The former Alderaan Guard Yekaterina Hanson sat
silently outside of the quarters that had been assigned
to the Lady Jelena Rodney. The thirty-something woman
had never been in such an unpleasant environment as she
found herself in now. Her brown eyes scanned her tight
surroundings, and as the barely functioning overhead
light flickered in and out she felt the walls slowly
begin to close in on her. She took a nervous, but much
needed, drag on her cigarra as she tried to steady
herself against the harshness of her environ. She had
been trained to endure a lot during her decade of
service to the Guard, but her claustrophobia was
something no amount of training could simply make
disappear. Her brown nearly was carefully cut short in
the manner of a pixie from a child's fable, as to be the
least intrusive if she found herself in a combat
situation ... as was likely. Gone was the decorative
uniform of the Alderaan Guard ... a service to a planet
that no longer existed ... replaced instead with black
utilitarian ... decidedly unfeminine ... clothing that
was designed to make her blend in. She was there for one
purpose ... to defend the noblewoman in her charge ...
and she was prepared to sacrifice her life for hers.
Behind her the near constant sound of the young Jelena
complaining to herself so loudly and unladylike that it
carried through the blast door that separated them.
In a clean pair of cargo pants, white tank and her
boots, Parka picked her way to the lower level where
Derek instructed their 'guest' was being housed. Down
the length of the corridor she spotted a woman,
presumably the bodyguard. She looked unhappy. A smile
touched Parka's lips as she approached. "You look
entirely too thrilled to be here. Need to reel that in,
Despite her training and experience, the
unfamiliarity with her surroundings and inadequate
lighting conditions combined with her distracted state
to allow Parka to get the drop on her. Initially
startled, the cigarra quickly fell to the ground, as she
rose up to a more rigid and military posture while
simultaneously stepping to the right to completely bar
access to the door behind her. Instinctively, as if a
reflex, her right hand hovered over her holstered
sidearm as she had yet to be briefed on who was who
around here. "Please identify yourself," she said, in a
robotic, yet slightly hostile tone as her brown eyes
narrowed slightly in a interrogative glare at the
Parka noted the dropped cigarra. "Those'll kill you,
ya know...if the tetanus in this place doesn't," she
chuckled. "I was Jelena's contact prior," she nodded to
the door. "Tell her I'm here to sell her a vacuum droid
and see what she says."
"I don't think I'll live long enough to worry about
that," Kat morbidly, and perhaps accurately, was quick
to point out. "Do you have identification?" she asked,
tilting her head slightly as she attempted to study her
mannerisms and facial features. During her service in
the Alderaan Guard she had accompanied the late Senator
Organa on numerous affairs of state that were often
filled with mischievous beings whose dishonesty she paid
close heed to.
She had not been briefed on a prior contact, nor was
she informed to expect any visitors. Still, since
beginning this assignment there were few formal
briefings and it was possible this woman was telling the
truth. However, her guard was up, and she had yet to
properly identify herself.
"Not at all," Parka grinned without missing a beat.
"Seriously, tell her there's someone here to sell her a
vacuum droid. Go ahead. I'll wait," Parka shrugged,
backing off and leaning against the corridor wall
"One moment," a frustrated Kat bellowed, before
raising her left arm to bring the wrist comlink up to
just below her mouth. While never taking her eyes off
the woman she politely spoke into the comm in a manner
much different than she had used when speaking to Parka.
"Milady ... there is a woman here to sell you a ...
vacuum droid," she said somewhat skeptically, waiting
for a reply. Just the utterance of the phrase made her
Inside the small room that had been assigned to her,
Jelena was laying on a small, uncomfortable cot, trying
to count the number of holes in the ceiling. She felt
like she was in prison, and by far this was the worst
conditions she had ever been subjected to. When she
reluctantly agreed to go back to the Ringali Shell to
aide in the propaganda effort this was not what she had
expected. She had just started and she had nearly been
broken ... she was ready to quit and flee to her
grandparents and spend the rest of her days hiding out
on Delaya. When she heard the message from her protector
her mind immediately made the connection. "Parka!" she
exclaimed, somewhat excitedly, at the thought of having
someone to talk to besides her maudlin bodyguard. "Send
her in at once!" she demanded, jumping off her cot, and
moving towards the blast door to hurriedly activate the
controls to open the door. Upon seeing her a bright
smile came upon her disheveled features ... the first
one since arriving on the dreary station.
Parka grinned and lightly prodded in mock scolding.
"I hear you've been a very busy little bee." She
straightened from the wall. "You look like you need a
drink." She looked the young woman over briefly and
noted her visibly poor adjustment to rebellion
accommodations. "I've actually been in places worse than
this if you can imagine. Feel like some company?"
"If I had known this would be the result of it ... I
wouldn't have done it!" Jelena exclaimed, as she stepped
backwards into her 'room' and extended both of her arms
wide, which very nearly touched both walls
simultaneously. "Aboard the Warspite I had closets
bigger than this. I sometimes wonder if I'm in an ISB
holding cell..." she continued, speaking rapidly as she
rattled off a list of complaints that many would
consider core world problems. "I thank you ... but no
... no drink ... I will not become my father's
daughter," she said bitterly, fully aware of the
alcoholic streak that ran through her bloodline and the
negative affects it had on her father and those around
him. "But yes ... I would simply adore some company,"
she said, with a smile, as she haphazardly sat down upon
the bed, causing a loud, grating sound of metal creaking
as the small cot nearly gave way.
"Good answer cuz there's probably none on this rock,"
Parka noted matter-of-factly. She seated herself against
the wall and hiked one knee up to rest an elbow on. For
the first time, she seemed a bit serious.
"Unfortunately, this is pretty much how the rebellion
operates, bare minimum with whatever resources can be
dug up. Definitely not luxury but...a little sacrifice
for a greater cause." It was odd to Parka that she'd be
the pep squad given her history of haphazard attitude
towards all this. Strange how war changed people. "Soooooo...what
was the last straw?"
Jelena let out an exasperated sigh that seemed to
draw on endlessly, and when finished her demure body
slumped backwards so that she was laying against the
bulkhead. "It was Alderaan. It was my father's refusal
to accept that his Empire was beyond it. It was his
drunkenness and the way he took it out on others. It was
the dissolution of the Senate. It was his new super
ship..." she listed, in no particular order, going on
and on and on about the series of events that had to her
life altering course of action. "But most of all I could
not stand myself anymore. The hypocrisy of going through
the motions each day. Pretending to be what I was not. A
slave to a life that was not my own..." she said,
bitterly, as she quickly bit down upon her lower lip to
stifle the imminent and inevitable arrival of tears.
"Never too late to do something. I'd wager there are
many folks who'd love to be sitting in here instead of
their ISB cell, like your stepmother. Best you can do
for those people is help to topple the Empire." Parka
paused a moment. "I can't say it was a surprise, just a
matter of time. But I hear you broadcasted a big ol'
message throughout the shell. That was big of you. I'm
impressed," Parka perked up. "How'd you pull that off?"
"My father's sentimentality made his access code
rather easy to obtain. His terminal had access to
override the local holonet for emergency and propaganda
broadcasts. It was a lot less complicated than it should
have been. I simply needed to wait for him to leave,"
Jelena said, rather plainly, detailing the simplicity of
her plot and how she single-handedly upended a year of
Imperial propaganda efforts in the region. "As for
Htaere ... she is hopelessly naive. I tried to speak
with her, but she believes my father's shameful lies
that the Rebellion destroyed Alderaan ... despite all
that her husband's cronies have subjected her to. I pity
the creature," she said, quite contemptuously as she
dismissed her step-mother utterly.
"Did Kerrie survive?" Parka asked openly. On some
level, she hoped she had, for reasons she couldn't
explain given how difficult Kerrie had made her life.
"I certainly hope not," Jelena stated bitterly,
without a single ounce of remorse in her young voice.
"That ... creature ... was the worst being I have
encountered. Fanatically obsessed with my father despite
all of the crimes he perpetrated against her. Foolishly
believe that she was somehow part of our family," she
explained, in a decidedly different demeanor than she
had expressed prior to her defection. It had changed her
in many ways ... some negatively. "I would never have a
moment's peace with her out there hunting me," she
reasoned, nodding her head firmly, before tilting her
head to examine Parka with her big blue eyes in hopes of
some form of validation.
Parka let her vent for a moment before saying
anything. "Hindsight affords us better vision, but we
don't know that until we move forward, else it's just
the present," she commented. "Maybe with a bit of time,
things will settle." Parka thought on it. "You know, you
don't have to stay. We can find a way to get you out of
the system and perhaps into hiding since the Empire will
be looking for you, but you don't *have* to remain with
the rebellion. If we forced that, we'd be no different
than the Empire. Just something to consider."
In bitter frustration, Jelena slammed the back of her
head against the bulkhead, trying to snap some sense
into herself. "No ... I promised my grandparents. I
promised Leia..." she said, rolling her eyes skyward
once again to took at the dimly lit ceiling. "I owe it
to my people. I owe it to myself ... to continue on the
path I started ... no matter how uncomfortable the road
might be," she said, with slight confidence, as she
began to fill into her adult self and come into her own.
"Have you been doing any active campaigns or just
sitting in here?" Parka asked shifting to her feet and
brushing her backside off.
"Just sitting in here," Jelena admitted with some
frustration, as she again eyeballed the tiny
closet-sized room that had become her home. "My ...
protector ... out there is terrified to let me down on
the surface of any of these worlds for fear of what the
Empire might do to capture me. Perhaps she's right..."
she said with an air of trepidation, knowing full well
her father's desire to get her back ... regardless of
the cost. Still, she had a strong desire to do something
besides sit there.
"Well I'd highly recommend offering to be of some
use. There's a risk with action from here on out.
There's an ancient warring culture from my studies that
used to believe that your path is laid out as is your
life, like a great tapestry. When it's your time, it's
your time. Doesn't matter if you're on the battlefield
or hiding in a hole. The outcome is still the same,"
Parka nodded before turning towards the door. "They've
always got projects for me to do. I'm sure you could ask
about coming along unless the higher command has bigger
plans, but Force knows we could always use another set
"I haven't met too many people since arriving here.
Truthfully, I don't even know who to ask," Jelena
observed, before leaning forward to confirm that the
blast door was secured. "...and she ... she's no help
whatsoever. She's as lost as I am here," she complained,
yet again, as it seemed she had found a fault in just
about everything. "What about your boyfriend?" she
asked, somewhat playfully, in a reminder that at heart
she very much was still a teenage girl. A soft smile
formed upon her face, quickly followed by a snicker, as
a dash of color rushed upon her cheeks. It was the first
time she had found herself laughing since this entire
ordeal had begun.
Parka arched a brow and glanced towards the young
woman. "Boyfriend? Oh, you mean Derek." She waved a
hand. "It's not really like that. We just go back a
while is all," she assured her. "But ironically, he
might be the best person to ask as I understand he's
been left in charge of this circus. Never hurts to try."
Jelena took a deep breath, before bringing a hand
quickly up to her face to cover her nose as a nauseated
look came upon her face. "It certainly smells like a
circus..." she commented, disgustedly, as she wondered
when the last time a cleaning crew went through this
place. "You think he can get me out of this place?
Perhaps somewhere with breathable air?" she asked, her
blue eyes widening with the hopeful optimism seemingly
possessed only by youth.
Parka shrugged. "Well that depends. If you want to
stay in service to the rebellion, you may find yourself
based out of various dives and holes. Locations subject
to change without notice," she threw in for good
measure. "If the rebellion has a few timeshares on
beachfront property, I'm not aware of it. So I guess
that's the first thing you have to figure out is what
you really want to do."
"No one needed to bring freedom to the Gold Beaches
of Corellia?" Jelena asked, with a slight smirk, before
raising herself up from her bunk and reaching towards
the low ceiling in a stretch. "I've already said I'm
staying. I'll try harder to deal with ... this," she
said, as she spun around the small room, covering all of
the square meters in relative ease. "I'll try and get
some sleep, and then I'll go find your 'friend'," she
informed her with a reassuring nod, before activating
the door codes. "By the look of him he knows where the
good food is around here," she said, followed by
unrestrained laughter, after the joke she could not stop
herself from making.
Parka chuckled. "Yeah he's something," she agreed.
"When you're ready, come find me. We'll go from there."