Template:PostClear, in CatH Post 18, is searching, with Pully, for Green, who was last seen being thrown through a food processor in CatH Post 17. Scans had detected life within Green's Room but Pully believes that Green ought to be arrested and blames her for killing her fellow stormtroopers. Pully tells the story of her life, explaining that she's from Terra Flux and was taken in for military training from a young age. She explains how Warlord Strang's defection from The Galactic Empire of the Milky Way started with fighting amongst stormtroopers aboard The Excellence following the news of Grand Admiral Thrawn's death, which happened in NeS Post ?. They then find Green but she's cut and sliced. Clear is afraid that the medical staff would turn Green over to Strang for punishment so Pully blackmails Dr Alexis Thrain into keeping treatment a secret. This extends into the request to Strang for a new medical bay complete with bacta tanks to help heal Green's internal bleeding. In the end Thrain agrees to help but she wants to medically examine Clear. When the examination becomes too personal, Clear runs for it.
Pully: "Remind me why I'm suppose to care for someone that murdered my friends?"
Pully: "Still don't like her. Doubt I ever will. I hope you get that?"
Clear: "I understand. But you said you'd stick by my decisions and this is my decision."
Pully: "Understood, Sir."
Pully mock salutes Clear as they stalk down the corridors. The Hopeless had docked with Excelsior and technicians were already roaming the hull of the ship with repair droids. They hadn't ventured far inside the ship except to sort out some of the systems. Nobody had mentioned Wai and Wai hadn't mentioned himself either, likely afraid of what was to come. The scanners, however, had picked up a set of lifeforms near Green's old quarters. After Pully committed herself and her duties to Clear's command, the Salmitton led the stormtrooper on the hunt for Green.
The corridors are still in darkness as lights are slowly being turned on room-by-room. She had noticed the lights in her bedroom had been turned on already, but none of the corridors. Instead Clear switches a torch on her wrist device to illuminate the passage. Likewise Pully has equipped her laser carbine with a torchlight accessory. Their dual beams of white light shine down their path and they slowly progress forth.
Pully: "How do you know she's not actually a murderous maniac, Sir? Have you known her long?"
Clear has to admit to herself she hadn't known Green very long, nor could she outright say she trusted Green through-and-through. But Green never seemed to be acting and her innocence of the world was enough for Clear. She glances over at Pully. She should really get to know these people before letting them on her ship in future.
Clear: "What's your full name, Pully?"
Pully: "What's yours, Sir?"
Clear: "You know I only have one name..."
Pully: "Oh right. I forgot. The late captain's pet peeve. My name's Cassra Terrin-Pullista. One of those double-barrel names. You can see where people get Pully from."
Clear: "That's kind of a hard name."
Pully: "Respectfully, Sir, any name is going to seem hard to a woman whose name is just 'Clear'."
Clear: "Fair enough. Always been an imperial stormtrooper?"
Pully: "What, you think I came out of the womb wearing this armour?"
She chuckles, which sounds unusual through the comms.
Pully: "To be honest, it's not far from the truth. I'm from Terra Flux and I was educated at an Imperial Centre for Early Learners. I excelled at sports. They decided I had the physical capabilities to run at rebels with a gun. I barely had any say in it. Parents were quick to ship me off. A career they said. After a couple years training I was stationed aboard The Excellence as a grunt soldier. Then came the news that Admiral Thrawn had been executed by the people of Earth. The Empire was already in turmoil and that was all it needed to go over the edge. Chaos just... exploded. People were picking sides that didn't even exist. They just knew which sides they weren't on. The Excellence was one of the first to go through a regime change and it started with a single blaster shot..."
Clear: "Sounds like a good story."
Pully: "Well, if you really want to know... it was Captain Londris' superior officer. One of his elite soldiers remarked that the Empire was over. Guy didn't like that. Shot the soldier dead. Just like that. Suddenly everyone was up with blasters in hand, wondering who was next. Turned out it was the commander. There was no love lost between Londris and him, I can tell you. She shot him in retaliation. Next minute shots were flying all throughout the ship as stormtroopers battled it out. The loyalists considered the other side to be rebels, the other side considered the loyalists as ignorant fools that were going to their deaths anyway."
Clear: "What did you do?"
Pully: "That's where Admiral Strang comes in. He was never like us. Like most of the superior officers in the Empire he was kind of born into admiralty. Never had to do grunt work. Never shot at anyone in battle. But in the midst of this civil war his voice was kind of... the voice of reason. He has a certain kind of charisma. He said the Empire was dead and that we needed to forge our own path as the Empire's remnant. And that was it. I was stationed with Strang and basically just followed his orders. I was good at it too. I led my own team to take down loyalists and even rescued Captain Londris. She'd been trapped in the mess hall after she shot her commander. That's why I was promoted to the elite squad in the first place. If I hadn't taken position here with you, I'd probably be the next captain of the squad..."
Clear: "Wow... then maybe you should have taken that job?"
Pully: "I'd prefer to be here with you. I think losing the whole team like that... I just think that there are things worth fighting for and it isn't the preservation of the Empire, Strang or killing off rebels. Honestly I don't even know why the Warlord is still so adamant about killing rebels. He should probably have allied with them. The Empire thinks he's the same as a rebel anyway."
Clear: "Politics kind of confuse me."
Pully: "You'll get used to it if you're going to be living around here. Thing is, the Warlord has no children. He's been looking for a woman that he deems worthy of his attention but so far no luck. And he's not getting any younger. So lots of people are wondering... who's going to take over when the old man is dead? This is war, he could be killed in battle at any time. What happens to this little band then? We have worlds to manage, shipyards, battleships, a military and civilians. We have to control everything. So who gets to do that?"
Clear: "Sounds like the kind of stuff I'd best stay clear of."
Their conversation trails off as they reach the room. Clear moves towards the door but Pully steps in front of her and goes in first. They see Green instantly. She's lying on the floor and whining. Before Clear can smile at the pleasure of seeing her friend alive and well she notices the multitude of cuts and gashes all over the girl's body. Could it be from the machine she almost fell into? Did she go into it after all? Clear is sure she didn't see anything inside...
Pully: "She needs the medic."
Clear: "But the medic will report her to Strang..."
Pully: "Better than dead."
Clear drops to her knees and touches Green's shoulder. She opens her eyes but can't do anything other than look up at Clear with those pleading eyes.
Pully: "I'll tell you what. The only medic left onboard now is a woman I know. And I have dirt on her. I can ask her for a favour and if she refuses or tells on Green, I blab her dirty secrets. How's that?"
Clear: "Thank you, Pully."
Pully: "No hesitation, eh? Not going to baulk at using blackmail?"
Clear: "No. Not at all."
Pully: "Maybe politics is for your after all?"
Half an hour later and Clear is in the medical centre again. She's sitting on a chair and watching Green. The girl is lay on a bed with all manner of monitors around her. The doctor is a tall woman with long brown hair tied back into a plait. She is the first Imperial that Clear has seen with long hair, but she guessed this was because the doctor is not a medical doctor but a civilian one contracted from the shipyard. She wears a pair of glasses that she kept taking off and putting on when looking over Green's body - Clear guesses that they're not for correcting eye-sight but for medical scans of some sort. The doctor had introduced herself as Dr Alexis Thrain and didn't seem to take very kindly to Clear. Clear then guessed that the doctor was unhappy at being blackmailed by Pully but now she thinks the doctor just had a bad attitude. Even so she seems to be helping Green and that made her good in Clear's mind.
Thrain: "She really needs to be in a bacta tank."
Clear: "We can't do that."
Thrain: "She had internal haemorrhaging. Even with bacta being pumped into her bloodstream like this, it will take a long time to heal and it's not guaranteed she'll survive the process. These cuts will scar when finally heal. She's going to be a mess. A day in a bacta tank and she'll step out completely healed. Guaranteed."
Clear: "And then be arrested and possibly executed."
Pully, who is stood in the far corner of the room, interjects.
Pully: "What if we get a bacta tank over here?"
Clear: "How are we supposed to do that?"
Pully: "Politics, Sir! All you have to do is file a request form. Most of the largest ships have at least one tank. You could say this ship, with little other use, should have a large med-bay. Complete with tanks. Renovations will begin soon enough, I'm sure. We fill up a tank and pop the squirt in."
Clear: "Won't the technicians wonder who Green is?"
Pully: "Nah. They don't question anything they see, really. Not their job. They just fix things the way they're meant to be. If they see something weird, well that's our job to be concerned about it. All we need is a medical officer's signature of approval..."
The room goes silent until Thrain eventually rolls her eyes and sighs.
Thrain: "Fine! I'll sign it. One day, Terrin-Pullista, you're going to get your come uppance."
Pully: "I know you wanted to help us anyway. You can't resist a good scandal."
Thrain turns and points a needle at Pully.
Thrain: "I'm going to jab this into your eye!"
Pully: "There you go, Sir. You got yourself a new med-bay on the way. They may end up knocking down some walls and extending this place - but hey, the rest of the rooms around here seemed fairly empty anyway. And the good doctor will stay to make sure the place is up to standards and cure Green."
Clear: "Thanks Doctor Thrain."
Thrain: "It's not like I'd have a choice in the matter. Once I sign that request form, I'm effectively stationed here until the whole thing is complete."
Clear: "Oh right... well thanks anyway."
Thrain: "It's hard to think you're being sincere when I'm being forced into it, Salmitton. So far as I know, this woman should be in a cell."
Pully: "So should you..."
Thrain: "Seriously, trooper! Needle! Eye! Stab!"
Pully: "Right. I'll be in the command centre preparing the place for the software team to come. They're going to need a lot of tea, I expect. I have no idea why software engineers on the shipyard are so tea-obsessed."
Thrain: "Tea helps you to focus and gives you energy. I'd have thought the benefits would be obvious, even to a grunt like you."
Pully: "I might leave clues around the ship about what you get up to, doctor. Just see if someone can put all the clues together..."
Pully snickers and skips out of the room. Thrain tidies her hair and recomposes herself. After looking at Green for a moment she turns to Clear and points the needle at her.
Thrain: "You. Get on the bed."
Clear: "What? Why?"
Thrain: "I want to examine you."
Clear: "Uh... again, why?"
Thrain: "A new alien species. You're not even documented in the imperial archives at all. Quite a rarity. The only mention of Martians is in relation to Earth and the humans there. Otherwise there's nothing. I need to update the system and add information on your kind."
Clear: "Not sure I want that."
Thrain: "You wanted to give me your thanks? That's how you can do it. On the bed."
Clear reluctantly gets up onto the bed and lies down. Thrain's face looms over her own and the woman dons her spectacles.
Thrain: "You're injured..."
Clear: "I know, but I'm getting better."
Thrain: "I'll have to keep that in mind. We'll need to repeat these tests in a few weeks to make sure I get accurate readings."
Clear: "So you're going to stay for weeks now?"
Thrain: "If it means I get to author a new document for the imperial database, I might. Lift up your arms. Okay and down. Legs. Okay down. Are you typical for your species?"
Clear: "I think so. For a Salmitton. There were other sub-species on Mars."
Clear: "They're all dead. I'm the last one..."
Thrain: "My, my. All the more reason I have to do this article. This is going to be great! Finally some acknowledgement outside of the imperial circles! That lot usually wouldn't even look at research not done by their own doctors. This will give us more legitimacy. And put my name in those high-ranking circles of the doctoral elite!"
Clear: "Well... as long as it's nothing too invasive..."
Thrain: "Invasive? Not really. I may send a camera down your throat to look at your stomach. And then I'll want to check your reproductive organs..."
Thrain: "So far you look remarkably human. Shockingly so. Nothing especially inhuman about your physical characteristics aside from colouring. But I don't know much about your internal organs. These glasses allow me to see through your clothes--"
Thrain: "-- but they're not detailed enough by themselves without a camera on the inside. So I'll have to slide a camera into your --"
Clear: "NO! No way!"
Clear jumps off the bed and runs for the door.
Thrain: "No, no, wait! There's lots more I still have to learn!"
Too late, Clear has left the room.
"The history of Pully is not only a delve into her character but also the entire political shift of the Empire after early events of NeS. I wanted to further establish those events and how they might affect the extended universe of the NeS, where CatH resides. When I created Thrain during this post, I always anticipated that she'd be a short-term role only used while Clear was aboard the Excelsior. Somehow she became more fun to write for and she wound up as a central character of Chapter 1 of CatH." - Britt the Writer