Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Liz Dorner and Christopher Levy.
Zero year before the Battle of Yavin (35:1:27) in the Alderaan system: Alderaan (Aldera: Royal Palace and Spaceport) and Gilded Thranta.
Commander Derek Atio, Viceroy Bail Prestor Organa, and Parka Pepper.

Derek emerged from the meeting with Bail Organa having more questions than answers. Why would the Alderaanians deliberately withhold information about the origin of the disk from Alliance High Command? The lack of information was frustrating the aging spacer to the point where he just wanted to admit failure and head to the local Cantina with Parka for a few drinks, but he was now much too curious. He shifted uncomfortably as he adjusted the Royal Alderaan Civil Fleet uniform he was forced to wear, which was now several sizes too small for him since he'd last worn it during the Clone Wars. As they emerged from the Palace complex and felt they were away from prying ears and any surveillance devices he moved towards the nearest bench to sit down and plot their next move. "At least the sun is shining," he said to her, always the optimist.

Parka was seated, legs crossed, picking at her nails and looking less then enthused. "In other words, you failed" she mused dryly. "So now what, fearless leader?" she asked, her usual flare for sarcasm and snobbery evident. "Has yet another dead end convinced you yet that this is the rebellion's problem...not ours..." she paused, if only momentarily, "...or at least, not mine."

Derek rolled his eyes at her comment, letting out a soft laugh. "I've only failed because of unforeseen obstacles," he explained, trying to make excuses as he unbuttoned his collar. "Parka ... both of us almost died because of this disk. Aren't you even the least bit curious what the full story is?" he asked, genuinely sincere in his desire to find out what was going on. "Something is going on here. High Command wants us to find out and I want to find out for myself. I like to know what it is I almost die for," he explained to her as his voice grew louder and more emphatic.

"Statistically we can almost die every time we get into a ship, or speeder, or walk across the street..." she replied casually. Surprisingly, she abandoned her characteristic sass at that, letting it grow quiet for a moment. "What are you concocting in that brain of yours?" She still kept her eyes on her fingernails, fretting over them haphazardly with partial interest.

Derek looked over his shoulder before continuing. What he was about to discuss would put them both in a great deal of danger and he needed to be sure no one could eavesdrop. Convinced it was safe, he leaned in towards her, speaking quietly into her ear, "How about we put your skills to use for once? My mouth isn't getting us anywhere. You can break into the Aldera Royal Palace at night and access his records. Find out his last assignment before he was killed." He was not sure she would go for it, but they were out of options.

"For once?!" Parka looked aghast. She dismissed it. "Your mouth rarely lands you in bed with the company you keep" she retorted. "Do we even *know* who this individual is? Is this really feasible or is this something you thought up staring at the wall of the refresher stall while taking a shit?"

"I only stare at the wall because I keep an image of you in there," Derek was quick to retort, his face reddening slightly. "Lovely language by the way. Fits right in with the whole trying to fit in on this peaceful, academic planet," he explained to her as he rolled his eyes. "We know what he looks like. We have his name. We know that he was in the Alderaan Guard. I just need you to access their records to find out where he went before he was killed," he explained as he once again leaned in to discuss it more subtly.

"Fine. When are we planning this little 'conjugal visit'?" she asked, leaning back slightly.

"Over night," Derek explained as he made himself a bit more comfortable. "They only keep a handful of people around at night and the records section should be completely deserted. You shouldn't have any trouble getting in or out," he explained to her reassuringly as he got up off the bench and started walking. "We've got a few hours. How about a drink?" he asked as he turned to look over his shoulder.

"Now that's the smartest thing you've said all day" Parka actually stretched into a smiling lady, if only for a moment. She got to her feet, brushed out her skirt and motioned down the street. "Ladies first."

Night descended on the peaceful city of Aldera, one of the glistening jewels in the Galactic Core. The shimmering buildings unique architecture, envisioned to blend in with nature, a mountain range serving as a brilliant backdrop. As Derek repelled down the side of Aldera Royal Palace, part of him doubted his reasons for doing this. Yes, he had orders from high command to locate the source of Parka's mysterious datadisk, but breaking into an Alderaanian government office seemed to go against the spirit of the mission. His hand gripped the rope as he repelled several stories down to the level that housed the records. As he arrived, he looked up towards Parka, knowing this was more suited towards her unique set of skills.

Parka was in some black skin tight leather suit that covered her from neck to toe, the shine on it looking liquid and glossy. Drawing to a halt, she hung there, plucking pieces off of a tool belt and putting them together sharply. In short order she was working on the glass, tracing a large circular shape in it and plucking the designated pane from the once-solid piece. Hanging the rogue piece on a suction cup attached to an adjacent window. "Knock knock" she said eagerly and nudged herself into the hole, unsnapping the carabineer clips as she went to let herself down.

"That was quick..." Derek muttered, impressed by the skill with which she was able to enter the facility. He wondered if it would be that easy to access the encrypted information in the database. Being considerably larger than Parka, it was a difficult task for him to merely nudge himself into the hole. "Ugh..." he grunted as he was momentarily stuck before forcing himself through the hole. "I need to go on a diet..." he commented as he finally dropped to the ground inside the building, moving down the unlit corridor towards the room that housed the databanks.

"Probably a good idea" she added, following suite and glancing around curiously. "You have the layout here correct?"

"I served here during the Clone Wars," Derek said confidently as he came to a stop in front of the door. "I know the layout like the back of my hand," he said to her with a sly grin, as he opened the door for her. As he opened the door he revealed a small janitorial closet, fully stocked with all the necessary cleaning supplies.

Parka's expression flinched into a delightful smirk. "Oh look. They were nice enough to keep all your stuff."

"Huh?" Derek said as he raised an eyebrow to her, before he turned around to spot the janitorial closet. A look of confusion and dismay came upon his face as he quickly closed the door and shrugged to her. "They must have remodeled the place..." he awkwardly covered, moving further down the corridor towards more familiar territory. It was only a matter of time before he found the right room and an hour and twenty-seven minutes later they had arrived at the appropriate room.

"Finally..." she murmured, looking about and dropping down into one of the chairs in front of a terminal. "Not that I didn't enjoy the scenic tour or anything" she added. "So...did you also keep all the little codes and such to get in here?"

"You're the master thief..." Derek pointed out as he stood guard at the door, peering down the hallway. His hand was at his side, fingers hovering over QuickSnap 36T blaster carbine should a security guard pass by. "Slice the system..." he instructed her, flashing a quick look over towards Parka and the computer terminal, before resuming his guard.

"Oh fine...up to me to save the day" she heaved an exasperated sigh for extra effect. From her tool belt she plucked a small metallic cube looking thing with a long cylindrical shaft on one side. Glancing around the sides of the bulkhead she found the astromech terminal and inserted the shaft into it. "Don't get all excited now" she called over her shoulder to her cohort, resisting the urge to grin. Instantly the cube flashed to life, two lights on the front of it springing to life. It warbled in a tiny little voice It's voice programming mimicked her own in tone and pitch --Heeeeeeeeey.-- Parka smiled and answered back. "Heeeeeeeey. Need some help here." The lights, or 'eyes' on the little cube flickered --Oh goody! Do tell!-- Parka gazed at a screen with a login window on it. "I want in. Make yourself at home in there and look for the classified juicy stuff that's all closed up. I need to know about a disk that was given to me by an Alderaanian Guard. Keyword search" she continued. --I'm all over it!-- the tiny hacker droid answered. Parka threw a glance over her shoulder. "How's the view back there?"

Derek turned to her, watching her progress intently out of the corner of his eyes. There was no activity in the corridor and things seemed to be progressing easier than he thought. In the back of his mind it did not feel right and he became uneasy. "The view is fine," he said abruptly, no longer in a mood for any small talk as the hairs began to stick up on the back of his neck. "Let's get the data and get out of here," he said to her as he turned around to peer through the doorway once again.

"How's it coming...time is of the essence" Parka prodded the tiny droid. --Don't interrupt my genius. I'm working on it-- came the answer. "Save the files and make it snappy" Parka urged. The handful of seconds seemed like a small eternity before the droid finally beeped a finally. --All done, and juicy indeeeeeeed!-- Parka ejected the little droid and spun up to her feet, already moving towards the door. She nodded at Derek. "We're outies."

Suddenly the lights to the dark room went on, revealing an entire squad of Alderaan Guardsmen have surrounded them, their weapons drawn and already aimed at Derek and Parka. "Freeze," one of the Guards yelled as he took a menacing step towards Derek.

"Ugh," Derek bitterly sighed as he realized he had walked directly into a trap. Looking towards Parka with a coy smile he rolled his eyes and raised his hands high into the air. "Well I was looking out the door. Not in here," he embarrassingly confessed to her as he walked towards the center of the room, folding his hands behind his head.

Parka's hands raised as well. She had been in situations like this before. It was an old hat, and usually presented various opportunities for escape as long as one was patient enough to wait for the right moment. "No worries."

From between two of the guards, Viceroy Bail Organa stepped forward, shaking his head grimly at his old friend Derek. "I should have known when you came asking about that disk you would not simply leave without an answer," he admitted as he signaled for the guards to lower the weapons. "What are we going to do with you?" he asked as he walked in a circle around them. "Can't kill you. We need you to command that ship..." he said to him, obviously joking with no malice intended.

Parka's eyes narrowed slightly, studying the strange dynamic taking place. At the next available opportunity, she would have to divulge Derek with many questions, but for now, most important factor was outcome, and that seemed to be dangling precariously. "He really is a pain in the ass, isn't he?" she let a wry grin curl her lips as she looked to the new pompous addition to the room.

"I am starting to approve of the company you keep, Derek," Bail said with a reassuring smile as he placed a supporting hand upon his shoulder. His attention shifting from him to the beautiful young woman. "I understand it is you we have to thank with safeguarding that data and delivering it to us," he said in an appreciative tone as he moved towards her. "It was a good man who died trying to get that to us," he said as the mood became somber, reflecting on the death of his friend. "...but of course you know that now..." he added as his eyes descended towards the disk.

"I'm no one of consequence and certainly not a hero. You were just lucky that I was sober enough not to drop the disk and puke on it" she retorted grinning. "So am I to understand that you sent break in and steal information...from smuggle to you?" she was failing to find the amusement in what surely must have been a joke. At least her perception was as such.

With no sense of modesty, Bail reached down and retrieved the datadisk with the information she had received from slicing their mainframe. Unceremoniously, he dropped it to the ground in front of them and with a *crunch* his booted foot smashed down upon it, shattering it to smithereens.

"Ah..." Derek cried helplessly as he watched the sight unfold. Lowering his head dejectedly. "Do you have any idea what we went through to get that?" he asked, becoming quite annoyed as he finally lowered his hands. "All of the worlds we've been to. All of the digging we've had to do..." he complained, his voice growing louder as only could happen between old colleagues. "...and then you just step on it?" he said as he fell to the ground and began to pick up each of the shattered pieces, a tear nearly forming in his eye.

"I'm going to have to bill you for that" Parka groaned sarcastically. She shifted her weight, folding her arms over her chest. "Should we show ourselves to the door? We wouldn't want to wear our welcome now, would we honey" she said evenly as her glower fell over towards Derek, turning into a tight-lipped grin.

"Wait," Bail said to Parka, ignoring the pathetic display being put on by Derek at the moment. "You have shown both skill and daring," he pointed out, genuinely impressed with her abilities. "...and most importantly you have shown the ability to survive," he continued as he took a moment to actually step over Derek to move closer to Parka. "Join us. Serve the Alliance and make a difference in the galaxy," he said, pleading with her.

"Ah yes of course. I had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of some friends of yours. Such charming folks" she replied acrimoniously. "I'm sure the old fart and the Hapan would send their best" her eyes rolled.

"I think I might be able to put this back together," Derek said cheerfully as he started to stand up, a thousand different pieces of the datadisk unceremoniously spread throughout his open palms.

Bail rolled his eyes to Derek before moving closer towards Parka. "I have met the jackal that hunts you," he said referring to Major Kiley. "The life you had before all this is over," he explained, his voice remaining steady and concerned. "Work with us and we can help make the galaxy what it used to be so we can all get back to our lives," he implored of her, placing a steady hand upon her young shoulder.

Parka fired back with an equally measured stare, lingering and intense. She regarded him and the whole lunacy that had transpired to land her where she was. And that was most assuredly a crossroads. "So how are the health benefits? Do they include dental and vision?"

"Then you'll do it?" Bail asked, a warm and genuine smile forming upon his middle-aged face as he waited for her reply.

"Well all right, but either party has the right to terminate employment without notice at any given time during the probationary period" she quipped sardonically. She threw a glance to Derek who was still carrying on like a child about the disk. "And who could even blame you. Just look at that specimen" she motioned towards him. " Who wouldn't want us on their team?"

"He is harmless," Bail responded as he took his hand and shook Derek's arm, causing the pieces of the datadisk to sprinkle down towards the floor like snowflakes. "Had you been able to read the disk," Bail explained as he turned to them, ending the cloak-and-dagger part of their conversation, "It would have told you the man you were looking for was Captain Cade Forst of the Alderaan Guard. He was a good friend and served my family for many years. We miss him greatly." His head lowered slightly in remembrance before returning to the business as hand. "He was serving as an intermediary between our agent in Admiral Rodney's squadron and the Alliance. He was killed trying to deliver the disk to us on Alderaan," he explained, recapping the events that brought them to his point. "...but fortunately for us, you found the disk and got it into our hands." He said with a smile, nodding his head respectfully, "...and here you are."

"And here we are," Derek repeated as he moved towards Parka, standing beside her as he took a confrontational posture towards the Viceroy. "Why didn't you just tell me this when we met earlier?" he asked, honestly feeling slightly betrayed by what had transpired.

"Oh 'cause this was much more fun" Parka said. She looked at Rebel leader, recalling the man she had obtained the disk from, in reverence of the memory of his friend. "I am sorry for your loss."

"Thank you," Bail said quietly to Parka as he nodded to her, turning his attention to Derek. "I could not tell you, my friend, because I had to safeguard what is most precious to me," he explained as he took a step towards them. He raised his hand and the members of the Alderaan Guard filed out of the room, leaving them alone. "My daughter is the link between the source in Rodney's forces and the Rebellion," he explained as his eyes shifted from Derek and Parka. "...and I just did not know whether or not I could trust her, but now I do," he concluded as he offered up a smile.

"Let me guess...the Hapan..." she smirked, shaking her head.

"No," Bail said quietly as he uttered a small laugh. "Sweet woman, but from my brief time with her I doubt she is even aware that there is a Rebellion," he pointed out to Parka, wondering what his friend Claudius had gotten himself into. "Our source is the Admiral's eldest daughter, Jelena, who is my daughter's oldest and dearest friend," he informed them, letting the final shroud of mystery fall on the puzzle they were sent out to solve.

Parka was floored. She stared open mouthed. "The Admiral's daughter?" she repeated, simply stunned. "The Admiral's daughter?" She was reveling in it, and a laugh actually escaped her lips wholeheartedly. "Oh my, I think this deserves a drink. You sir!..." she pointed to Bail, "...deserve a drink. You have engineered a cruel irony that is worthy of celebration. Oh what the hell, I'll join your rebellion. This is better then cheesy holovid dramas. I've got to stay on to see what happens."

Bail did not see the humor in the situation. He had stood up for the young girl when she was entered into society and her very actions had jeopardized not only her life, but the life of her family. "The situation has changed," he explained to them, his voice growing forlorn. "A week ago there was an assassination attempt on the Admiral and his wife," he revealed, his voice growing uneasy. "It was made to appear as if we were the ones behind the bombing," he explained, his voice growing angry. "But I can assure you ... we were not," he was a gentlemen and while others in the Rebellion might have resorted to such tactics, he did not. "I believe it was the Empire behind the attack and that the Rodney's have fallen under suspicion because of the actions Jelena has undertaken," he continued, expanding on his theory, "I need someone I have the utmost confidence in to relay information from her, and possibly rescue her, now that Captain Frost is dead." He turned to Parka, his face growing deathly serious to match his tone voice, "That someone is going to be you."

Parka's mouth dropped. "Oh damn...I'm starting out with a hard one. Is this part of the hazing process? Lucky me. Where do I sign?"

"You may be the only thing standing between this young girl and death," Bail said to Parka, making it clear to her in no uncertain terms exactly what was at stake. "Derek," he began, his attention shifting to the commander. Time was of the essence now. The sun was rising and this complex would soon be filling with personnel. "You will return to Yavin 4 and inform the commanders there that it was a dead end," he ordered, ultimately being his superior. "Then you will take her to Malastare where she will make contact. You have the shuttle with the Alderaanian transponder," he said, his voice sounding hurried as he began to move towards the exit. "I am counting on you both to do your utmost in the dark days ahead," he said, offering a proper bow, before he moved out of the room and disappeared.

Derek barely had a chance to say goodbye to Bail before he was left alone with Parka in the computer room. "I've got a bad feeling about this..." he warned her as he began to walk down the corridor. "You think they'd mind if we exited the front door?" he thought aloud. "I'd hate to have to squeeze through that glass and climb back up the building..." he added with a soft laugh.

"Umm...right." Parka took a deep breath and glanced over at him. "Let the intrigue commence..." and with that strode towards the exit as well.

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