Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:5:10) in the Alderaan system: Delaya (Imperial garrison and Leiliani: Spaceport), Jubilee, Nerf Herder, and Retributive Strike.
Governor Papius Arundel, Duke Marcus Rodney, Commander Sierra Rodney, and Duchess Zara Rodney.

Oye. Sierra was over gallivanting all over the galaxy for today. She couldn't wait for today to end...and a new day to begin. She had contacted Marcus via comlink to let him know that she was going to need his help after all. He'd been upset that she hadn't called for him previously. Now she was placing her, and Bruce's life in his hands. She worried herself all the way to Delaya, where, he informed her, the Ithorian herdship had moved. She had *no* idea how he and his wife made that happen short of stealing the ship. Had they stole it? Sierra was bound to find out as soon as she landed the Kom'rk class fighter. She had to admit, after getting to know the old ship, it wasn't so bad.

And so, she found herself back on Jubilee sitting on the ramp waiting for Marcus to come to her. She had changed into an environmental suit with the intention of placing her armor on when they landed on the planet. She was fumbling with her comlink in her hands. She didn't like sneaking around...yet she found herself doing it again. After what had happened last time, she couldn't risk letting Claudius know what she was up to until it was all over. She sighed, running her fingers through her short hair. She hoped she'd make it home in time to have a nice, lonnggg bath with her husband. She also hoped there was still pudding left!

It had been a whirlwind of a month for Marcus Rodney. On the heels of his father's murder his home planet of Delaya had fallen under Imperial occupation, his people had been decimated by the Empire prompting his mother's suicide and his family's evacuation. Just as he was catching his breath on Ithor he found himself ascending to the title of Duke of Delaya, but before he could even get started his sister-in-law was enlisting his aid in rescuing a Rebel commander. There was to be no rest for *Duke* Marcus Rodney, and as he changed into his Nerf Herder armor he bid his *very* pregnant wife a teary goodbye. Reluctantly she had supported his decision, as she found herself literally swarmed with the children of the herd who had come to view her as a celebrity due to her face plastered on the ice cream contained that had infected their home like a virulent plague. As he walked out onto the hangar of the Jubilee he spotted Sierra, but looking past her she spotted El-Nay's old Mandalorian fighter. "You came in that?!" he exclaimed, in disbelief, genuinely amazed it had held together as long as it had.

She was becoming impatient. Her fingers tapped a melody on her knee. If he didn't show up soon, then she was going to leave without him... Except not. She *needed* his help to face whatever came next. As the Duke of Delaya arrived on the scene, Sierra lifted her head and stood. Her eyebrows furrowed. "Shhh! This ship is more hormonal than your wife! Do you know how much sweet talking it took to get it off the ground in Esseles? Why does El-Nay still use this hunk of junk?" It was so weird working with Marcus. She was still trying to get over the fact that he was more than just a noble punk. He could use a blaster! As she headed into the ship, she began to talk. "Gez, you've got an outfit and everything. How long have you been running around, Nerf Herder?" Sierra sat down in the cockpit. "Thank El-Nay's big mouth for that. You're lucky that I've kept Claudius' interest at bay." She patted the ship softly and began to coo at it. "It's almost over, I promise." She referred to the ship.

"El-Nay Darr is many things ... most bad ... but she is a passionate devotee of her people's once great legacy," Marcus replied to Sierra, concerning the ship, as he slowly walked around the ship to ensure it was shipshape. He did not want to die in a ship accident just over two weeks away from the birth of his twins. "Does my brother know?" he asked, when she called him by his nom de guerre, slightly grimacing below his help. Her answer pleased him and there was some relief in him at the knowledge that the family secret only extended to in-laws. "So we've got to get the bastard's wife out of some dungeon?" he asked her, simply, as there always seemed to be a crisis going on amongst his direct and indirect relations. As he took a step up the ramp of the fighter he heard the metal creek, and he stopped, waiting for it to give way beneath him. Fortunately, it held, and he soon found himself on the tired, old starfighter. "Where do we start looking?" he asked her, as he settled into the co-pilot's seat.

Sierra began preparation for take off. When it came to this ship, prep work took a little longer. The ship made all sorts of noises. Some were more worrisome than the others. "Yes, that she is..." She thought of El-Nay's orange Mandalorian armor. Even though it made her a very distinct bounty hunter, she continued to bear those colors. Claudius didn't know ... *yet*. He hadn't cornered her at the right moment. She didn't know what she'd do the next time that conversation came up.

"Yes. I should have saved her from the castle while I was there getting Jelena." Sierra grumbled. "The woman was filmed pointing me out as a Rebel sympathizer, so I was trying to avoid all contact with her. Instead, I traveled to a Rebel camp today *and* I get to face off against my favorite person in the world." The tone of her voice said that she wasn't amused. Governor Arundel was serious business. "I reviewed some of the goings-on in Delaya. There was recently a new Imperial base added. I thought it to be a good place to start at. Besides that, all I have is footage of Governor Arundel taking her from where he was holding her at the castle." With a loud moan, the ship launched forward.

"I don't understand," Marcus said, as he monitored the power flow from his seat ... cautiously. "You're a Commander in the Imperial Security Bureau. Claudius is a Grand Moff. Can't either one of you just order her release?" he asked, simply, as he did not understand the confusing hierarchy of the Empire. "Where'd you get that suit of armor? Off a corpse?" he asked her, smirking beneath his helmet. As they descended towards the surface of the planet he realized this was the first real opportunity he had to talk to his brother's wife. "Thanks for abdicating. I'm up to my neck in bureaucracy already," he complained, never ceasing his bellyaching the entire flight.

She paid more attention to piloting this ship. She didn't know this ship like the Kwai ... and it flew nothing like the trusty family bus. At least the ride into Delaya was relatively short. Sierra snorted. "Order the release of a Rebel? I think you hear how crazy that sounds. Thanks to Commander Xergo, there's an arrest warrant out for me. Knowing the current situation with Claudius, he's in the Imperial dog house too." She looked at him. "Is that what that smell is? Damn it! Kerrie and El-Nay re-gifted me." She huffed. The ship began to shake as they headed in for a landing. Sierra laughed at Marcus' whining while wondering how his wife survived. "You're welcome, Duke Marcus! I cannot tell you how awkward coronation is. If you're going to have a Rodney clumsy moment, perhaps save it for afterwards." She snickered. She really had never attempted to get to know Marcus. His presence on the HoloNet wasn't exactly good. Besides, she'd had her hands so full recently. She came to land the ship in a quiet hangar where no one would ask questions. She picked up her helmet and set it on her head. "Oh gez, you gotta let me know where you're getting your armor. This smell is ridiculous."

"I think those women may have had a joke at your expense," Marcus said, from beneath his helmet, smiling broadly at her uncomfortable situation. "Well one thing's for sure they'll smell you before they see you," he said, as he moved his hand to adjust a switch as he thought the reactor was getting too hot. "We are not clumsy. I don't know how we got that reputation," he bickered, going back and forth with his sister-in-law. "Will you be attending the coronation?" he asked, as the family seemed to have scattered to the four corners of the galaxy. "One thing I wanted to mention. I inspected the castle. It's structurally sound, but there is some damage due to your escapades," he said, rambling on about things other than the mission. It was always his nature *not* to overthink things. "...but it looks like we've been looted. The family jewels are completely gone," he bemoaned, shaking his head, unaware that his niece had forced his other niece to ingest them all for safekeeping.

She shook her head. "I'll get them back..." Sierra snickered. It had been the best option at the time. Maybe she'd make the effort to try to get the smell of death out of the armor. As she ship powered down, she remained seated talking to her brother. "I'd like to. If you can chase Governor Arundel off the planet, then the whole family will be able to attend. No questions asked." She thought of the castle and all the damage she, El-Nay, and Kerrie had caused. . . but mostly El-Nay! As to being looted, Sierra started laughing in her helmet. "Oh no. We weren't looted. Look." She reached into her utility belt where she pulled forth a shiny red jewel. She handed to it to him. "The lengths Drusilla will go to are astounding. During the battle of Delaya, she was busily shoving Ewwiekewwieikkie with every valuable she could find. The poor girl vomited a sceptre. You don't want to know where some of those other jewels are coming from." She told him this after handing him a gem. "I'll do what I can to see to it that the castle is cleaned up. Before moving into the Duke's suite, it is my suggestion that you burn everything. All of Claudius and my clothing. The bed. Towels. You might want to replace the tub. Governor Arundel was living there before he left the castle." Finally, she rose. "Are you ready for this?"

"Well you and my brother didn't have any success chasing the Governor off planet and you had Mandalorian warriors, Clawdite assassins, and the Imperial starfleet behind you ... all I've got is this rifle, so I doubt I'll have more luck," Marcus said to her, very bluntly. He had two children to care for, or rather he would, and he could not risk missing their childhood just to feud with an Imperial bureaucrat. "Drusilla did *what*?!" he asked her, almost screaming in shock. He could not believe it, but then again it sounded like something she would do. "Technically, that is my scepter now. You'll have it cleaned and shipped by courier in time for my coronation. Yes?" he asked, only half joking. He rose beside her, raising his large Blast and Smash rifle, with the grenade launcher underneath loaded and ready. "I've been doing this my whole life. The question is, are *you* ready?" he asked her, before moving towards the ramp of the Mandalorian starfighter.

"Maybe we'll catch him with his pants down...?" Sierra suggested hopefully. It was not in her intentions to get her brother-in-law killed. The pregnant slicer he had on Jubilee would not take kindly to that news. If she didn't kill Sierra on the spot, Sierra would live the rest of her life in fear of Zara. She laughed again as the conversation rolled back to Drusilla. She punched him in the shoulder playfully. "Hey! I'll send you that sceptre in whatever condition I please. You have *people* to do those dirty jobs for you. Do you know what I've seen helping out Ewwiekewwieikkie in the bathroom!? The kind of images that will haunt me until the day I die!" She had her E-11 in addition to some handy dandy tools on her utility belt. Hopefully the unlikely heroes would come out ... not dead. Yeah, not dead would do. She stood beside him, double checking the charge on her E-11. "I'm as ready as I'm going to be. Come on." She headed down the ramp and back into Leiliani. It hurt to see it again, though she was glad that Zara and Marcus were taking a proactive approach to fix it all. She said nothing, walking in silence towards the Imperial base. There were Stormtroopers everywhere. Sierra let herself feel comfortable in her suit of armor. She had no idea that Papius had seen her and Claudius on the landing pad at Castle Rodney.

Sierra noticed the increase in security surrounding the base. "It's safe to assume he's here." She reported to Marcus. She disliked her lack of information. She worried that they were about to fall into a trap all for the idiotic Rebel Commander.

Marcus remembered the city in happier times before it looked like something of a warzone. He and Zara had talked about their plans to fix their world, but now it seemed they would also have to rebuild it. As he saw the Stormtroopers he could not help but harbor some resentment towards Claudius and Sierra due to their connection to the Empire. "Come on. Let's not linger," he said, coldly, from beneath the privacy of his helmet, as he began to move further through the city and towards this new Imperial base that Sierra had informed him about. "I hate to admit it, but maybe we should have waited for Kerrie and El-Nay," he suggested, as they rounded the corner and spied a passing Imperial combat assault tank. He exhaled a deep breath as he tilted his head up to see the flight of TIE strikers. "I have a bad feeling about this..." he warned her, before continuing to press forward. In his mind he knew that Claudius could no longer help this world ... he would *need* Commander Xergo and the Rebellion to save Delaya.

Seeing the city made even her feel resentment for being involved in the Empire. There was no way to twist the truth about what had happened on Delaya. She had been there for every second of it. She didn't like seeing planets destroyed. It inspired her to help Claudius take control and run Arden Zevrin out. She was responsible for things like this within the planets in Claudius' sector. Sierra remained silent. The closer they drew to the base, the worse the situation looked. Even her gut feeling was driving her away from this. Marcus continued to press forward despite his feelings. She suddenly grabbed his arm, pulling him off the main road into an alleyway. "I'm not feeling any better about this than you are. Maybe we should call for Kerrie and El-Nay to help. Right now, our numbers are nothing compared to theirs." Sierra feared Papius getting his hands on her. She had a good idea of the things he wanted to do to her. She didn't want to risk Marcus like this. If they both died, they would leave a river of tears behind. It hurt to think of simply disappearing while on a mission Claudius didn't even know about. How would he handle her being *gone*...and Bruce too. She adjusted her armor anxiously.

Marcus grabbed hold of her and dragged her into an alley suddenly before they drew any unwanted Imperial attention. "Sister, you are pregnant, and a novice," he said, as he looked down at her from beneath his helmet. In a bold gesture he moved his hands to the side of his helmet and pulled it off so he could look at her with his own eyes. "You don't need to be here. I know you think you do, but I can get in there and get her out without you. I've done things like this a hundred times before," he explained to her, as the look on his face grew more and more concerned. "I could never forgive myself ... never look my brother in the face again ... if anything were to happen to you ... or the child you carry," he said to her, desperately, almost rambling now. "Is there anything I can say ... anything I can *do* ... to dissuade you?" he asked, as he pulled the glove off his right hand and moved it to grasp her, so that he could touch her with his flesh instead of armor.

She wasn't nearly so bold. Her helmet remained on, for the probability of someone noticing her was intensely high. She was a wanted ISB officer as well as the ex-Duchess of the planet. She looked into his eyes. His pleas reminded her of Kerrie trying to stop her from entering Castle Rodney to save Jelena. Beneath her helmet, her look became softer and softer. The Rodney family was a lovely mystery. Rodneys were kind folk who didn't want to see each other get hurt. It made her prideful to be involved in such a good family. She clutched his hand tightly. "You don't need to be here either... I was worried about calling for you help. Your wife...your children. They *need* you. I fear something happening to you." She sighed. "It has to be done." Her hand released his. "And we have to do it together. If nothing else, I have your back." She was scared. She felt more scared now than ever before. Marcus was to be a father soon. If that was taken from him... She reached her hands to his helmet. "Put it on. Let's get this over with. You've got a preggo to go home to. I've got a husband who's probably losing his mind without me." She offered him a small smile.

In a moment the helmet was back upon his head, and the glove back upon his hand, as he transformed himself from brother-in-law to mercenary. He turned his head, peering from the alley, until the Imperial tank had moved on. "Now," he said, as he burst at his top speed from the alley towards the perimeter face of the rebuilt Imperial garrison. He got down next to the fence as quickly as he could, before taking cover beside it. There were guard towers above shining spotlights through the city, but he was gambling after the Rebel evacuation they would not be nearly as cautious. From his belt he produced a plasma cutter, setting to work on cutting a hole in the fence big enough for himself and Sierra to crawl through in single file. He had to make it larger than usual because he did not notice how large her behind was until seeing her in the armor. Once he was through he unleashed his trio of seeker droids, which set forth in every direction to search for the captured Commander. "Now we wait," he said, as he showed her the small monitor attached to his wrist gauntlet. A 3D map of the compound was beginning to form as the droids scanned the perimeter, and then entered the garrison through the air ducts. "As long as these bastards need oxygen there'll always be a way in," he told her, being thankful they were not up against some forgotten droid army.

Sierra was quick, but she still had to work to keep up with Marcus. They were driving into crazy land together without any idea if they would ever get out. She reached the fence, squatting down. She examined the outside of the base, taking note of the guards. After involving herself in more of these insane missions, she felt relatively calm this time around. She was ready to save the Commander and go home. That had been the plan in a nutshell.

Through the hole in the fence they went and into the great unknown. She really was a novice. She had no idea what she was doing here. Thankfully, she had enlisted a lifelong bounty hunter. He proved to be skillful as his seeker droids appeared. They scampered off to collect data without his slicer wife having to do any work. She had been worried that they'd need Zara to make this happen. She had, however, given Marcus a gift on his way out of the Jubilee. Zara gifted him with a special device, telling him that all he needed to do was attach it to a computer then she could hack the base if he needed her help. The pregnant woman couldn't come with him, but she could still cause a wonderful diversion if it was needed!

She looked at his wrist gauntlet while the image formed. "Smart thinking." Sierra complimented him, wondering if she should invest in some seeker droids for future missions. "Hm." She said. "This one is built much like the other one. It appears the jail cells are near the bottom of the structure." She said, pointing it out on the monitor as the picture became more detailed. "I've reviewed Governor Arundel's old Imperial base several times." She told Marcus. She wanted to see that man die. She wondered if there was enough room for them to enter through the air ducts and quietly crawl as close to the cells as they could get.

"The lower level?" Marcus asked, as he began to redirect the droids per her information. "That's down there. Did you bring a shovel?" he asked her, as he began measuring the distance from the top of the ventilation shaft to the lower level where presumably the detention block was. "I think we can fit in the duct and shimmy down, but getting back up..." he said, as he wished he could scratch his head. "You didn't happen to grab El-Nay's jetpack, did you?" he asked her, as now that they had their way in he needed to plan their way out. This was not going to be easy.

Governor Papius Arundel was seated in his office atop the central command tower of the rebuilt Imperial garrison. With the Rebels seemingly gone, the refugees the problem of someone in the outer rim, and Claudius Rodney no longer Duke victory was seemingly his. Unfortunately, that victory had been spoiled with the conflict with Grand Moff Rodney and he found himself still toiling as the Governor of a mere planet rather than the Moff of a sector. His one ticket to stardom now was in the hand of the captured Rebel Commander, Iyah Xergo. She had been remarkably silent since taking up residency in his dungeon, but he was convinced that he would break her. He needed Ashori to do one more thing for him ... bring him Callista. He was just about to contact her when he received an obscure report that there a flow problem in the ventilation shaft. "Why are you bothering me with this you fools? Send it to maintenance," he said, as he slammed his fist on the comlink. He began cycling cameras and noticed there was movement near the shaft. "Seal the base. Put everything on lockdown!" he ordered.

Suddenly a loud siren began to emanate from the base and the spotlights began searching the perimeter. It would not be long before the hole he made would be discovered. Grabbing the device his wife had given him, he stood up and began to move. "Stay here. Wait five minutes, and then beat it back to the ship. Do not wait longer under any circumstances!" he said to Sierra, in deadly serious tone. As he moved further into the compound he saw a door open with an entire company of Stormtroopers forming up to deploy. He had not much time, he thought to himself, as he moved towards the nearest service panel. "C'mon. C'mon," he said to himself, as he pulled out the tool needed to access it. It seemed to be taking forever, although he was moving with the alacrity of a pod racer technician mid-race. When he got the cover off he attached Zara's device to the input, and then moved to place the cover back on. This would only work if no one realized it had been tampered with. He began to move back towards Sierra and the exit when the spotlights began to focus in on him. Their E-web heavy repeating blasters began to tear apart the ground in front of him, but he was able to avoid most of the blasts by running in a zigzag. Just as he neared Sierra he took a blast to the back, that dropped him to the ground instantly. As he felt the severity of the damage became visible, eating through his armor and causing severe burns upon his back. If there was spinal damage he might never walk again. "Run!" he yelled to Sierra, before his head slammed into the ground, rendering him unconscious.

Far above them within the comfort of the Nerf Herder's cockpit, Zara Rodney was busily preparing herself for what could be the most difficult slicing venture of her life...even harder than what she'd done to slip information out of the Retributor. After spending more than adequate time with the young Ithorians, Zara had retreated to set up her little bat cave. As soon as an indicator popped up that her device had been placed, Zara got to work. "Hi honey!" She barged into Marcus' mission through the microphone in his helmet. "Gimme a sec." The sound of clickety clacking as Zara typed away could be heard in the background. She was focused on her job. This job now included shutting down an Imperial garrison base. It felt good to stick it to Papius for imprisoning her and her husband. "Another minute. Hang on." The tricky part was slipping in and out of a building's main computer without anyone knowing. She couldn't leave a digital footprint. Thankfully, that was something she'd become well versed in during her time as a slicer.

"I got it!" She announced to Marcus, totally unaware that her husband had been shot and now lay on the ground. He was a sitting duck. "Marcus?" He hadn't responded to her yet. She quickly gained eyes into the structure...and outside of it. She screamed when she saw that her husband had been injured. "*Marcus*!" She spotted Sierra too, who she cared a lot less about. As tears began to pool in her eyes, Zara took the controls of her husband's ship and prepared for lift off. She locked down the garrison base as much as she could by changing the codes on every door repeatedly every three minutes. As the ship took off and blasted towards Delaya, Zara feared that something terrible had happened. They'd both known that this would be a dangerous mission...would this one...this last one...take Marcus from her forever? Her hands were shaking. She quickly made a comm call to Pilaq, simply stating. "Send a stretcher and doctors to the hangar. Something's happened."

On the ground, Sierra shook her head. "No. She hasn't taught me how to use that yet." It was irresponsible for the pregnant woman to use a jetpack. This was looking to be more and more difficult. "That's not going to work then..." Sierra should have brought more people to assist them. This place was a damn ant pile of Stormtroopers. Despite the insight the droids were feeding them, it wasn't enough to make a decision. As the siren began to sound above them, Sierra realized that they had been caught. The best move was to withdraw...but Marcus opted to do something else. She didn't understand what he was up to until she saw him placing something in the service panel. It looked like his slicer wife was about to work some damage.

Clutching her weapon, Sierra watched Marcus as he darted towards her. "Hurry!!" Time was running out rapidly. Stormtroopers were spilling out into the nearby area. It seemed like they might be able to get away unscratched until the spotlights found Marcus. "*No*!" She screamed, moving towards him as he was blasted in the back. He told her to run. He'd warned her to go to the ship after five minutes. At that moment, Sierra darted forward instead of backwards. The spotlights suddenly turned off...likely thank to Zara. She bent down, grasping Marcus' limp body. She found that her problem with a lack of physical strength was coming into play again. With his armor, it was hard to hold him. She managed to get him off the ground and leaned against her when a platoon of Stormtroopers were very suddenly on her. Sierra grabbed her E-11, shooting, but it was one of Marcus' seeker droids that came to their rescue.

One flew into the platoon of Stormtrooper and detonated. Another bounded towards a tank. The third one detonated once Sierra was moving towards the hole in the fence. She groaned, bringing Marcus' body through first. She followed him, but not before she was spotted again. There was blaster fire *everywhere*. She was grazed in so many different places while trying to make it through that damn fence. She felt just like she had in the castle: panicked. Without Claudius to save her, Sierra realized that she was going to need to get them both out by herself.

Back on her feet, Sierra moved on. She was forced to return fire in order to protect both of them. It seemed like there were more enemies outside the garrison now. "Ugh!" Her hand touched with her shoulder. She could feel where she had been hit by a blaster shot, though she couldn't remotely remember it happening. "We're going home." She told his unconscious body. Another platoon of soldiers had arrived.

Zara had flew quickly to Delaya. The Nerf Herder appeared just outside the garrison. Its ramp was already spread out. Before attempting to collect Sierra and her husband, Zara pelted the Stormtroopers with the ship's guns. "*Get away from my husband*!" She yelled furiously. The ship turned around, revealing that the ramp had already lowered. "*Get in*! *Get in now*!"

Sierra was shaking. She didn't know if Marcus was going to make it through this even if she somehow survived. She had no plans other than to continue shooting until they got her. She recognized Marcus' ship as it came bounding towards their position. Sierra was breathless. She couldn't speak, totally blown away by Zara's insane action. She didn't think twice about collecting Marcus and placing him on the ramp as gently as she could manage. She climbed on after him, tumbling down to her knees as the ramp pulled itself back into the ship. She looked down at her hands. They were still shaking. Everything hurt. "Marcus..." Sierra checked his vitals. Alive, but not well. The ship flew through the air rapidly. She could feel Zara navigating the ship wildly back towards the herdship. The young slicer was able to briefly block the navigation systems of the other TIE fighters from the main computer in the garrison. It gave her the opportunity to get away. She held herself together until she had gently added the ship, then she raced to her husband's side. "No! Marcus! Hold on!" She squeezed his hand. The tears came again. "Please don't leave me! Come back to me! I *need* you!"

From his perch atop the Imperial Garrison Governor Arundel watched in fury as the pair of mercenaries made their escape. He moved from the window towards his terminal, where he quickly punched up the footage and waited it to be enhanced. When he saw the duo on the ground he became incredibly furious. "Sierra!" he snarled like an animal, before throwing his arm across his desk and sending everything upon it crashing to the ground. No one but him knew the identity of the woman wearing that armor and it would be his word against hers ... not the position he wanted to be in considering Grand Moff Praji had instructed him to maintain civility after his reprimand from the Emperor's advisor, Sate Pestage. As he looked at the wounded man and the ship that came to rescue him he knew that was the key to uncovering this mystery. He would have Sierra ... whatever it took.

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