Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Liz Dorner, Christopher Fulk, and Christopher Levy.
One year before the Battle of Yavin (34:10:10) in the Essessa system: Esseles (New Calamar: Claudius Rodney's estate).
Ishmael, Major Kerrie Kiley, and Lady Htaere Ka`a Sha`ar.

A new day brought new life to Major Kerrie Kiley. All of the fear and emotion that had affected her demeanor last night had vanished, once again replaced with the stern and proper personality that she forced upon herself when in uniform. Her mimicked Human face completed the disguise. She was a woman literally uncomfortable in her own skin. Very few people knew the real 'Kerrie,' and she intended to keep it that way. However, she had found a mutual comfort when in the presence of the Lady Htaere and she had allowed her access into her personal side that she afforded few others. Her arrival had been strategically timed to avoid catching the Admiral before he left, she was not quite ready to face him after their encounter of the night before. It was a beautiful morning and she chose to relish the feel of the late morning sun on her chameleon-like skin a bit longer than usual and awaited Htaere outside rather than proceeding inside as she normally did. Her recent trip
to her homeworld had changed her in many ways, and this was one that would be noticeable not just to her, but to Htaere as well.

A favorite spot of Htaere's amid the expansive layout of the Admiral's estate was standing in front of one of the grand windows looking out from one of the audience halls across the surrounding gardens and the land beyond. It was here that Htaere stood, several times a day to watch the roving Stormtrooper patrols, or the way the glorious warmth and brilliance of the sunlight touched the terrain. This morning was no different. Htaere wore a light pink kimono with embroidered stylized thrantas patterned across the pricey silken fabric. A very simple band of woven gold strands encircled her head, arching across her forehead so as not to interfere with the amber hued mature rainbow gem embedded there. Gathering her thoughts and composure, the youthful and naive heiress shifted from the window, gliding gracefully through the corridors and spacious halls of the estate until her soft grey pools located Kerrie in the gardens. She approached the woman quietly, her dainty bantha hide sandals making the slightest of noises across the cobblestone terrace. She took up a position behind Kerrie so as not to disturb her, pleased to see her appreciative of nature.

Kerrie turned around as she heard Htaere approach. She gave a final adjustment to the tunic of her uniform before turning around, choosing to meet the challenge of the day with a smile. "Good morning, Milady," she said cheerfully as she greeted her. "Have you made any plans for today?" she inquired, wondering what 'adventure' was in store for them.

Htaere's eyes twinkled as she regarded the Major intently. The makings of a slight smile were present, but Htaere's head shook slowly. "I have not. If you have business to tend to, I shall remain here today if you prefer."

"You are my business at all times, Milady," Kerrie said in a positive tone. "Though I must confess a quiet day inside of the compound sounds quite pleasant ... the Admiral kept me up rather late last night..." Kerrie chided herself for exposing herself like that. "...but of course you already know that," she concluded quietly.

As he had planned and hoped his shuttle arrival had gone unnoticed until now. Ishamael made his way swiftly from the landing platform knowing exactly where he was headed. Black boots hardly made a sound as he moved, all that mattered now was the Lady Htaere. Spotting her with those crystal like green eyes his swift walk brought him in her direction. The rest of his attire was of the deepest blue: pants loose enough not to hinder him, a long sleeve shirt tight enough to hint at the muscles underneath but not show them off and finally a cape which billowed out behind him from his swift movements. Long black hair, which fell to his shoulder seemed to glisten in the morning light. A look of concentration was in his eyes but a pleasant smiled rested on his lips as he came to a halt a few feet from the lady and bent him self in a deep bow of respect before rising again to his full height. "Milady...I am Ishamael. Forgive my intrusion, however your mother has sent me to make sure another misfortune fortune does not fall upon you."

Htaere's focus snapped to the newcomer, eyes narrowed ever so slightly, the look of discontent growing over her attractive face. "My mother?" she repeated, a slight tone of agitation in her voice. Htaere let it stew in her mind for a handful of heartbeats before recollecting herself. "I have assured her that my Imperial guard is quite capable of the task at hand." Htaere's gaze panned towards Kerrie. "You knew about this?" The look on her face was one of near betrayal.

Kerrie certainly did not see a move like this coming. Her mouth hung ajar in both shock and confusion. Her face turned immediately to stare at the newly arrived Hapan guard, attempting to size up her new found competition. However, she was so taken aback by this that she was really in no position to make an assessment. Her attention then quickly shifted to Htaere, whose words she had barely understood. Her head shook slightly and she began to snap out of it. The 'oh no you didn't!' expression gone from her face, she took a step back and addressed her charge. "No Milady," she began quietly, obviously upset, "This...this is the first I've heard of this. I had no idea." She quickly pursed her lips and decided it best to just sit back and determine all of the facts before getting too worked up.

Eyes glancing toward the other woman, he assumed this was the Imperial guard he was told about. He spoke to the Lady Htaere, keeping his voice respectful, "Milady, your mother considered what you said but decided that not enough was being done to keep you safe. Surely you can understand her concern..."

Htaere inhaled steeply, unhappy with the arrangement to say the least. She vaguely contemplated how offended the Admiral could potentially be, but hoped that no 'discussion' would take place between he and her mother regarding Ishamael's presence. With the utmost respect to her fiancée...he would lose the battle. "I shall speak to her myself. In the meantime, may we offer you some refreshments?" Htaere revisited the role trained into her from birth, the etiquette-minded trophy piece, all perfect and unwavering.

The initial feeling of being insulted began to fade from Kerrie's mind, soon replaced by a feeling of failure. "Maybe Htaere's mother is right," she thought to herself. Despite her best efforts, and nearly fatal ones at that, the Rebellion had come very close to Htaere ... perhaps too close. Hoping to go unnoticed, Kerrie closed her eyes and exhaled deeply, putting aside her pety concerns to focus on the needs of Htaere. Kerrie clapped two gloved hands together in a commanding gesture. The nearby staff hurried to and fro busying themselves to prepare an assortment of beverages and finger foods appropriate for this time of day. It was no long before the serving table in the garden was adorned with a variety of refreshments and delectable foods. Once completed, Kerrie bowed obediently to Htaere, feeling the need to make herself seem useful more than ever.

He noticed the Lady's reaction to his arrival along with the news he had brought. He expected that she would be upset her mother in fact had informed him of it. Surprise took him for an instant at her change when she offered him the drinks. The smile was still resting on his lips as he took all of this in. "That would be wonderful, Milady. I had a long trip from the consortium." Turning his attention to the other woman he lowered his torso in a slight bow, nothing as deep as he had given Htaere but still a respectful gesture. "We have not been introduced formally. I am Ishamael."

Htaere motioned to Kerrie. "Please forgive my lapse in protocol. This is Major Kiley. She oversees my personal security" Htaere took the initiative of introducing the two. "Perhaps she can assist you in familiarizing yourself with procedures."

Kerrie arched her right eyebrow at the Hapan male, not quite sure what to make of him. Handsome for sure, but was there substance to go along with this style? Only time would tell. Despite her hurt feelings, she could not allow herself to embarrass Htaere. The same polite, courteous smile that was often forced upon her mimicked Human visage soon appeared. "A please," she said diplomatically, forcing down the resentment, "I am at your disposal to provide you with whatever information you require to perform your..." she paused for a moment, struggling with the final word, "task."

"This must come as a shock to you Major, but please it is not meant as an insult. The most important thing is the Lady Htaere's safety there is no shame in taking on help." All said with that smile still resting on his lips. He hardly noticed the somewhat buried insult that he had made. The Lady's mother was not pleased not pleased at all at the level of protection her daughter was given. But there was no need to inform the Major of that. After speaking he took a few steps toward the food and drinks eyes glancing over the selections deciding what to choose.

Htaere recognized that tell-tale Hapan arrogance in Ishamael. She observed both he and the major casually, contemplating the tension between the two, and who would come out on top. Kerrie looked about ready to come to blows as it was. Htaere made a mental note to make time to speak with her in private and attempt to smooth things over. She exhaled deeply. "If the two of you will excuse me, I must attempt to reach my mother" she announced to them both, almost as a warning for each party behave his and herself respectively before turning to hasten back into the estate.

Kerrie nodded politely to Htaere before tightening her body in a rigid fashion and standing guard, taking seriously the task of guarding the tray of 'nerfs-in-a-blanket' that were displayed in front of her. Never one to back away from a competition, she would choose to deal with the individual like she had done so many before. She knew, deep down, that was more than capable of the task ... despite what certain Hapans might think.

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