|Yet another character fic! Also regrettably unfinished. This one was for #StarWarsRPG, which I lasted a good long while in until the game itself died from random player disappearances. Isleta was a wicked bitch.. even if the story does make her seem more comical.|
Admiral Isleta Catalina Monroe of the Imperial Star Destroyer Farsight was firmly and thoroughly convinced that someone, somewhere, hated her. Hated her with an intensity usually reserved for holy wars and moral altercations. This was, of course, perfectly true. Isleta was an Imperial admiral, and Isleta also ran a tight ship -- one of the best in the fleet, she made so bold on frequent occasions. She kept things neat and orderly, including her soldiers, and anyone who wished to lodge a complaint was free to take a brief walk out an open airlock. She tried to keep that kind of thing to a minimum, however, as it was wasteful -- and if there was anything the Empire wouldn't stand for, it was waste. Her soldiers, in any case, didn't have enough imagination to wish this kind of excruciatingly bad news on her. The Empire's military liked them that way.
The only person she could think of with that kind of imagination was currently warming his backside in a high-security cell in the prison section. He was also stretching the very limits of said imagination in thinking up new and creative curse-words and epithets for the woman who kept him there, though she wasn't especially aware of that fact. If it was his fault, the admiral comforted herself, he was going to be dealt with in due time.
She turned her gaze back to the offending document, demanding silently of the sender what, exactly, she was to do about the problem. When five minutes of glaring did not gain her a response, she closed the document, got to her feet, and left her cabin for the bridge. At least the problems she was faced with there could be solved.
The air tensed noticably as she walked back onto the bridge, but she noted with some satisfaction that none of her officers were jumping guiltily back to their posts from some indiscretion. Most of them, she reminded herself wryly, kept their indiscretions safely at the workbench. They weren't complete idiots, at least when it came to shirking their duties. She made her way to her seat and sat in it, not flopping in the way she reserved only for the moments of quiet solitude in her cabin.
"Report," she said to no one in particular, and after a moment's uncertain silence, the navigations officer responded.
"All quiet, sir," he said, hesitating over the last syllable. Isleta was one of the few females of high rank in the military -- one of the few females at all -- and nobody appeared inclined to add a clause in the training of these soldiers that required them to address their female superiors as "ma'am". Isleta couldn't be bothered about such a tiny glitch of protocol, but it apparently bothered her men a great deal.
That she found amusing.
"No sign of any rebel ship for kilometers," he continued, as if unsure where to stop. "Nor has there been contact with any Imperial vessel since the last routine check-in."
Isleta nodded crisply to indicate that he could stop now, and he did so, probably a bit more quickly than he needed to. She allowed her gaze to drift, one by one, over the rest of the bridge crew, but apparently none of them had anything to add -- which was good. It meant she hadn't missed anything during her brief absence.
Perhaps, for now, it meant she could relax, not that it would even cross her mind to appear as anything but rigidly aware while she was on the bridge in front of her crew. If there was no immediate danger, however, she could devote most of her waking thoughts to the problem presented in the letter she'd received.
She wished, very briefly, that something had happened while she'd been gone.
"Damn that woman to the Outer Rim, I hope she gets demoted to garbage disposal, and I swear, whatever I do, I'll never hail an Imperial vessel for help AGAIN!"
The man spoke in a rasping whisper, which was the loudest he could force his voice to after the three hours of screaming uselessly at the cell walls. That minor detail, however, did not reduce the venom with which he spoke. Damn her. Now his throat hurt, too. Another thing she was going to account for one day.
He leaned back on the metal slab they set in place of a cot and glared at the ceiling. Not that this mess was the ceiling's fault or anything, but he needed something to glare at, much like he'd needed something to scream at and chosen the walls. He wished he had the option of screaming at that woman, since landing him in this cell had been her doing.
Even so, thinking about it, it wasn't really her fault either. It was his fault, just the same as his sore throat was his fault. It had been his own stupid idea to hail an Imperial Star Destroyer (even though he had been a little desperate at the time), and failing auxiliary power, not to mention loss of life support, was honestly no excuse for such incredible stupidity.
He huffed a sigh. Swell, Baeliss. You screwed up again, and there's nobody else to blame.
That, of course, did not stop him from blaming Captain -- or was it Admiral? -- Monroe for her part in his misfortune. After all, she hadn't had to lock him up, had she? She could have just let him refuel, repaired his ship's systems, charged an outrageous fee and THEN locked him up when he couldn't pay it. He realized he was pouting.
This was, in general, how his thoughts had been running for the past eight hours or so. Needing something to break their ever-spiralling rhythm, he realized that he was hungry.
"Hey, guard!" he bellowed, then stopped when his bellow didn't amount to much more than a squeaky yelp. Well, there wasn't any way anybody was going to hear him like that --
Abruptly, a warning buzzer sounded, and the door swished open. He jerked upright in surprise and swung around to a sitting position to see a stormtrooper standing in the doorway. He looked kind of bored, though it was hard to read the moods of a stormtrooper.
"Room service?" Baeliss croaked, full of false cheer.
The trooper stared at him. "Andvari Baeliss?" he asked finally. If the bug-like eyes of his helmet had been able to blink blankly, Baeliss was sure they would have, repeatedly.
"I don't see anybody else in here," he retorted, then realized that retorting hurt his throat. He decided to limit any further conversation with the trooper to positive and negative grunts.
The trooper, however, didn't appear to have anything else to say. He stood there, much like a large ... comparisons failed him. "Dinner?" he croaked finally, unwilling to torture his throat further by saying something clever and lengthy.
This seemed to stir some small amount of intelligent thought from the stormtrooper, who suddenly snapped to attention. "Prisoner feeding isn't for another hour," he said crisply, then he gave a military turn and marched out the door. As it swished shut, Baeliss found the strength to bellow (though it came out more like a squawk), "Then why'd you come IN here?!"
Isleta startled, glancing at her communications officer with somewhat disgruntled decorum. "What is it?"
"We're, ah, we're being hailed, Admiral ..."
Isleta ignored the chill that suddenly ran down her spine, and nodded brusquely. "Open a frequency."
The officer did so, and, after a moment's waiting for the signals to translate (Isleta made a mental note to have someone fix that), a staticky and scrambled message echoed through the bridge. ".. rea...y use some .. elp ... see, I ... fuel, and, well, I'm ..." The communications officer glanced back at Isleta, awaiting further orders, and had the distinct pleasure of seeing his commander's face go a sickly shade of white. "Commander?" he said, smiling politely, "she's sending a visual transmission."
Isleta nodded, because the order to turn the ship around and blast into hyperspace was stuck in her throat.
A young girl's face flickered onto the screen, looking puzzled. She appeared to be in her twenties, and she was dressed, oddly, in what appeared to be the uniform of one of the few religious centers left in the galaxy. Her pale-blond hair was cropped so that it curled becomingly around her face, which bore an amazing -- even frightening -- resemblance to the Admiral's.
The transmission continued without being asked. "Now.. what in the galaxy did that .." The girl blinked, noticing them for the first time. "Oh.. oh wow, an Imperial vessel! Gosh, you guys are just who I was looking for --" She broke off, peering forward at the crew until her eyes finally lit on Isleta, who was shrinking into her chair, much to the deep amusement of all present. "Is that.. oh Isleta! it IS you! I found you, and on my first try!"
An un-Admiral-like moan issued from Isleta's chair. "Yesenia ..." she hissed softly.
The girl continued to speak, totally oblivious, at a pace that rivalled most vessels for speed. "You wouldn't believe how long I've been out looking! You never even wrote! Mom and Dad said not to be worried, but you're my only sister, how could I not be worried? Geez, you could have said something. It was so boring at that stupid convent ...."
The crew was beginning to wonder if she would take a break to breathe. Isleta growled a little louder. "Yesenia ..."
"In fact, I kind of ran off with their only transport vessel when they said I couldn't go look for you --"
The speaker broke off abruptly. "Yes? What is it, Isleta?"
Admiral Isleta Monroe sat rigidly straight in her chair, gripping the arms as if she would fly away into space if she released them. One finger of her right hand tapped a slow, rhythmic tattoo as she stared with something bordering on hatred at the figure on the screen. "Open the hatch," she said to whoever of the bridge crew was in charge of that sort of thing.
Yesenia smiled suddenly. "Oh, I'm so glad you're going to let me board, Isleta!" She gave a slightly sheepish titter. "For a minute there, I thought you were angry at me."
He had almost figured out how to hotwire the locks from the inside when the door swished open and he tumbled back on his bunk, attempting to pretend he'd been there the entire time.