As the operations officer of the Grand
Moff's command ship it was a routine duty to deliver orders to
commanders in the field. Unfortunately for her, this message was
destined for Commodore Rhia T'Jarell ... a woman who she had recently been
tasked with conducting personal espionage on. She knew an awkward
encounter was forthcoming, but her command was in disarray and she had
to deliver these instructions if the situation were to be resolved. As
she was in the turbolift headed to the bridge she made final
adjustments to her olive-gray uniform, which had been freshly cleaned
and pressed by a junior officer under her control. Atop her red hair sat
the small cap of her uniform, with a few lavish locks escaping to hang
down to her neckline. When the door opened revealing the bridge she
hesitated momentarily, closing her eyes and taking in a deep inhale.
Moments later, she stepped forward, her boots falling lightly upon the
command walkway of the bridge. "Commodore T'Jarell, I bring encoded
orders from the command ship," she said professionally, hoping that by
some small miracle they would not recognize her.
The newly promoted Commodore was not
made aware that a messenger from direct orders from Grand Moff Rodney
was on her way until the latter had already arrived on the bridge. It
was quite a busy day on board the Tenacity, with the newly
arrived ships for the Commodore's task force, the Omega, being
thoroughly inspected and their inventory cleared by Rhiannon T'Jarell
and her first officer, Captain Tristan Krauss. There was much commotion
going on, then ... with the holocom flaring to life every couple of
minutes ... resulting in proper introductions being made and orders
being given to the newly appointed Omega vessels. After she finished
speaking to the captain of the sixth and final gunboat, Rhiannon
signaled the communications officer to put future transmissions on hold
and dispatched her right hand, Captain Krauss, to personally greet the
Grand Moff's messenger while she attended to some final equipment
checks. Hearing a female's greeting, she merely lifted one gloved hand
in acknowledgment of the address being made, then continued to face
Allegra Ames with her back ... not out of disrespect or ignorance ...
but due to wanting to finish her task. It was the Grand Moff's
operations officer who was interrupting her, after all ... and not the
other way around.
Tristan seemed to be in a mood of sorts
as he was assisting Rhia with the mundane task of sorting the inventory
for the gunboats. A plethora of emotions still ran through him and
thoughts pervaded his mind when it should have been empty, he knew, but
some things you just could not help. Barely noticing that Rhia had asked
him to take care of the messenger he nodded with a grunt, "Yeah, sure
Turning from his post at the bridge,
tired of seeing all of the data and HoloNet anyway, he headed towards
the blast doors with his eyes plastered towards the floor muttering
something under his breath. It wasn't until he came within a mere foot
of Allegra did he look up and upon doing so a wry grin etched his
angular features, "Hello ..." His eyes glancing over her shoulder boards,
"Lieutenant ... you may transfer the orders to me."
"I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name,"
Glancing over her figure recalling fondly a chance encounter on the
planet Coruscant not but a few days ago before stopping on the disk in
her hand, "I will take that now." Returning his gaze to her face and
smirking "Ally, isn't it? I think I recall now."
Allegra blushed from nervousness as the
Captain said her name, realizing fully well that she had been caught.
"Lieutenant Allegra Ames," she said with a bit of discomfort, after
clearing her throat to break the dryness that threatened to keep her
from speaking. "Very well, sir," she said, showing all proper respect
owed to a senior officer, as she extended a glove hand with the encoded
datadisk. She offered him a half-smile as she looked to the Captain. Her
eyes looked over the Tenacity's bridge slowly, studying over
the bridge officers, and thinking them a tad more professional than the
motley crew the Grand Moff had assembled.
Commodore Rhiannon T'Jarell finally
completed her task and saw it fit to pivot on her heel and turn in the
direction of voices that kept chirping behind her. Seeing the
startlingly familiar (albeit dressed far differently than when she had
seen her last), 'Ally' ... the 'dubious friend' they made on Coruscant
during their brief shore leave, Rhia could not help but flash the
Lieutenant a glance of mock stupefaction. "Well, well, well..." she
smiled, head canting curiously to the side. "Whatever have we here? I
daresay your previous attire was far more attractive. I think," and here
she glanced at Tristan briefly, "I think this reunion warrants a private
audience, lieutenant Ames. Please follow Captain Krauss to his ready
room. I would like a word with you, if I may."
Watching as the Lieutenant blushed, his
smirk growing even more diabolical, taking the datadisk from her.
Turning to Rhia he smiled a mischievous and giddy grin, all previous
emotion void, "Yes, isn't it great that she came to visit us? So nice of
her, if I do say so myself, Ma'am." He nodded his agreement, "Quite, a
word is more than due. Come, Lieutenant, follow me."
Marching straight towards the ready room
without even as much as a glance towards Ally or Rhia he half-punched
the unlocking mechanism for the door and allowed it to slide open before
entering himself and taking the nearest seat in his most comfortable
"Of course, Milady," Allegra said in
response to Rhiannon's order, offering a polite nod of her head to the
flag officer. "Of course, Captain," she said, before following into
lockstep with Captain Krauss as they moved towards his ready room. She
felt quite uncomfortable by what was about to happen, and she felt a
slight twinge of pain in her stomach, and the formation of a headache.
She swallowed nervously, and her throat bulged slightly as she looked
over both of them. When she entered the room she did not take a seat,
instead choosing to remain standing, as she took a defensive position in
the corner of the room.
As the door closed behind the final
entrant to the Captain's ready room, Rhiannon raised a brow as Tristan
took up her former seat and took his ease prior to the ladies doing the
same. Rude, she thought to herself, growing further and further
displeased with her first officer's puerile behavior. Hopefully, Allegra
wouldn't see anything out of the ordinary ... the last thing that was
needed now, for the governor to hear back gossip of his new protege and
her 'number one' feuding. Taking up a position in one of the remaining
chairs facing Krauss, Rhiannon decided to maintain a calm exterior while
continuing on with this meeting. She waited only for the lieutenant to
join her before turning to the young woman and smiling warmly.
"I think it would be fair to assume that
your presence on Coruscant that 'seemed' to take place exactly at the
same time as our shore leave was highly irregular and hardly a
coincidence. Now, before I jump to any conclusions, I will allow you to
tell your part of the story, lieutenant ... before I ask the kind
Captain to examine you further. I trust you will appreciate my leniency
and offer me honesty in return. From my end, I promise that should you
tell the truth as far as the facts of your latest trip to Coruscant are
concerned ... I will not tell the Grand Moff of anything I have learned
from you tonight regarding the latter. Does that seem like a fair
arrangement, to you?" she continued to smile at Allegra with doe-like
Rhia was probably displeased with his
behavior but he thought nothing of it, instead he chose to simply remain
in his chair and keep quiet, watching as she gave the Lieutenant a
chance to explain their chance encounter. One that, he figured, was what
he thought it to be all along ... intelligence gathering. His days
training with the ISB had told him so from the onset, sitting at the
back of a restaurant picking at a salad and being a senator's daughter
just did not add up.
"Examine..." he trailed off suddenly
wondering what it might be that she meant, "nevermind ... ma'am." And
thinking it probably better not to ask for his own sake rather than
anyone else's. Looking over the Lieutenant and then back to the
Commodore and then back to Allegra, "Please, begin."
Allegra was literally backed into the
corner of the room, and grew increasingly tense as her eyes moved
between Rhiannon and Tristan. Her heart rate was elevated, and her
breathing erratic as she listened to her words ... and the implied threat.
Her right hand moved to her head and she removed her hat, and she began
nervously fiddling with it in her hands as she considered her words
carefully. "I do apologize for my duplicity, Milady," she began, trying
to remain calm and maintain strong eye contact with the Commodore. "The
Grand Moff requested I keep an eye on you ... as he had taken quite an
interest in you. He knew that I had a knowledge of Coruscant, and
thought me best suited to make an assessment of what went beyond your
service record and official background," she admitted, speaking
honestly, as she felt the Governor was too angry about the situation
with his daughter to care about this at the moment, whereas these two
were standing in front of her and a more direct threat.
Nodding slowly, Rhiannon stole a furtive
gaze in Tristan's direction before glancing back to Allegra. She seemed
to accept the young woman's explanation of things and pending her
friend's astute assessment of things, would turn the conversation back
to the important things at hand: the Grand Moff's orders. "Your
sincerity is appreciated, lieutenant. I hope your assessment of me was
not too harsh and mostly factual." Though she would have preferred,
naturally, that Claudius had chosen other means of digging for
information surrounding Rhia's demeanor ... the cat was out of the bag
now ... as some said, and plenty of water had flown under that bridge,
to make any difference in the matter. "I trust you delivered unto us,
the governor's personal field orders for the Tenacity? I wonder
how much of your message deals with that insanity on the HoloNet,
earlier ... I am sure you have seen it? And if so, what is your opinion
on the young woman's claims?" Given that she had never met Jelena and
was never given ample opportunity to dig into Claudius Rodney's
clandestine background, Rhiannon was most curious to garner Allegra's
opinion, especially now that she had proven herself a young woman
capable of lending much credibility when asked.
One sentence echoed in his mind, make an
assessment of what went beyond your service record and official
background, plain as day was the evidence that she had been sent to spy
on them by none other than the lecherous and adulterous bastard himself.
He would remain silent though inwardly he wanted to ask what it was
precisely that she told the flaming coward.
Of course, he had expected Rhia's
reaction, which was practically passing it off as a routine occurrence
... he was charging up her loading ramp after all. Ignoring the thought
in favor of something ... a little different that brought a sly smirk upon
his angular features.
A feeling of being overwhelmed filled
Allegra's young body, and the slightest of tremors could be observed
overtaking her. She had been placed in the profoundly difficult task of
having to reveal information of the Grand Moff that she ought not to,
but there was a very real danger in the room that forced her hand. "Of
course, Milady. I gave the Governor a glowing recommendation," she said,
honestly, as she did not want to invoke his wrath by mentioning Tristan,
nor reveal her own incompetence in handling the assignment. "Yes. A
quite unfortunate matter, Milady. Obviously the young woman was the
victim of Rebel brainwashing," she said with a firm nod of her head,
stating the official line ... though privately she accepted her treachery.
"Understandably, the Governor is quite overcome by the situation. You'll
see that your new orders place you in temporary command of the naval
forces in the Oversector until the crisis is averted," she informed the
Commodore, though the crisis she referred to was of more personal than
"A crisis, you say? Yes, I've seen the
HoloNet debacle earlier; I wasn't sure what to make of it. You,
Captain?" Rhiannon stared pointedly at her first officer and Captain of
her flagship. He was in a strange mood all day, but hopefully the
opportunity to grill Allegra over the coals had given his demeanor the
lift it so badly needed. "The young lady seems quite distraught and
frankly, I am certain that even in a 'brainwashed' state she might still
be saying something worth looking into. Perhaps finding those who had so
expertly managed to indoctrinate her right under her father's nose? Not
to mention, in every desert of lies, one might find an occasional pebble
of truth. As for this command, I will do my best to oversee the command
of our naval forces in the sector until the situation becomes less ...
critical. How is the governor; I would imagine this incident has him
quite unsettled. Is there anything else that I - that we," she corrected
herself quickly, "... can do for him?"
What would come as his answer was, for
all accounts and purposes, a lie but none would know it, "What do I
think of the situation, Ma'am? Well, I haven't had much time to look it
over ... in fact I didn't pay much attention to the broadcast ... I was
busy with other duties and assignments. I believe however, that it is a
tragic moment for us all ... not hardest of all for the Grand Moff
himself, I am sure. Please, give him my condolences."
He stated as he looked towards Allegra
and then back to Rhia noting the slip she had just made. Returning his
gaze to Allegra, "However, if it were to be found that such accusations
were true? I am not certain what state it would leave the Empire in, and
moreover where it would leave our fleet exactly." Standing and fetching
himself a glass of water, quickly downing the cool liquid before turning
to face the two females once again, "I did however, have one question
Lieutenant. You mentioned your 'glowing recommendation' but what of
myself? Surely, you informed him on the matters at hand and how we
mistakenly ran into one another? Or was that, perhaps, left out of your
report?" Glancing down to his glass and refilling it, sipping on it
eagerly awaiting her response.
Allegra felt the questions coming at her
like a barrage of turbolasers, and her eyes meandered from one to the
other as she spoke, attempting to do her utmost to give the proper form
of recognition and respect when they addressed her. "Unfortunately,
Milady, the Governor is quite ... unwell ... as is to be expected. Perhaps
there is something you can do, but that would be a matter beyond my ...
rank," she stammered, having suspected there was something between them,
but not wishing to be overt about it. "The Governor has obviously made
'rescuing' Lady Jelena his top that priority, and to that end wishes the
naval forces in the Essesia system positioned to search all craft
leaving the surface. However, the exactly disposition of those forces he
leaves to your good graces," she explained, in a matter-of-fact manner
that outlined what was included in the orders. She knew this would pull
the Imperial fleet away from the nebula perimeter, a move she disagreed
with, but as a Lieutenant she did not see it her place to criticize
Grand Moffs. Her eyes then turned to Captain Krauss, smirking slightly
as she remembered their last, unofficial encounter. "I am sorry, sir. I
do not know what you are referring to. I did not recall our encounter,
and therefore only an assessment of Commodore T'Jarell was included in
my report," she said, speaking the truth, as she had omitted his
presence in her report to avoid any complications for all parties.
Thinking for a moment, the Commodore
considered something in silence before glancing to the small datapad
resting in her lap. Picking it up, she activated the device then began
tapping seemingly random buttons which brought up the order of battle
for the 'Omega Task Force'. She then turned to Allegra and looked to the
young woman speculatively. "The Governor is obviously distraught. Not
operating on full thrusters, as we used to say on Carida. I will take
the Omega Task Force and scout out Essesia. Captain Krauss, I would like
you to get in touch with our mutual friend ... the one that likes to
smash people's faces for money? I'm sure you remember her. Let her know
we need to meet within forty-eight hours, here ... if possible." Smiling
wide now as she regarded her first officer, the young Hapan leaned
forward in her chair and passed the small datapad to Tristan. "In case
you don't have the young lady's holocomm frequency? It's all there," she
nodded. "Now. Lieutenant Ames, please convey to the Governor that I will
look after this matter personally. There is, however, no need ... in my
humble opinion ... to involve the entire sector fleet. Such a move is
not only bound to be noticed by everyone in the sector ... but is also
liable to invite some unscrupulous parties to take advantage. We must
not appear desperate. Do we know what vessel Miss Rodney departed on? Do
we know anything about her possible whereabouts, other than the general
information that I'm sure has been included with the Grand Moff's
orders? Now would be a good time to say."
Tristan was in the midst of sipping on
his water when the Lieutenant mentioned personal favors for the Grand
Moff causing him to spray the water in his mouth as a mist towards
Allegra, nearly choking on the liquid that remained. "Now that the cat's
out of the bag let's just say that you should be more careful when
surveilling your targets, you're a lousy spy." He chuckled softly as he
set his glass down, now empty. Otherwise he took the datapad from Rhia
and nodded his assurance "Of course, Ma'am." Returning to his seat and
making a note of the information on the display.
"Of course, Milady," Allegra replied to
the Commodore's request concerning the personal message to the Governor.
"It would appear based on surveillance footage that she stole the
shuttle Phachi and traveled to the surface of Esseles. A detachment of
Storm Commandos was sent to the surface, and the shuttle promptly
recovered, but there was no sight of the Governor's daughter," she
concluded, before her attention switched back to the Captain. "Spy?
Captain? No. Not my life of work, I'm afraid. Such assignments are
typical given to his bodyguard ... but she has fallen out of favor and was
critically wounded during his daughter's defection..." she reported,
somewhat grimly, but nevertheless honest about her place in the world.
"Alright then," Rhia uncrossed her legs
and pulled down the hemline of her tunic before drawing to her full
height. "If there is nothing further, this meeting is adjourned. Please
give my best to the Governor. If he would like to ask anything further
of me, I will be available for the next twenty-four hours, give or take.
After that, it's Esseles ... and hell." Glancing briefly in Tristan's
direction, she wondered whether the man was going to be alright ...
nasty business these sudden choking attacks. "Captain, please escort our
guest back to the hangar bay." Then turning toward the exit door, she
looked to it expectantly, hoping her guest would leave without delay.
There were preparations to be made.
Wearing a smug grin at her response and
responding with a shake of his head, making to stand, remarking dryly,
"Yes, Ma'am." Then looking to Allegra "Follow me Lieutenant," Making
towards the door and waiting to ensure she was following, making for the
nearest turbolift. A few minutes later and they were in the hangar bay
where he turned to face Allegra, "Well thank you for coming and updating
us on the situation. I look forward to fulfilling our orders, be safe,
and enjoy your trip back to the Warspite, Lieutenant."
As Allegra was escorted back to the
TIE/sh that had taken her to the Tenacity, she could not help
but think of what had transpired. She made no small talk with the
Captain, nor did she utter any pleasantries. She felt she had already
said far too much as it were, and as she arrived on the hangar, she took
a moment to properly address the Captain. "Thank you, sir, for your
hospitality while aboard your vessel," she said, quickly followed by a
respectful nod and a kind smile. Once the formalities were concluded,
she turned to board her craft to return to the chaos that was the