Chapter 13:




    Trisha sighed as she continued to play with the pillow on her bed, tossing it between her hands, dropping it on her face occasionally, sometimes resting it on her stomach, just to flex her stomach to see if she couldn't knock it off.
   "Seriously," she muttered softly under her breath. The boredom set back in after the very short-lived entertainment of the pillow ended when it fell limply off the bed.
   She had spent her time observing and messing with every object in the room that she could find - almost entirely rearranging the room into a horribly disheveled state. This was done partially out of frustration, while it was partially done out of pure boredom.
   If Rommel's method of getting her to give up Quil's Signature was to bore her into it, then he was succeeding.
   Trisha could only think of home and the things she could be doing there; not just the mundane time wasters, but, in her own honesty to herself, even schoolwork sounded better than the turmoil of the Galactic Imperial boredom. In fact, without Quil around, she could probably pull her grades to where they need to be. In fact, without him around, she could probably return her focus to other areas of her life. In fact, without him around, she could return to her "extracurricular" learning without him around; things like another language. Or maybe some art. Oh! Even possibly learning music, or write poetry, develop software, or do, really, anything but what she is currently doing.
   This began to enrage Trisha, knowing she now had all this free time now that he was gone, but she couldn't take advantage of any of it. Instead she sat, sedentary, in this quiet room. Even worse was how limited she felt on taking out her anger while she was held captive. Her normal violent and loud methods of stress relief were out of question, so she felt the next best way was to grab the other pillow on the bed and throw it as aggressively as she could. Of course, it's collision with the far wall was all but climactic, as it's audible cry came as a soft "flump" against the wall, then a quick tumble to the ground, where it remained - to Trisha's dismay - in a single piece.
   You know, why should she care? Trisha bounced up on her bed with a fire in her eyes. Why should she care about the ugly crap in this room? Rommel is a kidnapper, not some uncle, or friend, or even a host that Trisha is a guest of. What she did know, is that she is pissed off and bored, and that the end table has been asking for a good toss. And that is exactly what she did, stomping over to it and eyeing it down, noticing the cocky way it's wooden legs supported it, the arrogant way it propped the various items up on top of it. It made her sick. She leaned down, grabbing it by the feet, and lifting vigorously as all the items on top fell with the kind of stress-relieving crash she wanted - of course, she wasn't done yet, though. She spun around and hurled the innocent bystander at the wall, where its collision broke one of the legs, while the others cracked.
   Trisha breathed heavily as her adrenaline began to return to normal. She shook her head and tried to blow the frazzled hairs that now covered her eyes to no success, but, frankly, she couldn't care. The stress-relieving qualities of the crack that the table had given sent a rush through Trisha that put her mind a little more at ease, letting that comfort settle the loud thoughts that trampled her bored mind, bringing with it that gentle quiet that washed through the even-further disheveled room. Just in time, too, as Rommel walked in.
   It only took him a few seconds after opening the door as his eyes widened, seeing the panting-and-sweating Trisha stand in the center of the whirlwind destruction of the room. "Ah," he gave a comforting nod, "I see you've gotten quite well acquainted with your room." He spoke in his comforting silken voice as he sifted through the debris that scattered across the floor.
   "A bit late." Trisha gave pants of exhaustion. "If you had come and asked me about three seconds ago, I might have given you what you wanted. However, I'm a bit refreshed now."
   "I actually didn't come here to see if you were ready to give up your friend's signature. Unfortunate news for you, though fortunate for my campaign, events have made the necessity of the signature diminish. In fact, I don't need it any more, whatsoever."
   "Then am I free to leave?" Trisha's eyes lit up briefly with hope.
   And then the light died quickly.
   "You are still a needed tool for this operation."
   Trisha's eyes narrowed, "Right, the whole 'coercion' thing again, huh?"
   "You may yet be of use to us. I cannot release you quite yet."
   "So I am stuck here?" Trisha collapsed onto her bed.
   "You are now a hostage of the G.I.E. I apologize that I had to bring you into the middle of this, but you must understand the importance of the item that your friend stole."
   "A hostage? Why?" Trisha protested. "You have an army at your disposal. If you don't need his signature any more, I assume you know where he is."
   Rommel grimaced, as he swept the debris off a seat on the couch, proceeding to sit down. "Miss Trisha," He began settling into the seat, "how would you crack an egg?"
   Trisha rolled her eyes and crossed her arms. "Presumably not with the profuse amounts of artillery and bajillion soldiers, ships, and mobile frames that you have at your disposal - if that's the metaphor you are trying to make."
   Rommel's laugh weaved around Trisha. "Exactly." he unfolded his hands, and stared off into space for a moment as he was looking at the next steps of his plans. "Destroying the asset would be detrimental to the entire course of what the G.I.E. is lobbying to do. Destruction, even if accidental, is too high of a risk to try and liberate her from your friend."
   Trisha crossed her arms as she tensed her shoulders.
   "Coincidence has it that when the ship I had dispatched to capture the stolen asset failed, they escaped to a vessel traveling in the same system space as my dispatched ship. This vessel, we are all too familiar with, and this will make tracking your friend's location much easier."
   Trisha's eyes lit with surprised delight. "Wait, you said one of your ships failed to reclaim your 'asset'? You mean to tell me a kid outsmarted the G.I.E.?" Trisha laughed.
   Rommel held a hand up to cease Trisha's boisterous victory. "I wouldn't be so brash. Understand, my concern is not your friend, but the asset that he stole. Should he continue to get in the way, the launched forces will not be so meager next time, and - I'll put this plainly for you; I will kill him."
   The tightened muscles in Trisha's rebellious posture gave away as she sank into the bed, her eyes glossed over as the sincerity of Rommel's words sewed tightly through her.
   "In time honored tradition, a great tactician must be familiar with chess. A great tactician must see his strategy as a game first before he moves. The moves we make now must set us up for the moves ahead. Putting the game in check, does not put this game into checkmate."
   He unfolded his tablet from the clip on his watch. "But, once a game has been placed in check when the tactician planned for the game to be in check, it's only a matter of time until the game ends." Rommel touched his tablet, moving a group of smaller ships around a large capitol vessel. "Check," he gave a heavy breath before folding the tablet and clipping it back to his watch. He left the room with a rather cold gate. His heavy footsteps echoing through Trisha's head. She watched her opportunity as the lack of vacancy in Rommel's mind kept him from watching her.
   Trisha saw this as her chance. She watched him as he approached the door, opening up for him as he neared the door. Trisha leapt from the bed into a full sprint towards it, just barely too far behind to slip through; instead, her face met the metal door with a loud clang.
   The remark came from the other side of the door. "I'm glad to hear you are making good friends with the door as well, Miss Trisha."