Anelis Palpatine contemplated the tapes of the lab security monitors, riffled through the reports compiled for her by Daravik Kotewa, and thought about her father's orders. "You will become this woman's mentor," he said. That was all well and good, but what would not spook her? After all, Melora Lexor had been working for years, quietly tucked into her lab. From all indications, a true and dedicated scientist; and one who used the Force unconsciously, without thinking. A prize, in truth, and why was she not trained? Most important was to not let her either get away, or to push her into the fold of some other Sith. Not even Darana, Anelis thought. This one is mine. She copied the records she perused to a memory solid and placed it in a pocket. She summoned her personal coterie of Imperial Guards. Lt. Peppra responded promptly. "I must visit a laboratory," she announced. "You will provide escort and see that I am not disturbed." "Yes, Your Highness." Peppra responded. "The usual transport?" "No, Lt." She handed him a solid with the navigation coordinates. The squad leader raised his eyebrow, just a little, just once. "Yes, your highness." The transport was smooth and uneventful. Once in the laboratory sector, Anelis swept through the corridors of the city-world, with her menacing guards surrounding her. "You're certain this is the place, my Lady?" Peppra asked. "Yes," she said shortly. And the guards followed her directions without further questions. The lab was an unique setup; with non-standard security procedures and the layered Force-dampening was unusual. Anelis found the corridor of actual dampening was uncomfortable, but not life threatening. How interesting. I believe this woman will be of great use. Once inside, the guards held the door open for her, ascertained security, and preceded her inside, with the point guards following. Once inside, she dismissed the guards. Peppra thinned his lips in displeasure, but said nothing, and left. Melora Lexor glanced up as the Red Guards first entered, then left, thinking what I did I do to deserve all this attention? Standing when the princess entered. "Your highness." Melora said with a slight bow. "Good Day, Colonel Lexor," Anelis said politely, aware of the woman raising mental shields, compartmenting thoughts, and squelching the echoing panicked mental voice that screaming, 'I'm in so much trouble!' The reaction amused her briefly, and she tipped her head to Melora. "The quality of your work has come to my attention. I am commanded by my father to compliment you." "Thank you, your highness. But I'm unsure as to why His Majesty would have you waste your valuable time to visit me in my lowly lab." Anelis eased herself into the chair behind Melora's desk, and gestured for Melora to take the other chair, well aware of Melora's discomfort. "Please sit, Colonel. There are a few thing s we need to discuss." Melora sat after the princess, "I can't understand all this attention, is there something in my reports on the Zeltron's that has you or the Emperor concerned?" Melora held back her thoughts, keeping them in check. "I have a different interest in the Zeltron project than my Father," Anelis admitted. "That is not what I wish to speak to you about, however." She withdrew the memory solids from her pocket, and handed them to Melora. "You will find that I have a complete copy of your military and research records---." Melora took them and kept her attention on Anelis's face. "You are an interesting person, Melora Lexor. I find it intriguing that your record is so-so bland. Innocuous, unpretentious, even. Have you any comment on this record?" Melora raised an eyebrow, "Innocuous?" pausing she glanced at the data. "It seems you have me at a disadvantage as to why you would have any interests in my projects." "My interest was originally spurred by the Zeltron project, although, as I said, I have different interests than my Father." Anelis replied. "I was concerned that the project be carried out by a competent person, which you seem to be." She paused for a moment. "However, your military records, and fitness reports seem to indicate that you are only competent, no more, no less. There are no commendations, no awards. How did you advance so far in rank, if you have done nothing to achieve it?" Melora looked at her stunned. "My project documentation should be on record, along with the many patents I have. I would have thought you would known of the Salomar project to be used against the Jedi?" Anelis stood and thinned her lips. "I have often been a victim of the drug cleriathazine project. If it was to be used against the Jedi, how did the rebels get it?" She took a couple of paces away from the desk, and turned back to Melora. "I have seen the patent reports. I have seen your records; I have people who have researched this for me. What I have not seen is supporting documentation for the patents, nor have I seen anything but good conduct medals in your fit reps." She pinned Melora with a keen stare. "So, I ask you, Melora Lexor, are you a rebel spy?" Melora's mind raced over the Salomar project & how she synthesized the drug cleriathazine . How did the Rebels get access to cleriathazine? She thought of the test subjects who were still confined to BH facility. SPY ? ME? No- no- no--- she looked at Anelis. Mentally Melora focused on her computer, it began to click and pull up her private files. Anelis sensed the woman's confusion, scanned through her rapid, racing thoughts. Then she strode to the desk, and watched the display bring up file after file of documentation. "Interesting," she murmured, and glanced at Melora. "I suspected as much. You have your own copies of files a very prudent move. I believe you are the victim of maliciousness." "Maliciousness?" Melora asked. "I have had a very thorough investigation done," Anelis told her. "It would seem that although the patents are entered in your name, the supporting research is filed in the names of Mershon and Ree." "They are?" Melora bit the corner of her lip. Her thoughts turned to Mershon, her boss, and Ree, her lab assistant, and how she would confront them. Anelis followed her thought. "You can confront them as an Imperial officer," she pointed out. "One accusing her superiors of impropriety. Or, perhaps, if you're interested," Anelis glanced down idly at her fingertips. "You might confront them with more authority than that---" Melora gave a sly grin. "More authority? You have an idea your highness." "I have been observing you for a while, Colonel Lexor." Anelis replied. "You are quite talented in the use of the Force. It is with you quite strongly. Not even a Grand Admiral can face down one trained in its use." "That is good idea but, I've not been trained in the force. I only use it by instinct. Really, it was never a priority for me. I was happy just working in my lab, creating and carrying out my experiments." "You can be trained in its use, though. And in an Imperial officer, that surprise can be to your advantage." "I'm not sure I understand what you mean. Yes I'm an officer, what are you driving at?" Anelis glanced back to Melora. "For all intents and purposes, you are only an Imperial officer, Colonel. That is all anyone knows of you. But there are Imperial officers who are also Sith. I myself am one. We carry an extra veil of authority. The Force of the Emperor's authority, if you will." Melora tilted her head as if in deep thought. "It's authority I've never used. But it could be entertaining, especially where Mershon is concerned." Anelis lifted an eyebrow in slight amusement. "It would also add a level of security to your clearances--- perhaps give you a higher clearance than Mershon. How then can he steal your records?" Melora smiled wickedly. "I take it you have a Sith in mind for my training?" "I had in mind to do it myself, Colonel. I do, after all, run the Sith Academy, among other things." Melora stared at the princess for short while. "I don't think I'm worthy of your time." "That is for me to judge," Anelis said. Melora paused in thought; "I am most honored to accept your offer." "I had hoped that you would. Reluctant students learn so much more slowly." A slow smile broke across her face. "I believe we can be of much use to each other, Colonel." "I believe your right your highness" "Shall we set the men in this Empire on their ears?" Melora smiled wickedly " As you wish------my Mistress." Anelis lifted an eyebrow slightly. "Very good, my apprentice."
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