Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:5:34) in the Essesia system: Esseles (New Calamar: Claudius Rodney's estate and The Void).
Trooper Kaiya Crion, El-Nay Darr, Grand Moff Claudius Rodney, Major Sierra Rodney, and Captain Thaddeus Updike.

The purr of Kaiya Crion could be clearly heard throughout what made up one of the training rooms at the Void. All of its various droids had been deactivated, as the room was hardly being used for its intended purpose. The small Cathar, who was a very bad influence on her boyfriend, had made an offer he couldn't refuse. The two had been spending some time together *alone* when her nose began to twitch. Her tail followed. She broke the kiss that they'd been sharing, turning her head off to the side to sniff hard. It seemed that El-Nay Darr had returned with a cornucopia of scents all over her. She even picked up the delectable Squib on her. She groaned. Then there was the noticeable scent of Kerrie Kiley. Together, both women stank like Rodney. "Murrrr... Our party just got ruined." The Cathar reported, her ears arcing downward in disappointment.

Captain Thaddeus Updike certainly enjoyed having El-Nay Darr gone from the Void, even if it was against orders. He hoped that it would take Commander Kiley a long time to track down the Mandalorian, so he could command while she was away ... but now the duo had come back and things would return to the ineffective status quo. "Don't worry, Kaiya," he told her, as he watched from Kerrie and El-Nay from across the hangar. "Those two are bound to screw up," he said, before moving his hand to gently slap at her ass. "No need to push someone off a cliff whose about to fall," he whispered in her ear, as he knew she was a bit more aggressive than he. He would but be surprised if his Cathar lover and subordinate might get impatient and take matters into her own hands.

El-Nay Darr felt safe in the confines of her Mandalorian armor. Painted orange, and slightly worn, it was a relic of a people whom the galaxy had largely forgotten since the rise of the Empire. No one, save young Callista Nilar, appreciated the color she chose, and the ridicule that came with wearing it was beginning to gnaw at her, but she would not change. Her reunion with Kerrie was short lived, and before too long she had to go attend to reports and to ready the Storm commandos and mercenaries for more missions from Inquisitor Thanor and Colonel Zevrin. As a result, El-Nay found herself alone, and surrounded by hostiles, in the inhospitable hangar of the void.

Kaiya squeaked. She turned around to face him. "Maybe a little persuasion then?" The tip of her tail brushed underneath his chin playfully. "I'm gonna go see her, kay?" The Cathar had indeed been thinking about ways to get Thaddy a promotion. If she made El-Nay go away, then Kerrie would go too. She had just witnessed it happen twice in a row. Kaiya went bounding off. She could smell blood on El-Nay. Something about the Mandalorian had changed. The way she was holding herself gave the appearance of defeat. They hadn't been able to find out what happened to El-Nay. The only thing Kaiya knew was that she was hanging around the Grand Moff's family.

She slowed upon reaching the Mandalorian. "Hiya, El-Nay. Where've you been?" Kaiya asked, her amber eyes focusing in on the woman. "Haven't seen you around lately." Her curiosity was perked. El-Nay had been in the Governor's home, but she'd also been to his ship. All the distinct scents told her exactly where El-Nay had been, but the whys were all questionable.

El-Nay barely had a chance to sit down when the unwelcome presence of Kaiya Crison appeared at her side. Even before the altercation on Delaya she had trouble with the Cathar. Beneath her helmet she was rolling her eyes, but on the outside she was attempting to maintain a brash Mandalorian persona. "I was on a mission for Si-" she began, but then caught herself, and began to scramble. "...for Major Rodney of the Imperial Security Bureau!" she declared proudly, as she puffed up her chest and placed her hand on her hips. "I would have returned sooner, but I was ... uh ... delayed by the Grand Moff himself!" she claimed, which was true from a certain point of view. But just how badly things had gone for her she would not reveal to Trooper Crion or anyone else in this base.

Meanwhile, Kaiya had decided that she was going to stay for awhile. She gracefully perched herself in the chair closest to El-Nay. Her tail slowly moved back and forth behind her. She acted surprised. Her eyes briefly widened. "Oooh! Major Rodney!" She said, pawing at her face. "That must've been *very* important!" The Grand Moff's smell was the least out of all the others. It was Sierra's scent that covered her which aligned with the story that the Mandalorian was telling. "You're lucky you got delayed! It's been hard times around here. Commander Kiley has been saying some really horrible stuff, you know? Don't you?" Kaiya's tail stopped moving and fell as she intimated concern. "I'd be *pretty* upset if I were you."

"Of course it was important. *Too* important for a mere Trooper like you," El-Nay shot back, feeling quite proud of herself. She was holding her own. Yeah ... she was going to get through this. "Wait. What? What was she saying? Tell me!" she said, taking a step towards Kaiya and puffing out her chest. She had taken the bait almost instantly ... all Kaiya had to do was reel her in. "Why would I be upset?" he asked her, before lifting her hand and poking Kaiya in the chest with her gloved index finger. "Tell me!" she demanded, as she lost all the cool she had worked hard on, and had become a mess of a Mandalorian at the mere notion of secrets being kept from her.

"Eeeee. You're right. I'm only good for the little jobs." Kaiya sighed dramatically. "I wish I got to leave the Void as often as you..." Kaiya was playing her. The Cathar's retracted claws twitched at the idea that the orange-loving El-Nay would be picked above her for special missions ... not that she wanted to work for the Governor's wife. She'd seen El-Nay get shot on live HoloNet stream. Her and Thaddy had some good laughs over it too. She watched El-Nay take her bait, instantly losing her composure as she poked the Cathar in the chest. She frowned. "Don't do that! Commander Kiley made me hold a plank for *fifteen* minutes. Can you believe that!?" She whined. "I... I don't know if I should tell you. The Commander might be mean to me..." Kaiya cowered. "Promise you won't tell her? Promise?!"

El-Nay was breathing hot air under her helmet so quickly that it threatened to fog up the T-shaped visor of her helmet. "I don't care about your planking," she said, sounding both hyper and erratic at the same time. "Tell me, Kaiya. Tell me," she pleaded, as her mind raced, trying to figure out what it possibly could be that was being hidden from her. "She won't be mean to you. I won't let her. Just tell me," she said, before taking a gasp of air. She wanted to scream beneath her helmet, but she was able to restrain herself from doing at least that much. "I promise, Kaiya. I promise. Just tell me," she pleaded, as she began to twitch wildly beneath her armor. She could not stand secrets.

She shrunk smaller and smaller into her seat like El-Nay was overpowering her. "Um. Uh. Um!" Thaddy was going to be so proud of her. She joyfully imagined what it would be like when she explained everything to him in his room later on; recounting the tale like it was a lengthy epic. "Okay!!!" Kaiya gave in. "No telling..." She took a deep breath in, then released it. "At first, she was really angry you were gone. She was calling you stupid and stuff. You know. Like always." Kaiya began explaining. "But the other day, I heard her cursing about how she wished you'd never come to the Void because you're causing her lots of trouble. She seemed really stressed and she was *super* mean that day. She said that you aren't like the other Commandos and that you shouldn't be here. That's so mean.." Kaiya looked legitimately upset. "She was so angry when she left to find you.... Do you really think she meant what she said?" Kaiya pouted.

The room began to spin beneath El-Nay's helmet. It felt like it was shrinking and about to crush her head, she brought her hands up to the side of her helmet and began to stagger back. She could not believe what Kaiya had told her ... she knew they thought she was stupid, and she knew they did not want her here ... but she never thought Kerrie was part of it. Suddenly she ripped her helmet off her head, revealing her artificially dyed blonde hair with its shaved sides that betrayed her natural color beneath. Her blue eyes went wide and she was gasping for air ... she did not know what to do, but she knew that she had to leave. She did not say a word to Kaiya, but simply stumbled away towards her ship, a broken, shriveling mess of a woman, who had failed in every attempt to live up to the reputation of her people. (d)

"El-Nay?" Kaiya had never seen El-Nay without her helmet on. At this point, she had begun to assume it was super glued on. She stared at the woman with her cat-like eyes, portraying her concern. "Are you okay..?" Kaiya saw that her words had worked. She had been watching the two of them for long enough to know how to drive a wedge between them. El-Nay's absence brought on the perfect moment of opportunity. She wondered if the woman would pass out right at her feet. Instead, she started moving towards her ship. Internally, Kaiya snickered. She had just taken care of one problem. The other problem would be resolved within a few days. She'd wait until Kerrie started making noises like she was going to leave to find her lover, and then Kaiya would strike again. Feeling confident that she had succeeded, the Cathar girl made her way back to meet up with her Captain. Her pride swelled in her chest. Finally, she was doing political good for Thaddy. He'd see a promotion in no time.

Captain Updike had watched with great apprehension as Kaiya approached El-Nay. He knew she was the Commander's favorite, and if she went too far he might not be able to spare her. But when he watched her so expertly bait El-Nay and then shatter her resolve it was a beautiful sight to behold. It took all of his strength to keep from bursting into laughter at the young Mandalorian's plight. "Well done, Kaiya," he said proudly, as she returned to his fold. It would not be long before the Commander went on another detour to recover her precious Mandalorian, which would once again place him in temporary command of the ShadowWhispers.

It was a dark and stormy night at the Rodney estate. Sierra Rodney lay in bed, snoozing away with her husband. As the doctor had instructed, she laid on her side. Only, instead of using a pillow to make herself comfortable, she was using her husband as a leg rest. Sierra had a huge, sleepy grin on her face. She was dreaming about going to Auntie Maeland with the girls. They'd walked through the gum drop forest together, in which the gum drop candies were larger than a Hutt. They rode the Tunnel of Sundae, where Ewwiekewwieikkie had lapped at the milk chocolate waters. Finally, Sierra was sinking into the most delicious bowl of pudding she'd ever had. Beside her, Ewwiekewwieikkie was eating an ice cream cone with at least twenty-two scoops piled into it. Drusilla, as normal, had such a small portion that Sierra would need a magnifying glass to determine what it was exactly. "Mmm. So yummy..." She mumbled in her sleep, scooting closer to Claudius to steal up most of the space on their bed. What a dream!

El-Nay Darr was sitting on Claudius and Sierra's balcony, out in the rain, watching them sleep. She had no place else to go. It seemed like Sierra was the one friend she had left, but her husband *hated* her. She had considered going back to Corellia ... back to her parents ... admitting defeat and becoming the good *Corellian* girl they hoped she would become. But as she stood on the balcony, drenched, she wanted to try one last time to make it as a Mandalorian. She could see Sierra turning in her sleep, muttering to herself. She wanted to tap on the glass, but if her husband saw her, he would probably have the guards execute her. And so she delicately reached forward and tapped at the glass slightly, as another bolt of lightning struck behind her, briefly illuminating her in the balcony window.

Slowly, Sierra began to stir from her slumber. She could feel her son kicking her insistently. As soon as she was awake, she realized that the wondrous pregnant food dream had made her feel *starved*. It was so late. Rain was pattering hard against the windows. She didn't want to get out of the warm bed. She tried to ignore her stomach and resume sleeping. While she didn't hear El-Nay's tap on the glass, she did spot the form of an armored figure on the balcony. Sierra's heart started pounding quickly. She reached towards her nightstand where she had been known to keep a small blaster pistol. The lightning briefly illuminated the world outside. All it took was seeing the orange briefly for Sierra to realize exactly who was at her balcony. El-Nay Darr...

Concerned, Sierra slowly rose to her feet. She was careful not to wake Claudius as she approached the balcony. She opened the door a smidge. "Meet me at the front door." She told her friend, quickly closing the door. Sierra slid into her robe before heading off on her way towards the front door. Why was El-Nay there? Kerrie had been intent on taking her back to the Void. Reaching the door, Sierra opened it up and allowed the Mandalorian into her home. "You're soaking wet.. What happened?..." The young woman was just waking up. She rubbed the sleep away from her eyes.

El-Nay used her jetpack to gently travel from the balcony to the front door, where Sierra was waiting for her. She stepped into the estate, soaking wet, and still suffering from an emotional storm that was as tumultuous as the one occurring outside. She brought her hands up to the side of her helmet, removing it from her head, and tucking it under her arm. Her face was red, and so were her eyes. Her hair was matted and her makeup was smeared. It was clear that she was crying. She had become a complete and total mess. "Am I stupid?" she asked her, barely able to keep it together now. "Tell me the truth," she pressed her, begging now. She trusted Sierra and needed her opinion.

Seeing El-Nay's face was heartbreaking. Her friend had endured so much lately. El-Nay had clearly been crying. She looked as if she was barely capable of standing on her own two feet. Sierra saw she needed a friend now more than ever, and so, she stepped towards the Mandalorian. "No, you're not stupid." Sierra answered truthfully. El-Nay was only guilty of not thinking out her actions at times. "I'm telling you the truth. You're a good person, El-Nay. I'm so glad to have a friend like you in my life." She embraced her soaked friend as best as she could in her armor. It was brief, but hopefully enough to show that Sierra was there for her. Her hand met with El-Nay's back, directing her towards the kitchen. "Come on. Tell me what happened." In the kitchen, she paused briefly to grab her a large towel from a cabinet so she could get semi-dry. Sierra turned her back on El-Nay briefly to reach a glass on a high shelf. She procured a bottle of Corellian whiskey that had lingered around the house for some time now that no one was drinking it. She poured the woman a drink, setting it down on the counter in front of her.

El-Nay reached for the glass of Corellia whiskey before continuing with the conversation. Although it was a drink that was meant to be savored, she wasted no time in downing the entire glass. She coughed as it went down, burning her throat, but she needed it. "Don't hate me, okay?" she said, as she moved to place her helmet down on the kitchen island. "...but I was talking to Trooper Crion at the void, the ... um ... Cathar from Delaya," she explained, with a cringe, remembering full well what happened between Sierra and her. "She told me that while I was helping you, Kerrie was pissed off that I left. She said I was stupid, and that I didn't belong at the Void," she said, as she began to tear up again. She brought her arm up to rub at her face, brushing away the mucus that had started to form from her blubbering. "I had no place else to go," she said, before turning her eyes towards the stairs. She *knew* what would happen if she woke the Grand Moff up.

The box of tissues was placed on the counter beside El-Nay. "Okay..." Sierra agreed blindly. She tried to avoid thinking about the Cathar who nearly killed her. As El-Nay brought her up, Sierra shivered. Remaining supportive, she attempted to shrug off her own feelings and nodded her head. "Okay.. What about her?" She listened to El-Nay explain everything. She didn't know Kerrie well enough to see that the Cathar was simply manipulating her hurt friend. All Sierra saw was El-Nay crying in her kitchen. She knew what would happen if Claudius woke up to this. There would be no explanation that Sierra could give him to calm him. He was *furious* with her after what had happened. El-Nay was coming for her looking for a place of security. There certainly was a place for her to stay within the estate, but she didn't want to cause problems with her love. Sierra nervously ran her fingers through her blonde hair. "I'm so sorry, El-Nay... I'm sorry Kerrie said those things..." She reached over, squeezing her snotty hand. "I'll... I'll have to see what I can do about you staying here..." Sierra thought of Claudius' words. Was her big heart working as disadvantage again? "I just need to know... I need to know that you are devout to my family and that you may be forced to prove yourself again. I'm trying to keep everyone safe." She moved towards the fridge where she grabbed a small packet of pudding. She had no idea what she would tell her husband.

El-Nay dropped to a knee in front of Sierra, almost on instinct, as she bowed her head in complete and utter obedience to the woman. "Vor entye," she said, speaking in her native tongue of Mando'a, which her parents had forbade her from speaking among outsiders to avoid repercussions. "You saved my life in the Alderaan system, milady. I have a debt to you that I value more than I do my life. I pledge myself to you, and your family, until the debt is repaid or I lay dead," she said to her, humbly, still keeping her eyes down towards the ground in a mark of obedience. She knew this was her last shot. Without Sierra, she was bound for Corellia and the greatest 'I told you sos' ever from her father ... if he would even speak to her.

Sierra watched her. 'Vor entye', she remembered those words. She could see El-Nay's obedience. Convincing her husband of it would be another story. Sierra believed that El-Nay would remain true to her word and that she would not suffer for being a softie. "Thank you." She whispered, having never been put in a position like this. "I will take you to the guest room and allow you to sleep here for the night at the very least. I'm not going to wake Claudius to talk to him about this. That would be a poorly executed plan." The blonde opened up her pudding. She led El-Nay up the first flight of stairs and to a room further away from the girls. She'd taken some precautions. However, the one she didn't take involved never letting El-Nay into her home.

She had not gone back to bed since El-Nay appeared. Try as she might, there was too much on Sierra's mind. By the time dawn broke, she had nothing. The storm continued on outside. She wondered if it was a reflection of how her day would run. Sierra decided buttering Claudius up would be a decent course of action, so she made him a lovely, warm breakfast, placed it on a tray, and worked her way up the stairs. She turned into their room. She wished she had returned to bed. It would have been much more comfortable there. She placed the tray on her nightstand. Creeping into bed, she nuzzled against his back affectionately to wake him. "Claudius.." She whispered, placing a kiss to the back of his neck. "Wake up, my love."

Claudius was sound asleep, dreaming of a world where Jelena was an Imperial loyalist, Drusilla gave all of her clothes to war orphans, and Ewwiekewwieikkie was on a diet ... a complete and utter fantasy world that would never come to pass. His body shook as she kissed him, immediately drawing him from his peaceful slumber. "Huh? What?" were the first words that came out of his mouth, as he started to awaken. His eyes blinked several times as he gradually regained his vision, slowly rolling over so that he could look up at his wife. "Is ... is everything alright?" he asked her, fearing the worst. Rarely did one get woken up for good news.

She sunk into the bed as the anticipation she had been feeling all night suddenly surfaced. All it took was a single question to twist Sierra's bunched up nerves. It was like she had no control, she simply began to cry. This only had to be worrisome for her husband, who was blitzed the moment he awoke. For Sierra, the combination of lack of sleep and working herself up over El-Nay while anticipating a fight with her husband had sent off an emotional chain reaction. "E-everything's alright." She stuttered in direct contradiction to her tears. Her hands desperately tried to stop anymore tears from coming, but she continued to cry.

"I didn't sleep much last night." She confessed, slowly getting around to the point of telling him there was a Mandalorian living under their roof. "I woke up in the middle of the night and El-Nay was on our balcony. I let her in downstairs. She was a mess. Apparently there's some problems between her and Kerrie. She had nowhere to go...wanted to stay here." She wasn't giving him a chance to say a word. She was working on talking herself out. "I didn't know what to do! She has a life debt to me...I think she hurt me on accident before...I gave her a room to stay the night, away from the girls." She looked up at Claudius, pouting. "And then... And then..." It seemed she was leading up to the most dramatic part of her story. "And then I dropped the last pudding. All of it. All over the floor!"

Claudius sat up in the bed when Sierra falsely claimed everything was alright. He knew she was lying, but he was not prepared for what was about to come next. He did not want his wife around that odorous Mandalorian under any circumstances, so when he learned she was in his estate he wanted to leap from the bed and fly through the roof from his rage. He wanted to say something, but she would not stop talking long enough to let him get a word in edgewise ... a sound tactic on her part. When she was finished he was so concerned about her lack of pudding that he could not be angry at her anymore. He had not said a word, but felt completely exhausted from the conversation, despite the fact that he just woke up. He raised his hands up and moved them up and down repeatedly. "Alright. Alright. I leave this to your good judgment," he said, realizing there was no reason to argue with her about anything this early in the morning. "Send the girl to get you more pudding. Take advantage of this debt," he suggested, before laying back down on the bed. He was against it, but he could not be against his wife.

An explosion was bound to happen. Sierra felt like she deserved it too. She didn't like siding against him. More than that, El-Nay wasn't worth having such a huge, gigantic fight over. Her tears continued to fall as she thought about cleaning up the spilt pudding early in the morning so that Ewwiekewwieikkie didn't lick it off the floor. That would have been *very* unsanitary. Shockingly, he didn't yell at her. He allowed her to have her way, which meant if things didn't go accordingly with El-Nay, then she would be living in the shed in the garden. He also had a good idea: send El-Nay to get her more pudding. *She had a pudding retriever*! Sierra's tears slowed. She rolled over onto her side, scooting after him until she was lying against him. Her arm wrapped around her husband, squeezing him. She nuzzled her head against him. "I love you," she whispered. She crept forward to steal a kiss from his lips. "I made you breakfast. All of your favorites." She said, attempting to lighten the mood. "...Do you have any terrible jobs I can make El-Nay do?" The hints of a smile appeared on her tear stained face.

"I love you too, Sierra," Claudius told her, as he embraced her in the predawn hours. Although he did not approve of his wife's association with El-Nay Darr, she was his wife ... not his child ... and he would have to learn to treat her as an equal and not a subordinate. It was a difficult thing for a man who was used to being in control to deal with, but for the marriage to work he would have to recondition himself. "Babysitting, I suppose. I must confess that any dressing down of El-Nay I could think of would be vastly outdone by own wicked daughter," he said, before leaning forward to press a kiss on Sierra's lips. It would not be long before he returned to his life of briefings and reports. This time alone with Sierra was the highlight of his day.

Sierra's emotions were beginning to smooth out. After she got a nap in later, she'd become a much more pleasant, emotionally stable, woman. For now, the house was quiet. She felt safe to assume that everyone was still asleep. She giggled, recalling the kind of difficult time El-Nay had last time she baby sat. At least she wouldn't need to sell her soul to Drusilla for a little bit every time she wanted to go out with her husband. She kissed him, lured by him to slowly climb over his body and settle in his lap. She sat up, as her growing stomach made it uncomfortable to lie flat on top of him anymore. Happiness broke through when she held onto their kiss. The morning time and nighttime were Sierra's favorite parts of her day. She liked waking up. She liked that her very first sight, nearly every day, was the love of her life. He was the last person she looked upon in the evening too. When the kiss broke, Sierra was smiling so wide that her dimples were visible. Her head bent down so her teeth could gently gnaw on his neck. "Doctor Bailo said I can come back to work tomorrow." She whispered to him between bites and kisses.

The moment Sierra settled in his lip Claudius accepted the fact that he would not be getting another moment's rest. "That's good news. I'll inform Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca to give you a full briefing on everything you missed," he told her, with a wink ... he could play games when he wanted to. "But seriously, it will be good to have you back," he said, as he smiled up at her. His hand moved up to the side of her head, brushing through her curly blonde locks. "It's been lonely up there without you," he confessed, as he looked up at her with love in his eyes. He was glad that the doctor had approved her for a return to duty, but he knew that he needed to cherish those times as it would not be long before she would have to go on maternity leave. Every moment they spent together now was a precious one.

She began to laugh happily. "Oooh. That's cold, Claudius. You should be nice to the person who arranges your schedule! What's this I hear? Thursday is filling up with tactical meetings!?" She couldn't help but join in with his games. Her heart skipped a beat. Claudius' sweet words made the drama of the prior night disappear entirely. During their special moments, the rest of the world ceased to exist. Her head tilted towards his hand. She greatly enjoyed the feeling of his hands in her hair. "The feeling is mutual, my love. I miss you when we're not together. I like that I can help you out in all aspects of your life, even when that means reading agricultural reports or suffering through tactical meetings with you." Maternity leave was going to be difficult for her. As soon as she was fully recovered, she'd want to bundle Bruce up and take him back to work with her. She looked down at him. "I'm so happy to have you, Claudius. Even though our lives seem to always be some amount of crazy, being with you makes it so much easier to get through it all. I'd be totally lost without you."

Before Claudius could respond he heard the unmistakable sound of Ewwiekewwieikkie getting into the spilled pudding in the kitchen. At least she was fed. "No more tactical meetings," he said, wearily, as he felt the weight of those datapads crushing his very soul. There was a part of him that considered turning over the whole war effort to his Chiss subordinate, but that would not look very good to the xenophobic officers who dominated the Empire. It was then that his alarm went off, indicating it was time to start another day. The quiet time alone with Sierra had to come to an end. It was time for him to transform into an Imperial Grand Moff, which seemed to get a little harder each day. It was only Sierra who made it bearable for him, and he was eternally grateful to have her in his life. He loved her, even if she rented out a room to an erratic Mandalorian.

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