Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Christopher Levy and Sarah Riggs-Shute.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:F1:2) in the Essesia system: Kwai, Retributor, and Warspite.
Lieutenant Allegra Ames, Flight Lieutenant Haven Anson, Captain Tiberius Anson, Liliya Benedt, Commander Augustus Hood, Major Kerrie Kiley, Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca, Grand Moff Claudius Rodney, Lady Jelena Rodney, Lieutenant Bethany Sheppard, Major Reek Trolg, and Major Arden Zevrin.

Grand Moff Claudius Rodney stood silently on the bridge of the Imperial I-class Star Destroyer Warspite. The vessel had served as his command ship for years, and he had come to learn every inch of her. During his time in the Admiralty he often spent long hours aboard the bridge working with the officers, but since becoming a regional governor he had hardly visited the area, instead being locked away in his office. When he first arrived hours ago the crew looked up at him feeling both confused and surprised ... some were even a little afraid. He did not speak to them or issue any orders, but instead walked slowly down the command walkway, nodding at each one of them, and examining what he saw like it was the first time. But it was not the first time ... it was the last.

Captain Tiberius Anson had been standing with his officers, giving the regional governor the space he needed to do whatever it was he was doing. At first he did not pay much attention to the man and respected his privacy, but as the hours drew on, and his become increasingly uneasy with his presence, he decided he had not choice but to talk to him. The Corellian moved slowly towards the governor, placing a hand on his shoulder, and leading him towards the viewport at the front of the bridge. Out the window the rest of the fleet came into view with hundreds of support craft darting to and fro. "Governor ... is everything alright?" he asked, quietly, his back turned to his junior officers so that they could not eavesdrop or read his lips.

Before the governor could reply, Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca's red eyes widened as the largest sensor blip she had ever seen appeared on her display. Believing the terminal to be malfunctioning, she adjusted several knobs and switches to focus on the area where the blip occurred. "Lieutenant Ames, please confirm my sensor readings," she said coldly and methodically, as she turned to the insufferable redhead who occupied the station in the crewpit opposite her. She simply could not accept what her instruments were displaying, despite her intricate understanding of the technology behind it.

Lieutenant Allegra Ames had made a career of allowing her subordinate petty officers do the work for her. She had been standing there, as if intently reading a datapad, but was in actuality watching a cheap, tawdry holovid outside of the view of her superiors. "I'm sure your readings are accurate," she said, without raising her eyes from the datapad to acknowledge the Chiss. She could feel the woman's red eyes burning a hole in her as she stared intently across the ship, which caused her to realize that if she did not confirm the readings she would never get any peace. "Ugh. Fine!" she groaned, as she tucked away the datapad, and moved towards her terminal. Her mouth hung open the moment she saw the size of the target. It was then that an idea caught her imagina, and she arched her left eyebrow with a soft smirk upon her painted crimson. "Commander Hood, I've detected a large, unidentified sensor contact exiting hyerspace. We have no record of anything like it in our databank," she reported to her superior, stealing the credit from Meham'ohorovi'cloca for being the first to identify it. She snickered softly, winking at the Chiss, as she confidently moved towards the first officer.

Commander Augustus Hood was reviewing the deployment of the various TIE squadrons throughout the Essesia system now that other ships had joined their formation when he was interrupted by Lieutenant Ames. There were no capital ships expected to arrive, and he doubted the Rebellion would dare send one of their cruisers into such a densely fortified system. "Did you confirm the readings?" he asked, looking towards the Chiss tactical officer, who silently nodded in the affirmative. His attention then shifted down the walkway towards the Grand Moff and the Captain, who seemed to be in private conversation. Under almost every circumstance he would have allowed them their privacy, but a massive sensor reading could not go unreported. He moved deliberately towards the duo, allowing his boots to fall heavier than normal to herald his arrival. "Beg to report," he said, apprehensively, after clearing his throat. When they both nodded at him he felt comfortable to proceed. "There is a massive contract approaching on our sensors ... like nothing we have seen before," he reported, somewhat apprehensively, as he waited for his orders.

The Grand Moff knew what the contact was and for the first time since his daughter disappeared a smile curled upon his middle-aged lips. "C'mon," he said to the Captain and the Commander, as he raised his arms to place a hand on each of their shoulders. He ushered them away from the viewport and back towards the crew pits where the junior officers were stationed. "Lieutenant Sheppard ... plot an intercept course," he said to her, as he looked down at the youngest officer on the bridge. With a spring in his step, as if he were suddenly half his age, he bounded back down the walkway towards the forward viewports. Taking up a position in front of them, he folded his hands behind his back, and lifted his heels off the deck several times in rapid succession in an uncharacteristic display of enthusiasm.

"Aye, sir. Plotting an intercept course," Lieutenant Bethany Sheppard replied, but moved slowly until she got a confirmatory nod from Captain Anson. Using the sensor data provided by Lieutenant Ames, she entered in a new course that would intercept them with the large sensor blip. The large Star Destroyer began to turn, its engines coming to life, as it began to move at top speed towards the target. "Course laid in and we are underway," she reported, monitoring the controls in close cooperation with the sensor readings. She knew that a ship of this size did not exactly stop on a dime, and she would need plenty of time to stop the ship's forward progress.

Captain Anson did not like being left in the dark, and cast a sideways glance to Commander Hood, as the Warspite began its new course. Through the viewport the planet Esseles began to move towards the left, while from the right they could begin to make out the distant, dagger shaped ship. He moved slowly towards the Grand Moff, coming to a stop roughly a foot behind him. His eyes were locked on the visual contact rather than the governor, as he wondered what this was about. "Anything you want to tell me?" he asked, sounding a little annoyed, as he displayed that Corellian boldness that rarely existed in the Imperial officer corps.

As the Warspite moved through the blackness of space it became clear what the contact was ... the Executor-class Star Dreadnought that they had arranged for from Kuat Drive Yards. "The Retributor!" the Grand Moff exclaimed, without turning around to look the Captain in the eyes. The closer they moved towards his new commander ship, the wider his eyes became and the brighter his facial expression looked. "She's here. She's finally here," he said, as he finally turned to the bridge officers. "Tiberius, alert your daughter to have the Kwai prepared for departure," he said, as he looked him confidently in the eyes. "Augie, I want you and the other senior staff to pack your things, and meet me on the hangar bay in one half hour," he ordered, before sprinting towards the turbolift to gather his things.

"Would someone care to explain to me what's going on?" an annoyed Allegra complained, as she looked up at Captain Anson and Commander Hood. She had spent so much time learning the ins and outs of the Warspite, and assembling a cast of junior officers that served her and did her bidding. Even though the Retributor was a much larger ship, the idea of having to start her web of underlings fresh did not appeal to her. Plus, being assigned to one of the largest ships in the Imperial Navy shined perhaps too much attention on her.

"We're being reassigned," Commander Hood stated, coldly, as he began beckoning the officers out of the pits. "You heard the Governor. Pack your things. Assemble on the flight deck," he ordered, saying it much louder than the Governor did, causing Lieutenants Ames, Meham'ohorovi'cloca, Sheppard, and Alexander to climb up to the deck and move towards the turbolift with Hood.

As the bridge emptied, Captain Anson slowly walked up and down the bridge several times, reticently. The Warspite was his first command in the Imperial Navy and he would never forget it. Once he was alone he pulled the black leather gloves from his hands, and knelt down to touch the cold durasteel deck that he stood upon these past many years. He could fear a tear welling in his left eye, before he inhaled sharply, as if to suck it back into his eyes. He rose, silently, and began walking towards the turbolift as well, before stopping, to take one last look.

The Lambda-class shuttle Kwai was overflowing with men and materials. Grand Moff Rodney, his wife Htaere Ka`a Sha`ar, his adjutant Major Kerrie Kiley, his aide Liliya Benedt, his daughter Drusilla Rodney, his adopted daughter Ewwiekewwieikkie, and his physician Pilaq Tohan were occupying one side of the passenger compartment. The other half boasted the likes of Major Min Traebor, Captain Tiberius Anson, Commander Augustus Hood, Lieutenants Allegra Ames, Meham'ohori'cloca, and Mark Alexander. In the cockpit Flight Lieutenant Haven Anson, the captain's beautiful blonde daughter, was at the controls with assistance from a salty Lieutenant Bethany Sheppard, who never got to fly anything smaller than a command ship.

Flight Lieutenant Hanson was concerned by the number of senior officers that had surged aboard her shuttle in the early afternoon hours. "Okay, Reek. Leaving now," she said, as she activated the sublight engines and began the Kwai's departure from the Warspite's hanger bay. Almost immediately as they exited the hangar the massive 19,000 meter long monstrosity that was the Retributor came into the view. "Look at the size of that thing," an overenthusiastic Hanson shouted, as she began to accelerate towards the new command ship.

Major Reek Trolg gripped the controls of his TIE fighter, pulling up into formation with the Kwai, along with three of his best pilots. Although the Imperial presence in the system was now one of the most dominant in the core, he took his escort duty of the governor's shuttle very seriously. The five craft moved towards the Retributor, but rather than go directly towards the hangar, they performed a slow, methodical flight over the length of the massive vessel to give it a complete visual inspection.

Grand Moff Claudius Rodney abandoned his family, his staff, and his crew the moment he heard Haven's exclamation. He *had* to see what was going on from the perspective of the cockpit, and he surged forward through the sea of humanity. When he got into the cockpit he placed a hand on Haven and Bethany's shoulder for support, before leaning forward, as if the few inches gave him an infinitely better view of his new command ship. "You should be proud of your father for earning such a command," he said to Haven, flattering her father, but really he was just using it as an opportunity to congratulate himself once more.

At long last the Kwai completed its flight plan and entered into the Retributor's hangar, where a large contingent of Imperial officers, technicians, Stormtroopers, and pilots had assembled in a ceremony to welcome the new staff. Grand Moff Rodney was the first off the shuttle, breathing in that new ship smell as he boarded his new command ship for the first time. He was smiling broadly, as he nodded to his new officers, before his substantial entourage began to follow behind him. "We're going straight to the bridge!" he informed everyone, as he was eager to show off his new vessel. There was barely enough room for the entire mass of personnel to cramp into the turbolift, and Htaere and Drusilla's jewelry, and Ewwiekewwieikkie's fur clashed with the Imperial uniforms. There was barely any air in the lift as the crowd sucked it all in, and the temperature seemed to instantly increase by 20 degrees. There was a loud sigh of relief as they reached the bridge, piling out as if they were in a clown speeder at the circus.

*Clap ... clap ... clap* the sound of three slow claps permeated the expansive, but dark and empty bridge of the massive Executor-class Star Dreadnought. From within the darkness emerged she shapely form of the blonde ISB commander, Major Arden Zevrin. "It took you long enough," she said, as she stalked towards them like a predator, until she was right in front of the Governor. She raised her hand, allowing a finger to delicately stroke at Claudius' chin. Her eyes moved to Htaere with a wink, the woman she had tortured to the point of miscarriage, before her lips moved to his ear. "Did you miss me?" she cooed softly into his ear, before giving him a soft kiss on his cheek, that left a noticeable lipstick stain. She took a step backwards, tilting her head to the side and giving him the smuggest look in the history of galactic affairs.

Major Kerrie Kiley stepped forward with an incredible rage, immediately unholstering her KYD-21 blaster pistol and bringing it up to an aim directly with Arden's chest. "I'm going to finish you once and for all," she boasted, referencing how she had threw the woman into a terminal back aboard the Warspite some months ago. How she had survived ... how she had managed to commandeer the new command ship ... these were mysteries to her. Frankly, she did not care ... she would execute the woman on the spot if she could and be done with it.

"Kerrie you are as predictable as always," Arden said to the short Stormtrooper with a roll of her eyes. She raised her left hand to the barrel of the blaster, angling it off to the side before she continued her speech. "If you kill me now you'll miss all the fun ... not that you ever knew how to have any fun," she said with a snicker, shaking her head at the woman. "You should get yourself laid ... if the governor had any male officers, that is," she joked, before moving towards Htaere. "Oh you poor thing," she said to Htaere, but in reality her eyes were fixated on Liliya the entire time. "You so such great poise in front of your husband's mistress. I admire it, really... I certainly never would have been able to stomach such an insult. But then again, I am Human, and you, and you ... well ... are not," she said to Htaere, before shifting her fire. "And you ... you petite trollup. Do you only own one dress? Every time I see you, you're wearing it. Htaere the Hapan has changed her outfit twice just in the five minutes we've all been aboard the bridge. Clearly, he's not into you for your sense of style," she said, teasing the weak Alderaanian aide. "It's the hair, isn't it ... or rather the lack thereof," she teased Claudius, as she moved her hand up to Liliya's impeccably coiffed pixie hairstyle.

Liliya had been absolutely shocked when the sudden flicker of the bridge lights revealed Arden Zevrin, knowing that the woman had gone through a harrowing experience and, with all things considered, should have died. But that was not the extent of her bewilderment that only grew as that woman began spilling the most vile and cruel things that Liliya could not even barely process. Why Arden had such hatred towards her was beyond her understanding. As the Major continued the onslaught of brutal and vicious verbal abuse, Liliya began to take timid steps away from the group. She desired to run away from this shame and scrutiny, but she could not leave her charge or her duties... but the psychological effects were having a field day with her internal processors. Overwhelmed with anxiety, she began to weep pitifully while bringing up her ever faithful datapad to try to shield her sorrow from view. Gentle sobs heaved her small shoulders as synthetic but very realistic tears streamed down soft cheeks. She could not bare to look at anyone and cast her eyes to the ground to suffer alone.

"Enough of this, Zevrin," Grand Moff Rodney declared angrily, but not before bringing his hand on top of Kerrie's arm to lower her hand with the blaster pistol. "Get off *my* ship," he ordered her, as he moved to block her from intimidating his wife any further. His hands were tightening into fists as his grand moment was being spoiled, and she was sullying his new toy. The very representation of his newfound manhood was being destroyed by his great rival and perennial thorn in his side. He had enough of the ISB and their meddling.

"Quite," Arden said, as she reached a right index finger up towards Claudius, tapping him once on the nose. "Oh you're going to love this," she began, as she turned and began to seductively move down the walkway. She stopped, turning suddenly, and extended her arms as wide as she could, with a bright, broad smile. "You're all going to love this!" she exclaimed, before descending into a state of hysterical laughter that might lead one to think she were mad. She was nearly bent over from the laughter as her long plot had finally come to fruition. "Lights!" she ordered into the darkness, before raising her arms in celebration.

The lights of the Retributor's bridge were activated revealing the sight of Lady Jelena Rodney ... stripped of her clothing, and suspended, upside down from the ceiling of the bridge. She was alive, barely, and as she hung there unable to move, Arden came upon her. She took her by the shoulder and pushed her to the left roughly as if she were on a swing, and she began to swing side to side in front of them all, helplessly. "Father," she screamed helplessly, as she saw him, and her family, for the first time in several months. This was the last way she imagined she would see them again. She was terrified, having spent days tortured and interrogated by the ISB, and now she had been stripped and humiliated in front of her loved ones.

Claudius and Kerrie moved as quickly as they could towards the dangling damsel in distress. "Get a knife!" Claudius screamed, as he wrapped his arms around his daughter, to stop her from moving. "It's okay. Daddy is here," he said to her, as he cradled her in his arms, despite the fact that she was still upside down. Eventually Kerrie managed to undo the suspension cable, and Claudius slowly lowered her down to the deck. He moved to take his tunic off, and draped it over the traumatized girl, to cover her. "You'll pay for this, Zevrin. You'll pay for this," he said, as he looked up at her with angry eyes, welling with his tears, while kneeling on the ground beside his broken child.

"Touching. Nothing like a father's love. Isn't that right, Kerrie?" Zevrin asked, knowing full well that her father abandoned her as a child, and then eventually disowned her. "Oh? Too soon?" she asked, whimsically, before revealing the recording device she had. The entire Empire was now privy to one of the select Grand Moffs clinging to a traitorous Rebel criminal. "This isn't your ship, Claudius," she told him, coldly, as she began to size up his officer corps. "I once had the misfortune of visiting a Hutt early in my career who maintained a sizable harem of slave women drawn from across the galaxy," she said, as she turned her attention down to the sniveling father. "Even he would say you had too many women on your staff," she snickered, rolling her eyes at his choice of officers. "You are stuck with me. You are mine," she said, glowering down at him, as she humiliated the man in front of his family and crew. "I have implanted a device on your precious Rebel's heart," she continued, as she looked towards the out of place Ithorian doctor. "Your old tree hugger cannot save her," she sneered, as she pulled up her sleeve to reveal a specialized device. "One touch and her heart explodes. If I forget to change the battery due to carelessness her heart explodes. If I roll over on it in my sleep her heart explodes..." she continued, hovering her finger over the button, while seductively licking her tongue upon her lower lip. "Oh. I almost forgot," she said, before she knelt down to look Claudius directly in his weak eyes. "There is a heart rate monitor attached. If my heart stops ... her heart explodes. Whether your Clawdite kills me, whether I'm struck by lightning, whether I'm blown up by Rebels, or whether I eat some spicy Rodian food ... her heart explodes," she said, arching her eyebrows, and getting down on the ground next to Jelena. Her hand moved through the girl's hair slowly, stroking it. "Basically, what I'm trying to say is, her heart is going to explode," she said, wickedly, as she began to laugh at herself.

Arden Zevrin had planned this for four months, ever since Kerrie had thrown her into her own bank of monitors. Broken, she had retreated to her home system of Kuat, where she had used her family's influence to take up position at Kuat Drive Yards. From her medical suite she watched the engineers build this vessel, while at the same time the doctors rebuilt her. She waited for that foolish Jelena to make a mistake, and the moment she did, she ensured that she would have her. Now she had the command ship and Jelena, and because of that she had Rodney. She could have earned a promotion within the ISB by reporting that she had captured Jelena, but she did not. She could have had Rodney executed for his concern over a traitor, but she did not. A colonelcy in the bureau was too small for her and her ambition. "You are mine. This ship is mine. Your crew is mine," she said, as she raised back to her feat speaking to everyone equally. "Everyone that isn't human get the hell off my bridge. The rest of you ... get to work," she ordered angrily, as she moved towards the mass of personnel that assembled. Arden Zevrin had taken command of the Ringali Shell.

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