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10.31.2012 , 08:06 AM | #148
Note: Cross-referencing every background piece from the original NDOW run is almost prohibitively time-consuming, so, uh, I'll skip that.

CHRONICLES PRESENT, 51: In which, though this be Method, yet there is madness in it

Time period: During Master Rho's campaign

"My lord Wrath." Ensign Rylon bowed, his red hair flopping over his fervid eyes.

"Wrath," echoed Lieutenant Hareth, blushing even redder in the presence of a true Force-sensitive Sith.

"Lord Nalenne, I never got to congratulate you on your promotion!" Captain Pandorr said cheerfully.

"My lord," Lieutenant Ritter said gruffly.

Captain Rutau bowed. "My lord. Welcome to the Method."

Captain Pandorr stepped forward as Nalenne's crew filed out from the S.A.B.E.R. Helicarrier onto the hangar deck. "Pierce," said the round-faced officer, "it's fantastic to see you!"

"Can't believe you ended up under Quinn's command, mate. You used to be better'n this at avoiding pain."

"Are you joking? Best commander I ever had. You wouldn't believe what we get away with."

"Still melting the innards of anybody stupid enough to eat, drink, or inhale when you're around?"

"Now more than ever. Still fleecing Cathar?"

"Don't have any left to fleece. The Wrath and I finally cleared old Rashade a ways back."

"Wow! I wondered why he stopped picking fistfights with our artillery emplacements all of a sudden. That scrap must've been terrigreat! Did it take the orbital strike I said it would?"

Pierce grinned. "Nope. Just took the Wrath."

Pandorr gave Nalenne a look of mingled respect and delight. "Boy, I can't wait to see what you do to those Jedi."

"The firepower concentrated in this room could vaporize considerably larger challenges than the Hero of Tython," said Quinn. "I look forward to it." He turned to Nalenne. "Anyway, my lord. You said you had information."

"Didn't you get the briefing on the way here?" said Vette. "We had a few hours, you must've asked."

"No," said Nalenne happily.

"Oh," said Vette. "Yuck."

Nalenne just smiled smugly and turned to the assembly of officers. "Anyway, Insanity Company, I have news you're not going to believe." She waited for them to gather in a close circle. "After extensive investigation, or at least gossiping with the Emperor's Hand, I've figured out that this whole mess with Master Rho is just a big misunderstanding."

The officers exchanged looks.

"It's the kind of misunderstanding where we can still kill 'em all, right?" said Rylon.

"Oh, definitely," said Nalenne.

Pandorr let out a loud sigh of relief. "Whew! You had us worried, my lord. If we came all this way only to not give 'em what's coming to 'em…"

"That wouldn't do," growled Ritter.

"The purifying flame will not be denied," said Hareth. Nalenne gave her a curious look.

"She's something of a death worshipper, my lord," Quinn explained quietly. "I've tried to break her of it, but it's an uphill fight."

"Ah." Nalenne grinned. "I do hate denying flames, Lieutenant. This should be good."

Quinn cringed.

"So their big Sith, Lord Scourge, is a con artist. He's leading Rho on a hunt as a personal grudge. The Emperor's not planning anything worse than pestering me about my work ethic."

"Scourge, that…that fiend," Rutau said earnestly. "A lie like that won't stand! It can't!"

"I don't intend to leave much standing, Captain." Nalenne made a face. "You know what? I'm going to call you Rutau. Anyway, I don't know precisely what Rho has been chasing down but I know it's all meant to bring him to the Emperor for a final attack. We're going to intercept him. You gentlemen – and lady – are going to strike jointly with my crew. We'll take out that poor excuse for a Wrath and then chop up his Jedi friends at our leisure."

"It will be a triumphant operation," said Quinn.

"It'll be the most fun we've had in months," said Nalenne, grinning cheerfully. "All right, Quinn, why don't you show me around the mothership." She grabbed his elbow – a concession he tolerated with something approaching unselfconsciousness for once – and let him escort her out of the hangar.

Ensign Rylon stared after her. "So that's the Wrath, huh?"

"In the flesh," said Pierce.

"I bet she could crush the Republic in three days flat if she felt like it."

"Most likely."

"Wow." Rylon's voice cracked a little. "Does she have a sister?"

Pierce choked. Loudly. The ensuing series of hacking coughs and wheezes might plausibly have been either laughter or a windpipe collapse.

"Come on, Pierce, you can't die yet, we haven't even gotten started!" Pandorr thumped on Pierce's back, which only made him wheeze harder. "You haven't even seen the armory in this place. Completely splendiferous."

"A thing of beauty," agreed Rutau. "The Empire doesn't stint for its finest. Come on, let's go."

A hacking Pierce staggered behind the other officers and Broonmark toward the hangar doors.

Vette and Jaesa stayed behind.

"Vette?" said Jaesa.


"We're in big trouble."

"Yeah." Vette looked around uneasily. "Tell you what, why don't we find a room to convert into a lounge, 'cause I bet these guys don't even have one. We'll grab a bunch of pillows from Nalenne's self-pity fortress, make at least someplace comfortable."

Jaesa fiddled anxiously with her hair. "General Quinn will formally cite us for it."

"General Quinn can bite me. That hasn't changed."
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