A Proper Welcome Part 5

By: Dora Furlong, MaryAlyce Rensa, and Rob Smith

With tears streaming down her cheeks she jumped, as she noticed her
surroundings. Overcome with shock and stress, Ana slipped back into

Darana sighed and finished her notes before reviving the pilot for
the second time.

She came to more quickly this time. Darana allowed her no time for
recovery before ordering her to attention.

Ana almost glared at her while she slowly complied with the Colonel's
orders. While the pain enhancers had worn off, her body ached from
spending two hours at forced attention.

Darana ignored the emotional state the woman was in.  "Lieutenant
Rowan.  DO you WANT to serve the Emperor? Are you proud to be an
Imperial?" She surges to her feet and once again circles the woman
slowly. Gauging her every muscle twitch and emotional reaction.

'Want?' she thoguht to herself, then spoke outloud.  "I am proud to
be an Imperial Pilot. If I am piloting the Emperor or any other
Imperial, I am doing what I enjoy.  And I will serve with my best
ability, to the death if necessary, " she responded with full
knowledge that she was avoiding the issue of what she wanted.  Mostly
because, right now, *she* wasn't sure what she wanted other than to
be a pilot.

Darana shook her head, it was a pity really she hated to waste life.
If the pilot didn't come around soon, Darana would have no choice.
"WHY is it SO difficult for you to ADMIT to me the TRUTH?  WHY must
you avoid it?"

'What truth?' Ana thought to herself, 'That I have conflict with the
idea of hurting Derrick? or is there something I am missing that she
is looking for.  I can't answer what I don't know. What is she
looking for?' Ana grew more tense, not sure what to think or say.

"Try giving me the answers such as you are not sure what you want
other than to be a pilot? How about admitting that you are in
conflict with the idea that you may have to hurt Derrick?" Darana
paused, staring hard at Anastayza, "Those are truths."

Embarrased, Ana replied simply, "Yes, Ma'am." It was obvious that she
was conflicted about openly admitting her conflict.

"SO let's hear what you are really feeling now...what is it you want
Lt.?  What do you feel about your life's desires? Why are you so

Feeling very drained, vulnerable, and confused, Ana tried to sort out
the words to explain.   "I want to be one of the best pilots in the
Imperial Service.  I hope to continue piloting for many more years to
come,  and I am not used to someone being in my mind and knowing what
I think or feel before I even know.  And that embarasses me," she
paused momentarily, then continued.  "I think my feelings for Derrick
can be a weakness that I need to work on, and I think that if you are
in need of a good pilot, that I would like to prove that I can do the
job for you," she finished.

Darana nooded slowly, the girl was beginning to get it.  "Then you
see how you could be considered a security risk?"

Momentarily embarrased again, "I see how I need to make sure that I
am not," she replied.  She pushed Derrick out of her mind and began
thinking of how she had to do her job.

"DO you see how you could be considered a security threat?" Darana
repeated with more emphasis, "Yes or no?" This woman was going to
take work to get through to.

Ana became concerned. She had been too arrogant and she realized she
still had a lot to learn. "Yes ma'am." She replied, her eyes
downcast. Derrick may be more of a problem than she had thought and
her job must come first.  If she blew this assignment...where would
she go from there? Shuttle pilot? She grimaced internally at the
thought and the humiliation, but yet she still held hope. She was
certain she could serve the Colonel well.

Darana sighed and made a mental note of her use of 'too arrogant', as
if any arrogance at all was an acceptable trait. "Well Lt.  Rowan,"
Darana began, "you have failed your interview with Shade." Darana
paused, once more measuring the pilots reactions closely.

If she hadn't almost been expecting to hear that, she would have been
completely devastated. Since she was expecting it she was only mostly

Darana continued, "You have come very close to failing today's

Ana paused in her self-deprecation and focused on the word 'close',
and through her humiliation she clung to it to give her a sense of

"I do not believe that you are yet ready to make a committment that
service to myself or this household would truly require." She leaned
back in the chair, "You would be placing your life secondary to all
else." She paused again, feeling the tenseness gripping Ana's body,
"You would be required to give up all else in your life. And you will
be in a daily life and death situation."

Ana raised an eyebrow, wondering how she could be in daily life and
death situations.

Leaning forward some, Darana locked onto Ana's eyes with her own. The
red burned into the pilot, causing fear to return, "Training here is
realisitc.  You may very likely die if you fail."

She focused on duty, but her fear could not be banished comlpletely.
'training?' she thought to herself, 'well I do need to handle a
blaster better.'

Darana chuckled to herself, 'oh you'll get more than blaster training
here.', then aloud, "You are expected to be your  best at EVERY thing
you do." She paused, and then came to a decision, "And quite frankly
had you not redeemed yoruself by admitting your feelings and
confusion to me, you may very well have signed your own death

Confusion reigned supreme once more in Ana's mind as she wrestled
with the issue, then let it drop. She had to work on her weaknesses
and improve her skills. "Yes ma'am," she replied.

It wasn't surprising the Lt. was confused. She had been through a
lot, and was most likely still feeling the fatigue from her emotions
having run  high, a drug induced sleep, and forced stillness.

"Good. And you still understand why you are considered a security

Yes, Mam'm", she replied, thinking again about Derrick and her
feelings, that she is now attempting supressing.

"Good. Your willingness and desire to prove me wrong about you is
good. And I am going to give you the opportunity. However," Darana
paused, wanting the pilot's full attention.

'However, there's a however?' Ana thought to herself anxiously.

"Before you accept this assignment understand that one, You may very
likley die during your training." Darana continued.

'Well I survived pilot training. Could this be any worse?' Ana

"And two, if you do anything to endanger this house, anyone in it, or
any act that could harm the empire your life will be forfeit.  Three
you *will* treat everyone here with respect and follow *all* orders
given to you."

'All orders? By anyone?' Ana cringed.

"Do I make myself clear on these points?"

Ana shook herself out of her thougts and replied, "Yes ma'am." At
this point she would agree to anything.

"You will lose the arrogance Lt. Or it very well may cost you your
life here."

"Yes, Mam'm," she replied again.

Darana softened her tone and indicated a chair, "Sit down Lt."

Ana obeyed, grateful for the opportunity to sit. She was feeling
mildly woozy.

"You have two choices at this point." Darana informed her,"Your first
one is to decline my offer to you, in which case a complete copy of
your interview with shade and myself just now will be supplied to
your imperial record, and you will most likely be interviewed by
Imperial Intelleigence."

Rowan moaned inwardly.

"Unreported contact  by an Imperial Officer with a Jedi is an
offense. You never reported it to your commanding officers. Not to
mention," Darana paused to find the right words, "your own personal
'conflict'."  Her tone and mannerisms  were purely professional now.
"Or, you can accept my offer and take a position here. You will lose
much of your personal privacy."

Ana felt embarrased as she weighed the choices and the consequences.

"You will be expectedd to train harder than you have trained before."
Darana continued on, "The immediate consequences are less
threatening..however, the long term consequeces are more severe. This
is a household full of Sith who *do not* take kindly to betrayal.  Or
failure for that matter."  She fell silent, allowing the pilot the
time she needed to sort out her thoughts and emotions.

'Possible death while training is less threatening
than.....Betrayal?  Failure?' Realization dawned on her loud and

"If you do accept this post, you will be tested everyday; you may
very likely come to hate myself and the other members of this
household.  You will be pushed further in every manner possible than
you have ever been pushed.  You felt used by what I did to you
earlier...that is mild to what you will experience here. But
you will be a stronger, more capable, person in the end. However,"
Darana smiled at her, "that does rely upon your abillity to survive."

Yeah, she had felt used. Ana couldn't imagine that things could get
worse. Tested?  Physically? Mentally? She had a distinct sinking
feeling in her stomach, especially as her thoughts turned to Derrick
and her weakness related to him.  Then she moved on to her desires to
serve the Imperial Forces and that left only one choice.  'Back to
basic training.'  Ana looked up and met the Colonel's eyes, "I accept
the position, Mam'm. Thank you."

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