long enough to take a bite of the fruit, chew, and swallow. "...then you should appreciate this opportunity for what it is; an honest appraisal of your failings and a chance to amend them before any truly disastrous consequences come to be."

Kerrie took a menacing step forward, but then stopped herself, realizing that striking any officer would just result in her ending up in the brig ... the last place she wanted to be. "Listen, Captain. You're new here. I'm not. So let me set you straight about a few things..." she began, defensively, as she clenched her fists so tight that blood squirted to the floor as if she had squeezed a condiment packet. "I have devoted my life to the service of the Grand Moff and his family. And during my service I have suffered many physical and emotional wounds than the average life-form would be unlikely to survive!" she snarled angrily, glaring towards the junior officer. "So don't you ever ... *ever* ... question my loyalty or call me a failure!" she demanded, her cheeks flushed so red it was as if she had been glazed by the sun.

Serra listened, taking in the woman's anger, watching her much like a laboratory technician might watch a rat they'd been staring at for days, going through some reaction to a chemical that was interesting, but not particularly so. There was a vague disinterest about the Captain, and whether or not it was feigned was damn near impossible to tell. She did, of course, take another bite of fruit. "Devoted your life and service to the Grand Moff Rodney. Very noble. You are, however, an Imperial Commando...or am I incorrect?" She gave Kiley a somewhat questioning look, as if she were genuinely concerned she might be wrong here...but it wasn't that genuine at all, really. "If I am, please correct me...but if I'm not, then shouldn't your loyalty and life be given to the service of the Empire? Not that I doubt the Grand Moff's loyalty, but individuals are fickle things, prone to fallacy. The whole that is the Empire is far greater than the sum of its parts, and to what we truly owe our allegiance."

The Major continued walking, until she was mere feet from the taller Intelligent Agent. She looked up at her, seething to the point where she had to clench at her jaw so that she would not say something she might regret. "There is no duty in this command more important than safeguarding the lives of the Governor and his family. There have been many attempts on their lives, and I am honored that we have been selected for this important task," she explained, lifting her head with an obvious sense of pride and duty. "We are the first and last line of defense!" she said, with an impassioned nod of her head.

There was no sign of intimidation, despite the fact that the blood-fisted Major looked fit to kill the taller Intel Officer whom she was approaching. Serra had a particular knack for looking unimpressed; it was a quality that helped her in many ways, really, and one she was happy to lean on as much as necessary. A lack of outward emotional expression served her well, especially in a situation like this. They were so close, though, that no doubt Kiley could hear the crunch of the fruit as Serra bit off another chunk, punctuating the last words spoken by the Major. "..and what if the Governor were a rebel sympathiser?" Her words were soft, a sharp foil to the pride and passion behind those spoken by Kiley. A simple question.

Kerrie laughed at the woman's ridiculous claims concerning her master's loyalty, and rolled her eyes so severely that they threatened to fall from her head. "There is no one more loyal to the Empire than Grand Moff Rodney, Captain. Now more than ever after the Rebellion destroyed Alderaan and took the lives of so many he held dear. He will never betray the Empire, and I will never betray him," she reiterated firmly, folding her arms in front of her chest and unknowingly wiping more blood upon her already soiled shirt.

So much said in those actions, in that laughter. So much spoken in her assertiveness and tone. Serra soaked it in. She didn't suspect the Moff of any wrongdoing, of course; his family was, so far as Intel knew, perfectly on the up and up. She was not trying to root him out so much as she wanted to see where the Major's head was, and she was given a very solid glance. "That I do not doubt, Major. Lets simply hope you're better suited to the task of bodyguard than, say, that of open battle against poorly armed rebel insurgents." A stab at the failure of the Commandos during the extraction of the former senator; she had to slip it in, after all. "Thank you for your time, Major." Serra, unless stopped, intended to simply turn and walk out on that note.

"This war will not go on forever, Captain," Kerrie shouted after her, allowing her to leave the fitness center so that she could return to her workout. "And it is the lives that I protect and save that will be felt decades from now, not the lives that I've killed!" she yelled, even louder, as the Captain was nearly gone and perhaps unlikely to hear. But the truth is she was talking more to herself than the Intel Agent. Once she had finished addressing her, she turned back towards the bag, and unleashing an almost primordial scream before she struck the bag so hard that it fell from its supports. "Set me up another one!" she yelled to the droid, as she lowered her hands to her knees and sucked in air to catch her breath.

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