Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Liz Dorner and Christopher Levy.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:9:2) in the Rhinnal system: Rhinnal (Rhire: Dagon Tong's safe house).
Parka Pepper, Countess Htaere Rodney, and Lady Jelena Rodney.

Returning to the Rebel safehouse in the city of Rhire on Rhinnal, Jelena Rodney had not said much, as she silently reflected on having seen Htaere and Kerrie once again. She really was alive, she thought to herself. It was not that she did not believe Parka, but rather seeing her with her own eyes caused it to sink in. When they arrived the door was harder to open than usual, and she entered she quickly discovered why ... the heating unit had died. "Ugh," she groaned, following with an exasperated sigh, before turning her attention to Parka. "Can you get your boyfriend to fix it?" she asked, teasing her about Commander Atio, as she quickly moved towards it. She did not know the first thing about engineer, so all she could think of was giving it a couple of kicks, but the unit did not activate.

"Not my boyfriend," Parka insisted, scowling at the cold. "And yes, I'll talk to him. If you can sit tight for a short while, I'll get on the horn ASAP. Any other requests while I'm at it?"

"Oh. Sorry. He *likes* you though," Jelena said, looking for something to talk about besides what had happened in the marketplace. She was still a teenage girl, after all, and she could notice things like that as notions of love had not yet been driven from her by age. "Is it safe here?" she asked, turning to look at Parka for reassurance, before sliding her hands in the pockets of her jacket, and tried to keep warm.

"Derek likes almost anything with female parts," Parka dismissed the comment. She put her hands on her hips and thought for a moment. "Yes, I do believe it that I think of it, I don't think you should stay." She nodded in affirmation. "Why don't you pack whatever stuff you have. I'll bring you with me. Not that I think Htaere or Kerrie would do anything to voluntarily betray what they learned telling what the Empire itself might try." She started to move back out the door, pausing. "Besides, last I heard, Princess Leia wasn't hiding in a bunker. She is out, eyeballs deep in the action. Let's get you out of here."

It did not take much coaxing to get Jelena to move towards her bunk, and fill her duffle bag with the small possessions she had taken with her from when she left the Warspite, and from her room back on Delaya. She was then quick to move towards Parka, a smile forming upon her face as the thought of excitement fueled her. "Did they ask about me again?" she asked, nonchalantly in the way only a teenager could. She wanted to know what happened, she just did not want Parka to know that she wanted to know.

"Who?" Parka asked, waiting patiently, eyes shifting from down the corridor to Jelena.

"You know who..." Jelena said, referring to Kerrie and Htaere, before shifting uncomfortably in her large coat. "We never really talked about what happened," she said, quietly, looking down at the ground, rather than the Hapan that was beside her.

"Oh!" Parka smacked her own forehead. "Seriously?" she shot the girl a scrutinizing look. "I thought they gave you an earbud to listen in. And...Htaere gave me this to give to you. The reason she wanted to meet was to make sure you were alive, unharmed...and happy."

Jelena reached out with a delicate hand and took the message from Parka. "Did you read it?" she nervously asked her, looking down at the ground. Awkwardly she scuffed her foot back and forth against the ground, as she had been unprepared for this. "No. I didn't listen. I didn't want to..." she added, uncomfortably, as she had hoped when she fled her family she would not have to look back.

"Didn't read it, or listen to it, or whatever she concocted," Parka replied casually. "Just had the folks in IT give a little scan to make sure she didn't put any ugly little bugs in it." While waiting for Jelena, Parka wasted a bit of time on her own datapad, reviewing any communications or new assignments from Derek or his superiors.

Jelena stared at the disk for a moment, as she debated whether or not she should listen to it. Her hand trembled and part of her considered just throwing it to the ground and smashing it. Reluctantly she moved towards a player that was sitting upon one of the tables. Her small feminine form was again trembling, but this time it was not the cold, but a sense of dread as to what the message might contain. Finally, mustering what courage she had, she inserted the datadisk into the device, and waited for the message to play.

The small holo flickered to life to reveal the grainy figure of Htaere. Only ten years Jelena's senior, her stepmother looked pleasant as usual, yet subtly plagued. "Jelena, I hope this message finds you well. I wish to remain as neutral as possible amid the family disruption, so I shall keep this brief. I understand your frustration, and whatever your reasons for choosing such a definitive side, I am happy to see you exercise that freedom and choice. Your father believes this was an act of coercion. His sole obsession has been your recovery." Htaere paused, finding the words to come difficult. "I hope to see you again, though I would sincerely advise never returning here again. I know what awaits you if you do, perhaps you do too, and despite his claims, your father will have no power to stop that." Htaere released the grave expression she'd not realized she'd taken on, and managed a slight nod and an endearing smile. "I wish you the very best. I find myself...envious of your escape."

Jelena silently listened to Htaere's words, the very mention of her father causing a conflicted wave of pain and emotion to flow over her, nearly causing her to break. She trembled slightly, her knees buckling, as she moved to turn it off, but instead knocked it fromt the table, shattering it. Her eyes closed tightly and she began to backpedal towards the nearest chair. It was only at this moment that she truly came to the realization that she no longer had a family. It was more than just her father ... it was Dru, Ewwie, her grandparents ... all of it was gone from her life. She could find no words to speak to Parka or to anyone, but instead sat there in silence, in utter dejection, with her head hung low.

Parka's attention was pulled towards the room, a singular eyebrow arching. "No time for your sorrows now," she noted. "Your family will be fine. But there are a many in the galaxy who are not, and need help." Parka tucked away her personal datapad and shifted. "If you're coming with me, take another 30 seconds to collect yourself and your stuff, and then soldier up. Choice is yours. Just make it quickly."

Jelena used every one of those 30 seconds to gather herself, before raising from the chair to move towards her duffle bag. "Coming," she said, before throwing the bag over her shoulder ... likely the only time in her young life she had carried the bag herself. "Well this is one place I'm not going to miss," she said to Parka, as she exited the structure for the untold adventures that were to come.

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