Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Liz Dorner, Christopher Levy, and Ron O..
One year before the Battle of Yavin (34:10:19) in the Malastare system: Warspite and in the Tshindral system: Gateway Space Station.
Lieutenant Allegra AmesCommander Derek Atio, Major Kerrie Kiley, Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca, Tii Mion, Parka Pepper, Vice Admiral Claudius Rodney, and Lady Htaere Ka`a Sha`ar.

Kerrie's eyes opened very slowly. She was exhausted ... it was as if she had not slept at all. Since had moved aboard Gateway Space Station she had yet to have a full night's rest. Her bed, nothing more than a simple cot in the corner of her office was small and dilapidated. Above the bed was an archaic light source that gave off a glowing light and hummed audibly. The controls to shut it off had long since stopped function and a repair crew was nowhere to be found on this dump. "Ohhhh..." Kerrie groaned as she sat up in bed, feeling no respite from her night in bed. As she swung her legs over the side of her bed and sat up, her eyes immediately focused on the dead man's desk. "I can't put this off any longer," she muttered to herself.

Kerrie's hands reached for her oversized duffle bag, which had been sitting next to her bed since the moment she first arrived on the station ... still unpacked. Her hands rummaged through the top of the bag and she carefully began pulling out some of her personal items, and carefully spreading them out on the bed. "Booki!" Kerrie cooed cheerfully as she removed her believed stuffed bantha from her bag. She fretted over it slightly, concerned that it had somehow become damaged or crushed in the moving process. Her fears alleviated, she placed it careful next to her pillow on the makeshift 'bed.'

When Kerrie next delved into the duffle she produced a small velveteen box ... it was the gift Htaere had given her on Chandrila ... she had forgotten to open it with all that happened. A pleasant smile formed upon her face as she carefully opened it. Her face turned slightly puzzled as the rainbow gem was revealed. "Wow," she said as she plucked it from the box and held it in front of her face. "If I ever have to get all dolled up again ... I'm set," she said to herself, pleased with the gift. Carefully she replaced it in the box and lifted herself off the bed to move towards the desk.

Kerrie sat down at the desk and carefully placed the box in the top drawer. She frowned slightly ... she missed Htaere. Thanking her for the gift would be the perfect excuse to contact her. She pressed her lips together and blew the dust off the Holonet data terminal on the desk. "I hope this piece of junk works," she muttered as she attempted to boot it up. She activated the Holonet communications system and attempted to get a signal to the Star Destroyer Warspite.

After a moment the view-screen flickered to life and the image of Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca aboard the warship came into full view. "Ker...Major Kiley?" Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca said over the comlink, a bit confused.

"Yes," Kerrie replied, "Is Lady Htaere still awake? I'd like to speak with her."

"Just a moment," Meham'ohorovi'cloca said as she buzzed the holonet terminal in Lady Htaere's bedchambers.

From her guest quarters aboard the ship, the Hapan heiress was near ready for bed. Long red-gold hair tumbled down her back, combed out meticulously and falling loose over an extravagant gown as glamorous as the rest of her pricey wardrobe. She stood at one of the view-ports, staring out across the empty and not-so empty void that constituted space, contemplating the new location at which Claudius had been transferred and the prospect of being able to leave the confines of the Star Destroyer at any point. The rainbow gem embedded surgically in her forehead glowed softly, the reflection in the glass a gentler hue of the real thing. Htaere's cloudy grey eyes flickered across the dark depths of space in silent revelry, before the chime on the wall indicated an incoming communiqué. Pulled from her inner sanctum, she turned and glided towards the wall unit, examining it closely before compressing one of the buttons. "Yes?" she asked, her accent thick and her Basic elegant and melodious to the ear.

"I am sorry to disturb you at such a late hour," Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca said quietly. "I have Major Kiley on the other line," she continued to explain. "She wanted to speak with you ... if possible," she concluded.

The corners of Htaere's flawless tiers lifted. "Of course. Please, put her through" she answered, the smile she wore probably 'visible' through her voice.

Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca pressed several keys on her control panel, linking the two Holonet signals. Per the Admiral's request, she activated a recording device that would transmit a recording of the conversation to him.

By now, Kerrie had mimicked into her Humanoid persona. However, even that could not hide the effect station life was having on her. She looked tired, the bags beneath her eyes simply could not be erased by her species shape-shifting trait. Her hair too looked frazzled. The neat braids of her pigtails were frayed and starting to come on done. Still, she forced a smile on her face as she saw Htaere's image come through the Holonet terminal. "I am sorry to contact you at such a late hour," she began apologetically, "but ... I finally had a moment to open your gift. I wanted to thank you."

As the screen flashed to life with the live feed image of the major, Htaere's smiled widened. "Kerrie! It is good to see you again. I am glad you have called" she said, her chin dipping in a singular respectful nod to her devoted bodyguard and closest friend. As she took her in, Htaere's smile thinned, the mirth draining from her facade. "You do not look everything alright?"

Kerrie looked around the room for a moment ... it was a small, cramped, filthy mess of an office. She frowned and looked at Htaere's image on the terminal. "It is..." she paused before continuing, "It is what I deserve."

Htaere's eyes studied Kerrie intensely, boring into the image with apparent unhappiness. "Claudius mentioned something briefly about your temporary reassignment. I did not feel it was my place to inquire further..." she admitted quietly. Keenly aware of her status as a guest of the Empire, regardless of her marriage to Claudius, Htaere had no real place to insert her opinions about Imperial business, despite her personal feelings. "I am...sorry for this" she added. For a moment, there was silence, long and drawn out and uncomfortable in seeing Kerrie this way. "Will you be returning soon?" she asked, optimistically, attempting to alter the topic to a brighter note.

"I am running a disorganized Stormtrooper Platoon on some backwater space station," Kerrie explained sadly, her smile fading instantly from her mimicked lips as she began to discuss it. "It's a small, dirty place. It's all men ... and I think every one of them hates me. I have to live in this small closet, which they say is my office." She tried to be upbeat, making a joke of her situation to try and lighten her mood. "How is life aboard the ship?" she inquired, attempting to change the subject.

"It is..." Htaere contemplated how best to answer without sounding offensive. ...Sterile, devoid of beauty and nature...she finished the sentence mentally before vocalizing a more polite answer. "...very enlightening." She did not mention the secret get-away that had been established on one of the lower decks as a private retreat. Perhaps later. "Maybe Claudius will allow me to visit you on this station."

Kerrie laughed, it was the first pleasant thought she had in several days. "I could not picture you on this station, Milady," Kerrie confessed, taking in her surroundings, "This is no place for a Lady."

"Neither were the streets of the market bizarre of Cormond, if I remember correctly" she responded, unable to conceal the smile that resurfaced as she thought back to those afternoons...

The chronometer on Kerrie's desk began to ring loudly ... It was her alarm. Kerrie frowned at Htaere as she reached out with her left hand to swait it, ending the ringing. "I'm sorry," Kerrie said sadly, "But I've got to go and get ready for my shift." She looked down for a moment and tried her best not to break down, "I'll see you soon ... And watch out for Allegra ... she can be a real pest if you let her." She smiled and put on a brave face for her 'friend.'

Htaere responded with a genuine smile. "I lament your absence..." she began, before falling silent. She made a conscientious effort to push away all the etiquette and dictation and reserve that had been drilled into her from birth. "I miss you, my friend" she said finally, stripping it down to plain and simple truth. "I hope to see you soon. Take care" she added, paying the respect to Kerrie that she more then deserved with a bow.

Kerrie nodded one final time to Htaere before turning off the Holonet terminal. She lowered her head dejectedly and sighed deeply. She shook her head repeatedly, regaining her composure. She rose from her seat at the desk and exited the office, heading for the barracks where she would take her sonic shower, and then suit up for the first of what would be many, repetitive patrols of the station.

As the screen blackened, so did Htaere's levity. Her eyes dropped to the plush imported rug that lay across such part of the quarters beneath her feet. Inhaling steeply, she turned towards the bed and moved towards it slowly, her mind spinning back into a whirl of activity in its efforts to digest all the changes that had befallen them suddenly in the last couple days. She sympathized with Kerrie in that she did not foresee getting much rest either.

"I don't care what you think, Parka," Derek snapped back at her, trying his best to reason with her. "Too many people are after you for you to go gallivanting around the station like you own the place." He rose from the couch in the passenger compartment and slid his flight jacket on over his shirt. "If that Stormtrooper had caught you the other day you'd now be in some detention center being interrogated ... or worse." His face dropped into a frown slightly as he shook his head at her. "I know the ship isn't the most fun place to be in the galaxy, but it might be the safest." He activated the controls to lower the ramp of the ship into the docking bay below. "I know you want to come," he said as he walked down the ramp into the station's docking bay, "but I really wish you wouldn't."

From across the compartment, Parka semi-reclined on the couch, feet propped up on the table top and crossed at the ankle. Her head had fallen back against the cushion and the sound of feigned snoring could be heard. When she figured he was sufficiently pissed, she lifted her head and fixed him with a coy smile. "Spare me the platitudes" she replied. "What are they going to do? Take away my holovid privileges?" she quipped mischievously before placing a hand over her chest in mock hurt. "I'll get over it" she said with finality before her feet dropped to the floor and she stood. She straightened her clothes, which, knowing Parka, were the bare minimum in keeping her covered. "Besides, I've been to the saloon several times already and the only conflict around is those poor drunk knaves arguing over who's dick is bigger. I'll be fine."

Derek swung his head to the left and then to the right after hearing her last comments. "Wild girl," he thought to himself as he adjusted the front of his trousers. He threw a quick glance over his shoulder at her. "I think I'll do just fine," he said, flashing her a sly grin. "Just be careful," he said as he proceeded out of the docking port and into the outer ring of the station. He looked both ways before proceeding down the corridor towards the station's inner core. From there, he took another look around ... at this hour the crowds had seemed to die down ... it would make blending in more difficult. He did notice a couple of Stormtroopers on patrol, but he did not have much choice. He walked the short distance from the inner core to the Falling Star Saloon. He waited for her to catch up before entering, but from what he could see it was very lightly occupied. "This was too dangerous," he thought to himself.

As she usually did, Parka strutted with an undeserved sense of accomplishment. Armed with her weapons of choice, her wit and sharp tongue, she strolled the corridors without a care in the galaxy. Sporting a grin to compliment her brazen and outlandish arrogance, she followed behind Derek some ways the sound of her sandals *clicking* across the floor paneling. Her strange black-flecked eyes panned for the saloon entrance, which she greeted happily, already eyeing the available 'market' of poor saps that she could potentially swindle out of a few credits.

The market was poor tonight it seemed...although there was one end of the bar the poor saps were obviously avoiding. It only made the particular figure the humans were keeping away from even more obvious, since he was wearing tight wraps of blood red. Attire which was not only bright, but well kept, making it practically glow against the usual sloppy, dirty nature of a smoky bar's regulars. He was a tall fellow, with pale grey flesh, similar to ash, and deep set eyes surrounded by pink and red flesh. Despite his gaunt appearance, the alien looked fairly young.. well, young for his race, whether they'd notice that or not. That didn't change how he walked though, once he'd received his food and drink. Leaving both upon the platter, the Pau'an turned about and used a massive metal staff, ended in double headed axe blades, as a sort of walking stick. Leaning on it the whole way back to his table, the man set the platter down, lips parting in a small, brief smile, flashing pointed teeth. The reason why those humans had kept back was more apparent now. This strange fellow had ordered nothing less than raw meat. Practically still bleeding no less! Leaning the 'walking' stick against a chair which also supporting a massive silvery shield upon its seat, the man claimed the vacant chair next to it.. and set to work immediately. If he noticed the new comers on his way to his table, he didnt grant them any greeting of the sort.. or so much as give them a lasting a stare.

From the entrance, Derek spotted the loan Pau'an in the saloon. "That has to be our man," Derek said quietly to Parka. The odds of there being more than one Pau'an on this station were slim-to-none. Apprehensively, he walked forward into the saloon. He paid no heed to the other individuals in the saloon, making his way directly towards the Pau'an. He looked around for a moment before pulling out the chair and taking a seat at the same table. "Mr. Moon I presume?" he said to the man, eyeing the raw meat with a sense of nervousness. "A bit undercooked don't you think?" he continued, finding it impossible not to comment.

Perhaps the fellow in question had not afforded them much of an acknowledgment, but Parka was more then happy to reciprocate. Upon entering the establishment, she had drawn to a halt, her gaze falling on the patron who already stood out among the others. She watched the cripple limp his way back to his table, a smile drawing its way bit by bit across her attractive face as she mentally mused how funny it might have been to run after him and kick the crutch out from under his seemingly taxed form. She nearly chuckled out lout to herself, but as she began to weigh the pros and cons of such she decided that her 115-pound frame would probably suffer tremendously when he recovered. A half frown replaced the grin as she let the thought go, looking curiously to Derek. "Oh...friend of yours? My baaaaaad" she chimed in a low voice, more to herself then anything, as if others had been privy to her less-then-kind humorous thoughts. Instead, she followed after Derek, flipping a few of the platinum blonde braided dreadlocks over her shoulder.

His eyes rose to Derek, moved over to the female, and then returned to Derek, since he was the one speaking.. His voice was low, a little deep.. in his golden years it'd make him sound very distinguished...but for now, it was contorted in to a bit of a hushed hiss as he spoke quietly to them, in whisper. "It is Mion...and perhaps to you, but for me, it is a little well done." and then his eyes dropped back down to the food and he continued to eat. "You are?" Spoken only between mouthfuls. At least he had the courtesy to not speak at all when he was busy with that red meat.

"You can call me 'Mr. Sun' for now," Derek said as he signaled a server droid to come and take their drink orders. The ideas was to look normal as to avoid any unwanted attention. "You want anything, Parka?" he said to her, as if he had to ask. His attention turned briefly to the server droid. "Alderaan Ruge," he ordered ... his usual. His attention refocused on the Pau'an, "I have been sent here because certain likeminded individuals want to meet with you," he explained quietly. "I've got a transport waiting to take you off this station." He took a slight sip of newly-poured drink, "Can take you to a nice quiet place out of the eyes and ears of certain individuals."

Parka lagged in responding to Derek's question. Her mouth hung open slightly, nose crinkled as she watched the strange character eat. "You actually eat the meat out here?! It can't be *that* fresh..." she remarked before the serving droid snapped her attention like a twig. "Oh...Whyren's" she said to it before her child-like attention span drifted off to find something else.

"I don't like this cloak and dagger stuff, Sun..." The girl's question was ignored, and the rather grumpy nature of the exiled soldier was shining through as he merely dropped the meat in disgust. He was so tired of being away from home...away from everything he knew. Wiping his mouth with the back of his sleeve, he stood up and took hold of that axe. Using it as a walking stick again he ventured away from the table some, ignoring the drink he never once touched in order to lift up the shield. "Lets get going then." His voice had raised back up to a regular volume now.

"This 'cloak and dagger stuff' is necessary for everyone's safety," Derek tried to explain quietly, "In case you didn't notice there's a parade of Stormtroopers right outside." He looked over his shoulder towards the inner core, nervously. "How would it look if all three of us just came strolling out of the saloon together?" Derek did not wait and answered his own question, "...very suspicious." He looked around the saloon, trying to determine if anyone was watching. "Return to your luxury suite," he said quiet and calm, "In two hours meet us at docking port four." He took another sip of his drink, acting as if nothing was out of place and he was just enjoying a pleasant evening with his 'date'. "We'll be waiting," he concluded.

The serving droid had no sooner returned with Parka's requested beverage, the ultra pricey Whyren's Reserve, when she downed it in a single gulp. A grimace flashed over her face briefly before she lapped at the air a few times and grinned. "Damn that's good" she said, abandoning the glass it was served in on a random table. Her gaze was already refocused on the vid-screens above the bar, displaying any number of sporting events. Her head canted for a second before her ever-shifting attention moved back to Derek.

The Pau'an simply gave a shrug of his soldiers to acknowledge the man's word. He'd of argued had they not been in ear shot of the troopers, but this wasn't the time. It was just easier to go back anyways. Leaning on that royal weapon the Pau'an left the bar.

Derek put his arm around Parka's shoulder as they sat at the table. He was trying to give the impression that they were just a normal couple at a bar for a quiet night's drink, but he smiled slightly as he had to admit that any excuse to make some contact with her was a good one. "Have another drink," he suggested to her, not wanting to leave the saloon so quickly after their companion. His first drink, which he was only nursing, was still half full, but he soon finished it with a rather hearty sip.

Parka's eyes narrowed, her head turning slowly towards him, disapproving of his advances, staged or not. Suddenly, she stood up, an enraged look on her face. "You jerk! Go suck on a syphilitic Nek dog's puss-rimmed asshole!" she shouted out loud for all to hear before pushing her chair back abruptly and spinning on her heels. She stalked towards the entrance, scowling the whole way. As she left the saloon, the rage subsided only long enough for the hilarity to peek through before fixing her fake anger reappeared and she stomped back down the corridor.

Major Kerrie Kiley, now in the full regalia of her Stormtrooper armor, was making her routine patrol of the inner core of the station. She could not believe her eyes when her MFTAS once again detected Parka Pepper's presence on Gateway Space Station. After enduring countless ribbing from the male troopers under her command and a heartbreaking conversation with Htaere she was no longer in the mood for any game of cat and mouse. She would have her revenge on this young woman once and for all. It only took a moment for her to bring the barrel of her E-11 blaster rifle to bare with the young woman's abdomen. Oh how she wanted to use the 'kill' setting ... but that would require too much paperwork. An instant later she gently pulled back on the trigger of her rifle, unleashing a coil of blue energy that grew exponentially as it left the barrel of her rifle. It would only take a moment to reach its destination ... Parka's midsection.

The aftermath of her glorious theatrical display failed to yield the victory she was certain she'd nailed. Unfortunately, she did not even see it coming. Having meandered past the troopers, she paid them little mind, a mistake that would cost her dearly. She remembered feeling quite pleased with herself, as usual, but it was short lived. The self satisfactory was snuffed out as the corridor seemed to churn wildly, following the sharp pang in her back. Her vision blurred, but before she hit the floor, she was in the tight grip of unconsciousness, tumbling down and forward as complete dead weight.

Derek heard the shot from inside the saloon where he sat, red-faced and humiliated by the little show she put on. "Oh no," he thought to himself as he stood up and ran for the exit of the saloon. As he stepped into the inner core and raced towards the corridor leading back towards the outer ring he saw Parka's unconscious body, "Parka!" he yelled angrily as he raced towards her side. He reached for his side and felt around for his blaster, but it was not there. "Damn it," he thought to himself, cursing the Alderaanian disguise he had to maintain at all times.

<Click>"Not so fast, lover boy."<Click> Kerrie said arrogantly through her helmet's com system. She raised the E-11 again, this time aimed at Derek. It only took her a moment to pull back on the trigger and unleash a second stun coil at the man running towards Parka's body. She did not have any patience to deal with any potential interruptions. Parka was all hers now.

"Parka..." Derek cried out as the stun coil enveloped his body. His head tilted backwards, his eyes rolling into the back of his head as he lost consciousness. His body fell to the durasteel deck-plating below, impacting with a dull *thud*. His unconscious body lay spread out against the filthy floor of the station, barely meters from her. He had almost made it, but even if he had there would have been very little he could have done.

Kerrie slung her E-11 blaster rifle under her right shoulder carefully as she strode towards the fallen body of Parka. She was going to enjoy this. She had planned it in her head many a restless night, and now she was going to enjoy this opportunity. She knelt next to the body and stared intently at her face from behind the visor of her helmet. Oh how she hated her ... she had ruined her life. She recoiled her right arm, getting ready to punch her in the face and bash her brains in. Her arm began to tremble slightly, and then just shake. She could not bring herself to do it. "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!" she screamed under her helmet so loud that it could be heard outside her helmet. She sat on the deck platform next to Parka's body and began to breathe heavily. She had waited all this time, plotted it out in her head many times, but she just could not do it.

Beneath the dome of her helmet Kerrie began to cry quietly, very disappointed in her inability to finish Parka, but she had changed and no longer had the dark rage inside of her that drew her towards killing. The family that had abandoned her had been replaced with a new family ... and this woman was the ticket to getting them back. She shook it off and pulled a pain of stun cuffs off her utility belt. She grabbed the stun cuffs and slapped them on to Parka's left wrist, and then her right. "You're coming with me," she said silently beneath her helmet as she grabbed the woman off the floor and headed towards the Imperial docking port on the outer ring.

A buzzer sounded in the Admiral's bed chamber, awakening him from a sound sleep. He had enjoyed his night with Htaere and after being rousted from the swing, he had drifted into a peaceful sleep that he had not been able to experience in many long months. Needless to say, he was less than pleased when the intercom alarm went off. He had specifically asked not to be disturbed ... he was going to demote whoever interrupted him unless a fleet of Rebel ships were exiting hyperspace. His hand fumbled over his shoulder and activated the night light. When he saw what time it was on the chronometer, he was even more enraged. He thumbed down on the control panel and activated the comlink, "What is it?" he questioned angrily, clearly not in the mood.

"I am s-s-sorry, Milord," the nervous voice of Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca replied over the intercom, "but Major Kiley is here with a prisoner. She insisted you be woken up immediately."

"Prisoner?" Claudius replied, still angry, tired, and confused, "What prisoner?"

"A Hapan of some significance she said, Milord," Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca dutifully informed him.

"Hapan?" Claudius repeated, sounding even more confused. It took a while for him to awaken before he realized the only person she could be talking about. "Oh," he began quietly, sounding a bit surprised. "Where is she now?" he asked.

"She is on the way to your suite with the prisoner," Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca nervously informed him.

"On the way to my suite?" Claudius replied angrily as he routed himself out of bed to get ready for the Major's imminent arrival.

"I tried to stop her," the voice of Lieutenant Allegra Ames said through the intercom, interruptive her colleague.

"I don't have time for this," Claudius sad as he deactivated the intercom and exited his personal suite heading towards the main living chamber near the turbolift.

Kerrie stepped out of the turbolift, having changed into her duty uniform. She held her KYD21 to the small of Parka's back who stood in front of her, still cuffed. "You're going to fix this," she said to Parka angrily. The sneer never leaving her lips. She was upbeat, believing her exile was soon to come to an end. She was happy to see the Admiral already up and waiting for them. She pushed the blaster forward, poking her in the small of the back with the barrel of the blaster. "Get moving," she commanded angrily.

Shoved forward, Parka near stumbled but stepped out. Whatever apprehension she felt, she masked it well with her unwavering haughtiness. She sported a glare of her own, throwing it at the officer occasionally. "Oh change your tampon you bitch" she snapped loud enough to be heard. "But I guess it really burns you up that someone like *me* gave you so much grief doesn't it..." it wasn't really a question. Parka reveled in taunting the woman who had periodically surfaced in her life on behalf of the Empire. Her grey eyes shifted back forward, staring down the hall ahead of her.

"Is this 'her'?" Claudius asked, looking past Parka and to Kerrie. He did not need an answer, he knew that it *had* to be her. He looked her over from top to bottom ... she was not much, but she had sure managed to cause him quite a bit of trouble. Her mouth, he thought, was larger than her body. "Have a seat," Claudius said to her politely, offering her the use of one of the many assortments of seats in the area.

"Oh it's 'her' alright, Milord," Kerrie said proudly as she continued to prod the woman's lower back with the barrel of her KYD21. "Quiet," she said angrily as she listened to the insults. She thrust the barrel deeper into the smaller of her back, prodding her angrily in response to the insults.

Parka sneered over her shoulder at the woman before turning her gaze back to the male, unimpressed. "Just roll out of bed, old timer?" she retorted with an air of condescension. She turned to look back at the female officer. "*This* is the person that holds your leash? A man?! And an old one at that" she stated, chin lifting indignantly. "How disgraceful."

"Yes," Claudius replied to her, not taking the bait. "When you reach my age you tend to sleep at night, in a bed." He smiled at her and took a seat in a comfortably plush chair. "By the looks of you, you seem the type who sleeps during the day, perhaps hung-over, on a floor." He laughed quietly and broke his eye contact. "You should try it my way one day ... you might enjoy it," he said concluding his initial remarks. "Now please," he continued, "sit down ... we have much to discuss and it is already very late.

"Yes he holds my 'leash'," Kerrie said very proudly to Parka as she pushed her over towards a chair. "He is a very important man," she continued to explain, "So watch how you speak to him or I'm liable to get offended." She smiled to the Admiral politely, hoping she had finally made him proud. "Now sit," she commanded, prodding her in the back with the blaster again.

At the constant prodding, Parka spun around in the blink of an eye and used the binders on her wrists to smack away the barrel of the weapon thrust repeatedly into her lower back. Had she time to do anything else, amazingly, she did not, except to lean close to the female and sneer. "You reek...of fear" she spat at her before withdrawing. "It's disgusting."

"Enough of this," Claudius snapped loudly, growing impatient and more tired by the moment. "Both of you," he said, displeased with the way they both were carrying on. "Sit down," he said, his voice lowering and his tone became quieter. "Please," he added, hoping it would do the trick.

Kerrie took a step away from Parka and glared at her intently, she slid her blaster pistol into her holster. She clenched her jaw, remaining obediently silent for the Admiral ... despite her wish to lack back at the woman.

Parka glowered at them both, eager to be uncooperative. "No" she replied curtly. She instead drew herself up higher, further defying them with her stature, and what lacked there she more then made up for in attitude. "Look, can we make this quick. I'm miss Max Rebo live from Coruscant."

"Fine," Claudius said coldly, unwilling to argue with her, "Stand. Be uncomfortable. I do not care." He shook his head at her rather mediocre attempt at humor. "I know quite a bit about you Miss Pepper," he continued, "You see that disk you had in your possession ... that I was unable to recover," he threw an icy glare towards Kerrie before refocusing on Parka, "was mine. I made it my business to learn as much as I could about you, considering the effect you have had on my life." He narrowed his gaze at her, "You don't have the disk anymore. Neither did your companion. It wasn't on the ship either." His brow furrowed slightly as he got to the only matter that interested him, "What happened to the disk?"

Kerrie lowered her head dejectedly as the Admiral shot his deadly glance at her. It cut right through her, and she hid her face briefly to prevent him from seeing just how much of an affect it had on her.

The woman's shame didn't go unnoticed, and Parka laughed whole heartedly out loud, cruel and inhuman. As the laughing died, her gaze shifted back to the seated male. "Sorry gramps. Your pornographic collection is long gone" she smirked.

"You don't even know what's on the disk, do you?" Claudius asked, starting to laugh when he realized what had happened. "I would wager that disk is long gone and you don't even know where it is," he reasoned. He started to laugh, almost hysterically as a combination of the absurdity of the situation and the exhaustion he felt. He paused for a moment, "Major don't you see? All the while you have been after the wrong person. It's her partner who knows where the disk is." He looked at the Clawdite woman and continued laughing, slapping his knee as he enjoyed a good at laugh at everyone's expense.

"Wha..." Kerrie said sounding confused and befuddled. The thoughts the Admiral had just expressed had never occurred to her. She thought she had finally succeeded, but in reality she had failed. She felt utterly useless and sunk deep into herself. She wished she could just disappear. After all of the work she had exerted in trying to track down Parka ... it turned out to be all for nothing.

Parka shook her head. "It doesn't matter how you laugh it up. It doesn't matter who else you cart all the way out here to the bumble-fuck edges of the galaxy. Point is...I may not understand that crap, but it's in the hands of people who do."

"Now now," Claudius said, chastising Parka, "You must not blame the Major. She is not paid to think. "He exhaled deeply through his nose as he heard her comment. It could mean only one thing ... that the Rebels had obtained the data disk. The actual disk was of no importance now ... the Rebels had the data and that was all that mattered. Their failure was complete. "She is no longer any use to us, Major," he said, dismissing Parka. "Sending her to Kessel would only serve to shine more light on this whole sorry affair," he shook his head in disbelief at what he was about to do, "Turn her loose."

"Turn her loose?" Kerrie said loudly, confused and not sure what had gotten into the Admiral. It was the only time she had ever questioned his orders. "But, Milord," she continued pleading with her mentor, "She turned the disk over to the rebellion. She got us all reassigned ... you cannot simply mean to turn her lose." The look of shock and dismay would not easily wash away. She took several steps towards the man, as if to plead with him somehow.

Having emerged from somewhere in the suite, Htaere strolled down the corridor silently towards the group. Keeping a safe distance, she stopped, watching curiously. She heard Kerrie's voice before she came into view, a smile already forming on her face. As she came about in full sight, she stopped, looking oddly at the stranger present as well.

Catching the movement in her peripheral vision, Parka turned in surprise. Her eyes fell on Htaere, and immediately, the playful belligerence vanished. Her expression drowned, leaving a glazed over look of disbelief, struggling to verify if what she saw was real. Htaere likewise froze, their eyes widening. It was obvious to them and either one could not believe the other's presence. For the first time, Parka looked genuinely defeated, her rigid defiant posture slacking, her bound hands held in front of her falling as her arms fell slack. She simply could not have imagined...

Claudius turned his attention immediately to Htaere as she entered the scene. He raised himself from the couch and turned to her. An apologetic smile formed upon his face at he looked to her. "I am sorry this awoke you," he said, assuming she had been asleep. His attention turned to Kerrie, whom he continued to chastise as she seemed to defy his orders. "I don't suppose you had the forethoughts to detain her partner, did you?" He lowered his head tiredly, unable to look at her, "No ... no. Don't answer that. I already know the answer." He threw a quick glance over towards Parka before his eyes snapped back on Kerrie, "Release her."

Kerrie rushed towards the Admiral and tried to buck herself up. "No," Kerrie said to him quickly, but optimistically, "I wanted to get her to you as quickly as I could. I did not stop to lock him up." Her attention again turned to Parka, her mind processing several thoughts. Her head turned back to the Admiral "We could use her as bait!" she said excitedly, "We could get him to come to us!" She smiled at the Admiral proudly, hoping he would use her idea.

"Now what would be the point of that, Major?" Claudius said, glaring down at the diminutive woman, "He doesn't have the disk either ... the Rebels have it. These two and the disk are now useless ... release her."

Htaere was still locked in a gaze with the young Hapan. Both of their expressions were despondent and horrified. Htaere had nearly ignored Claudius in her preoccupation. She stepped around him and spoke out in her native tongue. "Sister..." she said softly, simply aghast that one of her own would be on such terms with the Empire.

Parka likewise remained motionless. It had been a long time since Parka had heard or spoken Hapan, but it didn't' elude her. Her eyes narrowed, flashing wildly. "Traitor..." she answered sourly, equally as astounded that one of *her* own was on the Empire's side.

Claudius looked aghast. He did not like the idea of Htaere being exposed to such an individual, nor did he like that they were communicating in a tongue foreign to him. "Major," he said raising his tone slightly, "Release her. That is an order." He shot a quick glance over towards Htaere, "I am sorry, my dear ... this will soon be over."

Kerrie looked at Claudius heartbroken. She had envisioned this turning out so differently in her head. Completely dejected her attention turned to Parka. "You heard the man," she said, disgruntled, "I'll take you back to Gateway Space Station." She proceeded back towards the turbolift, lowering her head. "Come on ... let's go," she said as she called for the turbolift on the control panel.

Htaere was visibly crushed. This was the first Hapan she'd seen in months and the opposite poles they seemed at was gut-wrenching. Still she ignored Claudius watching Kerrie lead the youngster away. "I am not a traitor...please sister...I can explain..."

Parka nearly did her part to ignore Htaere as well. She looked back at her, obvious nobility by the looks of her. "You are no sister of mine..." she paused to look disapprovingly at the male. "For shame...your choices will rot you from the inside out" she retorted coldly before turning away.

Claudius ignored Parka as she was being led out. All of his attention was focused on Htaere. He could tell by the of her voice that something was wrong, but he could not tell what. "Let us go back to bed," he said to Htaere a kind, quiet tone. The entire night had been a wash as far as he was concerned.

Kerrie led Parka into the turbolift once the doors had opened. She flashed a smile towards Htaere, but she could not bare to do anything more than that. She leaned against the back of the turbolift, sinking further into herself. She could not believe what had happened.

As the doors closed, Htaere's distraught face stared at the sealed portal for a moment longer before looking to Claudius. She nodded slowly, turning and moving back down the hallway silently.

The ride back to Gateway Space Station in no way resembled the trip out. Parka was quiet. No smart ass remarks, no taunts or jeers. Her mind processed and stored information for later use, but it did not fail to throw her into a frenzy of mixed emotions.

Claudius made the walk slowly back towards his bedchambers. He was exhausted and desperately needed to get some sleep. However, before he got into bed he stopped and looked in the mirror. He tilted his head slowly and examined his features intently in the mirror. "Old man ... humph," he said as he looked away from the mirror and climbed back into his bed.

Kerrie did not say a single word the entire trip back to the station. She wanted to break down, but she would not give Parka that satisfaction. She too was reevaluating things. She thought, foolishly, that this would make things better ... it didn't. She would have to find some other way to redeem herself if she ever wanted to return to her 'family'.

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