The Grand Inquisitor stalked through the squad of stormtroopers guarding the blast door into the base. Rusted plates of durasteel held what was left of the hangar walls together. Dusty chunks of the ancient walls lay scattered, as if a great blast long ago had dislodged them.
The Force was...disturbed, like ripples from a cast stone across a pool of water. He had felt it, even before the distress signal came in. One of his Inquisitor's was in peril.
How unusual. His subordinates did not call for aid, less they appear weak and invoke Lord Vader's anger. However, what he had felt beforehand was concerning.
The Inquisitor's thin mouth was drawn into a tight line. Red eyes scanned the blank helmets of the troopers at attention. They parted, revealing the long hallway into the heart of the base. His boots echoed down the metal expanse as he approached the scene ahead.
The Seventh Sister crouched next to a mass on the floor. Anger, yes, that was anger radiating off her through the Force. However, as the Grand Inquisitor grew nearer, something…else was laced through it. Tainting it.
It was a tang in the Force, settling heavily onto his tongue. He resisted the urge to swallow it down.
The Sister only stood when he halted feet from her back. She turned, eyes blazing. "The menace has slain another one of us, Grand Inquisitor."
The mass on the floor was a body, black armor glinting in the flood lights. A body without a head.
An Inquisitor; executed.
This was disturbing. His eyes narrowed. "Your distress signal was warranted, Sister. Now tell me, how did you happen to be here?"
She grit her teeth. "I was meeting him here. He had intercepted a transmission from this sector. It was an old Republic frequency. The encryption was easy enough to break through."
"And why," the Grand Inquisitor began, "did you not notify me of this transmission?"
Not immediately answering, she ground out, "It was an old Jedi code."
He bared his teeth. "Even more of a reason for you to have contact me first, Sister."
"We were already in this sector!" she hissed, fists clenching. "He was already in the system and I was a short jump away. We weren't going to waste time and risk giving away our positions by sending out a long range transmission. Not when we could corner a Jedi."
The Grand Inquisitor knelt by the body. He was slumped onto his side, having been forced to his knees first. Dried blood stiffened the collar of his uniform and flaked from the front of his breast plate. The charred stump of his neck stark against the jagged pale skin. A gouge burned into the metal floor was too deep to be a vibroblade or electro sword.
"It would seem you were too late. He engaged without your reinforcement, and paid the price."
"We cannot allow this to happen any longer." the Sister stated, "How many more Inquisitors must be lost to The Executioner before they are caught and destroyed?"
The Executioner. A thorn in his side for over a year. He'd lost five Inquisitors in that time and were no closer to apprehending the one responsible. They always managed to slip away, a loose tether in the Force. Chaotic, but calculated. Striking, then disappearing. No two attacks were the same, with the exception of two things; the Inquisitors always came to them, and managed to lose their heads. They had tried to draw the assassin out, but to no avail.
The Grand Inquisitor slowly stood, arms behind his back. "They are growing bolder, and by using an old Jedi frequency, have almost certainly confirmed our suspicions."
Red eyes fixed on the Seventh Sister, "It would seem a Jedi has abandoned the ways of the old Order."
He turned back to the hangar. "I must return to Lothal, perhaps the Jedi, Kanan Jarrus, and his padawan can enlighten me."