Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Sean Brandt and Kit Gwynne.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:1:21) in the Essesia system: Interrogator.
Corporal Lovora Rikki and Colonel Mark Veller.

The klaxons sounded of a shuttle's imminent arrival and those who hadn't quite cleared the landing area scrambled to get out of the way. The Chief who ran this docking bay didn't care if you got squashed and if you almost got squashed, you always heard about it.

In the landing bay's control room, the Chief watched the indicators as the shuttle neared The Interrogator. He nodded as the correct security codes came in, but still kept the defensive turbolasers trained on the incoming shuttle. He wasn't about to be the one who let an unauthorized ship onto the Interrogator. He had no desire to meet the Sith who ran this ship and he knew he would be meeting her if he survived the incident.

When the shuttle landed without a hitch and a dozen Stormtroopers marched out with a prisoner between them, he breathed a silent sigh of relief and ordered the turbolaser crews to stand down. He felt a bit of surprise when High Colonel Veller stepped out of the usual crowd of Stormtroopers to sign the datapad for the prisoner's transfer. Must be an important one, he thought, if that new Stormtrooper CO was taking charge. He idly wondered how many of those Stormtrooper idiots she had taken out to get such personal treatment. They were always getting in the way of his operations and he resented the fact that he couldn't just order them around.

High Colonel Mark Veller signed his name to the datapad once he had verified the identity of the prisoner before him. One Lovora Rikki was to be interrogated at the behest of High General Glin by High Inquisitor Thanor per the orders he had received earlier today. While slightly annoyed at the orders, what was he, a common jailor, the orders had come to him personally and he would be damned if he handed it off to someone who then flubbed it.

He looked over the slightly battered prisoner then motioned for the two Stormtroopers with him to take over from the dozen that had brought her. "Thank you, Sergeant," he told the ranking trooper, "You are dismissed. Barracks to your right for some sack time while your shuttle refuels."

The troopers gave a smart salute and moved his troopers out. He was actually rather surprised at the offer of barrack time. Most of the time he and his troopers had to wait around the shuttle, bored stiff but unable to do anything. He wished more officers were like him.

Mark returned his attention to the prisoner, eyeing her up and down. Didn't seem like much, but then, he knew better that to trust a label. "Lovora Rikki, welcome to the Interrogator. I am High Colonel Veller and I will be your escort to your new quarters." With a motion of his hand, he indicated to the troopers to move her out as he lead the way to the cell block he had cleared out that was near Serine's quarters. No use in having his commanding officer traverse the entire ISD in order to interrogate this prisoner.

Thirteen. That was the official number, between the run-and-gun chase in the streets with the local troopers and the ISB guards who she'd gunned down during the raid of the safe house. During the last effort of the local detention center to interrogate her, it had almost become fourteen. The troopers had made it in time to pull Lovora off of the officer, but not before she'd broken half his teeth with the wrist restraints and left some serious bruises on his neck. His mistake for insisting on handling things alone. Her mistake for thinking she was going to accomplish much by attacking him. All Lovora had won were two broken ribs and a massive black eye. The ribs had healed enough that she was walking, but the bruising was still very present.

They had managed to confirm her rebel ties, though, and the fact she had been armed during the raid lead them to believe she had likely been involved in more action than they could pin on her. Not that it mattered once the orders came down for her transfer. The sick smiles and sneers painted on the faces of the local officers when they packed her up on the transport made it clear that this was anything but a turn for the better. Lovora knew she was in trouble, and it was all she could do not to choke on the fear of what she was about to face.

By the time they were marching her off the transport, restraint cuffs magnetically locked to a belt secured to her waist, the young rebel had managed to steel herself to some degree. She'd been beaten up, sure, but she could take a few blows. The short, rather scrawny woman was more durable than she looked. As the light of the hangar and the sight of some high ranking officer hit her eyes, though, Lovora found herself remembering all the horror stories about what the Empire did with problematic prisoners. The fear welled up inside of her all over again.

She stared right back at the High Colonel when he spoke to her, putting on an angry face, doing her best to play tough. She was pretty good at it for now, refusing to speak and even refusing to move again until she caught an E-11 to the small of her back, forcing her to stumble forward. The trooper behind her moved too, threatening to plow her down if she didn't walk. Lovora fell into their pace and followed, staring dead ahead, not so much as glancing at the High Colonel. The least she could do was face whatever fate awaited her as the soldier she believed herself to be.

Mark heard the stumble of Lovora behind him, but decided not to reprimand the troopers. It was either that or pick her up and he didn't want his troopers to be vulnerable in that way. He had skimmed the report from the detention block and her attack on the officer. Foolish of him to be there alone with her if he couldn't prevent or handle an attack. She had already managed to take down thirteen Stormtroopers. He had no intention of underestimating this unimposing prisoner nor allowing her to add to that number.

He was quiet as he escorted her through the ISD. The journey took a little bit of time. Up and down enough turbolifts to confuse anyone and through hallways swarming with Stormtroopers and other Imperial Navy personnel. More than enough to make sure Lovora knew she was in the middle of an Imperial stronghold and that her chances of escape were zero to nil.

At last, he arrived at the cell block he had assigned just to hold her. He took her down one of the hallways to the room at the end. It was a standard interrogation room, table, two chairs, and enough cameras to catch every angle. At his signal, the two troopers deposited Lovora into the seat facing the door, transferring the magnetic lock of her cuffs to the table. There was a short length of durasteel chain to which her cuffs were attached, allowing some movement, but not a lot.

The two troopers left and Mark sat down, "Now, Miss Rikki, let's talk," he said politely, as if this were a job interview and not an interrogation chamber onboard an ISD commanded by a Sith.

The hardened resolve she'd presented since her departure from the shuttle started to crack a little as she was lead through the Star Destroyer. After the fourth turbolift she had no idea where she was; she could be one bulkhead shy of outer space or deep in the bowels of the monstrous vessel. That alone was terrifying, but the constant flow of troops and crew and officers made it that much worse. Though she had started out staring straight ahead and refusing to flinch, by the time she was being marched into the cell block, the hints of worry were evident. Her eyes couldn't keep still, looking at this clump of troopers, that blast door...all the things that promised to keep her right here until the Imperials were done with her.

It was enough to make her comply with the troopers when they sat her down, though once they left that durasteel chain was put to the test with a few sharp jerks on the restraints. It didn't take very many for her to realise that the most she was going to accomplish was cutting her wrists to ribbons, and so she settled, taking a few deep breaths. Once the High Colonel spoke, she'd summoned up enough courage to play hard again.

"I said all I'm saying already. We don't got anything to talk about." Lovora was under the impression this man was who she'd been sent here to see, and he didn't seem all that dangerous so far. She had no idea what sort of horrors resided on this ship.

Mark noted her assessment of the cuffs and was pleased when she detested in injuring herself. "Now, Miss Rikki," he said pleasantly, "I do not believe that is true. There is more information you have not revealed about your rebel contacts and the," Mark paused, "missions you conducted that left thirteen Stormtroopers dead." Mark found it distasteful to label the actions that sawa the Stormtroopers dead as missions, but he figured that's how they would be looked upon by the rebel side.

"I do not think you understand the exact seriousness of your position here. I am your one and only chance to come clean without any undue pain. High Inquisitor Thanor has been tasked herself with your interrogation. It will probably go easier on your if she is merely confirming what you have told me," Mark said conversationally. "I do not believe I have to go on with the warning that if you lie to me, things will go much worse for you."

He leaned back slightly in his chair to better study the reaction of his words on the young rebel sitting before him. He was genuinely intrigued and wondered how this session would go. "Nor, do I need to mention I can arrange for medical attention on those ribs and whatever other injuries you may have acquired during your incarceration."

Lovora, above all else, was scared. She could fight and hide it all she liked, but there was no avoiding it, and once the High Colonel mentioned an Inquisitor, well, it no doubt showed through. It took a moment for that particular threat to actually sink in, but soon enough it clicked. Inquisitors were Sith...and they were the true terrors of the Empire. Sick, twisted creatures that loved nothing more than the suffering of others, monsters that could use the Force to ruin people in unimaginable ways. Not once did Lovora ever think she would warrant the attention of such a thing. Even now she was denying it, telling herself that this was just some kind of threat to get her talking. Surely she didn't merit something so awful.

Indecision kept her silent until after the offer for medical aid. Truth be told her ribs were still sore as hell. The locals knew better than to break her too badly, but it didn't prevent them from exacting some revenge for the trouble she'd put them through. It didn't help that several had friends she was directly implicated in killing.

"Why? So you can break'em all over again? I know how this goes. I've heard the stories. You beat me up until you get what you want, then I get ejected with the next waste disposal. Why don't you just skip ahead and kill me, huh? I got nothing else to say to you." She tried to make herself relax, slouching some in the terribly uncomfortable seat, shifting her wrists around in the restraint cuffs. It was a show, just like everything else, but it helped build some confidence in her to resist.

Mark's eyes narrowed a bit in anger. This woman had killed troopers and for that he did want to stuff her down the waste disposal unit. But he was an officer, a commander and he had control of his temper. Mostly. Quickly, he stood up and slammed both his hands on the tabletop to make her jump out of that fake relaxed pose she affected.

"Do you think this is some kind of game?" he almost roared, keeping a tight rein on his anger. "You are a traitor to the Empire, a Rebel and a murderer. You sealed your fate when you took that first shot and killed a Stormtrooper." He forced his anger back and calmed himself by taking a deep breath. Continuing in a more normal tone of voice, "But the manner of your execution is still in your hands. Give me the information now, and your death will be as painless as I can make it. Keep your silence and nothing will stand between you and an agonizing death." Mark's eyes narrowed, "I will personally ensure you suffer for every Stormtrooper death you caused." He leaned closer to her, seeming to tower over her as his ice blue eyes, cold and intense bored into her.

The impact of those hands upon the table made her jump, sitting bolt upright in the chair and going damn near perfectly still. If the goal here was to put the fear of the Empire in her, it was absolutely being achieved. His words, of course, did much more than the show of aggression. Deep down there had been some glimmer of hope that her challenge would have been answered with a promise of release or prison time in exchange for cooperation. Some chance that there was a way for her come out alive. She wouldn't have taken it, of course, but it would have been fuel for her courage, something to cling to. The confirmation that she was going to die no matter what struck her like a sledgehammer to the chest.

The way he loomed over her made Lovora feel even smaller than she was. The officer on Rhinnal had done it too, of course, but she hadn't been intimidated. In fact, it was this very sort of opportunity that she had taken advantage of to nearly break his jaw. Now, though, there was no escaping the fear. Lovora was no pro at this sort of thing; a promise of death from a high ranking Imperial officer who had her for a captive terrified her.

"O-ok. I'm a soldier, for the Rebellion. Corporal Lovora Rikki. Tong's Commandos." The commando unit was no doubt well known to Veller, considering they had been an enormous thorn in the side of the Empire for some time in the sector. Ambushes on Imperial supply trains, stealing ships and equipment. If there had been a rebel attack in the Rhingali Shell, it was safe to assume they had been involved. Rikki was hardly old enough to have been with them for very long, but long enough to implicate her in plenty of their recent operations.

"That's all I got to say."

Mark blinked for a moment, silenced by the admission of the young woman's membership in Tong's Commandos. This rebel outfit had been giving Imperial Command fits with their strikes. Overall it hadn't been enough to stop the Empire, but it had caused problems the higher ups didn't like and wanted stopped. That she was picked up in a routine inspection seemed beyond just plain luck.

He sat down back in chair, silent for a moment as he digested the information, "Why?" he asked her, curiosity clearly in his voice.

It was an admission she regretted as quickly as it left her mouth. How could she just blurt out that kind of information? He hadn't even touched her, and here she was telling him exactly who she was and what she did. Not only did it confirm her identity for him, but it meant they knew she could be tied back to the operations of the Commandos. It was a hell of a slip, and it hadn't taken much.

Lovora's eyes were on the floor while the High Colonel sat down to take in what she'd said. This was hardly how she had imagined things going, back when she'd heard about other rebels being interrogated. In her mind she was all willpower and resistance, fighting them to the bitter end, saying nothing. A real hero of the Rebellion. So far it wasn't quite working out that way.

The very simple question from the High Colonel snapped her out of the introspection for a moment. She lifted her dark eyes to meet those icy blues and found herself wondering the very same thing. For a moment she just stared at him, dumbfounded, but eventually she found her words.

"Why what? Why tell you I'm with the Commandos? You said it're going to kill me anyway. Might as well give you some idea of how many of your boys died before you got around to catching one of us." The defiance was clear in her words, though her voice lacked the edge it had held earlier. She was still scared, but she clung to the thought of heroic boldness in the face of it all the same.

For a moment, Mark entertained the idea of slugging her for mentioning the Stormtroopers she had killed. But, he controlled himself, his anger lighting his eyes just for an instant before being squashed back down again. "Indeed, but that was not exactly what I was asking, my apologizes for not being clearer. Why join with the Rebellion? Surely a woman capable of meeting the Tong Commando's expectations was not without other options."

The words were antagonistic and Lovora had meant them to be. A part of her wanted to rile the guy up, to make him as uncomfortable as she felt, but it wasn't working. The anger was unmistakable, but he carried on, calm and in control. It was almost more unsettling than his outburst had been earlier.

She tried to settle some, to calm the nagging terror and choke down the very present reality of her fate here. It was taking a monumental effort to keep talking to this man, this Imperial bastard who had pretty much guaranteed that she wasn't leaving here alive. It took a moment for her to find her voice again.

"Because it's the right thing to do. Because every planet should be free to do things their own way, not yours. Because the Empire has murdered plenty of innocent people just to prove their points well before I killed anybody at all."

There was absolute conviction in her words, even if there wasn't so much resolve in her tone. Getting to say it all out loud, though, was a strong reminder of why she did what she did, and what had gotten her here in the first place. It helped return a little bit of strength.

In his debriefings on the Rebellion, Veller had heard similar words, that this was the main reason given for joining the Rebellion. Some imagined injustice they used as an excuse to incite rebellion against the lawful government. He had always dismissed it as hyperbole, as an excuse criminals used to justify their actions.

But this was the first time he had ever actually met a Rebel face to face and been able to have a conversation that didn't involve exchanged blaster bolts at 20 paces. He heard the conviction in her voice and knew then and there that nothing he would say could ever change it, even if she was wrong in every regard. He now understood why one of the words used to describe rebels was "fanatic" with all the troubles that entailed. Fanatics were willing to throw their lives away and that made them unpredictable and dangerous.

He stood up from his chair in a single graceful motion, "You are wrong, Miss Rikki," he said, his voice echoing her conviction with his own, "Without order, there is chaos and order must be maintained. Without that order, there is only barbarism." He was silent for a moment, seeming to struggle with a problem.

It was evident to his eyes that she was in some amount of pain due to her ribs. He was tempted to leave her that way as some small payback for her transgressions against the Stormtroopers who had died by her hand. He took a deep breath, remembering the High General had transferred custody to him. With her affiliation now known, she was even more valuable a prisoner and he couldn't afford the risk of some other hidden injury.

"You played fair with me, Corporal Rikki," he nodded slightly, "I will do the same." He turned to one of the mirrored windows on the wall, "See to it that Corporal Rikki gets medical treatment and is examined for other injuries. I want a full report within two hours." He turned his attention to Lovora, "Will you give me your word you will not give my troopers any problems? That you will not attempt an escape while your injuries are being tended to? I assure you, if you deal with me in good faith, I will return it as best I can. I need not remind you there is no chance of escape or rescue from The Interrogator. As much as a thorn Tong's Commandos have been, I assure you, it is only a thorn. We both know the Rebellion has not the resources to launch a raid that will even scratch the surface of this vessel." He paused for a moment and continued, "Give me your word you will not escape and I will authorize the removal of your restraints during your medical treatment."

Lovora wanted to argue with him. She wanted to dig in her heels and shout at this man, to make him see how wrong he was, how what the Rebellion was fighting for was true and just. His tone left no room for argument, however, and even if she had been willing to summon up the courage to engage him, he was moving right along without her.

Her whole body felt sore, and by now it was no doubt fairly obvious. The simplistic chair she had been flopped into didn't do her ribs any favors and she shifted as he spoke, trying to find some small level of comfort. Her eyes didn't stay with him at this point, drifting back down as he went on about some kind of fair treatment. Not moments ago he had made clear just what that fair treatment consisted of, and every time he brought it up was a stark reminder of that.

When he asked for her word, Lovora nodded. She didn't want to speak for fear her voice would betray just how afraid she was of the death he'd promised her, but it was easy to agree to his offer. Where was she going to go? Even if she managed to fight her way through ten dozen Imperials, there were hundreds, thousands on this ship...and she had no way to escape it.

He watched Lovora for a moment, then softly said, "I need to hear the words, Corporal."

Of course he did. She couldn't help but feel it was a little indignity that he had to impose on her. A few seconds passed before she managed the words, just as soft as his own. "Yeah. You got my word."

Mark nodded and then left the room. A few moments later, two Stormtroopers came in, released her from the cuffs and dragged her to her feet. They weren't exactly gentle, but they weren't entirely rough either. Just enough to make it clear to Lovora resistance was not a good idea. A short walk to a medical bay soon had her being looked over by a medical droid.

The medical treatment was good and she felt better once it was over, but it was entirely humiliating to be handled by the droid while the two troopers looked on. Treatment took about an hour. The bruise on her face was already fading and her ribs felt much better and would probably be fully healed by the next day.

Once done, the two troopers took her back to the cell block and tossed her into one of the empty cells. The door slide shut behind her, leaving her in a small room with a bench and basic sanitary functions. Now, the waiting game was truly on as she was left to contemplate her fate.

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