Era of Rebellion - Navigation

D. Wade Hyde and Christopher Levy.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:8:31) in the Brentaal system: Brentaal IV (Cormond: Spaceport and Trade Hall) and Death Blow.
El-Nay Darr and Tycho Starlight.

Pain. Pain was the first sensation that El-Nay Darr experienced as she awoke from her drunken state in an unfamiliar location. Her head was throbbing with an unbelievably fierce headache, and her mouth was bone dry. She was still wearing her Corellian spacer attire, which betrayed her fierce Mandalorian fantasy and revealed her true upbringing. As she looked around she wondered where she was, and she had no idea how she had gotten there. She fumbled around, looking for any kind of light source, as she rose from the bunk she was in. "Wha..?" she asked herself, raising her hand to rub at the bridge of the nose. She wanted to yell out, but she did not know who might be around, and did her best to move about stealthily. As she crept through the small ship, she banged her knee into a crate which caused pain to radiate throughout her entire body. "Ow! Fuck!" She screamed, betraying her presence, and giving away her location.

Tycho wasn't paying attention to any heightened senses or anything, so he didn't notice she was awake until he heard her cry of pain. He put his book down, rose, and headed down the hall to meet her there. "Good afternoon, sleepyhead," he said. "Here I buy a bottle for us and you pass out after one drink." He tsked and shook his head. "You look like hell... how are you feeling?" He gestured for her to follow him and Tycho led the way to the exit door of the ship. "Let's get you some fresh air."

"Afternoon?" El-Nay repeated, in disbelief, surprised that she had slept that long. "It was not *one* drink, old man," she muttered, as she took a seat across from him, her gray eyes looking across at him, sizing him up in her once again. "I just sat down!" She snarled, before following him down the ramp into the docking bay. She shut her eyes as the natural light first struck her, and she brought her hand up to shield them. "Shit. It is the afternoon..." she realized to herself, before delving into her pocket to grab a cigarra. It quickly found it's way between her young, supple lips where she lit it, and took in that first breath of toxic smoke that helped her beginning her morning ... even if it was not technically morning. "I'll be fine," she told him, condescendingly, as she gripped the cigarra with two of her fingers, pulling it from her lips, and exhaling a seductive plume of smoke.

"Don't get snappy with me, kid," he said severely. "You've got a hangover and you're cranky, but if you want respect, give me some too." He sighed, then reached out and snatched the cigarra from her fingers, dropped it, and stomped on it. "And you're not doing that anymore, as of now. Your body is a weapon and if you're going to be in this business, you have to take care of your weapons. What are you gonna do when your lungs can't keep up with you?" He raised his eyebrows, waiting to see if she'd give it any real thought as he peered down at her.

"Hey!" El-Nay squealed as her cigarra was taken from her and snuffed out before she had finished it. " don't get to me what I can and cannot do," she whined, sounding more like a teenage girl, and less like a hired mercenary. "I need that to wake up, and it helps me with my stress," she explained to him, inadvertently revealing that she was suffering from anxiety. "Besides. I'm not going to live long enough for them to damage my lungs. None of us are," she muttered, in a nihilistic tone, before kicking her left foot against the ground in frustration. "Can we just get on with the job?" She pleaded, her arms folding in front of her chest, while biting her lower lip in a familiar pout.

A look of annoyance grew on his face as she spoke, but by the time she was done, a chuckle burst out, unwillingly. "By the Force, I can't believe you girl," Tycho said. He shook his head. "Listen, brat," he went on, though there was still a touch of humor in his voice, "if I'm apprenticing you, which you sorely need, by the way, I *do* get to tell you what to do. And you *will* live long enough to retire if you stick with me and *listen*. I can give you a pretty impressive list of how many bounty hunters and mercs have survived to retire and die of old age. So, you're gonna learn. That's all there is to it." Despite the fact that what he said might have sounded like a command, he didn't say it in a commanding tone. It was a simple, straightforward, definitive statement that brooked no argument. "And, yeah, we're gonna do the job now." He walked off ahead of her, his longer legs giving him a faster gait than hers. He'd normally have to slow his walk for her to keep up, but he didn't bother. She could keep up with him, let her see how her lungs felt.

"This isn't worth two thousand," El-Nay muttered underneath her breath, as she hurried to keep up with Tycho as they left the docking bay. Her breathing was a little labored, but she managed to keep up with him. She wondered if she should stop for a quick drink to finish waking her up, and get her ready for what was to come. "You're sure about this plan?" She asked again, speeding up her walk to catch up with him, only to fall behind, and then repeat the process over again.

"Sure?" Tycho asked, looking back at her and raising an eyebrow. "Of course I'm not sure. Don't ever be sure ... that's overconfidence and it'll get you killed." If she didn't start listening soon he was gonna go ballistic on her. That was an important one. Overconfidence. He decided he'd have to drill that into her some more later. For the moment, he was headed over to a storefront that was basically a hole in the wall liquor store. He got a pint of his Moonbeam and tossed it to El-Nay. "Hair of the Wookie," he said, smirking. "Do *not* drink too much. We're going to get you clothes now."

El-Nay clutched the pint of liqueur, her hand trembling as she held it, staring at it with a mouth that began to water. She felt herself start to tremble, and instead of drinking it, she tossed it back in Tycho's direction. "No. No I don't think so..." she said, placing both of her hands in her front pants pockets, in an attempt to hug herself. "New clothes? Now you're talking!" She said excitedly, doing her best to keep up the long legged hunter. It had been a long time since she had new clothes, and the prospect of getting some excited her. "Wait a minute. I get to pick them out, right?" She asked, her voice raising in octave, as she was skeptical of everything he said and did.

Tycho sighed, trying to be patient. She really did act like a kid sometimes. He had to admit that there was a kind of cuteness in her demeanor and he could see himself growing fond of her. That would be a bad thing. That was still an 'if', though, because he wasn't sure that she would make a good student. "Yes, you can pick within reason," he said. "Can't get anything that'll draw too much attention. You want a coffee?" He gestured to a coffee stand they were passing. Maybe that would make her feel better. "We can get you some headache pills or something too. Need you to be sharp."

"I always smoke with my caf," El-Nay snarled at him, still in an unrelenting pout. "So no. No caf for me," she said, her tongue slithering from beneath her lips to lick at it hungrily. "So I'm supposed to dress like a moof milker?" She asked him, rolling her eyes in great displeasure. She then moved closer towards him, until she was mere inches from him, angling her head to look at him. "Or are you just looking for a reason to dress me up?" She asked him, offering a half smile, as she but down on a corner of her lip. Her hand moved up slightly, pressing her palm down upon his hard chest for a moment. "No. No it wouldn't be that," she sniggered, before withdrawing her hand from him and moving excitedly towards the nearest clothing shop.

Did she want to flirt? It sounded like it. "No," he said, "I wouldn't be looking for a reason to put clothes on you... I'd be looking for a chance to take them off." There, that's how you flirt! Tycho grinned smugly, then started walking again. He was annoyed with her but also amused. Cranky ass bitch she was, but she still had that cute quality that he enjoyed so much. "No booze, no caf," he started up again. "You're just impossible to please. Though I am good at pleasing..." The merc walked into a fairly large clothing shop. It was split into two sections; menswear and ladieswear. "If you wanna get something nice for yourself, you can go ahead, but it's coming out of your cut. I'm only paying for the one set of clothes."

"I'm not impossible," El-Nay muttered underneath her breath, as she began scoring a wide variety of dresses that were more suited for a formal party than espionage. She had never had a real dress before, and she lingered in that section much longer than she should have. She wondered if she would even look good in any of them, and she pulled one from the rack and held it in front of her body, and then examined herself in the mirror. She looked back at herself ... or rather a version of herself ... but she had no opinion as to whether or not she looked good or not. She was wasting a time being a girl rather than a mercenary.

For a little while, Tycho wandered around aimlessly. Eventually he started browsing the ladies section just to see what was available. He figured he might be able to help her pick something out. He did, eventually, begin to get impatient. He came up behind her, getting a look at her in the mirror. He tried to imagine it on her and tilted his head to the side. "Nice dress, but I've got a better one for you... saw it earlier." He walked off to go fetch it and came back was a beautiful red dress of a soft, velvety material. It had a low neck, allowing it to show off cleavage, then the straps came up around the back of her neck. The back was cut very low and left a lot of skin showing. No wonder he liked it. "Why don't you go try it on?"

El-Nay examined the dress, not wanting to admit that she liked it, as she snatched it from his grasp to take a closer look at it. "Is this what you like?" She asked him, draping it over her body for a moment, and looking at her reflection again. She moved back towards the changing room, where she began to strip out of her ragged Corellia clothes. When she was undressed she stepped into the dress, enjoying the feel of the velvety fabric, but she could not manage to get the dress on properly. She reached around herself, trying to tie the straps, but she just could not reach. "Tycho...Tycho! Come help me with this," she called, quietly at first, but when she did not get a response, she raised her voice in embarrassment. Inside the stall she looked at herself in the mirror, and smiled at the reflection. Maybe she was in the wrong line of work after all.

Was Tycho domesticating her? Interesting thought. "Why wouldn't I like it," he responded, then watched as she headed into the changing room. He smirked and strolled around the store again, waiting for her to emerge. It was several minutes before he heard her call, as did the Bothan employee. Tycho walked past the Bothan and into the back. Once the door was open, he stepped in behind her and closed it. "Let's see..." He took the straps of the dress and snapped them together. Then, he straightened the dress here and there took her by the arms and turned her, and adjusted the straps until it was perfect. "There. You look amazing."

The redness flowed to El-Nay's cheeks matching the color of her dress after he paid her that compliment. She was beginning to feel something deep inside of her that she had not felt in a long time, and she began to quiver. They were in a tight space directly in front of one another, and each breath seemed to land on one another, heating the tiny space. "Is this what I'm wearing on the mission?" She asked him, bringing her hand up to run her fingers through the dyed blond locks that sat upon her head.

Tycho chuckled lightly. "No," he said. "That's for recreation. We're gonna get you a better outfit. Come here..." He opened the door. Taking her hand, he led her out toward the front of the store and stopped to peer around the corner. "See her?" There was a female Imperial officer browsing the wares and giving the Bothan occasional looks of disgust. Tycho led her farther back toward the dressing rooms. "I found some better clothes for you."

"Uniform fetish?" El-Nay, asked tilting her head, and then rolling her eyes upward to look at Tycho. "Are you going to take her out, or did you want me to do it?" She asked, her eyes darting between Tycho and the Imperial officer. As she examined the revealing nature of the gown she noticed she was unarmed, and there was no place she could hide a weapon dressed like this ... well, nowhere comfortable at least. "I'm not sure I want to wear that..." she said, not having the best opinion of the Empire after all they had done, and were doing, to Mandalore.

"You're not going to wear it right now ... but fine, if you don't want it, don't get it." Tycho just shrugged. "I'll keep an eye on her while you change... once she leaves we'll follow her out and take her down. I want you to do it. Quickly and silently." Tycho walked off to go keep an eye on the officer. She was roughly El-Nay's size, perhaps a touch taller, but he thought the uniform would be a decent fit. For the moment, the woman was just browsing wares, but soon enough she took a shirt and pair of shoes up to the counter. El-Nay had better hurry!

El-Nay scurried back towards the changing room as quickly as she could in a dress, which is to say not very quick. Inside the changing room she had a few moments alone to consider the encounter with Tycho, and whether or not she was simply teasing him, or whether something was developing. The last time she got involved with someone on a job he ended up deceiving her, deflowering her, and making off with all the credits ... that experience had taught her a valuable lesson about trusting people ... particularly men. Moments later she emerged from the changing room back in her old Corellian clothes, and stopped by the clerk to drop the red velvet dress off. "My sugar daddy is paying," she told the Bothan, before pointing towards Tycho, and then she moved off in pursuit of the young Imperial officer.

The Bothan's fur rippled in a way that was similar to lifting human eyebrows in interest and surprise. Tycho made a face at being called 'sugar daddy', but he supposed it justified him calling her 'kid' even more. That would have to do. He glanced back as he watched her head out after the officer. Good luck, he thought. He paid for the dress and headed out, hoping to catch up enough to at least see her work. In the meantime, the female officer took a right out the door and headed a block down. It was busy and there were plenty of eyes to witness, but she soon turned down an alley toward the lot where she'd parked her speeder. It would take her thirty seconds to cut through the alley and to the lot, which was a bit more public. She didn't have much of a window.

The opportunity to kill an Imperial appealed to El-Nay, as it was a slight bit of revenge for what they had done to her since her arrival in the region to pursue a bounty. When she followed the officer into the alley her heart quickened and she was poised to strike, but paused when she realized that the way she had killed before was likely to ruin the uniform, which was the whole purpose of the attack. She had never killed with her hands before, and quickly she moved towards the woman, coming up behind her and quickly moving to the attack, Her right hand was quick to move around her face to cover her mouth and prevent her from screaming, while her other hand moved to grab at the woman's throat. The woman screamed into El-Nay's hand, attempting to bite it, but the sound was muffled. She kicked and squirmed and did everything she could do to free herself, but El-Nay held on too tightly, and then finally the woman began to cry. "Shh. Shh. Shh," El-Nay said to the woman in her last moments of life, before she felt the body go limp in her arms. When the deed was done she released, and the corpse fell lifeless to the ground. El-Nay was frozen in that moment ... it was not at all what she had expected. She took a few steps backward until she hit the wall, and then pathetically slid down it, until she came to a seated position in the filth that littered to the alley. She brought her hands up and placed them on the back of her neck, as her descended between her legs. "Ugh!" She groaned before throwing up what was left of the alcohol from last night, overwrought from what she had just done.

"Well, that wasn't creepy," Tycho said sardonically as he walked up to her. He'd never heard anyone shushed to death. He certainly hadn't done it himself. "Good job, though I'm going to have to teach you how to break a neck. Much quicker than choking someone out." It was true... that took longer than people thought, and the whole time the person was thrashing. Still, he was impressed with El-Nay. He didn't think she had a hand-to-hand takedown in her. Clearly she wasn't handling it well. He nudged her with a boot. "Hey... she's dead. You killed her. That's the way it is. Accept it and change clothes. No time to waste."

El-Nay looked up at him, bringing up the sleeve of her tunic to wipe away the traces of vomit that remained on her lips and chin. "How can you be so cavalier about killing like that?" She asked, still sitting on the ground, unable to look over at the body of the woman she had just strangled to death. Blasting someone was one thing, but that ... that was something else entirely. "Can I have a cigarra first? Please. I really need it..." she pleased, before giving herself a boost to get back into a standing position.

"The fact that you *need* them is enough reason to not have them," he said, scowling. Even so, he said, "Get changed and you can have one. We've gotta get rid of this body." He waited for her to get started, then cleared his throat. "It's not so much about being cavalier as it is about not really ... caring. Killing up close with your hands or even a knife isn't the same as with a blaster. You gotta get used to that. But once you realize that killing is killing no matter the method, you'll get over it. You've got an uphill fight cuz you didn't come from the same roots as me. I killed my first person at ten. Rodian that pissed off Shlooka the Hutt back on Nal Hutta. That was with a hold-out pistol, of course. I never had to stab anyone until I was ... thirteen, I think." It was like a casual conversation to him.

El-Nay shook her head at Tycho, before silently moving towards the dead Imperial officer. She stripped her of her uniform starting with the tunic, and then moving to the boots, and then finally the pants. In the alley she began to strip down to her undergarments, doing her best to use the speeder to keep out of sight of Tycho and anyone else that might pass by. The olive-grey Imperial uniform fit her body well, but she felt she was bringing great dishonor to her people by wearing it ... even if it was in the pursuit of a mission. When she emerged in the uniform she knelt down next to the woman's body, and lifted up, before placing it in the driver's seat of the speeder. She then produced two cigarras from the pack she had in the belt of her balled up clothes and lit them both. She took a much needed drag from the first, quickly exhaling a plume of smoke, before placing the second one in the fuel cell of the speeder. "Run," she said to Tycho with a smirk, before hurrying from the alley. Just as she was clear the fire reached the fuel cell and caused the speeder to explode, which she thought would dispose of the Imperial's body and perhaps shift blame to the Rebellion. "What's the next part of your plan?" She asked him, as emergency sirens began to blare, nonchalantly taking another puff on the cigarra.

Tycho watched in silence, not looking away as she changed. He didn't see anything too private, thanks to her hiding behind the speeder. He caught glimpses of bare shoulders and an arch of a naked back, but she did a good job of keeping the important parts hidden. He let out an amused sound. Soon enough, she was a proper Imperial officer, disposing of a body in the weirdest of places. What the hell was she doing? Then she was opening the fuel cell lid with a lit cigarra... "Shit," he muttered, turning and walking away. He didn't need a cue to run. He *walked*, however, and by the time she caught up with him and ran round the corner, he was almost there. He took a quick several steps around the corner just before the explosion came. There was a rush of fire and concussive force from the alley, but he was just fine. "You're insane," he said, looking at her. Then, he grinned. Reckless as it was, her way of getting rid of the body had been rather ingenious. Instead of finding a dead, naked officer in the trash disposal unit or something, they would find her in pieces after the ion explosion. He put a hand on her back lightly, walking her away from the scene. His other hand came out to hand her a bag. "Your dress, milady. Next step, we're gonna go into this here cafe and have some breakfast, get your stomach settled, then we're going to carry out the plan. We'll talk inside."

"Sounds like a plan, Tycho. Only ... you carry the bag," El-Nay said with a smirk, blowing a toxic cloud of cigarra smoke out at him. Her left hand came to her chest and she tapped on her rank insignia, making an annoying *tap*ing noise. "I outrank you ... I think," she added, tilting her head down to look at the thing ... she really had no idea what rank she was even supposed to be. Leaving him holding the bag, she winked at him, and offered a mock salute. She turned to look at the restaurant, wondering if she could terrorize the locals into giving them free food because of her new uniform ... that or they might just spit in the food, she thought silently to herself.

Tycho pursed his lips together as she demanded he carry the dress, but that wasn't a problem, just an annoyance. It was what she did next that was the problem... and a serious one, with him. He caught her by the arm, yanked her around to face him, and slapped the cigarra right out of her mouth. He left a sting on her cheek, while the smoky treat flew off into the street. "Do not *ever* blow smoke in my face," he said. "That was disrespectful and disgusting." He glared at her for another moment before forcing his way into her pocket and taking the damn things from her. He threw the pack into the street. "Now get inside." He gave her a little push in the direction of the restaurant.

The last thing El-Nay expected after all they had been through was to me smacked across the face. It caught her completely off guard, and when the deed had been done, she brought her hand up to her cheek and began to rub it. "Asshole," she said bitterly, as the tears began to well up in each of her eyes. Just when she had started to like the guy he went and laid a hand on her again, and she was on the verge of breaking down and sobbing completely. She brought her hand up to her nose, pinching it at the bridge, and inhaling sharply to try and keep her composure. She did not say another word as she allowed him to prod her in the direction of the restaurant, but internally she felt betrayed by him in that moment. He had more than physically harmed her, he had very nearly broken her heart.

If he'd known how much it would hurt her, he probably wouldn't have done it. He didn't know, though, and he took her reaction for weakness and childishness. "Oh, come on, toughen up," he said, and led the way inside.

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